There’s no such thing as a good excuse not to squat. Yeah, we said it. Bad knees, an achy lower back, a lack of equipment—these excuses for not squatting won’t cut it, especially when you consider all the variations that exist for the “king of exercises.”

You don’t want to put a barbell on your back and squat with it? Fine. You don’t have to. But you must do some version of the movement to build lower-body strength and size, optimize core stabilization and function, maintain adequate range of motion in the hips, knees, and ankles, and ensure a respectable level of overall fitness and health.

Squat down until your thighs reach at least parallel with the floor, then properly use the biggest muscles in your body to stand back up. Repeat this many times over, and you’re officially squatting, just as nature intended. How you choose to load the movement is up to you. On the following pages, you’ll find six great squat variations, plus a sample leg-training routine showing you how to incorporate them. Start with one or more of these, and leave the excuses behind.