July 26, 2022 7 min read
There are seemingly endless squat variations that each possess their own unique benefits and are able to target different areas of the body. The back squat is the King of these variations because of its ability to build maximum strength in your lower body.
However, in order to build balanced strength in the quads, glutes, and hamstrings, you must find exercises that are able to isolate more than a big compound exercise like the back squat can.
The sissy squat can be extremely beneficial for targeting the quadriceps, and despite its name, can be a grueling exercise to add into your next leg day.
One of the most convenient and accessible ways to do a sissy squat is with a Smith Machine because not all gyms come equipped with a sissy squat machine.
With this squat variation, you can add some variety to your leg workouts and build more muscle and strength in your quads.
If you aren’t aware of the benefits or how difficult sissy squats can actually be, you might scoff at the name and not bother including it into your workout routine. The sissy squat didn’t get its name from being easy, rather quite the opposite.
Sissy squats are named after Sisyphus, who was the King of Corinth in Greek mythology.
The story is that this King was so much of a trickster that, although he got killed twice, he was able to come back to life.
After the third time he was killed, Zeus got fed up and banished Sisyphus to a hillside, along with a huge boulder. He forced Sisyphus to push the boulder all the way to the top, and when he got there, Zeus made him push it back down again. This continued for the rest of eternity.
Sissy squats may not be as miserable as pushing a boulder up and down a hill forever, but they can help build your quads like Sisyphus’s.
This quad exercise may be overlooked because it’s not as popular as other versions of the squat, but it can produce benefits that can carry over to other aspects of weightlifting.
The sissy squat helps to isolate the quads more than its compound cousins, and isolating an area of the body helps promote more muscle hypertrophy.
Hip flexors play an important role in the movement of your lower body, and anytime you walk, run, kick, or bend over, you’re using this muscle group.
If your hip flexors are weak, you may experience lower back or hip pain and may find it harder to do normal activities like walking up the stairs.
Since the sissy squat focuses on the movement of the knee joint, it has the potential to improve knee health, help reduce pain, and improve knee range of motion.
Your core helps to stabilize your body during the sissy squat and also helps keep your balance.
By doing this exercise, you can increase your core strength and stability for life in and outside the gym.
Unless you know what a sissy squat is, you may see someone in the gym doing them and think, “that’s not how you squat”. In a conventional squat, you’re used to sitting back in your heels, but with a Smith Machine sissy squat, you actually sink forward onto your toes.
It’s easy to do this exercise wrong, so proper form is of the utmost importance. Follow this step-by-step guide for a safe and effective leg exercise.
How to Do the Smith Machine Sissy Squat:
This exercise takes practice, but making sure you have all the right cues can make or break a workout. If you’re unsure, consult with a knowledgeable personal trainer and check out these common mistakes to avoid.
A good cue to remember is to keep your shoulders in line with your knees the whole time.
Try more body weight with just the Smith Machine bar as a guide or focus on progression exercises.
The sissy squat is a difficult exercise and shouldn't be taken lightly. It can be great for your quads, but in case you’re not ready for it yet, there are alternatives that can help build your legs just as well.
This alternative most commonly uses a machine and isolates the quadriceps for ultimate muscle growth. Leg extensions can be beneficial for beginners and anyone looking to build bigger, more powerful legs.
How to Do Leg Extensions:
Although the front squat isn’t an isolation exercise, it can help emphasize the quads to a greater degree than the back squat. It also requires core strength and shoulder mobility to help keep a good front rack position.
How to Do the Front Squat:
The leg press is a piece of gym equipment that you can likely find in almost any commercial gym and can target different areas of the body depending on how you position yourself. You can load up a large amount of weight on this machine and build tons of lower body strength and muscle.
How to Do the Leg Press:
Your quads are an important part of your life in the gym and in your daily life. There’s nothing wrong with a heavy back squat, but isolating certain areas of the body can help build muscle without other muscles overcompensating.
The sissy squat might not sound like a big, bad exercise, but just a few reps of it will have your legs burning and balance challenged.Exercises that isolate a certain muscle group may leave your body more sore than usual, so check out ADABOLIC to help accelerate recovery while maximizing endurance and power.