Surprising Exercises That Are Better Than Squats

With so much going on these days, finding the motivation to do squats is minimal at best. The motion of putting one foot in front of the other, bending our knees until we've reached a ninety degree angle, only to shoot up and repeat can be painfully boring and repetitive. Lucky, there are other ways to make sure our legs and backsides stay in tip top shape. Here are some surprising moves that can make us say goodbye to, or at least a take Ross and Rachel style break from doing squats.

The first new exercise is far less intimidating than it sounds. Say hello to deadlifts. Start by standing with your feet together and bend your knees slightly. Begin to bend forward at the hips and slowly continue keeping your hands close to the waist and pushing the hips backwards. After feeling the burn in your hamstrings slowly extend back up to a standing neutral position. Kelly Vargo, a certified strength and conditioning specialist in Washington, D.C., recommends a traditional deadlift saying, "this exercise is a home run for the posterior chain as it recruits the core, hamstring, and glute muscles" (via The Healthy).

Adding weights and giving the knees a break

To add a little challenge to the deadlift, try adding weights. Using weights with your backside workouts allows you to increase your workouts intensity and after a while, can help you gain strength and build more muscle (per SELF). Personal trainer Henry Halse explains, "the deadlift involves your hips more because you're lifting the weight off the ground and standing up with it. The biggest hip muscles are your glutes" (via The Healthy). If you want to try the deadlift with extra weight, try holding a dumbbell (with the weight of your choice) with both hands as you bend forward.

If you're hoping to give your knees a break, the glute bridge is ideal. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Keep your hands and arms at your side, squeeze your glutes and abs, and push up with your heels to lift your hips up off the floor until your body forms a straight line. Hold the position for a few seconds before bringing your back down to the floor and repeating the movement (via The Healthy). 

Courtney Paul, founder of CPXperience training, believes strong glutes are your body's powerhouse. He explains, "the muscles that make up your butt are the largest in your body, so strengthening them can have the biggest positive effect on your calorie-burning potential" (via Shape). So whether these new routines sound worthwhile, or you want to stick with good old-fashioned squats, bravo for making yourself stronger!