Hey Guys and Gals!

Gyms are opening again in my area! I hope yours is the same! With that being said I have a few items that I have on my radar for when gyms open up on the 16th that I want to add to my gym bag and I wanted to share them with you!

  1. PINK ankle weights!

2. Digital Jump Rope

3. Stretch Strap

4. Vibrating Massage Ball

5. Spin Bike

The first four items are for the gym bag and I wanted to include the last item on my wish list for home because time spots are limited for gyms in my area. 10 people per slot. So to maximize time in the gym having a few options for at home cardio may be great during this time. I use to have a spin bike before I moved to my new house however now I just have a treadmill and my next cardio at home will be another spin bike because I love the bike it is such a great workout! You dont need a peloton (they are expensive) you can just get a good quality at home bike and download a spin app or look up a good class on YouTube to follow if you dont want to control the ride yourself!

Anyway I hope you like the ideas for the gym! And Im so happy we survived another lockdown!

Stay happy and healthy and remember if you need training, diet and supplement advice I am taking on 1 on 1 clients now!


5 Reasons Why More and More People Are Saying ‘No Way’ to Valentine’s Day

Whether you’re in a couple or rolling solo, Valentine’s Day comes with expectation and pressure. With #CoupleGoals as a consistently trending hashtag, countless pictures of couples on social media, the obsession of celebrity break ups and make ups and TV shows like the Bachelor and Bachelorette serving up contrived romance sprinkled with drama, the way we think of love and romance has changed. Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a New York Board Certified Neuropsychologist explains why so many people say ‘no way’ to Valentine’s Day and offers some alternatives that shift this negative mindset.


  1. “Valentine’s Day is a ‘Hallmark Holiday’ and I’m still broke from Christmas.”

When money is tight many people may want to cut back on spending especially for things they feel are frivolous. “Financial stress is a common thing and when people are made to feel pressured to spend, they get resentful and want to claim their power,” explains Dr. Hafeez. Instead of boycotting all romance, put a $20 maximum on gifts and you’ll see how sweet, thoughtful and creative you can get.


  1. “Every restaurant is crowded and the service is terrible.”

Nothing kills romance faster than crowds and a bad experience dining out. Since everyone goes out to eat on Valentine’s Day there will be a lapse in service. “One way for couples to celebrate is to call their favorite restaurant in advance and have a meal prepared they can pick up and heat up at home,” suggests Dr. Hafeez. “You can either break out the fancy dishes and dress up or you can put on sweats and eat while watching a movie, the important thing is that you enjoy yourselves and aren’t stressed,” she adds.


  1. “We’ve been together for ages. Every day is Valentine’s Day! Do we really need to celebrate?”

“Celebrations and traditions are important in a relationship and when they fall away it’s usually a sign of trouble and disconnection. While you may not feel the need to do anything extravagant use the day to appreciate the love you have and life you’ve created, even if it’s in a small way,” Hafeez advises.


  1. “I’m single so what’s the point?”

Rolling solo on Valentine’s Day again, all the more reason to turn it into a Self Love Day. Being single on Valentine’s Day can be tough for people, especially those still healing from a break up or divorce. “You want to really be kind and caring to yourself. Booking a massage, getting a haircut, or arranging a single ladies night with your single friends could be just what’s needed. Focus on creating your own happiness,” says Dr. Hafeez who often sees a link between break up depression and anxiety over holidays.


  1. “I’m just to busy for love and romance and all that stuff.”

Some people are just focused on other things that are top priority in their lives. There are plenty of women who are turned on more by generating income for their businesses than concerning themselves with outside approval or validation. There has been a rise in female entrepreneurship with more millenials and Gen X’ers preferring to build empires than romantic relationships. For them it’s just February 14th the mid way point to a short month. “There’s nothing wrong with women wanting to focus on their professional lives. They often feel to focus on business, romance, which may cause them to lose focus, has to be shelved for a while, this is more common these days,” Dr. Hafeez shares.


While many say ‘no way’ to Valentine’s Day there are millions saying I DO.

According to a 2017 survey of 1000 people done by James Allen, an online diamond and bridal jewelry retailer, 43 percent of millennials say Valentines Day is their top pick for proposal day. November – February is considered proposal season.


