The frog squat provides lifters a great accessory movement to help improve form and strength on more traditional squats.
So what is the frog squat? The frog squat is a functional exercise that can help lifters gain more depth in their squat and build glute strength. It is done by getting into a deep squat then raising your glutes halfway up while keeping your torso parallel to the floor. It requires no equipment, very little space, and is beginner-friendly.
In this article, I will discuss the reasons behind doing the frog squat, how to do it, and the common mistakes people make when performing the frog squat.
What Is The Frog Squat?
The frog squat is a squat variation that uses a pulse movement to raise and lower the glutes from a deep squat position.
The movement develops functional strength in the lower body, particularly the glutes, which can carry over to barbell squats and deadlifts. It also improves hip mobility and works the core to improve stability and posture.
Muscles Used In The Frog Squat
The muscles used in the frog squat are:
The main emphasis in frog squats is the glutes. Your glutes are a unit of three muscles found on the back of your hip bones – the gluteus maximus, gluteus minimus, and gluteus medius. They mark the dividing line between your lower and upper body and support a stronger figure and posture.
You tighten the glutes during the upward (hip extension) movement, aided by the hip adductors. Along with the core, the glutes are also activated to maintain stability throughout the movement.
The quads are a group of large muscles at the front of the thighs that are responsible for pushing motions such as running, jumping, squatting. They also support the stabilization of the knee joint.
They’re activated in frog squats as you drop your hips below parallel, thus pushing your knees forward to gain extra range of motion. The lower you go in the frog squat, the more you will feel your quads begin to work.
The hamstring muscles can be found at the back of the thighs. They support the bending and straightening movements of the legs and keep the hips and lower back strong and stable during lower body movements.
They are activated during the frog squat and help to keep your knees aligned and stable as you lower into the squat position.
Strong core muscles help support the spine and protect athletes from injury. They can support better performance on daily activities and come with plenty of aesthetic benefits, too.
The core muscles assist with stability and balance during all phases of the frog squat. With no counterbalance, it can be difficult to maintain a straight path and correct form. The core muscles are called into action to keep everything aligned.
Wondering how different muscle groups are used in other variations of the squat? Check out Muscles Used in the Squat (Ultimate Guide).
7 Frog Squat Benefits
Let’s now discuss the benefits of the frog squat and why it’s a good exercise to include in your workout program.
The 7 main benefits of frog squats are:
- Builds glute strength
- Improves core strength and posture
- Improves mobility
- Adds variation
- Requires no equipment
1. Builds Glute Strength
Frog squats help develop functional lower body strength in the glutes, which play a crucial role in hip extension as you drive the hips up and forward.
This makes frog squats a great accessory movement for lifters who struggle with locking out the back squat due to weaknesses in the glutes. Stronger glutes will support lifting more weight as you drive up out of the squat.
Strengthening these muscles can also improve balance, reduce pain for lifters with injuries, and help improve your physique.
Check out other glute-focused exercise variations:
- Snatch Grip Deadlift: What Is It, How To, Benefits
- How To Leg Press Using Your Glutes: 6 Tips
- Block Deadlift: Technique, Benefits, How To Program
2. Improves Core Strength And Posture
The core is heavily involved in the frog squat to help stabilize the body as you drive the glutes upwards. As such, the frog squat can help build core strength to support stronger lower body power lifts and improve overall core stability.
This in turn can support improved posture and has functional benefits across your daily activities.
Looking for other core exercises that can help improve your powerlifting performance? Check out The 9 Best Ab Exercises For Powerlifters (Don’t Skip These).
The frog squat is one of the easiest exercises you can learn. Whether you’re a seasoned gym-goer with a wealth of training experience or a beginner just setting out on your lifting journey, you can reap the benefits of this easy-to-learn exercise.
Since your leg muscles are under constant tension during the frog squat, you will need some degree of leg strength. But this can be achieved through slight variations such as the full hip extension frog squat, which I describe below. It increases the range of motion and removes the tension at the top of the movement.
4. Improves Mobility
Frog squats stretch and stress your glutes and quads, keeping them under tension and overloading the weaker muscle fibers. This can lead to them tearing and rebuilding to gain more power, thus better withstanding future stress.
The tear up and rebuild of these muscles play a crucial role in increasing the mobility of the muscles. Better mobility supports an increased range of motion, allowing lifters to go deeper on an array of exercises such as barbell squats and supporting injury prevention as the muscle can travel further under stress.
Frog squats are very versatile in terms of how the exercise can be used within your routine.
By repeating frog squats for 3-5 sets, you can use them within an effective lower body program or HIIT workout. Alternatively, they can be done slowly after a tough workout turning into a great stretch for your hips and legs.
While I wouldn’t recommend doing frog squats as a permanent alternative to your traditional leg exercises, they can act as an accessory exercise to your lower body lifts.
6. Adds Variation
The frog squat can be a great way to add variety to your workouts and drive you through strength-building plateaus. It provides a new stimulus for the body to adapt to, creating a new challenge and testing your glutes and quads in a slightly different way.
Training the same exercises too often can lead to a plateau in your progress. This means you will struggle to add extra weight or reps to your movements, limiting the extra size and strength gains you can make.
Giving your muscles a new set of progressions to work through means they have to re-adapt. Thus, they will be challenged and you’ll start to see growth and improvement again.
What's more, adding new training exercises can help keep you motivated as the new challenges may be more enjoyable than doing the same exercises over and over.
7. Requires No Equipment
The frog squat is a bodyweight exercise, which means it can be done anywhere, anytime, without the need for specialist equipment or a gym.
It also takes up very little space. If you’re in a situation where you need to do a leg workout but space, time, and equipment are limited, the frog squat is a great exercise to include as part of your workout.
