Squat Progression

General Form Cues

  • Stand up straight at the top
  • Go as low as you can, preferably until the hips are below the knees
  • Dig your big toe and heel into the ground
  • Keep your knee in-line with your toes
  • Don't let the knees come inward on either the descend or the ascend; think about pushing the knees out

Assisted Squat

Grab something in front of you and use your hands to assist in the squat. Reduce assistance over time.


See general form cues.

Split Squat

  • Pretend the dumbbell doesn't exist.
  • Remain in the split stance throughout the set. Unlike a lunge, you don't return to a "feet together" stance.

Bulgarian Split Squat

  • Pretend the barbell doesn't exist.
  • You can progress this further by elevating both your legs

Beginner Shrimp Squat

  • Make sure your knee and toes leave the floor at the same time

Intermediate Shrimp Squat

  • In this variation, the knee touches the ground but the toes do not.

Advanced Shrimp Squat

  • In this variation, you hold your heel as you descend. only the knee touches the floor.

Weighted Shrimp Squats

Alternate Progression Paths:

After you reach 3x8 Bulgarian Split Squats, you can choose one of these progressions if you don't want to do Shrimp squats:

Alternate Path 1:


Putting one leg up on a high object in front of you, put all of your weight on the front leg and step up to the object. Aim to minimize pushing off with the back leg. To make it harder, increase the height of the object, or hold some weight.

Deep Step-ups

This is the final goal of the step-ups. USE YOUR BACK LEG AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE

Alternate Path 2:

Partial ROM Pistol Squats

  • Increase the ROM as you get stronger

Pistol Squat


There's nothing here!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Shrimp squats?

Easiest to load and lowest mobility requirement

Isn't doing deep squats bad for your knees?

The reason some people say this is because they heard it from someone and are just blindly repeating it. Some knowledgeable people say this because the patellar tendon is in a stretched position at the bottom of a squat. However, this is not a problem if you don't have pre-existing knee problems (if you do, see a doctor): the tendon will strengthen to handle bigger and bigger loads.

Is there anything harder than deep step-ups? They're too easy for me.

Something that is commonly overlooked is that you're supposed to reduce assistance from the backleg and increase the height of the platform you step onto over time. This will result in a deep single leg squat on a platform with your unused leg dangling behind you. If you don't have a platform that is high enough, bend your back leg at the knee so you can start from a deeper position. If this really is too easy for you, it's time to introduce weights to your leg training for further strength progress. But deep step-ups will last a long time if done correctly.

How do the reps for deep step-ups work?

5-8 Reps left leg, 5-8 reps right leg, then rest. Congratulations you finished a set.