Some other mind-blowing stats that clearly show Cupid isn’t going away anytime soon are.


In 2017, the National Retail Federation put the estimated total spending at over $18.2 billion. That's an average of $136.57 per person.


Jewelry is the most popular gift with 20 percent of consumers expected to buy jewelry, with a total of $4.3 billion on bling, the NRF said.


$2 billion will be spent on flowers, with roses being most popular. 250 million roses are produced for the holiday, the Society of American Florists said.


The American Greeting Card Association puts that industries pay out at 1 BILLION… yes folks $1 … for paper.


About Dr. Sanam Hafeez:


Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD is a NYC based licensed clinical neuropsychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C. a neuropsychological, developmental and educational center in Manhattan and Queens. 


Dr. Hafeez masterfully applies her years of experience connecting psychological implications to address some of today’s common issues such as body image, social media addiction, relationships, workplace stress, parenting and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc…). In addition, Dr. Hafeez works with individuals who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, attention and memory problems, and abuse. Dr. Hafeez often shares her credible expertise to various news outlets in New York City and frequently appears on CNN and Dr.Oz.


Connect with her via twitter @comprehendMind or www.comprehendthemind.


You are officially the first to hear about my new 8 week Challenge!

What better way to start off the New Year then with a new routine on the way to a new you!

Who is this program for? Non competition prep clients that are looking for a lifestyle change, new routine and an individualized program that they can do on their own, any time, any where.

What do you get? 2-Week training Split that will be updated every 2 weeks when you check in with me via email, weekly calendar overview of program, designated sets & reps for each exercise, individualized nutrition plan, individualized cardio, and access to the Train It Right private client Facebook page.

To sign up simply email me at: alicia@trainitright.com with Subject line: 8 week challenge

Did you know that it's Women's History Month in some parts of the world? In celebration of International Women's Day on March 8th, we at Train It Right thought it would be a  great idea to continue the celebration of women with an amazing, adrenal pumping, inspiring and celebratory workout playlist!!! Do yourself a favor and create a playlist on your favorite music subscription service (spotify, apple music, tidal, etc) with these songs and get your sweat on!!!

Diana Ross - I'm Coming Out
Beyonce - Run The World (Girls)
Lady Gaga - Born This Way
Jennifer Lopez - Let's Get Loud
Christina Aguilera - Fighter
Katy Perry - Roar
Chaka Kahn - I'm Every Woman
Madonna - Express Yourself
Destiny's Child - Independent Women, Pt 1
Adele - Rolling In The Deep
Shania Twain - Man! I Feel Like A Woman!
Aretha Franklin - Respect
Kelly Clarkston - Miss Independent
Alicia Keys - Girl On Fire
Taylor Swift - Shake It Off
No Doubt - Just A Girl
Fergie - Fergalicious
Andra Day - Rise Up

Foolproof Action Plan to Getting & Staying Healthy This Year ... and the Best Ways to Stay on Track


Do you want this year to be the year you actually keep your New Year’s Resolution to achieve better and healthier habits?


“It’s the ultimate personal challenge,” says Leigh Stringer, author of The Healthy Workplace. "It takes guts and determination to make and keep those life-changing commitments in our lives, but it can be done.” Stringer offers up 5 major reasons we fail, and how to stay on track:


  1. Get Serious. We need a strong reason to overcome our natural lack of motivation.


Becoming healthier is a really good idea.  But to get us to change our behavior – to actually change the way we eat, move, sleep and manage our stress on an ongoing basis – requires a really powerful motivator.  We need a reason that makes it “absolutely essential” for us to do something differently, and think of ourselves differently.  Our lame excuses need to be trumped by a greater calling.  We need a real sense of urgency and a stronger “why.”

Deciding to be healthy has to be more than just a cool thing to do or a “nice to have.”  Making the firm decision to change lifelong habits for the better requires steely resolve and a strong, unquestionable purpose.  It has to be bullet-proof.


Take Action:


  • Think.  What would incentivize you to make a firm decision and commit to it?
  • Write down what motivates you and post it where you will see it several times a day.  This is your “why.”  A strong ‘why’ can navigate when the how is not so clear.


