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Book Review: The Sissy Squat

Many exercises that we take for granted nowadays were invented long ago. Take the Sissy Squat. Now here is an exercise that is both poorly understood and that has probably been around for over a century. It was practiced by most bodybuilders at Vince’s Gym, who searched to perfect their thigh sweep development to a point that it created an illusion of height and greater V-Taper. That was the point of the Sissy Squat, as well as all of the exercises taught at Vince’s Gym by Vince Gironda. However, nowadays, this exercise has been bastardized to the point that it has become unrecognizable! Fortunately, however, the booklet that used to circulate at Vince’s Gym is now available again through www.vincegironda.com.

Why is it called the Sissy Squat?

This is a common question that is asked, especially today. Firstly, the true name of the Sissy Squat is actually The Three-Phase Squat or The Three-Phase Monty Wolford Squat, because according to Vince Gironda, it is named after its inventor, the great and late Monty Wolford. Vince was obsessed with using the Sissy Squat, claiming it to be the greatest exercise for thigh development. He would laugh at bodybuilders, and even insult them, stating that that Barbell Back Squat was useless at developing the thighs, and would only develop the Gluteus Maximus and widen the hips, throwing off the bodybuilders V-Taper. To add insult to injury, Vince Gironda would state that The Three-Phase Monty Wolford Squat would make a Sissy out of any bodybuilder or weightlifter that would try to perform the exercise. We all know Vince was quite a character! But he did have a point. If you have ever tried the Sissy Squat, you would understand where his statement comes from….as it is a very difficult exercise to perform, and when performed correctly…..well your thighs would be SCREAMING! By the way….after Vince famously stated that it would make a Sissy out of anyone that tried it, well, the name Sissy Squat stuck!

Why the Sissy Squat?

The purpose of the Sissy Squat was to add more mass to the lower quad musculature around the knee joint to create a better pleasing line and sweep of the thigh. The idea was to create enough muscle around the knee and middle thigh to the point where it was the same circumference as the upper thigh, giving the illusion of greater leg length, which would accentuate one’s V-Taper, assuming one had, of course, muscularized and reduced the waistline and was focusing on developing an aesthetic classic looking physique.

Who invented the Sissy Squat?

As mentioned before, the inventor of the Sissy Squat was Monty Wolford, at least according to Vince Gironda. However, I have spoken to the great Marvin Eder, and through my conversations with him, he and other bodybuilders were performing it too, which makes me wonder if Monty Wolford actually invented it at all, or simply taught it to Vince Gironda. Regardless, Vince Gironda did learn it from Monty Wolford, and previous to its more common name of the Sissy Squat, it was called The Three-Phase Monty Wolford Squat.

Performing the Sissy Squat

Unfortunately, the internet is full of wannabe keyboard experts, or instructors that simply do not know what they are talking about. I have seen time and time again, the incorrect performance of the Sissy Squat, with most people confusing the Roman Chair Squat with the Sissy Squat. Another common error I have often seen is that the trainee or instructor may be performing only one part of the Thee-Phase Monty Wolford Squat. But why was it called the Three Phase Monty Wolford Squat? Well, therein lies the answer. The correct performance of the Sissy Squat requires one to perform a combination of three different movements namely:

  1. The Knee Drop
  2. The Burlesque Bump
  3. The Flush Out

If the three movements are performed as listed above using the correct form and in the right combination, then this can truly be called a Sissy Squat, or a Three-Phase Monty Wolford Squat.

The below diagram is pretty self-explanatory and demonstrates each of the three movements listed above. Each movement is supposed to be performed for only 5 reps each, each in succession, for a total of 3 reps. This completes one set. According to Vince, he was taught that one was not supposed to perform more than 5 sets, with 3 sets being ideal. If weight was to be used, then a light to moderate barbell could be used once you were able to perform the movements correctly.

Because this was also a shaping movement that accentuated the muscular delineations of the quadriceps muscles, it was recommended to perform the Sissy Squat when in preparation for competition, as were other exercises like the Hack Machine Squat.

Another Awesome Reproduction!

Once again, www.vincegironda.com has come out with a new reproduction that honors the original publication that circulated during the golden years of bodybuilding. Comparing the newly released reproduction of The Sissy Squat with my original copy, I can tell you that the new reproduction contains all the information found in the original copy. Not only is every word the same, but the diagrams, anatomical discussion at the end, and the recommended diet are too!

www.vincegironda.com has done a brilliant job at reproducing this timeless classic.


As you can see, The Sissy Squat booklet is an excellent guide to performing one of the most poorly understood exercises that were advocated and practiced at Vince’s Gym. If you want to bring your thigh development to a development reminiscent of the Golden Era classic physiques, then get yourself a copy of the newly released booklet by www.vincegironda.com and perform the exercise correctly, as was taught by the late and great Vince Gironda!

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