Vince Gironda’s Sissy Squats – Quad Builder Or Knee Killer?

Vince Gironda was an old school bodybuilding trainer and owner of a very popular bodybuilding gym producing champions. He was also the mentor of the first Mr. Olympia Larry Scott.

Gironda had a certain idea how the body is supposed to look and one of his characteristics of a good looking physique was having small hips and big legs or in street urban terms – small ass, big quads.

But how do you do that?


Vince Gironda's Sissy Squats - Quad Builder Or Knee Killer?

Vince Gironda was known for his ‘if you don’t like me, fuck you.’ attitude.

When you do squats, no matter what type, it’s really hard to take the glutes out of the exercise because any squat is a hip extension for the most part. This is how Vince Gironda came up with two special movements – the sissy squat and the roman chair squat.

In the video below you can see Vince Gironda demonstrating his very own sissy squat.

While the exercise usually causes insane pump in the quads, it also places significant stress on the knees. If you observe carefully, the knees are traveling far above your toes which increases the strain at the front of the knee. This can can cause injuries to the patellar tendon as well as the knee ligaments.

Another problem with the sissy squat is that it does not allow you to lift a lot of weight. It does not matter how strong you are – your knees can never handle serious poundage in that position. That’s a downside because this way the exercise becomes essentially a quad isolation similar to the leg extension.

Truth be told most people would be better doing other forms of quad dominant movements instead of this gimmicky exercise. For example, the high bar squat done with erect body and weightlifting shoes will allow you to lift a lot of weight while placing less stress on the knees and still building your legs.

….but what about my ass?

Many people are afraid that their rears will get too big as a result from doing squats. While some growth is needed in order to have balanced physique nobody wants to walk around with an ass so big that passing through the door is a pain. However, never confuse a fat ass with a muscled ass. Many people mix the two. Unless you already have low body fat percentage, you can’t effectively judge your glute development. The reason is that this is one of the places where the body stores body fat first.

To minimize glute development from squats don’t perform low bar squats ever. This is one of the most glute dominant movements you can ask for.

Conclusion: Sissy squats isolate the quadriceps while reducing the involvement of the hips but are not a solid leg exercise because of the knee stress. Most people would benefit more from doing other versions of the squat. While the exercise causes serious burn in your legs this is not an indication of progress.

Remember: doing leg extensions with 10 lbs can cause your quads to burn, but that does not equal growth nor strength gains.

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