How To Do The Frog Squat
Now that you’ve seen the reasons why you might want to do a frog squat, let’s dive into how to do one properly.
If you’ve never done a frog squat before, you should use bodyweight only in the beginning. Once you feel comfortable with the exercise or it stops being challenging, you can add dumbbells or kettlebells.
Step 1: Set Your Stance
Standing tall, set your feet wider than shoulder-width apart.
Once in the stance, point your toes outwards at approximately 30 degrees. Push your hips back and bend at your knees, lowering your body into the bottom position of a full squat.
At this starting stage, the crease in your hips should be below your knees.
Tips: This stance varies from a sumo stance as the feet are turned out more. This is crucial to ensure the exercise hits the glutes more and activates other stabilizing muscles.
Step 2: Drive The Glutes Upwards
Pushing through your heels, begin to drive the glutes upwards, bringing the crease of the hip up above the knee. Keep the back straight and knees bent. Your back should finish parallel to the floor.
It’s crucial here not to extend too far up. By only bringing your hips up halfway, you're ensuring your muscles remain under constant tension, which supports the rebuilding of muscle fibers and increased strength.
Step 3: Return To The Starting Position
Slowly lower your glutes back into the starting position, maintaining tension on the lower body muscles and keeping your core engaged to stabilize yourself.
Your back should remain straight and finish at a 45-degree angle to the ground.
Once you’ve reached your starting stance, repeat the exercise for your desired number of reps.
Common Mistakes In The Frog Squat
There are a few mistakes you should watch out for when training the frog squat.
Much like any squat variation, it is important to keep a neutral spine during the frog squat.
As you raise the glutes, it can be tempting to arch the back, which can both limit the amount of muscle activation in the lower body and encourage poor form on barbell squats. Furthermore, it will limit the benefits gained from strengthening the glutes.
As you raise the glutes, be sure to engage your core and keep your back straight. If you feel like you're struggling, try using a mirror to watch and correct your form.
Full Extension Of The Knees
You should avoid fully extending the knees as you bring the glutes up from the starting position. This ensures the muscles are under tension for the maximum amount of time, encouraging increased mobility, strength, and hypertrophy.
The highest you should look to bring your hips is a maximum of halfway to standing.
Frog Squat Regressions and Progressions
While the frog squat is a simple exercise, there may be some who struggle with the pulsing movement or want to make it more challenging.
I’ve pulled together a few of my favorite frog squat variations to help keep your workout diverse and engaging.
Full Hip Extension Frog Squat
The full hip extension frog squat is a slightly easier variation of the standard frog squat that brings you back to a standing position rather than halfway up. It’s a more beginner-friendly version as the muscles aren’t under constant tension.
To perform, use the same wider than shoulder-width stance, turn your toes outwards, and lower into the squat. As you bring the glutes up, fully extend the hips and knees to standing.
Weighted Frog Squat
If you find the frog squat a bit too easy or need an additional challenge, you can try adding weight to the exercise.
You could hold a dumbbell or kettlebell with both hands, keeping it close to the chest as you perform the exercise. This increases the weight your quads and glutes have to move, which makes them work harder and increases muscle development. It also engages the arms, shoulders, and back as you keep the weight close to the chest.
A weighted vest is another option that keeps the load off your upper body, again forcing the quads and glutes to push more weight.
A final modification to increase the difficulty is to add a resistance band. This will create additional resistance to the movement and help deliver a more intense conditioning workout.
Frog Squat Variations
If the frog squat isn't for you, below are some additional exercises that have similar benefits.
Variation 1: Goblet Squat
The goblet squat uses the same wide stance found in the frog squat, with a weight held at the chest.
The movement pattern differs slightly with the lifter moving in a more traditional squat pattern, making it easier to learn and more transferable to traditional back squats. The goblet squat can also help improve core strength and posture.
Like in the frog squat, however, more emphasis is placed on the glutes during the goblet squat.
Variation 2: Cossack Squat
If your goal is to improve mobility, a variation of the frog squat you could try is the Cossack squat.
Although less simple to perform compared to the frog squat, the Cossack squat focuses heavily on the glute medius, building both strength and mobility in the muscle.
Added benefits include increased ankle mobility and variation on planes of motion as it takes lifters through a frontal plane rather than the usual sagittal plane found in back squats.
Who Should Do The Frog Squat?
The frog squat is an ideal exercise for anyone looking to increase glute engagement on their staple leg exercises. It builds glute strength and can support deeper and heavier back squats.
While it’s worth including in your training program, I wouldn’t recommend making it the only leg exercise you do. Conventional weighted squats, deadlifts, leg press, and other leg exercises should still have their place in your workout simply because they build the most muscle and strength.
However, as an accessory movement to improve these exercises, or even just to add some variation to the workout, frog squats have their place. They're versatile enough to be used as a warm-up, post-workout stretch, or as a standalone exercise.
Looking for other leg exercises you can do to improve lower body strength? Check out 20 Exercises To Improve Squat Strength (That Actually Work).
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions on the frog squat that I come across regularly.
What Are Frog Squats Good For?
Frog squats are good for building strength in the glutes, supporting stronger lower body lifts (squats, deadlift, leg press), and developing core strength and posture.
What Muscles Do Frog Squats Work?
Frog squats place emphasis primarily on the glutes, tightening them during the hip extension and engaging them as the lifter looks to maintain stability throughout the movement. Frog squats also work the quads, core, and hamstrings.
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The frog squat is a highly functional exercise that can support lifters looking to build glute strength or improve their squat. While I wouldn’t recommend it as a permanent alternative to back squats, its versatility, easy access, and mobility benefits make it a useful supplement to lifting programs.