A sissy squat is a common exercise for those who perform CrossFit regularly. You may already know how to perform a sissy squat and, if so, you’ve probably experienced a lot of the benefits.
However, you need a very specific piece of equipment, a sissy squat bench, to do this workout. This means that it’s not always easy or possible to doing this exercise at home or while on the go.
Fortunately, there are a few sissy squat alternatives you can perform to work the same muscles as the traditional sissy squat, including:
- The Tiptoe Squat
- Smith Machine Sissy Squat
- The Bulgarian Split Squat
- The Workout Band Sissy Squat
- Wall Squats With an Overhead Barbell
- Leg Extension Machine Variation
Now, let’s take a closer look at what makes a good CrossFit sissy squat alternative.
What Makes a Good CrossFit Sissy Squat Alternative?
First, if you’re looking for a good CrossFit sissy squat alternative, there are a few factors to consider.
- A good sissy squat alternative should be something you can perform while on the go without requiring a lot of advanced equipment.
- The substitute exercise should also target the quadriceps femoris, which is the main muscle group activated during a sissy squat.
- A good sissy squat alternative should also target the core, as this should activate and stabilize the trunk during the exercise.
With these factors in mind, it is time to take a closer look at each of the top alternatives to Sissy squats.
The Best Sissy Squat Alternatives
A Tiptoe Squat
A tiptoe squat is similar to a traditional squat, but it takes place on your tiptoes, elevating your body off the ground slightly.
The exercise works the quadriceps and the calves, specifically the soleus and gastrocnemius muscles. It targets the hamstrings more than a traditional sissy squat, but it still targets the quadriceps muscles, just like the sissy squat does.
There are several steps involved in doing this exercise.
- First, you need to stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Then, elevate your heels off the ground slightly by standing on the balls of your feet.
- In this position, assume a squatting position.
- Lower your body until your thighs are parallel with the ground.
- During this motion, your heels should remain off the ground to work your calf muscles more.
- Then, once you reach the parallel position, elevate yourself back to the starting point.
If you would like to make this exercise harder, you may want to hold a medicine ball during the workout. And you can gradually increase the weight of the medicine ball to place more weight on your muscles.
This is a great exercise to perform at home or while traveling because you do not need any extra equipment to perform this exercise. It’s simple and effective.
Our next alternative requires the use of a machine. But it’s something you’ll find in many gyms, or perhaps you already have one in your home gym . .
The Smith Machine Sissy Squat
The Smith machine sissy squat works the same muscles as the traditional sissy squat, including your quads and glutes.
Again, this is a great exercise to perform if you have access to a Smith machine, but not a traditional sissy squat bench.
There are several steps involved in this sissy squat variation.
- First, place the barbell pad on the Smith machine.
- Then, place the bar in the middle of your calves.
- Grab a few weights if you need some extra height to reach this level.
- After this, bend your knees until they are at a 90-degree angle.
- Hold this position for a few seconds, and then return to the starting position.
- You can repeat this exercise between eight and 12 times, depending on your strength and endurance levels.
If you would like to make this exercise even more challenging, there are a few changes you can make.
First, you may want to lean backward while performing the exercise to place more stress directly on top of your quadriceps.
This is ideal if you want to activate the quadriceps femoris.
You can also hold onto a weight as you perform the exercise for some extra stress.
You can also take a look at a video of this exercise here:
The Bulgarian Split Squat
The next variation you may want to consider is called the Bulgarian split squat. This is an exercise that will work your quadriceps and your glutes, similar to a traditional sissy squat.
This exercise also works your hamstrings, Soleus, gastrocnemius, and adductor magnus.
All you really need to perform this exercise is a bench, but it may help if you have something to grab onto with your hand (like a power rack) so you can stabilize yourself during the exercise.
- To perform this exercise, start with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Stand with your calves directly facing the bench behind you. You can also perform this exercise using a chair.
- Next, pick one leg off the ground and bend it back so it’s pointing at the chair or bench.
- Rest the top of your foot on the chair or the bench behind you.
- Then, with your remaining foot constantly in contact with the ground, then down until your other leg is at a 90-degree angle.
- Return to the starting position, and repeat the exercise with the other leg.
If you would like to make this exercise harder, there are a few changes you can make.
First, you don’t necessarily have to grab onto something else to stabilize yourself.
If you decide to release your hand, you will have to tighten your core to stay steady, making this a more challenging exercise.
You can also use your arms to hold a weight in your hand to place more stress on your legs.
This is also an exercise you can perform while traveling or on the go because you do not need a lot of equipment. You simply need a chair or a bench you can place behind your foot.
You can also take a look at a video of this exercise:
The Workout Band Sissy Squat
If you have access to a workout band, then you may want to try this variation of the sissy squat. You can perform this in a hotel room, at home, or even in an office. The only thing you need is a workout band and a pole to which you can attach the band.
This is an exercise that works your glutes and your quadriceps. If you don’t stabilize yourself with your hands, it will also work your core.
To complete this workout, there are several steps to follow.
- First, take your workout band and wrap it around the pole in front of you.
- After this, place each of your legs through the hole in the band one at a time.
- Make sure the band is resting around the height of your knees.
- Your feet should also be shoulder-width apart.
- After this, begin to walk backward away from the pole until you feel a bit of tension in the band itself.
- At this point, drop down into a squatting position until your legs are at a 90-degree angle.
- Hold this position for approximately one second, and return to the starting position.
If you would like to make this work out more challenging, there are a few other changes you can make.
For example, you may want to use a workout band that creates more tension and resistance against your legs.
You can also walk back a few extra steps from the pole to make the workout harder.
During the routine, try to keep your body upright, tightening your core from start to finish. This will maximize the benefit of every repetition.
You can also take a look at a video of this exercise:
Wall Squats With an Overhead Barbell
Another easy variation of a sissy squat that you may want to perform is an overhead barbell wall squat.
- First, raise the barbell over your head.
- Use a grip that’s relatively wide, and place the barbell against the wall in the front.
- Your feet should be approximately 2 ft back from the wall.
- Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart, and elevate the heels slightly.
- Your body should also lean forward slightly.
- Then, slowly descend by bending your hips and knees.
- This should be similar to the tiptoe squat, and the barbell should gradually roll down the wall while keeping the weight in contact with the wall.
- Then, bring the weight back up, contracting your quads for an amazing workout. During this entire motion, your heels should stay off the ground.
This is a good workout to perform while on the go because you do not need a lot of equipment. You can make the exercise harder by increasing the weight.
The Leg Extension Machine
If you are looking for an alternative to a sissy squat that does not require a squatting motion but still work the quadriceps muscles, then you might want to consider performing some leg extensions.
It does require a machine, but it is found in just about every gym, including hotel gyms.
- First, adjust the bar on the machine so it sits in the middle of your calves.
- Then, bend your knees until they reach a 90-degree angle.
- Return the machine to the starting position, and you should feel your quadriceps working during the activity.
You can repeat this motion until you have completed your preferred member of repetitions. You can make the exercise harder by increasing the weight on the machine.
It does require some equipment to perform this exercise, but a leg extension machine is often easier to find than a machine required to do a sissy squat.
Therefore, this can be an effective alternative that helps you work the same muscles without requiring access to an unusual machine.
Take Advantage of the Best Alternatives to Sissy Squats
These are just a few of the many exceptional alternatives to a traditional CrossFit sissy squat.
Remember that a good sissy squat alternative should work the same muscles and be easy to perform well on the go without a lot of equipment.
That way, you can activate the same muscles and keep yourself in shape even if you don’t have access to a sissy squat bench.