What is a prisoner squat?

As the name itself suggests, a prisoner squat is indeed an exercise wherein your positioning is similar to that of a prisoner being arrested. The hands are placed at the back of the head just like a prisoner does when he gets arrested by police or some authority. 

The Prisoner Squat is a conditioning exercise and can be performed at higher acceleration over many reps, through various versions. You can try varied dynamic iterations of the mechanics to enhance functional strength and mobility. 

How to do the Prisoner Squat? 

Maintaining the positioning:

Before you go ahead and follow the steps to do a prisoner squat, you must also understand how to maintain your initial position in a prisoner squat. Any exercise will only give you optimum benefits when you employ the proper method and technique to do it.

 It is also extremely necessary to keep track of the time duration. If you are new to exercises, it is recommended to keep the time limit short during the initial phases of your exercise. 

Given below are the steps that need to be followed to keep your positioning perfect.

  1. Stand isolated, clearing away an area of around 5-foot diameter from any type of obstructions, machines, etc.
  2. Turn your knees and feet slightly in the outward direction and place your feet slightly wider than the shoulder width.
  3. Interlace your fingers and place both of your hands on the back of your head. 
  4. Keep your back perfectly straight and shrug your shoulder blades together to retract your shoulders. As a result of this step, your elbows are going to naturally stretch outwards a little. 
  5. This is the position in which you will start doing your squat, with your back straight, head forward, and arms at the back of your head, with shrugged shoulder blades.

Now that you have understood the resting position of the prisoner squat, let us move on and understand the steps you need to follow thereafter.

Here are the steps you can follow to do a prisoner squat:

  1. Tilt your upper body in the forward direction.
  2. Stand with your toes slightly pointed out, feet shoulder-width apart.
  3. Bend your knees a little, while at the same time, placing your hands behind your head.
  4. Avoid pushing your head forward using your hands.
  5. Point out your elbows sideways.
  6. Go back to the position where you started and repeat the steps.
prisoner squat

Variations of Prisoner squat exercise

Prisoner squats are done both with and without additional weights. There are also various ways in which you can do this exercise to improve your leg strength as well as core body strength. Some versions of the prisoner squat exercise are listed below:

1. Prisoner squat box

A prisoner squat box is similar to a regular bodyweight box squat. You just need a simple box, not too high, and attempt your squat like you do a box squat with one tweak, which requires a good amount of balance.

2. Prisoner squat jump

To do a prisoner squat jump, you need to follow all the steps as given above, that you follow to do a normal prisoner squat. The only difference between the two is that when doing a prisoner squat jump, you need to jump and set your feet away from the deck as much as possible for you.

This is a plyometric exercise and enhances the functional strength of the exercise. Plyometrics is also a great technique to improve overall functional strength, balance, coordination, and explosiveness of your body.

3. Advanced Prisoner squat

Since this is an advanced stage of the exercise, you need to do this one along with bodyweights. For greater difficulty level, you can hold weights in both of your hands, whereas you might even try jumping as you rise from the squat.

4. Prisoner squat for prenatal

During pregnancy, exercises or workouts with a lot of stress or weight aren’t generally allowed, hence, for pregnant women, it is advisable to do a wall squat instead. Do not squat too low and use an exercise ball to support your back.

5. Weak lower back prisoner squat

If you have a weak lower back, doing a prisoner squat against a wall would be advisable for you. You can also use an exercise ball to support your back, and also remember to keep your core engaged.

What are the benefits of a prisoner squat exercise?

If you are looking for reasons to include prisoner squat in your workout routine, let us list out some benefits of these exercise for you:

  1. A prisoner squat utilizes all posterior as well as several anterior chain muscle groups, including hamstring muscles, core, abdominals, hip flexors, etc.
  2. It helps with the strength and endurance of the lower posterior muscles that work in the squat.
  1. The rotational chain muscles: the opposite and antagonist muscle movements, all of them together help in strengthening the core.
  1. They are extremely beneficial for various other reasons like mobility, coordination, balance and injury prevention, etc. 
  1. Limiting the movement of your hands while simultaneously making the legs take the lead helps in strengthening the legs, the glute as well as the core. 
  1. A prisoner squat is also a suitable and good exercise for a cardio workout for heart patients. By increasing the tempo of the squat and increasing the time you give for rests between sets of exercises, your workout can turn into a high-intensity cardio session. You can do these for a total of 30 minutes from your complete workout session.
  1. Using different weights, or other tools like benches or stools can change the angle, torque, and levers required to do the squat. Little changes can therefore be done, to achieve greater results, which can help achieve your ultimate strength goals.

We hope these prisoner squat benefits and tips from us encourage and motivate you to include a prisoner squat in your daily workout routine, and strengthen your legs and core, and enhance your functional strength along with a lot of other benefits. 

Stay strong, stay healthy, and keep those intense workouts going on.