Squat scissors, aka lunge in place, are an excellent basic exercise for developing lower body muscles. Even though the mechanics of the exercise are borrowed from weightlifting, it’s most popular with girls. After all, the shape of the hips and buttocks plays a major role in women’s training. Men tend to use variations of this exercise that maximize their quads.
What muscles are being trained?
When you do squat scissors, your quads, hamstrings, and gluteus maximus are primarily working. They flex and extend the knee and hip to help you descend and stand in a controlled manner from the bottom position. In addition, body stabilizers are involved in muscle movement. If you are doing a free barbell exercise, their work is more noticeable. When using the Smith simulator, the load is accordingly reduced, since the trajectory is fixed.
“You can shift the load to the anterior or posterior muscle group. It depends on the width of your legs. The further back the leg is, the more the gluteal muscles and the back of the thigh are involved. By bringing your legs closer together, you force the quads to work.”
Keep in mind that stretching, like barbell squats, puts a significant strain on the knee joints. Of course, adherence to the correct technique is designed to minimize it, but it’s better to refrain from the squat scissors for pain or injuries of the knees. Also, the fact that you are carrying weight on your shoulders has a compressive effect on the spine. Pay attention to this if you have back problems.
How to do the squat scissors correctly?
As I said, doing scissor squats or lunge in place is convenient with a barbell or Smith machine. Of course, you can also use dumbbells. The exercise is quite variable.
This is how it looks with a barbell:
Adjust your weight and place the barbell on your shoulders just below your neck. The bar should rest on the trapezius muscles. It’s more convenient to take the bar from the racks than to lift it from the floor every time
Place your feet shoulder-width apart and take a step forward. When squatting, the knee of this leg did not go beyond the line of the toes. The second knee should either almost touch the floor directly under the body, or be laid back
With your legs in the desired position, check the position of your back. Straighten your spine, the weight should press on it strictly perpendicular to the floor. The loin is slightly bent. Try not to bend forward while doing the squat scissors, as this will change the direction of the weight, and the load on the spine can become traumatic
Bend your knees as you inhale. The center of gravity of the body should be strictly between the legs. It’s important not to push it back. The back leg is always on the toe and does not fall on the heel. Try not to touch the floor with your knee either
As you exhale, stand straight up, using the efforts of both legs. The position of the feet doesn’t change from rep to rep. You don’t have to step like with classic lunges – the body only moves up and down
Do the required number of reps, rest, and move on to the next set
You don’t need to monitor the vertical position of the body if you are doing an exercise in the Smith machine. The machine will do it for you. This will make the exercise easier.
The dumbbell variation is also easier than the barbell variation. It’s much easier to keep your balance with dumbbells. Start with this option if the Smith machine is not available to you, and you still cannot work with a barbell. You’ll master the technique and learn how to coordinate the work of the muscles. Hold the dumbbells with your arms outstretched to the sides of the body.
If you are a beginner with no training experience, try doing lunges in place with no weight at all. In your case, even such an implementation will give a tangible effect.
Add lunge in place to the training program
Squat scissors should be done at the beginning or in the middle of your workout when your muscles are still not fatigued. The movement is basic and loads the lower body to the fullest.
“Warm up your leg muscles, joints, and ligaments before starting the exercise. You can work out on the treadmill, do one set without weight, or do several dynamic stretching exercises. This is required to minimize the likelihood of injury.”
When gaining mass, it’s recommended to perform scissors or lunges in place 8-12 times in 2-3 sets. You should feel a lot of muscle fatigue at the end of each set. If a certain muscle group (for example, the gluteal muscles) is not tired enough when performing such squats, load it with isolating exercises.
One of the benefits of the squat scissors is that it allows the right and left legs to be trained separately. The movement engages the largest muscles in the lower body and, when done regularly, produces excellent results.