April 9


Jefferson Squats – The Absolute Best Leg Exercise

A Comprehensive Guide To Jefferson Squats

Whether you are a professional athlete or you are just starting out there is a good chance that you have heard of the Jefferson squats. With their ability to greatly increase glute development, grow your quads, and improve your torso all at the same time it really is no wonder that more and more athletes are opting for this exercise as opposed to others. With that being said, if you truly want to take advantage of everything that the Jefferson squat have to offer, you need to understand everything there is to possibly know about this workout from the history to its benefits, and that is what you are going to learn below.

Quick Navigation​What Are Jefferson Squats?HistoryJefferson Deadlift And Jefferson SquatHow Has The Jefferson Squat Changed?Traditional Squat And Jefferson SquatWhen To Do Them Benefits Of Jefferson SquatsWho Should Do Jefferson Squats?Tips For Executing Jefferson SquatsConclusion

What Are Jefferson Squats?

The Jefferson squats is an old technique that you just don’t see many people utilizing anymore, but it truly is an excellent workout because of the way that it tests and works your lower body. One of the most unique things about this workout is that it can be adapted to meet the specific needs of beginners and experts alike. When you learn the proper movements and loading of this exercise, you truly can achieve greatness.

In order to perform this movement, you are going to need to take a wide stance and straddle your barbell. You now want to squat, keeping your glutes tense as you do so, with one hand in front of your body and the other behind it. When you raise up, make sure that you force your knees out, so that you not only activate your glutes, but you keep them constantly working throughout the set.

The more proficient that you get at this exercise, the better you will be able to perform a squat. In addition to this, you will learn how to activate your glutes, hams, and quads to achieve the best possible results.


The fully comprehend the importance of the Jefferson squat you must know more about its history. A strongman with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Charles Jefferson, was highly recognized for his strength. In fact, Jefferson could break chains without breaking a sweat. The human powerhouse created the Jefferson deadlift or Straddle deadlift during his career as a circus performer. 

The Jefferson squat is utilized to strengthen the leg muscles and build both asymmetric and anti-rotation strength. Today, the exercise is still utilized by professional and nonprofessional athletes around the world.

Jefferson Deadlift And Jefferson Squat

While the Jefferson squat and Jefferson deadlift refer to the same exercise created by Charles Jefferson, they vary in a variety of ways. One of the most notable differences is how the exercises are performed. For instance, the Jefferson squat requires the athlete to keep their spine more vertical and knees bent at a higher degree, so the hips drop downwards. This stance allows for greater quad engagement when compared to the Jefferson deadlift.

The Jefferson deadlift, on the other hand, is performed with a more hinging motion and less knee bend to increase hamstring, back and hip loading. It is not unusual for athletes to switch up these movements to achieve the maximum benefits offered by both exercises.

How Has The Jefferson Squat Changed?

As mentioned above, some athletes will switch up the movements of the Jefferson squat and Jefferson deadlift. In fact, the technique has been perverted to the point that it is no longer considered a Jefferson squat. It is not unusual to hear athletes refer to the technique as “straddle deadlift,” which is not the same thing as a Jefferson squat. 

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    Before integrating the Jefferson squat into your workout, you should research its proper technique. Veteran athletes may be able to point you in the right direction, but do not rely on this information alone. Once you become familiar with the technique, you can share your experience with others.

    Traditional Squat And Jefferson Squat

    When some people think of the Jefferson squat, the traditional squat will come to mind. The difference in these two exercises is where the location of the weight during the exercise. In the traditional squat, the weight is placed slightly in front. In a Jefferson squat, the weight is centered under you. Many athletic trainers recommend the Jefferson squat to the traditional squat because it is considered safer.

    When To Do Them 

    If you really want to add quality in a more isolated approach, you should consider throwing in Jefferson squats right after you perform your main sets of squats or deadlifts. This will not only put a lot of emphasis on your leg development, but it will add enhancements to the glute and quad areas as well. With that being said, you should keep in mind that the Jefferson squats could also be used as your main strength lift for one training session. While you might feel the need to add these squats to your normal routine, you shouldn’t feel obligated to do. You should always feel free to perform exercises independently.

