July 4, 2016 by VAHVA Fitness

How to shrimp squat. The shrimp squat (also known as the skater squat) is a great single leg exercise for building strength and mobility.

The name "shrimp squat" comes from the hardest progression of the exercise where you are tightly holding the other leg behind with your arms (see below). 

Biomechanically the shrimp squat is very different to the pistol squat which is another great single leg exercise. The shrimp squat is basically a single leg squat where your knee touches the floor.

In case you don't have access to heavy barbells or weights in general, working on the shrimp squats (or pistol squats) can be a phenomenal alternative.

Weighted leg exercises like back squats tend to be better for building leg strength, but in the overall effectiveness the shrimp squat doesn't fall too short.

Even if you do incorporate back squats or front squats to your training, practicing shrimp squats can still produce great results in terms of balance, body control and mobility.

How to do the shrimp squat? Bring your other leg behind and keep that knee bent. Tighten your core and lower yourself down slowly so your knee doesn't slam to the floor.

Shrimp Squat Progressions

Beginner Shrimp Squat

beginner shrimp squats

Place something below your knee to make the exercise easier by reducing the range of motion. 

You can use books, boxes - anything you have access to. You can adjust the height of the platform which is great because then your progress with the exercise can be very easily tracked.

Another option would be to do assisted shrimp squats. For example, you can grab a table or a door frame to help you get up.

Shrimp Squat

shrimp squat exercise for legs

In the beginning you can use your arms for counterbalance but eventually you should aim to use as little as counterbalance as possible.

Work on doing controlled repetitions without using momentum. This way you will build the strength in the entire range of motion and get the most out of shrimp squats.

You can add these to your leg workout and do 3-5 sets for 5 to 15 repetitions per set.

Once you feel like you have mastered the normal shrimp squat, you can move onto the harder progressions.

Advanced Shrimp Squats

elevated shrimp squats
weighted shrimp squats and skater squats

Elevated shrimp squats and weighted shrimp squats are great advanced progressions for the shrimp squat.

By elevating the base leg you can make the exercise much harder by increasing the range of motion. You can make the exercise incredibly deep.

Another option is to add weights. You can hold onto the weights with straight arms like you would do a single leg deadlift, or keep the weights on your chest like you would do a front squat.

Both of these advanced variations offer slightly different benefits. Elevating the base leg is better for mobility, whereas the weights will produce more gains in terms of strength and size.

The Real Shrimp Squat

how to skater squat shrimp squat

The real shrimp squat is a single leg squat where you are holding your other leg behind with both arms as in the picture above. 

After you have mastered the previous progressions, you can start all over by practicing the "beginner shrimp squats" while holding onto your leg.

The real shrimp squat is a real test to your mobility because it's insanely hard to squat while you are holding the leg. The body is just in a bad biomechanical position the entire time.

Once you master this, you have proven to have great levels of strength and mobility in your lower body. 

You can always make it harder by elevating the base leg or adding weight. In the end of the video there are also some special variations you can play with.

Train hard, stay safe.


samuli jyrkinen

About the author 

Samuli Jyrkinen

Samuli is the ninja behind the scenes (photography, videography, websites, program platforms and more). He has been training religiously for over a decade and has a firm grasp of physical and mental fitness. You will find our story here.

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