  1. Choose friends wisely. You can influence your own behavior by hanging out with healthy people. 


Social influence and peer pressure positively impact our exercise behavior, awareness of our intent to exercise and produce results, and the attitude maintained during the exercise experience.  You are more likely to stay on an exercise program if you have a friend (either an individual or group) who works out with you.  Connecting with other people is critical.  We are hard-wired to want to impress and relate to our friends. In addition, if you commit to being at the gym every day, you will feel good and will achieve your goals by keeping your promise to yourself.


Take Action:


  • Find a friend you like to exercise with and set up meetings on your calendar to do so. Make friends with people you meet at the health club.
  • Surround yourself with people who are healthy and have already adopted the behaviors you are trying to achieve.  Decide to be around them often. It will help nudge you to make better decisions and achieve your goals.


  1. Be accountable. Get a partner to help you stay that way. 


If you are accountable for the commitments you make, you are much more likely to achieve your goals and succeed.   One great way to keep honest is to find an accountability partner – someone you trust and who will check in with you on a regular basis (daily, weekly or whatever is needed) to see how you are doing, give you positive reinforcement, track how well you doing, and encourage you to stick with your commitments.


Take Action:


  • Find someone you trust to be your accountability partner.
  • Talk to them about your goals and specific objectives.
  • Get specific with them about actions you will want to take as well as rewards and consequences for taking or not taking them
  • Set up regular check-in times. This can be a text message, a periodic but regular encounter, or a phone call, whatever makes sense.
  • Review your progress and your goals and objectives honestly to track your performance, and modify your targets. Keep your goals ambitious but attainable.


  1. Make Getting Healthy a Game. Sticking to your goals and resolutions isn’t very fun, but technology can help make it fun.


Do your best to make getting healthy fun. You can turn your journey into a game and adorn your arms and body with wearable devices that help motivate, engage and prompt you to make better decisions.  Apply video game-thinking and game dynamics to engage yourself and change your behavior. The technology is available and has really evolved. You can turn any goal or objective you want into a game-like activity  that will become ever more desirable and highly addictive.  Gaming is now understood as a significant way to encourage people to adopt more healthy behavior. Two of the most powerful elements are competition and progressive reinforcement, where a player gets a challenge, meets that challenge and then receives an immediate reward for its accomplishment. Retained engagement is known to produce 90% improvements on start to finish challenges.


Take Action:


Here are a few more apps you can try:


  • Pact, funded by the founder of Guitar Hero, helps you make pacts with yourself to regularly exercise and eat healthily, and you are paid in real dollars to do so.
  • LifeTickis a goal-tracking app that asks you establish your core values, then follow the S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, time-specific) goal-setting method to create tasks or steps that are required to achieve your goal.
  • Habit Listhelps you track your “streaks” – how many times in a row you completed a habit, and will send you reminders to keep you on track.
  • Liftallows you to choose your goals and then select the type of coaching you require: advice, motivation, and/or prompting from the Lift community.
  • StickK, developed by Yale University economists, requires you to sign a commitment contract which binds you to a goal. It will cost you real money if you fail to reach it.


  1. Pay Attention to your Environment. It may be working against you. 


Your environment greatly influences the decisions you make about your health. To the maximum extent possible, take a careful look around, and if necessary, change what you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel.  Choose to keep your personal space clean of the enticements that will destroy your ability to achieve your goals. Clean your kitchen and your will be 44 percent less likely to snack than if your kitchen is messy.  You will eat less if your kitchen is stocked with smaller vs. bigger plates (ideal is 8-10 inches in diameter).


Take Action:


  • Pay attention to how your environment can sabotage your goals and objectives.  Don’t set yourself up for failure by keeping potato chips in an easy-to-reach cabinet. Move them or get rid of them and place them on the forbidden list.   Look at your home and work settings with fresh eyes, and put away (or throw away) anything that you are to giving up.
  • Strategically place healthy snacks, running shoes or other prompts in prominent places to encourage you to make good on your commitments.


