The frog squat is a fantastic functional exercise to help strengthen and tone the quads and glutes. It requires no equipment, little space and is beginner friendly.
Frog squats focus on a “pulsing” movement to raise and lower your glutes from a deep squatting position. Not only does this develop functional strength in the lower body, but it also helps improve hip mobility and range of motion.
When following correct form, the exercise is a hinge movement from the knees. The knees should act as a lever and the glutes should raise up and down.
It can be used as part of a warm-up, a stretching routine, or as a stand-alone exercise during a workout.
How to Perform Frog Squat Pulses
To do the frog squat exercise;
- Stand in an upright position, with your knees slightly bend and your feet shoulder width apart.
- Lower yourself into a deep squat, with your hands adopting a praying pose in front of you.
- Tensing your quads and glutes, raise your glutes up, keeping your back straight. Keep your knees bent so you don’t raise your whole body up. Your back should be parallel to the floor.
- Lower yourself back into the deep squat position.
- Repeat for repetitions.
Tip – Keep your back straight at all times and avoid curling your back as you raise your glutes.
Frog Squat Muscles Worked
Primary – Quads and Glutes
The quadriceps are primarily used for pushing motions, such as running, jumping, squatting, etc. They are also used to help stabilize the knee joint during various movements.
A stronger quadriceps muscle will help you do more activities without pain. It will also help you prevent some knee injuries.
If your quadriceps muscle is weak, it could lead to a number of knee injuries, such as patellar tendinitis, patellar tendonitis, or even patellofemoral syndrome.
The gluteal muscle group is made up of three muscles: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus, which are all responsible for powerful hip extension, abduction, and external rotation of the hip. The glutes are the largest muscle group in the human body and are essential for upright posture and movement.
With the glutes out of alignment, the body is put out of alignment, which can lead to a variety of injuries. The glutes are also a major player in the core, support, and stabilization of the body.
When the glutes are weak, the hips are unstable, which can cause the low back to become unstable as well. This can lead to a variety of injuries.
Secondary – Hamstrings, Calves, Core and Hip Flexors
The hamstrings are the group of muscles at the back of your thighs; the powerful muscles that help you bend your legs and straighten them back out.
Strong, flexible hamstrings are essential for your overall health and fitness, as they help improve your posture, balance, and lower-body strength and performance.
Strong hamstrings help you run faster and with better form, and they’re important for any lower-body exercise, from squats to deadlifts to box jumps.
The hamstrings are responsible for bending your knees and straightening them, and they’re also responsible for keeping your knees stable and in alignment, preventing ACL tears and other knee injuries.
The hamstrings are also important for keeping your hips and lower back strong and stable, which is why injuries in the lower back and hips are often caused by weak hamstrings.
A strong calf muscle is the foundation of all functional movement. If your calf muscles are weak, you will not be able to perform the common functions of daily life. The calf muscle is a major muscle group that creates the propulsion of the body.
The calf muscles also assist with the balance of the body and its ability to withstand the force of gravity. The calf muscles are also used when the body is standing and walking.
Strong core muscles help support your spine and protect you from injury. A strong core also helps you perform daily activities with ease, including bending, lifting, and twisting. Your core muscles are an essential part of your body. They work with your arms and legs to help you do just about everything. Your core muscles are the muscles of your abdomen, lower back, and pelvis.
Toned abs also bring with them aesthetic benefits too.
Tight hip flexors can result in back pain, lower back pain, upper leg pain, knee pain, and even hip pain.
Though the hip flexors are crucial to our everyday movement, they are often overlooked. As a result, we end up with tight, overworked hip flexors that lead to pain, making it hard to move.
The best way to avoid this problem is to maintain flexibility in your hip flexors.
Frog Squat Benefits
Frog squats help develop functional lower body strength in the quads and glutes. This helps create strong and toned legs to support everyday movements or athletic performance. It is a very effective exercise for toning the glutes and lower body, which is why it has become a popular exercise for aesthetic reasons, as well as the health benefits.
The movement also tests hip mobility and helps improve your hip range of motion. This encourages better lower body movement and can help address muscular imbalances in the legs that can often stem from a lack of flexibility in the hips.
Frog squats also engage the core muscles to create stability during the hinging movement, which helps develop stronger, toned abs.
The movement is also very versatile in terms of how you can use it within your fitness routine. By repeating frog squats for sets, it can turn into an effective lower body HIIT workout. Or if done slowly after a tough workout, it can be a great way to stretch out your hips and legs.
Weighted Frog Squats (Dumbbells, Kettlebells and Bands)
For progression, you could look to add additional weight to the movement.
Holding a single dumbbell or kettlebell during the movement will increase the difficulty. Follow the same steps but hold the weight with both hands during the exercise (as you would during a goblet squat).
This will increase the weight your quads and glutes have to move, forcing them to work harder (which will lead to increased muscle development). It will also engage your arms, shoulders and back, as you hold the weight still during the frog squats.
Another option could be a weighted vest. This would allow you to follow the same steps as a regular frog squat but as you’d be wearing a weighted vest, your quads and glutes will need to work harder.
The final way to modify the frog squat would be to use a resistance band around your thighs during the exercise. This will create additional resistance and help deliver a more intense conditioning workout.
Frog Squats Variations
If the pulsing movement of the frog squat is proving too difficult, perhaps due to weak knees, a variation would be Asian squats. Asian squats are basically deep squats where you hold the squatting position. This helps stretch out the hips and requires your quads and glutes to be engaged to get yourself in and out of the squat.
Another variation would be to add a jump into the movement, creating more of cardio exercise. After each pulse (or a specified number of pulses), you could jump forward whilst maintaining the squatting position.