What are Air Squats?

The Air Squat is one of the most basic and effective bodyweight exercises that you can do to train your lower body. It is similar to the traditional squat as it has the same movement and works the same muscle groups. but the differences are that:

1.You use only bodyweight in Air Squats.

2.You squat lower than traditional squats where your hips are lower than your knees. The eventual goal is to touch your glutes with your calves.

What Muscles do Air Squats work?

The primary muscles worked are glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, abductors and adductors. The secondary muscles are abdominals, calves, hip flexors and lower back.

What Level are Air Squats?

This exercise is the most simplest version of the squat which makes it suitable for those who are at the beginners level who are learning the proper squatting form. However, those who are at intermediate to advanced level are recommended to try this exercise as there is a greater range of movement benefits which will increase mobility in your calves and ankles.

How to do Air Squats?

1. Stand Tall

Stand tall with feet shoulder-width apart with toes pointed slightly outwards. Your knees will move along the same direction as your toes. Keep your chest up, your spine straight, and your arms by your side.

2. Engage Your Core

Keep your core engaged at all times to keep a straight back. This will give you protection from injury as well as improving your performance.

3. Lower Down

Inhale, and squat down by bending the knees moving your hips down and back as if you were sitting on a chair. Make sure your knees do not go past your toes. Keep lowering until your hips are below your knees, and your heels flat. Your ultimate goal will be to touch your glutes with your calves. Your lower back should be straight, and bring your arms out in front of you to counter balance.

You may not be able to squat as deep down, this is due to lack of ankles and calves mobility. To fix this, you can lower till your thighs are parallel to the floor and try to go down a little further with each rep, and make sure your heels remain flat on the ground. Over time, after 2-3 weeks, your mobility will improve!


4. Push Back Up

Exhale, and push back up from the heels of your feet to straighten out your legs. Squeeze your butt as you come up. You should feel engagement in your quads and glutes. Lower your arms back to your side.


5. Repeat

Repeat this for a desired number of repetitions (see in the Air Squats workout section below).


What are the benefits of Air Squats?

Strengthen Lower Body

This exercise will build a solid foundation of strength for your lower body, especially your glutes, quads, and hamstrings. Lower body training should be an essential part of your overall fitness. Stronger legs will improve functional movements such as jogging, jumping, and sprinting, which in turn will build muscle as well as toning and sculpting your legs.

Improve Cardiovascular Health

Air Squats will assist you to build your lower body stamina and muscular endurance which can be used as a form of a cardio workout. This is the case if it is done at a fast pace with high volume. Doing this will get your heart rate pumping which will develop your cardiorespiratory system.

No Need For Equipment

Air Squats are free to perform, all you need is your body weight as resistance and a little bit of space to perform this awesome exercise. You can do it anyplace, and anywhere, making it an ideal go-to exercise for training at home, gym, or even at the beach!

Improve Core Strength

In addition to the lower body, Air Squats also target your core muscles, in particular the rectus abdominis, obliques, erector spinae and  transverse abdominis. Engaging your muscles will keep your spine aligned and prevent your lower back from arching. Moreover, it will help you to build balance and stability.

Air Squats workout

  • Beginners to this exercise should perform 5-8 reps, for 4 sets, 3 times a week.
  • Intermediate level athletes should perform 9-16 reps, for 4 sets, 3 times a week.
  • Advanced level athletes should perform 17 reps or more for 4 sets, 3 times a week.

You should move on to harder variations once you have achieved your reps and set goals. Typically after 4-6 weeks, as this is one of the most basic forms of lower body exercises where you will see progress in a short amount of time.

Bodyweight Squats Variations

Jumping Air Squats

Jumping Air Squats increases your explosive power, enhances lower body strength, and burns calories faster than regular Air Squats. This is an intermediate level and above exercise as it is performed at a higher intensity. To perform this you will stand tall with feet shoulders-width apart and toes pointing slightly outwards.

Inhale as you lower down until your hips are below your knees. Then, exhale and explode upwards by pushing through the heels of your feet to jump as high as you can. Keep your core engaged and land softly with your toes, followed by bending your knees. Aim to perform this for 10 reps for 4 sets.

Side To Side Squats

This variation is similar to Air Squats combined with a side step on each squat. It is for those who are at intermediate level and above due to greater body balance and coordination required. You will need to have extra space on both of your sides to be able to step a foot out.

To perform this, you will stand tall in the starting position and descend your hips back into a squat, followed by pushing back up and taking a small step to the right side, and squat again. Return back to the starting position and repeat this on the left side to perform a side-to-side movement for a desired number of reps. Aim to perform this for 14 reps for 4 sets.

Pistol Squats

A Pistol Squat is a squat that is performed on one leg. It is an advanced level exercise as it is a cross-section of strength and mobility in a squat, which you will require both. To perform a Pistol Squat, you will stand with feet shoulders-width apart and engage your core. Then, you will extend arms and one leg in front of you followed by bending the standing knee to lower into a squat. Aim to touch your glutes with your claves.

Try to keep your back straight and torso upright as possible. Lastly, engage your glutes and drive through your heel to push back up and repeat on the opposite leg. Aim to perform this for 10 reps for 3 sets.

About the Author

My name is Pat Chadwick, I am a calisthenics coach with over 4 years of experience in helping people from all backgrounds to achieve their calisthenics goals. My goal is to become the number one calisthenics coach in the world as it is my passion to help people change their lives through inspiring bodyweight movements. I believe everyone deserves the right to feel good about their health, body, and be delighted inside and out.