Also known as the Jefferson deadlift, or straddle deadlift; the Jefferson squat is a very effective alternative squat variation which targets the quads and glutes. The hamstrings, calves, and core also act as secondary movers to both stabilize the weight and perform the movement effectively.
This alternative squat exercise is not commonly seen in gyms but it’s very underrated since it can be a lot safer for your back. The reason being you’re holding the barbell closer to your center of mass, and the exercise is performed in a straight upward line rather than having to bend over away from your center.
In this Exercise
- Target Muscle Groups: Gluteus Maximus, Quadriceps (Rectus Femoris, Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Medialis)
- Type: Strength
- Mechanics: Compound
- Equipment: Barbell
- Difficulty: Beginner/Intermediate
- Begin by straddling the barbell with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and keep feet both feet pointed in the same direction.
- Now, grab the barbell with one hand in front of you, and one behind you.
- Make sure you’re back is straight and keep your core tight.
- Lift the barbell by pushing through your heels until your legs are straight while exhaling.
- Then squat back down until your legs are at a 90-degree angle while inhaling.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.
- Swap your hand placement putting one in front and one in back.
Variations & Tips
- You can also use a smith machine for the Jefferson squat to help maintain balance.
- Keep your back straight and core tight during the movement.
- Make sure the weight is equally distributed from front to back.
- The Jefferson squat is better for your lower back as you’re closer to your center of gravity.
- You can position your body perpendicular to the barbell and place one foot in front of the other as an alternative.