Choosing one of these strategies is probably not enough.  You will most likely keep commitments if you employ “multiple interventions,” including strategies that intrinsically and extrinsically motivate your behavior.




The Healthy Workplace: 

How to Improve the Well-Being of Your Employees-and Boost Your Company's Bottom Line 

Leigh Stringer


List $ 27.97

Trade hardcover 256 pages

Publisher: AMACOM (July 19, 2016)

ISBN-10: 0814437435  ISBN-13: 978-0814437438


For more information, please visit www.leighstringer.com


The Healthy Workplace utilizes real life and real time research and studies to prove that it pays to invest in people's well-being.  Leigh Stringer reveals how to: create a healthier, more energizing environment; reduce stress to enhance concentration. She explains how to inspire movement at work, use choice architecture to encourage beneficial behaviors; support better sleep; heighten productivity without adding hours to the workday. The book is filled with strategies and tips for immediate improvement and guidelines for building a long-term plan. The Healthy Workplace is designed to help boost both employee well-being and the bottom line.


About Leigh Stringer



Leigh Stringer, LEED AP, is a workplace strategy expert and researcher. Her work has been covered by national media, including CNN, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and Good Morning America.


She works for EYP, an architecture, engineering and building technology firm.


She is the author of the bestselling book, The Green Workplace: Sustainable Strategies that Benefit Employees, the Environment and the Bottom Line (Palgrave MacMillan) and The Healthy Workplace:  How to Improve the Well-Being of Your Employees—and Boost Your Company’s Bottom Line (AMACOM).


Leigh is currently collaborating with Harvard University’s School of Public Health, the Center for Active Design in New York, the International Facility Management Association and the AIA DC Chapter on Health and Well-being to create new tools to connect like minds and to blur the boundaries across industries in order to advance and improve our well-being at work.  She is a regular contributor to Susan Cain’s Quiet Revolution Blog and Work Design Magazine.  Leigh regularly speaks at U.S. Green Building Council, CoreNet Global, the International Facilities Management Association and American Institute of Architecture events and writes for a number of workplace and real estate magazines and journals, along with her blog, LeighStringer.com.


Leigh has a Bachelor of Arts, a Masters of Architecture and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis. Leigh lives with her husband and two daughters in Washington, DC.


What People Are Saying


“Leigh is clearly on the cutting edge of the revolution that is occurring between workplace health and business performance.  The Healthy Workplace is research based, immensely practical and filled with genuine insights.”

-          Jim Loehr, co-founder of the Human Performance Institute and renowned performance psychologist


“We’ve spent so much time trying to make people happier at work, neglecting how to make them healthier. Stringer combines the best thinking from physiology, psychology, nutrition, and sleep science into practical advice. This is a great read on a critically important topic—a must-have for anyone concerned with waistlines and bottom lines.”

-          Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author of ORIGINALS and GIVE AND TAKE


“Leigh Stringer has written the definitive guide for 21st century workplaces, and every smart CEO, manager and worker should have a well-thumbed copy of The Healthy Workplace on their desks to use as a ready reference. With fascinating research, backed by hard-hitting statistics, Stringer lays out a compelling case that, far from a luxury, creating healthy workers and workplaces is imperative for fueling productivity, creativity and a better quality of work and life for everyone.”

-          Brigid Schulte, award-winning journalist, author of the New York Times bestselling Overwhelmed: Work, Love & Play when No One has the Time, and director of The Better Life Lab at New America


The Healthy Workplace is a groundbreaking synopsis in the evolution of today's corporate workplace. Leigh Stringer not only demonstrates current challenges and trends which are changing corporate culture, but lays out in specific detail the ways companies can find solutions and innovations towards advancing the wellness agenda for their most coveted asset, their people. "

-          Paul Scialla, Founder/CEO of Delos and International WELL Building Institute


“Leigh goes far beyond ROI and productivity and digs deep into unseen benefits of workplace wellness in The Healthy Workplace. Autonomy, creativity, mindfulness, and reduced presenteeism are just a few ways your culture will benefit from various workplace health initiatives. If you are looking to start a workplace wellness program or simply want to be inspired and re-ignite your population, this book will be an imperative tool so start reading and get out there and change some lives.”

