Jefferson Squats Exercise: How to Do, Muscles Worked & Tips

jefferson squats

Jefferson Squats are a type of exercise for the development of the leg muscles. It has many different names, such as “squats in saddle” and “horse”. A distinctive feature of this movement is that during it, the bar is not on the shoulders, but between the legs.

What Muscles Do Jefferson Squats Work?

Jefferson Squats helps strengthen the muscles of the thighs and buttocks. It also has a static effect on the shoulder girdle, because you are holding the barbell in your hands.

The main load is taken by the quadriceps femoris muscle. Much of the work goes to the gluteus maximus. Additionally, the trapezius muscles, the inner thigh, the calves, the biceps of the thigh and the lower back are involved.

The exercise is performed with a barbell. The weight is chosen by the athlete depending on his or her fitness. You should choose a weight that allows you to do at least 10-12 reps. At the same time, on the last repetitions, you should feel strong muscle tension and fatigue to ensure your working weight is correct.

How to Do Jefferson Squats?

Jefferson Squats belong to the basic group and have an average execution difficulty. This means that you can start learning them if you already have a basic level of training.

The exercise has no categorical contraindications. But, you should be careful for those who have recently suffered injuries to the spine, lower back or knees. If you have any concerns, you should first consult with a doctor or sports specialist.

How to do the squats? To start, load the bar with the right number of weight plates and take the starting position:

  1. Stand so that the bar is between your legs. In this case, the body will be clearly in the middle of the bar. Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart and your feet are slightly turned outwards;
  2. Inhale and slowly lower yourself into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor. With your right hand, grab the bar in front of you, and with your left hand, grab the bar from behind;
  3. Exhale and push off from the floor with your feet and, keeping an even back position and ridged posture, lift the barbell. Hold the bar at arm’s length, bending your elbows slightly. So you will remove unnecessary tension from the shoulders and arms.
  4. As you inhale, go down again. This is one repeat.

Do 10-15 reps, rest a little, and do 1-2 more sets.


How to make the Jefferson Squats as productive as possible? Use the following recommendations:

  • Throughout the exercise, maintain the vertical position of the body in relation to the floor. Keep your head straight and look straight ahead. In addition, the knees should not go beyond the level of the ankles.
  • Try to perform the action at the expense of the effort of the hips, and not with the help of the hands. Otherwise, all the tension will pass to the muscles of the hands, and the exercise will lose its effectiveness.
  • Do squats at a slow pace for 2-3 counts. Get up from the squat also slowly to engage the negative feedback pumps.


The Jefferson Squat is a non-standard exercise for working out the thighs and buttocks. Due to the unusual grip, the movement strains the small muscles and numerous stabilizers, which allows you to achieve quick results. If you perform the exercise regularly and correctly, you will be able to achieve beautiful and harmoniously developed legs in the shortest possible time.

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