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Cannonball Squats – How to do, Benefits & Everything You Need to Know

If you want in-depth information about Cannonball Squats then you are in the right place. This is the complete guide to cannonball squats.

Squats are among the best leg exercises through which you can train your entire lower body muscles. There are many types of squats such as sumo squats, sissy squats, goblet squats, landmine squats, etc.

Cannonball squats are one of the variations of squats that can be done with weights or without weights. They are among the best squats because of their unique benefits and precise muscle targeting.

Here, we will cover almost all the aspects of the Cannonball squat.

Let’s start.

1. What Are Cannonball Squats?

Cannonball squats are one type of squats that focus particularly on the inner quads (the front thigh muscles are called quads).

You have to stand with your feet together (narrow stance) and toes pointing slightly outward while performing these squats.

That’s why cannonball squats are also considered narrow stance squats. This bodyweight exercise is considered best to tone and strengthen your inner quadriceps muscles.

You can get muscular quads with very less effort with this wonderful leg exercise. Not only muscular legs but you can also improve your balance by practicing these squats regularly.

Old lady performing Cannonball Squats

(Old lady performing Cannonball Squats)

To enhance the result, you can also use a weighted vest, barbell, or dumbbell during this exercise. You can also place a plate or use a squat ramp under your heels to get the maximum results from these squats.

These squats are very much similar to goblet squats.

The only difference between cannonball squat and goblet squat is that in cannonball squats you have to keep both legs together and toes slightly outside

Now, let’s understand the best way to perform cannonball squats.

2. How to Practice Cannonball Squats Correctly?

Follow the below steps to perform a 100% accurate cannonball squat.


  • Stand straight and take a deep breathe
  • Keep your feet close together (narrow stance)
  • Make sure that your both toes point slightly outward
  • Lower your hips slowly by bending your knees  (ideally up to the lowest point possible)
  • Slowly release your breath while lowering down
  • Use a weighted vest or dumbbell to increase the resistance
  • Push your quads and get back to the starting position
  • Repeat several times maintaining this movement pattern


  • Bend forward if your body needs a balance
  • Always keep your back in a straight line throughout this movement
  • Don’t put stress on your knees otherwise, you will damage them
  • Don’t hold your breath

See the best way to perform cannonball squats in the below video.

3. Breathing Pattern During Cannonball Squats

Most people get exhausted after practicing a few reps of exercise because they hold their breath. It is absolutely wrong.

Maintaining the breathing pattern throughout any exercise is very important because it doesn’t let you get tired early.

The breathing pattern for a cannonball squat will be the same as we mentioned in the benefits of Hindu squats.

Breathing Pattern During Cannonball Squat –

1) When you are standing straight and ready to perform a cannonball squat, take a deep breath.

2) Release the breath as you go down.

3) Again take a deep breath while pushing yourself up

Repeat this breathing pattern throughout your cannonball squat workout.

4. What Muscle Groups Do Cannonball Squats Target?

Cannonball squats are one of the best bodyweight exercises to strengthen your leg muscles. You can target most of the leg muscles with these squats.

Here is the list of muscles worked by practicing cannonball squats in a correct way.

  • Quadriceps (especially the inner ones)
  • Calves (both front and back)
  • Glutes

They also target,

  • Hamstring muscles
  • Lower back
  • Core

You can tone and strengthen all these muscle groups with regular practice of these squats.

If you practice these squats using a dumbbell, you can also develop your shoulder muscles along with the leg muscles.

5. Benefits of Cannonball Squats

Apart from strengthening quads and other lower body muscles, cannonball squats have many other health benefits.

Let’s know them one by one.

1) Cannonball Squats Can Improve The Lower Body Muscle Endurance

Most people only work on muscle strengthening and not on muscle endurance. Muscle endurance means the capacity of your muscles to work before getting exhausted. It is also called muscle stamina.

Cannonball squat puts a lot of pressure on your leg muscles. If you practice these squats regularly, you can increase your lower body endurance easily.

2) Boosts Your Testosterone Levels

Well, it is not a unique health benefit of cannonball squats.

All leg exercises are known to increase your testosterone levels and this is the reason why we should never miss a leg day.

Testosterone is one of the growth hormones of the body that helps us build muscles, increase strength and powder, improve memory, etc.

3) Cannonball Squats Can Help Us Improve Our Balance

Just like Hindu squats, cannonball squats also help us improve our static balance. Improper balance is one of the most common problems that occur after the forties.

Since we practice these squats by joining both our legs, we have done a great effort to balance ourselves during the exercise.

And it results in an increased static balance.

So, if you want to prevent the balancing problem then you should include cannonball squats in your regular exercise plan.

4) Improves The Flexibility of Your Lower Body Muscles

Increased flexibility of the lower body muscle is one of the health benefits of cannonball squats. While practicing these squats, we bend the knee and lower the body as much as we can and then we stand up.

It means this exercise includes the expansion and contraction of the lower body muscles which result in increased flexibility.

If we regularly practice these squats, we can increase our lower body flexibility to a great extent.

5) Cannonball Squats Can Strengthen Your Knees

Pushing the body up during the upward movement of a cannonball squat, we need great power in our knees.

In the beginning, when our knees are not so strong, we may find it difficult to practice these squats. But as we practice them regularly, our knees become stronger and we will be able to do them perfectly.

And it will eventually result in improved knee strength.

6) They May Improve Your Digestion & Strengthen Your Core Muscles

Lowering down with both legs together can activate the abdominal muscles which may result in improved digestion and a strong core.

