Sissy squats are a variation of the standard squat that targets quadriceps femoris, also known as the quads. (Image via Unsplash/Alexander Redl)

Sissy Squat Machine: Benefits, Muscles Worked & More

The Sissy Squat Machine is a lower body exercise machine designed to isolate and strengthen the quadriceps femoris muscle. The machine itself is centrally located in the home gym, available for use whenever you choose.

Fat loss and muscle gain parallel the ability of the muscles to withstand tension and pressure. This workout machine's goal is to increase that ability to a high level.


Learning how to exercise properly is important to avoid mistakes and injuries.

What is Sissy Squat?


The name 'sissy squat' is a tribute to Greek mythology's King Sisyphus — the king of Ephyra, who was punished by being sent to the underworld.

In the underworld, he was forced to push a large boulder up a hill that would continually roll back down. The sissy squat is named so, as the exercise isolates all the quadriceps femoris heads.


Sissy squats are a variation of the standard squat that target the quadriceps femoris, also known as the quads. They can be performed with or without the use of a sissy squat machine, but the mechanics change when no machine is used.

How to Perform a Sissy Squat

The traditional form of the sissy squat is challenging to perform, but it doesn't have to be.

Sissy squat can be performed with or without equipment. (Image via Unsplash/Sven Mieke)
  • To do it correctly, stand on the balls of your feet, with your toes pointed forward and feet shoulder-width apart.
  • If you don't have a sissy squat machine, you can use dumbbells, or just hold your own weight with your hands as shown in the picture.
  • If you're new to it, it might be safer to do a one-legged squat with a rail or a post for balance.
  • Stand with your heels on a block two to four inches off the floor, and space your feet shoulder width apart.
  • The block should be sturdy enough not to fall out from beneath you while you're doing reps.
  • Lie on the floor with the knees bent, keeping a straight line from the neck to the knees.
  • Keeping your balance, lean back as far as possible, and push back up to the starting position.
  • Repeat for desired reps while maintaining proper form.

Muscles Used in Sissy Squat

The sissy squat targets the quadriceps femoris muscle, which is engaged in all squats. However, the sissy squat also engages the hip flexors, which are activated to a lesser degree in this version of the exercise.

The core muscles and hip flexors work together to keep the trunk in place as gravity pulls on it.

Benefits of Sissy Squat

Here are some of the benefits of performing sissy squat:

Sissy squat is great exercise for your quadricep. (Image via Unsplash/Mariah Krafft)

1) The sissy squat is a great quadriceps exercise, as it enables you to isolate the quadriceps and really focus on them. It may also help you build bigger quads and get stronger overall.

2) The quadriceps are the muscles of the front of the thigh, the large muscle group below the hips, which enables you to walk. A recent study showed that if older people can keep their quads strong, they may be able to function better and live independently for longer.

Hence, strengthening these muscles through sissy squats may be a good idea.

3) Some studies show that patients with knee osteoarthritis may benefit from strengthening exercises of the quadriceps. Sissy squats can be helpful in this regard, as they're less stressful on the knees than regular squats or leg extensions.

Safety Tips

The sissy squat is a challenging exercise that can help you build the quadriceps femoris muscles — the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius. To do it safely and effectively, you need to prepare your body by doing a conditioning routine first.


When performing a sissy squat, no more than 10 percent of one's bodyweight should be added to the barbell. The addition of weight should be preceded by a gradual increase in reps and an awareness of how the body feels throughout the exercise.


Although sissy squats are a good exercise for strengthening the quadriceps and may lead to the aforementioned benefits, it's important to consider all the precautions before performing this activity. You should also do some core-strengthening exercises and leg exercises before attempting the sissy squat workout to avoid injury.


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