Everybody knows about the everyday basic squat. It’s quite honestly also been done in so many different variations. There are your regular basic squats, then you have your sumo squats, plie squats, squat kickbacks, frog squats, jump squats, and so many more – including the very well known sissy squats. Some of these exercises require zero equipment at all because they can all be done with your bodyweight alone. However, many fitness-minded people have gone on and invented so many different machines that can all assist with these workouts. Squat racks and squat machines do exist. And yes, there most definitely are some squat machine benefits.
If you’re trying to do sissy squats in order to get yourself the quads you’ve always dreamt of, then for sure a machine can help you with it. This is just one of the many squat machine benefits that you might enjoy.
What Are Sissy Squats?
The sissy squat is just one of the many different types and variations of squats practiced all over the world today. You can say thank you to Sisyphus (the Greek king from the ancient times) for the name of sissy squats. In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was the sly and rogue king from Corinth, a mythical city in Greece. As punishment, Zeus forced King Sisyphus to forever push a boulder up a side of a mountain. It wasn’t just a one-time thing – Sisyphus was forced to do this over and over, for the rest of eternity.
The fact that he’s had to do this over and over for the rest of forever must mean that it must have been quite a workout. Because of this, it can be easy to see why this variation of squats was named after him. Sisyphus must have built up incredibly strong quads. Huge, buff quads that many can only dream of attaining.
The fact is, these are the exact kind of quads that you’ll begin to achieve when you begin to regularly do sissy squats. The big, well-defined quads you’ve always wanted are now much easier to achieve with the help of this exercise. Sissy squat machine benefits do include amazing quads that would otherwise take much longer to achieve.
How Do Sissy Squats Work?
Sissy squats are by no means a new exercise. This variation of the squat has been around for a very long time. It is what many would call a rather “old school” type of exercise. It first became famous during the time of the body building’s golden era. And now, even after so many decades, this exercise remains – and for a good reason. The reason is simple: it’s because they work.
In contrast to the traditional squats done with a barbell, sissy squats actually isolate your quads. They do it rather effectively by eliminating the involvement of your glute muscles. As a result, the quads are forced to do much, if not all, of the work. This is the reason why many trainers will suggest doing sissy squats if you find the progress of your quads to be lagging behind the rest of your legs and glutes.
Sissy squats are often suggested as a way to help in balancing out your muscles on the posterior and anterior chain.
For those who are newer to sissy squats, or for those who have never done them before, starting with the basics is advised. Therefore if you’re only just beginning to do this exercise, it may be wise to start easy. Only when you are more experienced and well versed in the correct form should you move up to the more advanced exercises.
Different Kinds of Sissy Squats
There are three different variations of sissy squats, ranging from the most basic to the more complex. To learn more, see the instructions below.
The Basic Sissy Squat
In order to perform the basic variation of the sissy squat, you only need your own body weight. To do the squat, place your feet a shoulder-width apart. If you wish, you can choose to rest your heels on the edge of a block or a step that is 2 to 4 inches in height. Alternatively, you can simply use a 45 lb plate (weight plate for barbells) on the floor instead. It is important for you to elevate your heels in order to fully isolate your quads during your workout.
Start with your torso in an erect position while you hold onto something sturdy (such as a piece of equipment or furniture) with one hand. Brace your core, then breathe in as you bend your knees forward and tilt your torso backward.
As you do this, your body will start to form a straight line. The line will start from the top of your head to your knees. When you are in this straightened position, your body should be at an angle of 45 degrees in contrast to the floor. The burn should be felt through your quads at this point.
Complete the rep by pulling your knees inward and lifting your torso back into your starting position.
The Sissy Squat with Weights
Performing a weighted sissy squat can be risky to your joints and muscles if done wrong. This is exactly why beginners or those inexperienced with sissy squats should begin with the very basics in order to first perfect their form. Once the movement is mastered, only then should you progress into doing this exercise with weights.
Weighted sissy squats are in essence the same as basic sissy squats. The position and movement are exactly the same, with the addition of weights of course. Be sure to secure yourself properly and support your own weight well before beginning with reps. Lift and hold a weight plate or a dumbbell against your torso/chest with one arm then proceed with your repetitions.
Remember to choose a weight that you will not struggle to lift or hold onto. Also, be sure to use a weight you can grip more easily. One of the sissy squat machine benefits is the fact that it is a good way to make sure you have proper balance and support when doing weighted exercises.
The Gironda Sissy Squat (3-Way)
The sissy squat was further refined by a legend in the bodybuilding circuit. Vince Gironda was a legend in the bodybuilding scene – one of the greatest in fact. He added a 3rd step to this exercise in order to make it more effective.
Step One: Dropping the Knee
You can set up this movement the same way that you normally would set up the basic sissy squat. You simply put your heels above your toes and brace your core. Then starting in an erect position, bend your knees forward and tilt your torso backward.
Step Two: The Burlesque Bump
Next, you must ensure your balance. Take the time to reposition and rebalance yourself, then make sure you are properly supporting yourself with a hand holding onto something solid. Then, begin to drop down into a crouch while bringing your glutes as close to the heels as possible. As you rise up, perform what is called the “burlesque bump”. This step is simply thrusting your hips forward while you rise in order to achieve a 45-degree angle of your torso relative to the floor.
Step Three: Flush Out
Simply return yourself to starting position, with your torso completely erect.
Mind Your Knees
It’s important to note that sissy squats in general, although very effective at pumping up your quads, are rather rough on the knees. Significant amounts of stress is observed on the knees during the performance of this exercise. It is for this precise reason that it is necessary to take great care in order not to incur any injuries in your kneecaps or tendons.
What is the Sissy Squat Machine?
In essence, a sissy squat machine is a relatively small and compact piece of equipment to help you perform this exercise properly. It is often made of metal, with some padding attached. It has a bar to keep your feet flat on the ground. Then, your calves will rest against the padding as you begin your squats. There are a ton of different machines available out on the market today, and you basically have the pick of the lot. They aren’t all that necessary for everybody. However, if you intend to make sissy squats a permanent part of your routine, you can invest in one if you’d like.
Here are some of the benefits you can expect if you do purchase one for yourself.
- These machines offer great support to your knees and your calves. As a result, the risk of exercise-related injuries is reduced during your workout.
- One of the best machine benefits is the improved balance, which allows you to complete your reps in proper form. The need to also watch your own balance and support your own body is lessened. As a result, more focus can be given to actually performing the exercise.
- Because squat machines allow you to balance yourself with your feet and calves, your arms are completely free to move. It is for this reason that a machine is greatly useful when doing this exercise with weights.
- Most of these machines offer multi-purpose functions. They can also help you with core exercises such as sit-ups and crunches, among many other things.
Do You Need One?
Sissy squat machines can be useful if you truly intend to focus on growing your quads. It can even be argued that this machine is necessary in order to help avoid certain injuries. It can be used for both the basic sissy squat as well as the weighted sissy squat. However, the Girona variation may not be as easy to perform with its use. In the end, the decision on whether you should invest in one of these machines or not falls solely on your shoulders. Just remember that you must do your best to perform this exercise with proper form, so you can have strong, painless knees for many years to come.