How To Do Kneeling Squat Effectively

Kneeling squats

Are you looking to transform your lower body strength and overall fitness regimen? If so, diving into the world of kneeling squats may be the key to unlocking a host of benefits for your muscles and mobility. Picture this: a versatile exercise that not only hones in on your glutes and quads but also engages your core, hamstrings, and even upper body muscles for a full-body workout experience. 

Today, we’re delving into the fascinating realm of kneeling squats, exploring how this exercise can sculpt your physique, enhance your stability, and elevate your fitness journey to new heights. So, strap in as we unravel the wonders of kneeling squats and unveil why they deserve a prime spot in your workout routine.

Key Takeaways

  • Primary Muscles Targeted: Kneeling squats primarily target the glutes and quads, working them as the main muscle groups during the exercise.

  • Secondary Muscle Engagement: The hamstrings, lower back, and core act as secondary muscles in kneeling squats, providing stability and support throughout the movement.

  • Variety of Muscle Activation: By incorporating a barbell, kneeling squats can engage upper body muscles like shoulders, back, and arms for additional support and control.

  • Proper Form is Essential: To effectively perform kneeling squats, it’s crucial to focus on proper form and gradually increase intensity to challenge the muscles over time.

  • Benefits of Kneeling Squats: Kneeling squats offer benefits such as strengthening lower body muscles, enhancing core stability, improving balance and coordination, providing leg training variation, being accessible anywhere, aiding in hip mobility, and offering scalability in exercise.

What Muscles Does Kneeling Squat Work?

The kneeling squat focuses on glute strength and quads as the main muscle groups worked. The hamstrings, lower back, and core act as secondary muscles worked to provide stability and support during the exercise. If the kneeling squat alternatives is performed with a barbell, it can further engage the upper body with muscles worked such as the shoulders, back, and arms for additional support and control.

Glutes (Gluteal Muscles): The primary muscles targeted in kneeling squats are the gluteal muscles, including the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus. These muscles play a significant role in the proper hip extension to upright from squat position and, assisting in the movement of the hips when standing up from the kneeling squat position.

Quadriceps (Front Thigh Muscles): The quadriceps muscles, located on the front of the thigh, are also primary movers during kneeling squats. They work to extend the knee joint as you squat your knees and rise from the kneeling squat position.

Hamstrings (Posterior Thigh Muscles): While not the main focus, the hamstrings act as secondary muscles in kneeling squats to assist in knee flexion and hip flexion, and provide stability throughout the exercise.

Lower Back: The muscles of the lower back, including the erector spinae, help stabilize the spine and support the torso in proper posture during the kneeling position and squats.

Core: The core muscles, including the abdominals, obliques, and transverse abdominis, are engaged to maintain stability and protect the spine during the movement.

By incorporating kneeling squats into your workout routine with or without additional equipment like a barbell, you can effectively target these muscle groups to improve lower body strength, stability, and overall functional fitness.

How To Perform the Kneeling Squat Effectively?

For added comfort and support while performing traditional squats, it is advisable to place an exercise mat or yoga mat on the ground before lowering into the squat position. To perform a kneeling squat effectively performed a kneeling squat correctly, follow these steps:

  1. Start by kneeling on a soft surface with your knees hip-width apart and your toes pointed slightly outward.

  2. Engage your core muscles to stabilize your body.

  3. Slowly lower your body towards the ground by bending your knees and keeping your back straight.

  4. Aim to lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the ground or as far down as is comfortable for you.

  5. Push through your heels and return to the starting position by straightening your legs.

  6. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

It’s important to focus on proper form to prevent injury and maximize the effectiveness of the exercise. Remember to breathe steadily throughout the movement and listen to your body to avoid pushing yourself too far beyond your limits. Start with a few repetitions and gradually increase as you build strength and endurance.

Sets And Reps

When incorporating kneeling squats into your workout routine, the number of sets and reps can vary depending on your fitness goals, experience level, and overall workout structure. Here are some general guidelines you can consider:


Sets: 1-2 sets

Repetitions: 8-10 repetitions per set

For beginners, it’s important to focus on establishing proper form and building a foundation of strength. Starting with 1-2 sets of 8-10 repetitions allows you to practice the exercise correctly and gradually increase strength and endurance.


Sets: 3 sets

Repetitions: 15-20 repetitions per set

As you progress and your strength improves, you can advance to 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions. This higher volume helps to further challenge your muscles and promote muscular endurance.


Progressive Overload: Increase the number of sets and reps over time as you become stronger. Gradually work towards being able to perform 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions.

