Zombie squats may sound like a bit of a novelty, but they’re actually a highly effective variation of the traditional back squat.
Also known as Frankenstein squats, they are a useful exercise to understand and know how to perform correctly.
If you haven’t tried them before, in this article, we take a closer look at zombie squats and answer some frequently asked questions about them.
What Are Zombie Squats?
Zombie squats get their name due to the position of your arms during the movement. While doing a zombie squat, your arms are straight out in front of you with the bar resting on the front of your shoulders, giving you the appearance of a typical zombie walking as you would see on TV and in movies.
How To Do A Zombie Squat
The starting position for a zombie squat has the bar resting on the front of your shoulder muscles with your feet hip-width apart and toes pointing in front of you.
- Once the bar is stable in this position, extend your arms out in front of you keeping the bar in its starting position.
- Begin your squat movement by bending your knees and moving your backside down towards the ground.
- Bend slightly forward at the waist but keep your chest up to maintain an upright position.
- Continue your downwards movement to perform as deep a squat as possible before driving down into your heels to push yourself back up into the starting position.
- Repeat this movement for the desired number of reps and sets.
Benefits of Zombie Squats
One of the main benefits of zombie squats is that they encourage almost perfect technique, which is important for posture and to avoid back issues.
This is because your hands are not holding the bar in place.
During a zombie squat, if you drop your chest and lose your upright position, the bar will roll forwards and you will have to immediately correct your body position.
They’re also very useful for beginner squatters as the weight is usually quite light. This helps you learn the correct body position for most squat variations.
What Muscles Do Zombie Squats Work?
Like pretty much all squat variations, zombie squats work your lower back and leg muscles.
Zombie squats, like front squats, are quad dominant. So it’s a great exercise if you want to build up your thighs.
In addition to your quadriceps, zombie squats also work your hamstrings and glutes.
What’s The Difference Between Zombie Squats And Front Squats?
Front squats and zombie squats are very similar exercises.
The biggest difference is in the positioning of your arms. In a front squat, your arms are bent and the bar is resting on your fingers.
In a zombie squat, your arms are straight out in front of you and you are not holding the bar in place.
Zombie squats are actually a good way of improving your front squat technique, as they force you to stay in the correct squatting position throughout.
If you lose correct positioning, the bar will roll forwards encouraging you to return to a more upright position.
Are Zombie Squats Better Than Front Squats?
Zombie squats should be favored over front squats if you are trying to improve your squatting technique.
In terms of muscles worked, there is minimal difference between zombie squats and front squats. But as zombie squats encourage near-perfect technique, your lower back is likely to be more protected.
If you are hoping to squat heavy weights, then zombie squats aren’t ideal, as you’ll be using much lighter weights when zombie squatting compared to front squats and back squats.
However, zombie squats can be used as a great foundation builder for all squat variations, including front squats and heavy back squats.
Both zombie squats and front squats have great benefits and are very useful variations of the traditional back squat.
If you’re a beginner or if you’re looking to perfect your squat technique, zombie squats are better than front squats.
If you’re a more experienced squatter or you are looking to lift as much weight as possible, front squats may be a better choice for you.
Hope this helped!
I’ve been in the fitness and strength training industry for nearly a decade. In that time, I’ve gained 30 pounds of muscle, written hundreds of articles, and reviewed dozens of fitness supplements. As for my educational background, I’m a currently studying for my Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training.