What Are Sissy Squats? (SHOULD YOU DO THEM?)

The sissy squat (sometimes referred to as the Matrix Squat) is a compound leg exercise that primarily works the quadriceps muscles. Sissy squats

The sissy squat can be performed with bodyweight, or with added weight for increased resistance.

Sissy Squat Benches are a type of squat station that has a platform on which you stand, with a vertical pad for your calves to rest against and a bar that secures your feet in place.

They allow for supported squats, so you can push all of your weight back without losing your posture.

Why Is It Called A Sissy Squat?

The sissy squat moniker is a reference to King Sisyphus of Greek legend, who was sentenced to push a boulder up a hill for eternity.

He was the king of Ephyra (now known as Corinth) who was punished in the underworld for his scheming.

As his punishment, Sisyphus was tasked with rolling a large boulder up a hill, only to have it roll back down again each time he reached the top.

In other words, he was stuck in an eternal loop of futility and failure.

The sissy squat exercise can feel similarly futile at first, as your quads burn and your legs shake from the effort. But like Sisyphus, if you keep at it, you'll eventually reach the top (of your reps).

How Do You Do It?

To do a sissy squat, you need to:

  1. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and extend your arms out in front of you for balance.
  2. Slowly lower your body down as far as you can go, keeping your back straight and knees behind your toes.
  3. Once you have reached the bottom position, pause for a count of two before pushing back up to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Sissy squats are a great exercise for building strength and muscle mass in the legs, but they are also beneficial for improving balance and flexibility.

If you want to add sissy squats to your workout routine, be sure to start slowly and increase the reps and weight gradually to avoid injury.

The sissy squat's major benefit is that you can lean back with confidence since the bench grips your calves and ankles. This implies you're safe, and you can actually push your weight back while squatting.

Not only that, but instead of just performing a basic squat, you may actually get all the way down into a sit-up position.

When you return to standing, you force your quads and core to support your entire body weight, making it a truly taxing exercise on your anterior chain.

This exercise is great for so many reasons:

  • it works your quads, hams, and glutes all at once;
  • They help you to build up your hip flexors
  • They Work You Core
  • It's a perfect full-body move to include in any workout;
  • And it can be done with or without weight.

If you're looking for an exercise to take your legs day to the next level, look no further than the sissy squat!

Are There Squat Alternatives?

Yes, there are a few squat alternatives that target the same muscles:

  • Bulgarian Split Squat.
  • Forward Lunge.
  • Single-Legged Box Squat.
  • Single-Legged Leg Press.
  • Skater Squat.
  • Split Squat.
  • Step Up.
  • TRX-Assisted Pistol Squat.

Can you do this with a resistance band?

Absolutely! Resistance bands are a great way to add extra resistance to your sissy squats.

For example, you can place a band around your knees or ankles to make the exercise more challenging.

You can also hold on to the ends of the band and pull on it as you squat down, using the resistance to help you push back up to the starting position.

Can you do this with a cable machine?

Yes, you can do sissy squats with a cable machine.

To do this, simply attach a rope or handle to the low pulley of a cable machine and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Then, squat down and hold on to the rope or handle with both hands as you lower your body down.

Once you reach the bottom position, pause for a count of two before pushing back up to the starting position.

Problems With The Sissy Squat

Pressure on your knees

You are putting a lot of pressure on your knees when you do sissy squats. If you have any knee problems, this exercise is probably not for you.

Pressure on your ankles

In addition, because of the position of your feet during the exercise (pointing out to the sides), you are also putting a lot of pressure on your ankles. So if you have any ankle problems, this exercise is also not for you.


Sissy squats are also not a very functional exercise. That is, they don't mimic any real-life movements that you would do on a daily basis.

So if your goal is to improve your overall fitness and functionality, there are better exercises out there for you.


Are sissy squats good for you?

Yes, sissy squats are a great compound exercise for building strength and muscle mass in the legs. They are also beneficial for improving balance and flexibility.

How many sissy squats should I do?

Start with 10 repetitions and increase the number of reps as you become more comfortable with the exercise. You can also add weight to the sissy squat to make it more challenging.

Is sissy squat difficult?

Yes, sissy squats are a challenging exercise, but they are also very effective for building strength and muscle mass in the legs. Be sure to start slowly and increase the reps and weight gradually to avoid injury.

Why are sissy squats so hard?

They work your quadriceps hardest in their lengthened position, which is typically when they're weakest. This can make the move challenging for some people. However, with practice, you'll get stronger and be able to do more sissy squats.

Is sissy squat better than leg extension?

Yes, the sissy squat is a leg extension in which the hips are extended. However, the standing leg extension is preferable for several reasons. The standing leg extension is lighter to operate, so it's simpler to make the exercise easier or more difficult.

You may also develop your sissy squat exercises by gripping a Dumbbell or a Weight Plate. This will make them even more difficult in order to continue strengthening and gaining muscle.

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