Adding Weight: Start with bodyweight to master the movement pattern and then gradually add light amounts of weight as needed to continue challenging your muscles.

It is crucial to pay attention to your body’s signals and modify the number of sets and repetitions according to your personal fitness level and objectives. Proper form is key to prevent injury and maximize the benefits of each exercise. If you feel comfortable with the current sets and reps, gradually increase the intensity to keep progressing in your fitness journey.

Benefits of Kneeling Squat

Kneeling squats offer several benefits for individuals looking to improve their lower body strength, stability, and overall fitness. Some of the key benefits of kneeling squats include:

Strengthens Lower Body Muscles

Kneeling squats target muscles such as the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves, helping to strengthen and tone these muscle groups. This can lead to improved power, endurance, and functional strength in daily activities and sports.

Enhances Core Stability

By engaging the core muscles during the kneeling position and squats to maintain proper posture and stability, this exercise can help strengthen the abdominals, obliques, and lower back muscles, leading to improved core strength and stability.

Improves Balance and Coordination

Kneeling squats require balance and coordination to perform the movement effectively. Regularly incorporating this exercise into your routine can help enhance these aspects of athletic performance, which are essential for overall functional fitness and injury prevention.

Assists in Hip Mobility

The movement of a kneeling position and squats can also help improve hip mobility and flexibility by working through a full range of motion. This can be beneficial for individuals looking to enhance their overall joint health and range of motion.

Scalable Exercise

Kneeling squats can be modified by adjusting the depth of the movement, adding resistance with a barbell or dumbbells, or incorporating variations like pulses, resistance bands or tempo changes. This scalability allows individuals to tailor the exercise to their fitness level and goals.

Overall, incorporating kneeling squats into your workout routine can offer a range of benefits for lower body strength, core stability, balance, and flexibility. As with any exercise, it’s essential to perform kneeling squats with proper form and technique to maximize the benefits and reduce the risk of injury.

Squat variations

Here are some other squat variations to the kneeling squat exercise

Front Squat

The front squat is a variation of the traditional squat where the barbell is positioned in front of the torso upright over the shoulders neutral head, challenging the quads, core, and upper back. This exercise helps improve lower body strength and stability while placing less stress on the lower back.

Sumo Squat

sumo squat kneeling squat variation

Sumo squats involve a wider stance with toes pointed outwards, targeting the knees, inner thighs, glutes, and quads. This variation helps activate different muscle groups in the lower body and can be beneficial for individuals looking to work on hip and knee mobility and add variety to their leg workouts.

Overhead Squat

The overhead squat is a challenging exercise to build lower body strength that requires good shoulder mobility and core stability. By holding a barbell or weight overhead while performing a full-depth squat, this exercise engages the entire body, including the lower body muscles, core, and shoulders.

These additional lower body exercises can help provide a well-rounded full body workout routine, that targets various muscle groups in the lower body from different angles. By incorporating a mix of these other exercises together, individuals can improve overall lower body strength, stability, and functional fitness. It’s important to choose exercises that align with your fitness goals and abilities while maintaining proper form to prevent injuries and maximize the benefits of each exercise.


In conclusion, kneeling squats are a versatile exercise that targets multiple muscle groups including the glutes, quads, hamstrings, lower back, and core. By performing this exercise with proper form and gradually increasing intensity, individuals can improve lower body strength, stability, and overall functional fitness. The inclusion of kneeling squats in a workout routine, whether with bodyweight or additional resistance, provides a range of benefits that contribute to enhanced physical performance and overall well-being. Additionally, incorporating other kneeling squat move variations like front squats, sumo squats, overhead squats, and barbell kneeling squat can further diversify lower body workouts and promote holistic muscle development.


Are kneeling squats better than squats?

Performing standing weighted squats with improper form can pose a serious risk of injury. A safer option is to do kneeling squats, which effectively strengthen the hips similar to traditional squats but with lower risk of harm.

Do kneeling squats work abs?

The core and abdominal muscles are engaged in all squatting exercises, including kneeling squats, as they play a significant role in stabilizing the body during the movement.

How many squats a day is sufficient?

In terms of how many squats to do in a day, the number depends on your individual goals. If you’re new to doing squats, aim for 1-2 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions per session. Practicing a few days a week is a great place to start.


Stephanie Zaban. (2022). Exercise Tutorial: Kneeling Squat. Available at: [Accessed 28 Mar 2024].

Garett Reid. (2023). Kneeling squat: How to, Muscles Worked, Benefits, & Alternatives. Available at: [Accessed 28 Mar 2024].

STEEL. (2022). How to do Kneeling squats (Form & Benefits). Available at: [Accessed 28 Mar 2024].

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