How to Do Shrimp Squat Properly

The Shrimp Squat is a squat variation that involves holding the tip of your foot and squatting with the other.

It is a good leg and bodyweight workout that works the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core. Shrimp squats challenge the motion range and leg joints, therefore if you have existing knee and mobility issues, you should probably avoid this workout.

The shrimp squat technique imitates that of the Bulgarian Split Squat, except in the shrimp squat, you hold on to your lifted foot, while you rest your back foot on a bench in the Bulgarian Squat.

This exercise can be used as a warm-up drill for advanced hypertrophy workouts such as deadlifts. Before attempting the Shrimp Squat, ensure you understand them properly as well as the correct executing technique.

Targeted Muscle Group: Quadriceps, Hip Flexors, Glutes

Secondary Muscles: Core, Hamstrings, Calves, and Back

Required Equipment: No Equipment

Exercise Type: Bodyweight, Calisthenics

Exercise Mechanics: Compound

Difficulty level: Advanced


  • Begin by standing with your feet close together.
  • Shift your body weight on one foot. Bend your other foot behind and hold your raised foot with your hand. Hold your waist with your free arm for balance.
  • Bend the knee of the leg that is in contact with the ground and move your hips back to move down as far as you can comfortably.
  • Press with your left foot and resume the starting position. That’s a complete rep.


  • Move your trunk forward a bit to keep steady in the move. You can use a cushion as a buffer between your knee and the ground.
  • Perform each rep with a slow and controlled pace. Avoid using momentum. To help remove any momentum gained while working out, take a slight pause at the bottom of the rep.
  • Concentrate on maintaining your squatting leg hip, ankle, and knee all in line to maintain the body tightness throughout the session.


The main muscles targeted by the shrimp squat are the Quads, Glutes, and Hip Flexors. The secondary muscles engaged include the calved, hamstrings, back, and core. Shrimp squats are a great lower body workout that when performed with the correct technique, will activate the above-mentioned muscles effectively. The range of motion involved as you execute this unilateral drill stretches your ankles and hip flexors thereby improving your hip and ankle mobility.


This squat variation is advanced and relatively hard but has great benefits including:


The shrimp squat biggest advantage is that it builds the lower body strength. As you move your body down, your glutes and quads work eccentrically to control the motion. These muscle groups forcefully contract as you resume your starting position. Your core and hamstrings work to maintain steadiness and smoothen the motion the entire time.


All workouts executed with a single leg help to develop overall body balance and stability. The shrimp squat challenges even the experienced exercisers. The more you move down into the squat, the higher the chances of wobbling. You may lose balance sometimes, but remember your stabilizer muscles will level up to the challenge as you perfect your technique.


When you perform heavyweight workouts such as the dumbbell deadlifts, the sides of your body are equally lifted to execute the move. Being that individuals can be stronger on either side, one side might work more than the other. This may result in muscle imbalances that pose you to injuries. Unilateral workouts like shrimp squats can help correct these imbalances. You won’t have to depend on the dominant leg to build strength on the less strong side.



The skater squat is a unilateral leg workout that mimics the shrimp squat. It is often performed with a reduced motion range


  • Begin by standing straight.
  • Plant your non-dominant foot on the floor and lift your free foot from the floor.
  • Bend your knee to move yourself to the floor. As you lower yourself down, let your free foot trail behind you and lift your arms frontwards.
  • Support yourself with your leg to resume the starting position.

Ensure you perform the recommended sets of reps and switch to perform the same reps with your dominant foot.


  • Level up the workout by keeping your balance without supporting your free foot on the ground.
  • You can hold two light dumbbells in each palm to help keep you steady all through the workout.


Shrimp squats are advanced and can be relatively hard to execute. Therefore, it is possible to make many errors as you perform the workout. Watch out for these mistakes if you are attempting this workout for the first time:


Just like in other squat variations, correct technique is very essential to avoid injuries as you work out. If you realize executing the shrimp squat is a little hard with your first attempt, do not rush the process. Concentrate on perfecting your form and practice doing the shrimp squat without any assistance.

When you realize your legs are shaky and you can’t hold up with the correct workout technique, do the assisted version of the shrimp squat first.


Watch your speed as you perform the shrimp squat. Ensure you raise and lower your body in a slow and controlled manner and be sure to use only one leg as you work out. Doing the squats rushed will not impress anyone, will only pose you with more risk of injury, and is not beneficial to your muscle development in any way.

Slowing the motion will work your muscles extra hard and will alleviate the chances of sustaining injuries. Going too hard doesn’t guarantee results.


The shrimp squat is a challenging calisthenics workout It is a unilateral drill that has many health and body benefits ranging from boosting athletic performance to correcting muscle imbalances. If you want to train your legs without accessing the gym, consider unilateral workouts like the shrimp squat first.  Before you attempt this workout, ensure you start with simpler workouts then you can gradually level up to this variation.

Try it out!