3 Essential Squat Variations

Jan 22, 2016 | by AIF

The squat is any Personal Trainer’s bread and butter, and with good reason. A functional compound exercise that improves balance and coordination plus lower body and core strength.

But what kind should you be doing? How low and how heavy? Using the same basic principles squat variations are a great way to progress your training and challenge yourself in the gym. Current Personal Training student Hayden Quinn demonstrates the three variations he has learnt throughout his Master Trainer studies.

Body Weight Squat

This is the standard squat exercise and where perfect technique starts. Australian Institute of Fitness Master Coach, Rob Hadley, advises practising getting to a full range of motion before progressing to weighted squat exercises and focusing particularly on balancing body weight evenly during movement. Like Hayden, you can also experiment with uneven surfaces like sand or a bosu ball at the gym to improve your balance.

Goblet Squat

Using a neutral stance and a free weight or kettlebell held close to the chest, the goblet squat is highly underrated. Rob says that the contained weight distribution means this exercise increases potential range of motion and is great for warming up before a heavier lift with a barbell. Ensure the weight is held close to the chest and ensure feet are no more than shoulder width apart with limited toe turn out.

Barbell Squat

“The barbell squat is the next step for clients seeking strength gains” says Rob who advises using a spotter like Hayden and Sam do. Particularly important is the way you manage the extra weight, focusing on keeping the weight of bar distributed evenly across the trapezius muscle and not on the neck. Keeping your heels firmly planted on the ground drive up through your glute muscles and ask your spotter to keep an eye on your knees which should always be tracking over your toes.

Want to stay up-to-date on Hayden’s fitness journey? Make sure you subscribe to us on YouTube and don’t miss an episode of our Food and Fitness with Hayden Quinn series.



At the Australian Institute of Fitness (AIF), we are no stranger to the competitive and evolving nature of the fitness industry. That’s why we remain the #1 fitness educator since 1979. We continuously raise the bar by providing the best education and resources through dynamic and hybrid training methods that mould to your lifestyle. We are strong believers in evidence over fads, so you can be assured your training with AIF will solidify your career for the long-term.

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