-          Sam Whiteside, Chief Wellness Officer, The Motley Fool


“If you pick books that offer both learning and enjoyment, Stringer’s writing delivers mightily on both. You’ll learn why the Huffington Post has napping rooms, why we have a preference for ‘savanna landscapes,’ and what ‘acres of neutral colored work stations’ do to workforce performance. Stringer offers many long lists of practical methods workplace wellness readers can take to people managers, facilities managers and food managers alike to make their workplace a healthy one. I urge you to read it!”

-          Paul E. Terry, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) and Editor, The American Journal of Health Promotion


“Whether you seldom think about the interplay between healthy lives and healthy business or you live and breathe it, this book provides a new way of thinking about the connections between psychology and sociology, medicine and health promotion, architectural design, management science and the history of industrialization.  Stringer convinces us like no other about the business case for raising human health and performance. Through insightful reporting of the research and company anecdotes, sprinkled with her wit and candor, Stringer challenges us to think differently and deliberately about designing healthier work organizations.  This book is for everyone who wants to unlock the potential of work for good!”

-          Eileen McNeely, PhD, MS, RNC, Co-Director, SHINE Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard School of Public Health

Top 5 reasons your fitness program can fail

Whether you are starting a new fitness routine, an experienced vet or even a recreational gym user your fitness program can fail. There is a risk you may get bored, not see results or even over train. All of these things can cause you to lose commitment, stress out, become demotivated or fall off your fitness routine. The following are the top 5 reasons that your fitness program can fail and how you can prevent that.


  1. You have not set any goals
  2. You are in the wrong training environment
  3. You don’t have a support system
  4. Not allowing for ‘fun’ time
  5. You Don’t have a training schedule


  1. You have not set any goals

In order to succeed at whatever your fitness goal might be it is important to set specific goals. These goals will help you attain your end goal. It usually helps to also set a timeline to achieve these goals. One of the best ways to do this is to set what is called a S.M.A.R.T goal. Often times we head into the gym with no idea what we are trying to accomplish or vague goals like "losing weight", "toning up", “working on my upper body….” S.M.A.R.T stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. When a goal is measurable it helps to establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of the goal you set. An attainable goals is important because when you choose goals that are most important to you, you will be able to figure out ways you can achieve them. A realistic goal means that you will be able to reach it and it. You can always reassess once you achieve it and set new goals. And finally the goal should be timely and set within a certain  time frame to make sure you stay on track it should be written down.


  1. You are in the wrong training environment

Going too extreme, too soon. i.e. forcing the body adapt to too much stressors all at once. Make changes gradually. Or you are in the wrong training environment and need to make a change to the right environment for you. If you don’t like big corporate gyms, then join a small studio. If you don’t like training alone, then try group fitness. If you only like training at home, then investigate that option. Whatever it is, you won’t continue going somewhere that you don’t enjoy walking through the doors.


  1. You dont have a support system

If you don’t have a support system in place to keep you accountable you are setting yourself up for failure. Training partners, friends, spouse – people that are supportive of your goals. Too many roadblocks on the path can lead to failure. When you have a support system you are more likely to stay on track, be motivated and stick to a regular routine. We never want to let our friends or loved ones down, and we definitely don’t want to leave them waiting at the gym for us!


4.Not allowing for ‘fun’ time

Whether it’s a cheat meal or time away from the gym, the body and mind need temporary breaks, not pushing it 100% all out all the time. Allow for some things you enjoy and the program becomes much easier to follow. Plus this allows your body time to recover, regenerate and be prepared for the next week of workouts. I like to take Sunday and use it as a family day that way I enjoy my time and have some time away from the gym.

5. You Don’t have a training schedule

Pick a plan and stick to it for the duration. i.e. trust the process. Far too many try something for 2 weeks decide it’s not working and jump over to the next latest thing. One of the best ways to do this is to get a one-on-one personal trainer. If you would rather workout on your own maybe hiring an online coach like Team Trex Training is an option. Online training programs like Trex do customized programs for you and you do them on your own. It’s a great option if all you need is to have someone to be accountable to.

