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  • Writer's pictureJulian Molteno

Sissy Squats


Of the many attractions to bodybuilding, for me, the connection to the Ancient and Mythological Greeks was very strong indeed. 

In fact the very first proponent of Progressive Resistance Exercise was nonother than Milo the 6th Century BC Greek wrestler. (Exciting blog post on this trailblazer coming up soon!)

Early bodybuilders and strength athletes felt this link to the ancient Greeks and their ideals very keenly. One such connection I have always liked is the idea that the perfectly proportioned man would have his arms, neck and calves all measuring the same size. Of course the Mr Olympia title harks straight back to the sweat, blood and toil of the games played on Mount Olympus! (Let’s put aside the rumour that Joe Weider named his new bodybuilding competition after a bottle of Olympia Beer that was sold in the bar he was discussing bodybuilding’s future in!)

So you can imagine my delight when I discovered those many years ago that Sissy Squats were not named as such because they were easy, but after the Mythological Greek Sisyphus!

Sisyphus was the King of Corinth and was self-aggrandising, crafty and deceitful. After getting on the wrong side of Zeus he was condemned to push an immense boulder up a steep hill only for it to roll down when it nears the top, repeating this action for eternity. 

Which brings us to the modern exercise of Sissy Squats. This wonderful old exercise (now largely forgotten) has many positive attributes. It will give your quads a stretch like you have never had before, it can be done with relatively little, or no equipment, and is one of the only quad exercises that isolates your quads without using your glutes and hamstrings, thus making it a perfect leg warm up, finishing exercise or as the pre exhaust part of a super set. 

And, whilst building your beautiful, muscular legs you can enjoy the satisfaction of knowing you are continuing a tradition that stretches all the way back to the ancient Greeks and Olympia!


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