If you randomly ask a squat lover what squats are their favourite, chances are the skater squat will not feature anywhere on the list.
Such a shame, isn’t it? That a squat with so many fantastic benefits doesn’t get as much credit as it deserves!
As you might have probably guessed already, this squat is not among the most popular squats, mainly because it’s quite difficult to perform.
It is, however, one of the best-kept secrets in the squat world.
You’ll find out why in a short while but in the meantime let’s talk about how to do it with the correct form.
- Stand upright with your feet close to each other.
- Inhale, tighten your core and squeeze your glutes.
- Breathe out, and with a slow and controlled motion, bend your left knee and kick your left heel backward. Your hip bones should be pointed down.
- Hinge at your hips, pushing them back with the left leg, and then bend your right leg simultaneously to allow your knee to travel forward.
- Keep your right foot balanced such that your heels, forefeet and sides are all gripping the ground at the same time. The position you get into should look a bit like a lunge, but without the back foot that provides additional support.
- Push your hips back and let your active knee move as far forward as possible without altering the balance on your foot. Note that the other knee should not be touching the ground.
- At this point, the movement should look similar to a standard squat with one of your knees hovering a few inches off the ground behind your body. To gain extra balance, you can straighten your arms out in front of your body.
- Take a deep breath in and, without losing your balance, reverse the above steps slowly until you get back to the starting position.
- Perform as many reps as you wish.
WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE SKATER SQUAT WORK?
The skater squat recruits a wide range of muscles in your lower body, from your calves all the way to your core.
In your core, it works the internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis.
It also recruits the biceps femoral, semitendinosus and semimembranosus which are located on your hamstrings.
And in your glutes, this movement trains your gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus which serve as the main hip flexors.
Think we’re done here? Nope.
The skater squat also gives a bit of that workload the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis and the vastus intermedius in your quads.
And of course the soleus and gastrocnemius muscles in your calves are also involved when they help extend your feet downward during the movement.
BENEFITS OF THE SKATER SQUAT
As you’ve already seen above, the skater squat involves more muscles than most other squat variations.
It pretty much works your entire lower body, which makes it a great option if you are looking for an exercise that will work all your lower body muscles within a short time.
PROMOTES MUSCLE SYMMETRY
Being a unilateral exercise, this exercise can help correct muscle imbalances and asymmetry by working each side independently so that both sides get an equal amount of work.
STRENGTHENS HAMSTRINGS AND GLUTES
This exercise offers plenty of benefits but there’s one significant one that cannot go unnoticed – increased hamstring and glute strength.
By recruiting all the major muscles in your hamstrings and glutes, the skater squat helps build muscular strength which will come in handy when you’re performing intense lifting exercises.
DEVELOPS SINGLE-LEG POWER AND STRENGTH
Since it works one leg at a time, this squat variation can help build single-leg strength faster than other variations.
Single-leg power is required during plyometric exercises that use explosive strength to work each side of the your independently.
PROMOTES BALANCE AND STABILITY
From the steps described at the beginning of the article, you’ve probably already imagined just how much balance and coordination you need to pull off this exercise.
This is not to say you cannot do it if you are still unstable; most people actually gain more balance from doing it regularly.
So if you’re looking to improve your stability and balance, the skater squat should be one of your top options.
ALTERNATIVES TO THE SKATER SQUAT
The split squat is a lunge variation that works your glutes, hamstrings and quads while your feet remain in a fixed position between reps.
While most people do it with their bodyweight only, it is not uncommon to find others adding a barbell or dumbbells to it to increase the challenge.
Here’s how to do it:
- Stand upright and take a big step forward with your left leg.
- Flatten your left foot and raise your right heels off the ground to elevate them.
- Then, lower yourself until your back knee almost touches the ground.
- Lift yourself back up but leave your feet in the same position, such that you are only moving your hips up in subsequent reps.
- After finishing the desired number of reps, switch your legs so that your rear foot comes forward and the front one goes back.
SINGLE-LEGGED BOX SQUAT
This movement doesn’t share motion patterns with the skater squat, but it works similar muscles.
Here’s how to do it:
- Find an elevated surface and sit on it. It should be a bit higher than your knee.
- Place your less dominant foot on the ground.
- Push your body into a standing position using your arms.
- Keeping your weight in the less dominant foot, sit back down on the box.
- Almost immediately, lean forward and stand up again.
- Repeat these steps as many times as you desire, then switch your legs to bring the dominant foot forward.
SKATER SQUAT MISTAKES TO AVOID
LETTING THE REAR HEEL TOUCH THE GROUND
Your back heel should not touch the ground.
If it does, it will release the tension from some of the target muscles and render the exercise less effective.
If you’ve got this far into the article, there’s no doubt you absolutely understand why most people steer clear of the skater squat.
Aside from needing a lot of balance and coordination, it can take you quite some time to master.
But once you do, you may never want to do any other lower body exercise again.
Give it a shot today – it’s totally worth it!