There are a lot of different ways as you can see that your program can fail but you can succeed. Remember to set goals, write them down, get in the right training environment, find a support system, stick to a schedule and allow yourself some fun from time to time. You will be much more successful and happier with your results if you follow those steps! Happy training!

For all of you runners, you know first-hand how running safely is a year-round focus. Especially during the colder months when it gets darker earlier and visibility is low, safety should be a top priority for those who are still hitting the pavement. The following is a guide on running safety that's being shared by SimpliSafe. It includes a ton of examples on how technology can not only help with your training, but how it can also keep you safe and focused. They specialize in wireless security systems, so they definitely know a thing or two about keeping us safe.

HelloFresh Canada expands nationwide


HelloFresh Canada is now delivering its healthy and convenient meal kits from coast to coast, to help all Canadians answer that age-old question: “What’s for dinner?”

“The entire team is proud of the progress we’ve made in just six months since our launch. We’ve received overwhelmingly positive feedback from our current customers in Ontario, and we’re certain people across the country will soon see the benefits of our meal kits,” said Ian Brooks, Managing Director, HelloFresh Canada. “This expansion reinforces our mission to provide nutritious, tasty meals to Canadians.”


HelloFresh’s unique culinary experience streamlines meal preparation by sending at-home cooks inspirational recipes and pre-measured, pre-chopped ingredients to make meals from scratch in 30 minutes or less. HelloFresh takes care of the meal planning, shopping, measuring, and delivery, leaving time for the fun parts: cooking and eating!


The service is simple – customers visit HelloFresh.ca, or download the app on Android or iOS. From there they choose their subscription option (Pronto Plan or Family Plan), and select their meals for the upcoming week. Meals are delivered weekly on Tuesdays and Wednesdays directly to customers’ doorsteps, packed in state-of-the-art boxes to ensure each delivery arrives fresh.


Recipes are developed in the HelloFresh test kitchen by an in-house culinary team headed by Irene Ngo. The meal kits contain seasonal ingredients, along with step-by-step recipes and nutritional information.


“We love sharing the joy of cooking every day in a way that is approachable and rewarding. We believe that healthy eating patterns start in the home, and our kits get Canadians started with easy and delicious recipes, and high-quality ingredients,” said Ngo.  “Our recipes explore new flavours and deliver crowd favourites, and get people on the path to healthy eating.”


The globally renowned organization first launched in Ontario, in June 2016, and will now reach nine provinces, excluding Quebec. The company continues to adapt its services to meet the ever-growing demand for “cook from scratch” meals. Subscribers globally are rediscovering the joy of food with HelloFresh by preparing healthy, tasty meals they can be proud to place on the dinner table. Canadian meal kits start at just $10.85 per plate. Visit HelloFresh.ca for all the available options.


Twitter: @HelloFreshCA

Facebook: Facebook.com/HelloFresh

Instagram: @HelloFreshCA



About HelloFresh

HelloFresh currently operates in the USA, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, Austria, Switzerland, and Canada. HelloFresh delivered 22.1 million meals in the 3-month period up to 30 September 2016, to about 850,000 subscribers. HelloFresh was founded in November 2011, and is based in Berlin.


Additional offices are located in New York, London, Amsterdam, Zurich, Sydney, and Toronto. Current investors include Baillie Gifford, Insight Venture Partners, Phenomen Ventures, Rocket Internet, and Vorwerk Direct Selling Ventures.




Squat Variations

Alicia Bell - Squat - Fitness Expert - Toronto

Did you know that squatting is a fundamental human movement pattern that involves nearly every muscle in the body? Squatting improves fitness, performance, and mobility for daily-life tasks. But do you always do the same type of squat? You shouldn’t and here’s why:

Have you ever noticed that when you do an exercise you haven’t performed in a few weeks, you experience a much more intense delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) for two or three days afterwards? Well that is because your muscles are moving in a slightly different plane of motion than what they are used to and they’ve become unaccustomed to this newly reintroduced movement. Don’t get stuck doing the same exercises each and every week! Change it up so that you can wake up muscles that may not be getting used if you are continually doing the same exercises week after week.


