pop squat exercise

Pop Squat Exercise: How to (Video), Muscles Worked & More

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About two years ago, a friend shared with me about the deck squat. One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I got myself into the squat rabbit hole. One squat variation that really had me working hard and toning my glutes was the pop squat exercise.

Pop squats are a squat variation that come with a ton of benefits and can be done anywhere and by anyone in any fitness level. Another plus is that this exercise does not require equipment because you only need to use your body weight for balancing.

Ready to learn more about pop squats? Here is my experience.

What Is the Pop Squat?

A pop squat is a variation of the traditional squat that mainly works the glutes.

Less than a decade ago, I got the job of my dreams. It was a demanding job and the biggest challenge at the time was setting aside time to work out.

Yes, I’d on occasions get a chance to use my treadmill and do my steps, but it was not enough to tone my body. One of the areas that took a hit was my butt. It became saggy and unattractive.

So, I looked for simple exercises I could do when traveling for business or at home that would work the glute muscles. I came across squat variations, that’s when I learned about frog and pop squats, which are designed to isolate glute muscles and strengthen them.

So how do you perform a pop squat?

Step-by-Step: How to Do a Pop Squat

When doing this exercise, remember to maintain proper form to avoid straining. Wear clothes that will not restrain your movement since a pop squat involves a lot of motion.

Step Exercise/Activity
#1 Start in a standing position, with your back aligned with your neck. Widen your stance, wider than shoulder width. Rest your hands around your waist.
#2 Go down into a deep squat position. Start by pushing your hips back until you ‘sit’ on your calves.
#3 Push your body back up with enough force to jump high. As your feet are in the air, put them together so you land on your toes with your feet together.
 #4 Immediately as you land on your toes, push yourself up again, into a jump and then go back to the initial squat position.

How many times should you do the pop squat? For beginners, we recommend 1 set of 1 – 15 reps (repetitions). Once you are familiar with the moves, you can amp your workout to at least 3 sets of 15 – 20 reps.


Pop squats are easy, and they engage the lower body muscles. If you’re a beginner, you may find this exercise challenging at first, but with time, you’ll enjoy how fast you can move. Best of all, you’ll love the feel and look of your lower body.

Speaking of lower body, let’s see which muscles are worked by pop squats.

Pop Squats Muscles Worked

Main muscles


The quads, which are made up of four muscles, are located at the front of the upper leg. These muscles are responsible for running, walking, and jogging.


The glute or butt is made up of three big muscles. Unfortunately, unless you isolate and work these muscles, they lag behind other muscles.

The good news is that the traditional squat and its variations can isolate butt muscles and will give you the toned behind that you want.


These are the muscles on the upper back of your legs. Like quads, they are responsible for movement. We recommend you also add another variation to your routine to further work these muscles.

Secondary muscles worked


Pop squat exercises have carry over benefits to the calves. When you jump up and go back to the squatting position, you’ll also be working on your calves.

If you’d like to work your calves more, try the plié squat exercise with a barbell. Speaking of variations, here are a few pop squat variations for a more intense workout.

Pop Squat Variations

Just like other squat variations, the pop squat exercise also has several variations that help you work more muscles together. Squats are like that famous Russian doll, the gift that keeps giving.

1. Pop squat twist

Pop squat twists engage more muscles than the basic variations. This exercise also recruits oblique muscles and the lower body. Here is how to do this variation:

Step Exercise/Activity
#1 Start in a standing position, and then widen your stance.
#2 Lower your body into squat position.
#3 Push your body up and jump.
 #4 As you jump, twist your body to the left.
 #5 Make sure to land on your toes before jumping back up, and this time twist your body to the right.

For beginners, start with 1 set with 12 – 15 reps. Then progress to 3 sets.

2. Pop squat with toe touch

Another great variation to add to your leg day is the pop squat with toe touch variation. Do at least 3 sets.

Step Exercise/Activity
#1 Start with the proper pop squat form. Back aligned, feet apart, then squat.
#2 Push your body up and jump.
#3 Land on your toes then squat as you move your left hand and touch your right toes.
 #4 Jump back again and using your right hand touch your left toes when you squat.

3. Pop squat with 180 degrees turn

Our last pick is the pop squat with 180 degrees turn. This variation is the toughest one, and we recommend that you only do it when you’ve mastered the basic movements.

Step Exercise/Activity
#1 Start with the stance described above: steps #1 – #3
#2 Just like the basic variation, push yourself and jump, but while you are in the air, turn 180 degrees and land on the other side.
#3 When you land on the other side, make sure you land on a squatting position.
 #4 Start with one set then gradually increase to 4 sets.

Pop Squat Exercise Benefits

1. Burns calories: Squats burn calories, that’s a given. What you may not know is that doing a combination of several variations will let you burn more calories than the standard squat.

2. Works muscles: I love compound exercise. These are exercises that work different muscle groups at once. When doing pop squats you’ll be targeting your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves.

3. Helps with balance: The pop squat and its variations will strengthen your core making you more stable. This allows you to engage in weightlifting exercises safely.

4. Pop squats can be done anywhere and do not need equipment.