6 Core Exercises to Strengthen the Squat for Female Athletes

Sophia McDermott Drysdale


Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Bodybuilding, Nutrition, Women's Fitness



4. Supine Leg Extension with Legs Together

This variation of the supine leg extension keeps the legs together, which is a lot more challenging. If you feel the load is too intense, bend your legs. For those who are ready for the challenge, perform the extension with your legs completely straight. Again, it is very important that this exercise is performed with the middle of your back pressed into the floor to avoiding straining your lower back.




  • Lower your legs down for the count of three.
  • Raise your leg for the count of two.
  • Aim to do 20 repetitions.


5. Full Plank Hold

The classic plank hold is an unbelievably beneficial exercise for your core and other parts of your body such as the hips, shoulders, and chest. Make sure to keep a straight line from head to toes. If you raise or drop your hips in the plank, you get a “banana back”, removing the pressure from your core and placing undue stress on your lower back.



  • Remember to breathe.
  • Aim to hold the plank for 30 seconds for 3 sets.




6. Plank Hold with Single Leg Raise

This is a twist on the classic plank hold with added alternating leg raises. The shift in weight as you take your leg off the floor makes your abdominal muscles work extra hard. It also places a lot of force on your supporting leg by putting a heavy load on your quadriceps to keep your supporting knee straight, with your gluteus medius and minimus coming into play to keep the hips straight as well.



  • Keep your hips square as you raise your leg.
  • Aim to do 3 sets of 15 repetitions on each leg.


Make Steady Progress for the Best Results

Remember, all movement patterns originate at the core or move through it, and core strength is vital for a full-body exercise such as the barbell squat. After a serious injury or pregnancy, many women are eager to get straight back into the gym and start squatting straight away, but it's a bad idea. Training too much, too soon compounds any existing muscle imbalances and instabilities with those sustained during pregnancy or injury, and this will often lead to increased weakness and lower back, hip, and pelvic pain.


As with the push-up progressions, start slow and work your way up to the more challenging exercises. Continue along the progression to challenge your core and build the ideal posture and balance to squat heavy and squat often.


This article was originally published on Breaking Muscle AU.


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Photo courtesy of Rx'd Photography.

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