Meet the shrimp squat: The challenging move that's been missing from your booty-exercise arsenal. Here's how to do it, what mistakes to avoid, plus easy modifications and exercises to help recruit the muscles you'll need to perform it successfully.
Squats are one of those exercises that can be performed in seemingly endless ways. There's the split squat, pistol squat, sumo squat, squat jumps, narrow squat, single-leg squat—and the list of squat variations goes on from there.
And trust us, the regular old squat (and all its relatives) isn't going anywhere soon. The squat has stuck around this long for good reason—it works. Not only is it one of the best booty-shaping, glute-lifting, butt-toning moves, but squats are actually a full-body exercise. You activate your core to keep your chest lifted and posture upright, you fire up your quads as you lower into your position, and you could add some dumbbells to work your upper body too. (Add the move to basically any full-body circuit training workout for even bigger fat burn.)
But just when you thought you'd mastered all the squats, in comes ACE and Nike trainer Alex Silver-Fagan with the shrimp squat. Check her out performing the move in her Instagram post here. (Yes, she can also crush some pull-ups.)
What's the shrimp squat, you ask? We'll let Alex, who designed our 30-Day Squat Challenge, show you how it's done, why you should add it to your routine like yesterday, and how you can master the move if you're not quite there yet.
How to do it
1. Begin standing and bend one knee to grab foot behind you with the opposite hand. You can also try using your same-side hand for an extra balance challenge. (Just as if you were stretching your quads.) Extend other arm out in front of you for balance.
2. Slowly bend standing leg and lower down until bent knee taps the ground. Drive through the heel of standing leg to come back to standing.
What not to do
Nailing proper form for the shrimp squat can be tough, especially if you're working on your strength and flexibility, but Silver-Fagan says leaning too far forward or too far back is the most common mistake to avoid.
How to progress
Not quite there yet? Try these exercises that Silver-Fagan says can help train your body and recruit the muscles you'll need to perform the shrimp squat.
Standard squat: Master the basic squat before moving forward. Check your form with these pointers.
Split squat: Move into this exercise to practice placing more weight on one leg as you squat. (This move also features that knee tap.)
Narrow split squat: Aim to get your back knee as close to your front heel as possible to mimic the narrow stance of the shrimp squat.
Reverse lunge: By relying on your front leg for support and stability, your body will become acquainted with the muscles it will need to use for the shrimp squat.
How to modify
These modifications can assist your shrimp squats to either make it easier (so you can focus more on form and less on rushing the move) or more difficult (so you can seriously see those gains).
Regression: Place steps or a stack of pillows behind you to reduce the range of motion.
Progression: Hold foot of bent leg with both hands to work within a larger range of motion.