    If you want to get out of bed in the middle of the morning and perform Jefferson squats, you should do so. It is your choice. Once you’ve experienced these exercises for yourself, you will likely feel the urge to do them around the clock. Just remember to take breaks frequently to avoid getting yourself injured.

    Benefits Of Jefferson Squats

    So, why would anyone want to do Jefferson squats? The answers are plentiful. The truth of the matter is that Jefferson squats offer a wealth of benefits. As long as you build up your endurance and stick with these squats, you’ll be able to achieve a great deal in a short period of time. Below, you will learn more about the benefits of performing Jefferson squats.

    • Can Help Stabilize Your Core – Your core muscles rely on all surrounding muscles. This includes your quads and lower back. Jefferson squats help you develop both of these muscles and more. By performing this exercise, you’ll be able to strengthen your core quicker than ever before.
    • Improves Muscular Development – Jefferson squats can help you improve your muscular development far quicker than the alternatives.Enhanced Asymmetrical Strength – Asymmetrical training can be a great way to boost your strength and stability. Jefferson squats can deliver enhanced asymmetrical strength with practice and patience.
    • Protects The Spine – Some lifting exercises are very dangerous and could negatively impact your back and spine. This is less of a problem with Jefferson squats. This exercise actually develops the lower back and protects the spine from injuries.
    • Offers Multiplanar Training – Straight line exercises can be very limited. Sometimes, you need to mist it up. The human body can move through three plans of motions simultaneously. Therefore, you should be performing multiplanar training exercises. Look no further than Jefferson squats.
    • More Back Friendly – Individuals will back pains and disorders will often have trouble performing normal squats. If you fit into this category, you should most definitely try Jefferson squats. This exercise is considered less strenuous on the back than others.

    Truly, there are tons of benefits associated with Jefferson squats. In the beginning, they’ll be tough. Nevertheless, they’ll pay off dividends in the long run.

    Who Should Do Jefferson Squats?

    Are you thinking about doing Jefferson squats, but aren’t sure whether or not they’re right for you? The Jefferson squat is a pretty simplistic exercise that is ideal for a large group of individuals. This free-weights exercise can help strengthen your quads. It may also help develop your glutes, hamstrings and lower back to some degree. All you really need to perform this exercise is a barbell. If you want to build your quads or lower back, you should definitely perform this variety of squats.

    Jefferson squats are a good exercise for lots of people. Even if you’re a runner, you can benefit immensely from this exercise. Also, if you suffer from back problems, you will likely prefer Jefferson squats over the alternatives. If you just want to experiment a bit, you should give them a try. There is a good chance that you’ll fall in love with them.

    Tips For Executing Jefferson Squats

    Jefferson squats are a tough exercise that will definitely deliver big results. As long as you stick with them, you’ll eventually be able to build your endurance and strength. In return, this will make performing Jefferson squats so much easier. Thankfully, there are some things that you can do to make the process slightly easier. First and foremost, you should be very precise with your grip. Make sure that your grip remains even at all times.

    Your torso should be in the dead middle of the bar when attempting Jefferson squats. Your feet positioning is also very important. Make sure that your feet are shoulder-width apart. Keep your toes pointed outward slightly. You should also consider mixing it up by performing the exercise with wrist straps. For a tougher or easier exercise, you can try experimenting with a wider and closer stance. Play around with it to find out what works best for you.


    There is absolutely no doubt that Jefferson squats can be tough. Nevertheless, they’re a great workout for people that want to build their quadriceps as quickly as possible. Just remember that you need to take your time and build up your endurance. Do not rush Jefferson squats. Be patient and do not push yourself too hard or you may wind up getting seriously injured.Bruce Kuster graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Biology and Health Science, he is also a coach and CrossFit lover, Bruce likes to share his passion for sport and nutrition on wealthformyhealth.com.