Skip to main content

How To Do The Prisoner Squat

exercises
(Image credit: Unknown)

 In This Series

Contrary to expectations, the prisoner squat isn’t a particularly punishing move, it’s just called that because it’s a squat variation in which you keep your hands on your head throughout. As if you only had a very small space to train and someone had taken away your access to gym kit. Keeping your hands on lockdown means you can’t enlist your arms to help maintain balance on the way down or generate momentum for the way back up.

Restricting yourself in this way will increase the demands on your legs, making this type of squat more taxing for your glutes, hamstrings and quads. As well as sentencing your legs to some hard time, the prisoner squat also makes your core an accessory to the exercise and it will help improve your balance.

How To Do The Prisoner Squat

Start with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing out slightly. Keep your chest up and place both hands on the back of your head, with your elbows pointing out to the sides. Lower slowly by moving your hips down and back, keeping your back straight and looking forwards, until your thighs are parallel to the ground, then drive back up, pushing through your heels. Aim to take three seconds to lower, pause at the bottom of the move, then take one or two seconds to return to standing. Aim for three sets of 12 reps.

Jake Stones
Jake Stones

Jake was formely an intern for Coach and now contributes workouts from some of London’s top trainers. As well as training in the gym and running, he’s competed in the eight-hours-long overnight event Europe's Toughest Mudder twice and the 24-hours-long World's Toughest Mudder once.