What is a sissy squat?

The sissy squat is a great helpful exercise for building quads, working on the hip flexors, and strengthening the core, all with one movement.

Performing a sissy squat involves locking the feet in a fixed position and leaning right back before bringing yourself up again.

The sissy squat is usually completed with a sissy squat bench, a squat rack, a sissy squat machine, or leg extension machine, but it can also be performed at home; no sissy squat machine is necessary.

Which muscles are used to perform sissy squats?

Performing a sissy squat will target mainly your quads because that was the goal when the movement was designed.

The glutes and hamstrings are going to be much, much less involved, and all of the tension and pressure will be for the upper thigh to take.

The core muscles will stabilize the body while performing the movement, which means that they will be engaged.

What are the benefits of a sissy squat?

Even though it is pretty difficult to execute, sissy squat comes with a lot of benefits. Some of the main benefits of the sissy squat include:

– Sissy Squat Provide Quadriceps Development

Holding your body in a straight line, as you would do when performing a sissy squat, is going to reduce the role of the posterior chain muscles, which are the muscles that are on the backside of your body, such as your glutes, hamstrings, calves and the muscles in your lower back.

This means that the quadriceps will have to take over and perform the majority of the movement, which will help your quadriceps fitness goals.

– Sissy Squat Strengthen Your Core

Performing a sissy squat is also going to develop the strength and fitness of your core.

As the role of the posterior chain muscles is reduced, core muscles have to take over and keep your body in the straight-line position, incorporating your core muscles for stabilization and balance as you perform the movement.

How to do a sissy squat?

The sissy squat must be performed with proper and good form in order to avoid injury and reap all of the benefits of this great exercise. Here is how to correctly perform a sissy squat. 

  1. Your start position will be standing straight with your feet shoulder width apart. Make sure that your core and glutes are engaged and that you are aware of those muscles in your body while you are in the starting position. Make sure to keep a neutral spine and engage your quads.
  2. With your feet shoulder width apart, raise up onto your toes with control and maintain the full hip extension. Visualize creating a straight line with your torso as you are doing it. Your arms can be extended out in front of your torso for some help with balance, or you can hold onto a steady object for support. Just make sure the object is in front of your body or slightly off to the side.
  3. Start lowering your body into your squat by driving your knees forward while maintaining a tall upper body as you are lowering your body backwards, practically leaning backward. Make sure to keep your heels elevated as you go lower and lower to the ground. Also, make sure to keep a neutral spine while you fall backwards. You should feel the burn in your quads, as your quads are taking the most pressure in this position.
  4. Once you are in the end position, lower your heels to the ground and push your body in the standing position. This movement counts as one rep. You can do a few reps with rest in between sets.

Variations of a sissy squat

If sissy squats are too easy for you for any reason, you might try different alternatives for a sissy squat and other squat variations that will help you progress even further. 

Some of the most useful variations of a sissy squat include:

Assisted Sissy Squat

Holding onto a sturdy object is a perfect way to start the progression into the sissy squat since it eliminates the balance aspect and allows you to assist the movement. You can hold onto a pipe, a dresser, or a machine in the gym.

Even the assisted sissy squats are a complex exercise, and the best exercise to make your quad muscles burn and maximize your core strength much more than traditional squats.

Weighted Sissy Squat

Adding weight to any movement will make the movement more challenging. You can perform a weighted sissy squat by holding the weight plate in your hands as you are performing the movement.

Just make sure to master other squat variations and the standard sissy squat before trying the weighted version with the weight plate or dumbbell in hand.

Narrow Sissy Squat

Narrow stance sissy squat also called the close-stance sissy squat, will target the quadriceps maximally, and it will force the quad muscles to work their hardest.

Mistakes/Safety Tips

It is very important to understand that sissy squats require focus and a pretty advanced fitness level.

If you are new to this exercise or exercising and fitness in general, make sure to try the sissy squat for the first time with a professional, such as a sports performance expert, a certified personal trainer, or a physical therapist.

You might need some object nearby for extra support and help with your balance. Using the sissy squat bench might be the most useful for beginners.

Is the sissy squat a good exercise?

Sissy squats are a great movement that significantly benefits your quads.

Holding your body in a straight line, like you do while performing a sissy squat, reduces the pressure of the posterior chain muscles, which is the group of muscles located on the backside of your body. These include the glutes, hamstrings, calves, and lower back muscles.

Are sissy squats good for knees?

Sissy squats can help improve the durability of both knee tendons, but this movement is not recommended if you have a knee injury or any issues with your thighs.

Is a sissy squat more difficult than a traditional squat?

The difficulty of the leg exercises will depend on the individual, but sissy squats are not a joke at all, and they are definitely much more difficult than a traditional squat.

If achieving a sissy squat is one of your fitness goals, make sure to build up to it; going too quickly can cause an injury to your joints. Start with the traditional squat first and then progress.

Can you build big legs with sissy squats?

Sissy squats are a very effective way to develop numerous muscles in your legs, making them appear bigger and stronger.

Do sissy squats build mass?

Sissy squats are an excellent exercise for building muscle, and they are guaranteed to provide that fantastic thigh shape we are all after.

Sissy squats are a compound exercise, which means that they are very efficient at targeting several areas in one go.

Do sissy squats work abs?

When performed with good form, every squat will engage core muscles, therefore building the strength of the abs.