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Only Real Men do Sissy Squat



VIP Strength Advisor
Sep 15, 2010
I first heard about the sissy squat in 1960. An article in Joe Weider's Muscle Power magazine described the technique and mentioned the bodybuilders who used it — guys like Steve Reeves, Doug Strohl, Reg Lewis, and Monty Wolford.

I tried it and gained an inch on each of my thighs in less than three weeks. Even today, with all the options we have in our gyms and all the information that we didn't have in my youth, I consider it one of the most productive exercises you can do for your quads.

Bullying the Sissy Squat

The sissy squat isolates your quads better than any other barbell or dumbbell exercise. It does this by eliminating most of the involvement of your glutes and hamstrings. When you do it right, your heels will be above your toes, and your body, angled backward instead of forward, will form a straight line from neck to knees throughout the movement. That reduces the posterior-chain muscles to a supporting role, making them work with the rest of your core muscles to keep your body in that straight line. All the action is in your knee joints.

Here's the basic version of the sissy squat, using your body's weight for resistance. On any version, you'll need a block or step that's about two to four inches high, sturdy enough to support your weight, and won't slip out from under you in the middle of a rep. You can also opt for a rail or post you can hold onto for balance with one hand while you're getting the hang of it.

Body weight only:

Set your heels shoulder-width apart on the edge of the block, with your toes on the floor and pointed straight ahead. Lean back until your body forms a straight line from neck to knees. Your knees will be bent slightly in the starting position. Place one or both hands on your hips, with one hand on a support for balance, if you prefer.

Lower your body backward as your knees bend. Descend as far as you can without losing your balance, then push back up to the starting position.

There's no need to straighten your knees at the top. Just do your reps smoothly within the best range of motion you can manage without losing the alignment of your torso and thighs.

You should feel a deep burn in your quadriceps after a few reps, but no pain in your knees. Do as many reps as you can with good form.

With free weights:

You can use resistance three different ways:

• with dumbbells

• with a barbell held in the same position as the dumbbells

• with a weight plate held across your chest

I think it's easiest to use dumbbells. Start light, holding them with straight arms behind your hips.


VIP Strength Advisor
Sep 15, 2010
you must do them or have done them cause they are tuff your right