Group of men in china squatting down as they talk on a sidewalk

4 Simple Bodyweight Squat Progressions You Should Learn

It’s 8 AM and Larry had just arrived to work with his lunch box. Larry proceeded to go towards the break room to place his lunch in the refrigerator and pour himself his usual morning cup of coffee.

As Larry made his way down the hallway, he noticed a crowd near Thomas’ desk.

Curious, Larry made his way towards the crowd. He wondered what today’s water cooler gossip would be about.

“What seems to be the buzz guys?”

Thomas proceeded to reveal this blog post from this cool, handsome guy named MicVinny.

“Check this out!

I see this all the time at my gym. I can’t believe this MicVinny guy called people out on it!”

Larry read the title, “Stop Embarrassing Yourself and Learn How To Squat!”

“Oh this should be good”, thought Larry. He had been squatting for years and look forward to telling the crowd how awesome he was at the movement.

As Thomas scrolled down the page, he stopped on a video of a man named Johnny doing a 495-pound squat. Thomas proceeded to press play.

The whole crowd erupted in immediate laughter…except Larry.

Larry realized he wasn’t laughing like everyone so he quickly forced out a nervous laugh so he could join in on the fun.

“Can you BELIEVE that guy? He serious thinks he’s doing a squat! Oh man that was funny!” –shouts out Thomas.

“Wow guys, that really was something, let me put my food away. Good laugh!” –says Larry.

As Larry makes his way towards the break room he can’t help but think to himself:

“Hmmmmm. …that Johnny guy looks a lot like ME when I squat. Oh gosh, I don’t want to become the joke of the office, what should I do?”


R-E-L-A-X Larry!

You’re in good hands. Your travel fitness pal, MicVinny is here to teach you some basic squat progression techniques.

Whether you’ve been squatting for years or just started, these are some simple squat progressions that you can use around the house or hotel.

Squat progressions are just an intelligent way to work on your squat technique by isolating your weak points. They are a great way to test where you are at currently with your squat.

The Perfect Bodyweight Squat

When it comes to a perfect bodyweight squat, here’s a video demo of yours truly doing the movement to perfection!

If you find yourself unable to get your upper thighs parallel to the ground, these next progressions are some of the best ways to get yourself the flexibility and mobility to finally achieve the perfect squat.

4 Squat Progression Exercises

Bodyweight Box Squat

This movement focuses on getting use to lowering your butt down to a stable surface. For many the hardest part of the squat is the act of sitting backwards.

Not knowing just how far down you can go on your own usually prevents a person from testing their limits. Having an object to sit down helps build your confidence because you know there’s something to catch you if you do go down to far.

The lower the chair, the lower you’ll be able to squat. When first starting out you will want to squat down to a height that’s just above parallel.

As you master the movement, you will want to lower the height of the chair or object you are squatting into. Go as low as what ever is around your house.

Box Squat Progression 1

Go from a standing position to a sitting position. Repeat for at least 10 good reps. You should not stop at the bottom for more than a second.

Box Squat Progression 2

Go from a sitting position to a standing position. This movement places your body at a different angle and forces you to focus on getting “up” from the bottom of a squat.

Try to use as little help as possible for both progressions. Concentrate on having your legs do the majority of the upward movement.

Do at least 10 good reps.

If you can do 25 reps in a row without using your hands to help you up, move to the next progression.

Stair Squats

An alternate to squatting to a chair is to perform the squatting movement on some stairs. Just like with chair squats, start with the highest step and work your way down.

Practice on all levels of the steps that you can safely lower your bottom on.

If you can do 30 reps in a row without using your hands to help you up, move to the next progression.

Chair Assisted Squat

Using a chair is a great way to assist you when coming up and down in a squat. The goal of the chair-assisted squat is to get you comfortable with going to parallel as well as slightly below parallel squats

The reason I want you to go slightly lower than parallel is so you can have a full range of movements. Knowing that you can go beyond parallel will boost your confidence when you stop using the chair for assistance.

Do 3 sets of 10 reps to start off with.

Add 1-2 reps until you can easily do 3 sets of 20 reps with no problem.

Door Assistance Squat

A great addition to chair assisted squats is to simple use a door handle for assistance. All you have to do is slightly open a door and grip the handles with both hands.

When first attempting, it’s understandable to want to user your upper body to pull you up. As you progress you will want to make sure the majority of the work is coming from your lower legs.

If you are above 250 lbs., please be sure that the door is capable of supporting your weight.  You can’t use the excuse “MicVinny told me to do it” as an excuse for damaging a door!

Do 3 sets of 10 reps to start off with.

Add 1-2 reps until you can easily do 4 sets of 20 reps with no problem.


After practicing the above for a few days/weeks, now it’s time to see if you’re ready to do a non-assisted bodyweight squat.

If able to go down to parallel, congratulations!

You’re now doing an actual squat!

If you can’t go down to parallel, no problem!

Just keep working on your progressions and you’ll get there!

Remember that the goal is to do the movement correctly. This is not a race!

One healthy bodyweight squat done correctly is better than a thousand awful barbell quarter squats!