When you add variations into your workouts you can add strength faster and see more development and changes to your physique. Try new exercise movements, add extra weight or perform more sets and reps each workout. It’s all about the variation. Variations also help keeps you mentally stimulated and non-stagnant in your workout regime. This keeps the workouts fun and exciting as well as challenging.  When you add variation exercises to your program you will hit the muscles from different angles, helping to stimulate more muscle fibers and create a nice, fully rounded muscle that really pops. Add variation – you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

Try these examples of variations for squats that can be built into your current training program. Remember to engage the mind-muscle connection and focus on the contraction, negative and stretch phase of the lift. Don’t rush through the reps, keep tension on the muscle through the entire range of motion to get the full benefit of each exercise.

Front Squat

Place the barbell at the upper chest height in the rack. Step forward and position bar in front of shoulders. Cross your arms and place hands on top of barbell with upper arms parallel to floor. Then move the bar from rack. Squat down by pushing your hips backwards while allowing knees to bend forward, keep your back straight and your knees aligned with your toes. Squat down until thighs are just past parallel. Return to the starting position and repeat.

Bulgarian Split Squat

This can be done with a barbell across your back or dumbbells in both hands. Stand with dumbbells in your hands or bar across your back. Extend leg back and place top of foot on bench. Lower yourself down by flexing both the knee and hip of front leg until knee of rear leg is almost in contact with floor. Return to your starting position and repeat. Then switch legs.

Hack Squat w/ Barbell 

Position barbell just behind your legs. With feet flat on floor shoulder width apart, squat down and grasp barbell from behind with overhand grip. Lift bar by extending hips and knees to full extension to stand up tall. Squat down by bending hips back while allowing knees to bend forward, keeping back straight and knees pointed same direction as feet. Squat down as far as you can possible while keeping your head and chest up. Repeat.

Heels Elevated Hack Squat

Place some plates or a step behind you. Position barbell just behind your legs. With toes on the floor and your heels on top of the step making sure that your feet are shoulder width apart, squat down and grasp barbell from behind with overhand grip.  Lift bar by extending hips and knees to full extension to stand up tall. Squat down by bending hips back while allowing knees to bend forward, keeping back straight and knees pointed same direction as feet. Squat down as far as you can possible while keeping your head and chest up. Repeat.

Goblet Squat

Stand holding a dumbbell or kettlebell close to your chest. Then squat down between your legs until your hamstrings are on your calves. Keep your chest and head up. At the bottom position, pause and make sure that your elbows are on the inside of your knees and legs. Return to the starting position, and repeat.

Sumo Squat

With bar upper chest height, position bar on the back of your shoulders and grasp bar to sides. Place feet wider than shoulder width apart and make sure to point your toes outward 45° to 30°. Begin by squatting down by bending hips back while allowing knees to bend forward.  Keep your back straight and your knees aligned with the direction that your toes are facing.. Descend until thighs are minimally just past parallel to floor. Return to the beginning position and repeat

Curtsey Squat

Stand with your feet hip width apart and hands on hips, weights in your hands or barbell across your back. Move your right foot behind your left leg, as far past your left foot as is comfortable. Using a "curtsy" motion, squat down. Keep your weight in the front leg, head up and chest up.  Return to the beginning position of  standing and repeat.

Box Squat

From rack with barbell at upper chest height, position bar on back of shoulders. Grasp barbell to sides. Dismount bar from rack and back up until contact is made with box immediately behind. Stand with either a regular squat position with feet shoulder width or a wide stance with feet flared out slightly. Then sit back onto box by bending hips back while bending knees, keeping your knees in light with your toes and your head and chest up. Using a controlled movement then lower your glutes onto box. Once contact is made stand back up returning to the starting position and repeat.

Much of how you use the above squat variations comes down to what you are currently doing in the gym. While I am not suggesting to drop your current routine and start this one, there is value in adding some variation to your training sessions so that you can stimulate the muscle in a different way and keep it responding without hitting plateaus.

At the end of the day, it is important to realize that no matter where you are in your training experience, there is value in the occasional variation adjustment. Whether it is to bring up weak points or to keep your body healthy and in balance, varying stance and bar placement, using dumbbells instead of a barbell can add that missing element and help with your progress.
Happy Training!