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Shrimp Squat : Fun Party Trick or Useful Variation?

In 1997, renowned strength coach, Charle Poliquin publish the book ‘Poliquin Principles‘. In the book he preaches the Cyclist Squat for great VMO development and athletic caryover.

Since then, the cyclist squat has gained popularity.

In this blog post we will cover:

  • Cyclist Squat Benefits
  • How to Perform Cyclist Squats
  • Cyclist Squats Progressions


Shrimp Squat

VMO Development

Shrimp squats are a great closed chain exercise that really targets the VMO (vastus medialis).

Minimal Equipment

The Shrimp Squat doesn't require any machines. even with just your bodyweight it is an extremely challenging exercise that even advanced athletes can't perform for high reps.

Core and Stabiliziers

The Shrimp squat requires you to balance during the exercise. This work all the muscles in your core and even the smaller muscles in your legs and the bottom of your feet.

Less Load Required

There are very few squat variations, that can give you the same intensity with just bodyweight.

Not using load is great for anyone with back discomfort. It also reduces any CNS fatigue cause by super heavy spinal loads used in the traditional back squat.

How To Shrimp Squat

1. Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart, bend your non-working knee to the back and grab your non-working foot with your opposite hand.
2. Descend By bending your working knee.
3. Once the knee of your non-working knee touches the ground, come back up.
4. Switch legs and repeat for sets.

Shrimp Squat Progressions


Beginner: Assisted Shrimp Squat

If the bodyweight variation is too challenging, you can add assistance to the movement, by performing the exercise next to a structure like a squat rack you can grab with your hands for assitance.

You can also hold a long PVC pipe and use it like a cane.

The assistance will not only help with reducing the intensity but will also help with balancing.

Beginner: Elevated Shrimp Squat

Place a elevated surface on the side of your non-working foot. As you descend, the elevated surface will limit and shorten your range of motion making the shrimp squat easier.


Intermediate: Bodyweight Shrimp Squat

Perform the original way with bodyweight. You can play around with tempo, reps and sets to progress while keeping the load the same.


Advanced: Deficit Shrimp Squat

Place you working foot on a elevated platform to get a deeper range of motion. The more the elevation the more challenging!

Advanced: Weighted Shrimp Squat

Wear a weightvest to add load and increase intensity.

About the Author

Remy started calisthenics in 2014 and has mastered advanced movements such as the one arm pull-up, front-lever, one arm muscle-up and more.

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