Since the cannonball squats contain the same movement, there is a great chance that they can also improve your digestion and strengthen your core muscles.

7) They May Promote Weight Loss

Despite being a regular exercise, cannonball squats require a lot of energy to practice.

It eventually makes you lose more calories and lose extra kgs.

The Other Benefits of Cannonball Squats

  1. They may improve your mood and reduce your cortisol (stress) levels
  2. They provide explosive strength and power to your legs
  3. Precisely target your quadriceps muscles

6. How to Increase The Intensity of Cannonball Squats?

There is no doubt that the cannonball squat is a good exercise. But if you want better results, you have to increase the intensity of cannonball squats.


Don’t worry, here I will tell you the ways to increase the intensity of a cannonball squat.

1) Use Hack Squat Machine in The Gym

If you go to the gym for exercise then you should definitely use a hack squat machine to perform cannonball squats. With the help of this machine, you can increase the resistance by putting on some extra-weight plates.

Such squats are commonly known as cannonball hack squats. If your gym has no hack squat machine then you can practice these squats on the smith machine.

You can use a barbell to practice the cannonball front barbell squats or cannonball back barbell squats. You can also use a weighted vest, kettle ball, or medicine ball to increase the intensity of this squat exercise.

2) Use a Dumbbell

Using a dumbbell to increase the intensity of any squat is one of the most common and best ways. You can choose a dumbbell according to your comfort.

Just remember to keep the right grip while holding a dumbbell throughout the cannonball squats.

3) Lift Your Heels From The Ground

Generally, you have to keep your soles flat on the ground during cannonball squats.

But if you want more pressure on your quads and you don’t have any machine, barbell, or dumbbell then you can use this trick.

Slowly lift your heels as you go down and flatten them as you go up. If you find this move to be difficult in the beginning, you can also use the squat ramp.

In this way, you will be able to train your quads more precisely.


You should not increase the intensity of cannonball squats suddenly. Otherwise, you will end up your exercise injuring your knees.

Slowly raise the intensity and repititions of sqauts.

4) Jumping

Instead of pushing your legs slowly while getting back into a normal position, you can jump. It will also increase the intensity and resistance levels of exercise.

These are a few ways through which you can harden this squat exercise.

7. The Other Variations of Cannonball Squats

Above we discussed the ways to harden the cannonball squat exercise. Now, we will discuss the other variations of these squats that we can practice to train the lower body.

Let’s start.

1) Cannonball Goblet Squats

In regular cannonball squats, we keep a very narrow distance between legs.

But it cannonball goblet squats, you have to keep a wide distance and every other move will be the same.

woman performing cannonball goblet squat

2) Cannonball Jump Squats

In these squats, you have to jump up instead of pushing your body above.

It will also help you put extra resistance on your quads during the exercise.

3) Pistol Cannonball Squats

It is the toughest squat I have ever come across.

These squats are done with one leg, while the other is extended out in front of you.

Muscular man performing cannonball pistol squats

These are a few variations of cannonball squats.

You can practice any of these squats if you want a change from regular cannonball squats.

8. Potential Risks Associated With Cannonball Squats & Ways to Prevent Them

There is no doubt that cannonball squats are one of the best bodyweight workouts for the lower body. But there are a few risks associated with these squats that you can’t neglect.

Here, we will discuss these risks and the best ways to avoid them.

Let’s start.


The first risk is a knee injury. It is often found that beginners end up with these squats damaging their knees and ankles.

It is because they want fast results so they increase weights, practice more sets, etc. The second risk associated with cannonball squats is back injury.

If your exercise movement is not smooth then there is a chance that you damage your back.

The third is damage to leg muscles and the major cause behind it is training too hard, daily, and without taking any rest.

How to Avoid These Risks?

The only possible ways to prevent or lower these risks are mentioned below.

  • Start with a few repetitions
  • Maintain the speed
  • Practice fewer sets in the beginning
  • Keep the workout intensity less in beginning
  • Wear knee compression sleeves while performing the squats
  • Don’t use any extra weights in the beginning
  • Keep the movement smooth and don’t give any kind of a jerk to the body
  • Use a foam roller after working out to reduce muscle soreness
  • Don’t forget to warm up before exercise
  • Must stretch your body after working out

Mind these precautions to prevent any injury to your knees and ankles.

9. Who Should Not Practice Cannonball Squats?

If you have any kind of knee problems or if you have just gone through knee surgery then you must avoid cannonball squats.

A person with balancing problems should also avoid these squats. Here, we have discussed almost all the aspects of cannonball squats.

Now, let me answer some commonly asked questions.

FAQs | Cannonball Squats

1) Are cannonball squats good?

If done with a proper method, cannonball squats are one of the best bodyweight lower body exercises. They help you build your quads, glutes, and calves. They also increase the flexibility and muscle endurance of the lower body.

2) Are cannonball squats bad for your knees?

The simple answer is ” Any leg exercise can harm your knees if practiced in the wrong way and every leg exercise are good for knees if practiced in the correct way”.

3) How many repetitions of cannonball squats should I perform in the beginning?

Practicing 12-15 self-weight cannonball squats is good in the beginning. Then you can increase the weight and repetitions as your stamina and strength increase.

Final Words for Cannonball Squats

Here, we have discussed everything that you need to know about cannonball squats. These squats are one of the best leg exercises to train your glutes, calves, and quads (especially the inner ones).

I hope this guide will help you understand cannonball squats deeply. If you have any questions regarding cannonball squats, you can ask me in the comment box below.

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