A smart coach or trainee usually puts squats near the top of his priority list when it comes to top exercise in the gym. And he wouldn’t be wrong to do so.

The squat provides endless benefits as the undisputed king of lower-body movements. And if you can capably do squats, you probably should. Squats promote healthy hips, knees, and total-body strength in a functional way.

All that being said: Some people can’t get in the groove under the barbell because squats simply aren’t comfortable for them, even with no plates on the barbell. Immobility and body mechanics are often to blame. Whatever your reason, these slight modifications to the traditional squat just may make the movement a winner for you.