Whether you have balance issues, a bad back or a knee injury, squats aren’t right for everyone. In fact, some people avoid squats not so much because they have physical limitations, but because they just don’t “feel right.”

Squats are justly revered for their ability to get big results in a single move. So whatever the reason you’re looking for alternatives, your ideal replacements will need to work the same areas of the lower body. Here are some moves that target the behind, thighs and hips.

Lateral Band Walk

A simple resistance band will give you enough tension to work your lower body hard. For a good all-around “burn,” pull the band so that it is mid-calf, and stand with your feet hips-width apart, hands on hips. (You can also set the band just above the ankles or knees. Experiment to see which muscles “feel the burn” most based on band positioning.)

Next, take a step to the left with your left foot, then move your right foot to the left to complete the step. Make sure you step far enough each time to keep the pressure on the resistance band. Do this stepping to the left 10 times, then reverse to make 10 complete steps to the right. Repeat the process for up to 3 sets of 10-10 reps, or as many as you can manage as you begin.

Hip Raises

While lying on your back on the floor, bend your knees so that your heels are pressed against the floor. Next, lift your hips to the ceiling so that knees are at a diagonal to your shoulders, with your back kept straight.

Hold for a beat, gently lower to the starting position, and repeat up to 15 times. Do the process again after a short rest, for up to 3 sets of 15 repetitions.


If knee pain isn’t an issue, use a step-platform or bench about the same height as your knees. Step onto it with your left foot, then bring your right foot up. Step off the platform backwards, then repeat 10 times going left-foot first, then 10 times starting right-foot first. Do up to 4 sets of these 10-10 reps.