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How to Do the Sissy Squat to Construct Heaps of Muscle Without Weights

Give this explosive leg exercise, also known as sissy squats, a try the next time you hit the gym! You'll be amazed at how muscular your legs can get without weights.

Luna Morin
How to Do the Sissy Squat to Construct Heaps of Muscle Without Weights
Table Of Contents

Sissy Squat? I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "What on Earth is a sissy squat?" Well, let me tell you. The sissy squat is an exercise that works your quads like no other. Don't go after the name; it works absolutely magic for your lower body muscles.

It's not overly complicated, but it's extremely effective. And best of all, you don't need any weights. Your body weight will do just fine.

So if you're looking to add some serious mass to your legs, you've got to try sissy squat for once. You can thank me later!

How to Perform the Sissy Squat?

The sissy squat is a fairly simple exercise to perform, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

First, start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Second, place your hands behind your head, at your sides, or in front—whichever is more comfortable for you.

Third, lower yourself down as far as you can without falling over, simultaneously leaning your body backward.

Fourth, once you're at the bottom, squeeze your quads and raise yourself back to the starting position.

That's one rep. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Common Sissy Squat Mistakes

When performing the sissy squat, there are a few things you need to keep in mind if you want to get the most out of the exercise.

First, make sure that you lower yourself down slowly and under control. Don't just fall into the bottom position—that's not going to do you any good. It's all about slow and controlled movement throughout the exercise. In fact, it's the slow action that engages your quads more than other squats.

Second, once at the bottom, squeeze your quads and drive yourself back up with as much force as possible. The slower and more controlled the lowering portion is, the more explosive and powerful the lifting portion will be. And that's exactly what we're after—explosive power!

Third, keep your back straight and avoid rounding your shoulders forward. This will help ensure that you're working your quads, not your lower back.

Sissy Squat Sets and Reps

Sissy squat is all about perfect form. You can do it a hundred times, but if you aren't doing it right, you're wasting your time. So, stay focused on the correct technique and flawless form, even if it means fewer reps.

As a newbie, you shouldn't be aiming for big numbers anyway. Perfect your technique and only progress gradually. Slow and steady wins the race.

Here's a simple breakdown in numbers for the desired reps and sets according to the objective of the workout.

Newbies: 2-3 sets of no more than 5 reps. This is more than enough for a beginner. Focus on your form and master the move.

For Muscle Gains: 3-4 sets are enough, but you can do as many reps as your body allows. Just be sure to do them with the right form. Stop when you can no longer maintain the form because, as I said above, more isn't better; consistency is.

For coordination and stability: Go up to 5 sets BUT with just as many reps as manageable.

Sissy Squat Variations

When it comes to sissy squats, there are three main variations to be tried by squat enthusiasts: banded, weighted, and the kneeling sissy squat.

Banded-Sissy Squat

The banded sissy squat is a move that looks simple but can be quite challenging. Here's how it works:

  • You start standing with your feet and a band wrapped around your knees.
  • From there, you squat down and lean back until your thighs are parallel to the ground, then press back up to the starting position.
  • The key is to keep your knees close together throughout the move, which is why it's called a sissy squat.

Weighted Sissy Squat

The weighted sissy squat is a great exercise for strengthening the lower body. You can increase the resistance and work those muscles by holding a weight in your hands. But beware: this exercise can be tough on the knees, so be sure to warm up thoroughly before trying it.

  • To start, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a weight in your hands.
  • Bend your knees and lower your hips until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  • Lean backward, keeping the back straight as you lower down.
  • Then, raise yourself back up slowly to the starting position.
  • You can do this exercise with or without weights, but adding weight will make it more challenging.

Kneeling Sissy Squat

Yet another variation is kneeling sissy squat. This one's fun and challenging and works quads and hams in one amazing way!

  • Start by kneeling on the ground with your feet together and your hands behind your head (or in front of you, if you want).
  • Keeping your back straight, lean back towards your heels.
  • Once you have reached as far back as you can, return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 10-12 reps.

If you want to feel the burn, try adding some weight to this exercise. Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in front of your chest while you squat, or wear a weighted vest or backpack.

Adding weight is great if you are out on the muscle hunt but be careful not to overload yourself - start light and increase the weight gradually as you get stronger.

Muscles Worked By the Sissy Squat

While the banded sissy squat may not be the most glamorous exercise, it can be highly effective in building the strength of the lower body (the entire posterior chain muscles). By keeping the knees close together, you force the muscles of the inner thigh to work harder, leading to significant gains in strength and definition.

In addition, the banded sissy squat is a great way to improve flexibility in the hips and legs. So if you're looking for a move that will make you stronger and more flexible, give the banded sissy squat a try.

Benefits of the Sissy Squat

The benefits of the sissy squat are many and varied. For starters, it's a great way to tone your legs and butt. It also helps improve your balance and coordination. And if that isn't enough, it can also help increase your flexibility.

So why is the sissy squat such an effective exercise? Well, for one thing, it works all of the major muscles in your lower body, including your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core muscles. As a result, you'll significantly improve your strength and stamina. Not to mention, you'll also enjoy better joint health and reduced risk of injury.

But perhaps the most compelling reason to do sissy squats is for the way they make you look and feel. They can give your legs a lifted and toned appearance when done correctly.

And because they require you to use your bodyweight as resistance, they're also incredibly empowering. In other words, they can help you build confidence - something we could all use a little more of!

Who Should Do the Sissy Squat?

You may have anticipated "anyone" for an answer, but I can't give you that with a sissy squat. While most bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts can do it right away, some of us might want to be careful with this one:

Firstly, it can be tough on your knees if you have any pre-existing knee problems.

Additionally, the deep lunge position can be difficult to maintain if you have tight hips or hamstrings. If either of these conditions sounds like you, then the sissy squat might not be the best exercise for you.

Finally, do not attempt sissy squats if you have chronic backaches, especially herniated discs. Sissy squats put lots of pressure on your back; if you have disc issues, you might want to avoid them altogether.

So, who should do the sissy squat? If you're looking for a challenging lower body exercise to help you build strength and improve flexibility, give it a try. However, if you have knee or hip issues, you might want to steer clear of this move.


1. Do sissy squats work?

Sissy squats engage the quadriceps, hip flexors, and core muscles while also enhancing balance. You may maintain a proper posture and lean back securely without fear of falling over or changing your posture when you use a sissy squat machine.

2. Can a beginner do sissy squats?

Sissy squats are a great way to make your strength routine more challenging, and they're worth it. They require balance and focus, so they may not be ideal for beginners. When you do a sissy squat, you isolate your quadricep muscles as well as strengthen your hip muscles, knees, and core.

3. Do you have to lean back to sissy squat?

When performing Sissy Squats, it's typical to feel the desire to unlock your hips, as this is how all other squats are done. The hips must be locked (hip flexors extended) in the Sissy Squat for the weight of your legs to be balanced by the upper body leaning back.

4. Why do sissy squats hurt my knees?

Knee pain while doing sissy squats is usually due to weakness in one or more of the four quadricep muscles (rectus femoris or vastus lateralis/medialis/intermedius). In truth, the sissy squat is a safe exercise for most people, but it's an advanced move requiring strong and structurally balanced legs.


So there you have it, friends—a quick overview of the sissy squat exercise. Give it a try next leg day and see how it goes. I'm confident that you'll be impressed with the results.

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Luna Morin

Luna is a freelance writer, passionate about bringing a positive change in people’s lives by producing well-researched content related to health and fitness. She makes sure that her content is relatable to her audience by exploring the latest trends in fitness.

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