Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredBodyweight
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePush
  • Experience LevelIntermediate
  • Secondary Muscles
    Calves, Glutes, Hamstrings
Target Muscle Group


Quads Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Sissy Squat Instructions

  1. The sissy squat is one of the best way to isolate the quads. Set up for the bodyweight sissy squat by standing with your feet shoulder width apart next to a smith machine or something you can hold onto for support.
  2. Stand with a slight bend in your knees. Put one arm across your chest and use to other to hold on to your support. 
  3. Begin by bending at the knees and lowering your body backward while raising your heels off the ground. You can use some type of block or support to keep your heels from touching the ground.
  4. Squat in this fashion as low as you can go while maintaining your balance.
  5. Push back up though the balls of your feet to the starting position.
  6. Repeat this movement for desired reps.

Exercise Tips:

  1. Form a straight line with your body (from your neck to your knees) by leaning back at the start of the exercise. Maintaining this line throughout the movement will isolate the quads very effectively. 
  2. Use a block or step that is 2 to 4 inches high to position your heels on while keeping your toes on the floor.
  3. Use dumbbells or a weight plate to make the exercise more challenging.
Posted on: Thu, 01/28/2016 - 13:23

I can only do about five of these per set (just starting the workout) is there anything else that I could do to supplement the other 15 per set or should I leave it at the 5 per set and work my way up? Thanks!

Posted on: Thu, 11/28/2019 - 12:09

I'm gonna guess the answer is NO since nobody responded in over 3 years.

Chris Allison
Posted on: Sat, 04/29/2023 - 15:28

Crickets and grasshoppers

Andre Larkins
Posted on: Wed, 09/03/2014 - 08:42

Great exercise when done right, no cheating when doing this correct .

Posted on: Thu, 08/15/2013 - 14:37

Wont it gonna create damage to knees, always told during squats never bend your knee beyond your toes... Couldn't get through this... with weights on its seems quite unsafe to me

Posted on: Sat, 12/22/2012 - 01:50

is there any replacement for this exercise ?

scott thompson
Posted on: Sun, 09/30/2012 - 15:01

if you take away any support under your feet and dont hold on to anything and thrust out your arms when you come back up what is described here is a hindu squat. i always thought you held a weight plate against your chest when you did this exercise

gilbert perry
Posted on: Thu, 09/06/2012 - 04:58

to the person that says it is joke vince girona was no joke

Posted on: Sat, 03/31/2012 - 18:33

I think this exercise is a joke, creative but a joke. It goes against everything that is taught when strengthening the quads. For example lunges, squats, and even a movement as simple as sitting in a chair.

Posted on: Fri, 05/31/2013 - 16:32

It's supposed to be a combination stretch and contraction exercise for the quads, and it's not a 'total joke'. I agree that there are MUCH better exercises as this is not only awkward to perform but can be BETTER duplicated by just doing leg extensions on a DECLINE bench and is much easier to learn.

Posted on: Sat, 04/29/2023 - 15:31

Superset it with hack squats. You’ll be humbled.

Posted on: Sun, 03/18/2012 - 15:20

I tried this exercise and I feel it isolates the quads better then any machine
you can think of or mention. You have to work at it a little bit, so that you don't lose your balance. When body weight isn't enough any more, start with a light weight dumbell for added stress. Works fantastic!!!

Posted on: Mon, 02/08/2016 - 17:09

The great Tom Platz done the sissy squat . Look at how big his legs got. No one comes near the guy to this day.