The squat is the proverbial “King of Exercises.” Whether that is true or not, I decided to ask other exercises for their opinions.
DO SQUATS – Chest flies said: “Yes, they are pretty important.”
Barbell Rows stated: “Oh squats, yes! When done properly they will make your entire body grow.”
Barbell curls observed: “Yep. In fact, people like to do me where they should be doing squats. This is a perennial source of ‘GYM HUMOR!’” (Then barbell curls laughed hysterically and started to cry. Barbell curls are weird like that sometime.)
Squats ARE one of the best things you can do with your body in the gym, as long as you do them correctly. While there are multiple variations, stances, grips, etc. when I say correctly I mean this.
Depth parallel (or slightly below.)
Here is a test to see if you are correctly squatting with appropriate depth:
Do you Squat (yes/no?)
If answer is yes, continue test. If no, go to gym and squat.
Have you grown at all (yes/no?)
If answer is yes you have an idea of what you are doing. If no, you are not squatting correctly so go to gym and squat for real.
Squatting is essential in building a complete physique, regardless of your goals. Whether you are searching for better health, some sweet muscles, performance for a sport, flexibility, or just a legitimate reason to wear a weight belt at the gym, the power of the squat cannot be overestimated.
Many times I see what the kids are doing with their “memes” on the internet, mentioning things like “Friends don’t let friends skip leg day.” (Har Har Har,) but leg day should not be considered leg day without squats. Leg day is not “wrap my knees, put an obscene amount of weight on leg press, press it with minimal range of motion while screaming because it looks heavy but I’m not really pushing my body, burn out on the leg extension machine, drink my overpriced post-workout drink, and talk about how hard I just trained legs in-between taking gym selfies” day.
Well it can be, if you enjoy the status quo.
But if you want true results your entire body will thank you for, do squats!
If you have no depth on squat, do not worry about weight. Start light, go deep, your results will sky rocket. It’s not about breaking records, because records can’t be broken if they’re not done properly (I know because I just missed a personal best 535lb squat by an inch and I am upset.)
I will cover actual squatting, including high-bar vs. low bar, front and back, more, but if you are super pumped to go do legs, try this simple squat program.
5 sets of 5 squats. Proper form. Proper depth.
There are countless videos available on YouTube focusing on form. Beginning squat is simple though. Comfortable grip (I like slightly past shoulder width,) feet shoulder width and pointing forward. Remove bar, squat past parallel, look up, keep chest up, back as straight as possible, push off heels, go to where you started, do it again.
Squatting often comes with the excuse of, “I have bad knees and a bad back (sad face.)” Yes, well, so do I, worse than you do I’m sure (thanks life choices!) One thing that has helped this is a good solid belt, and knee sleeves from my dear friends at Rehband (which I will discuss nonstop in future.)
Partial results will come with partial reps. Depth and form are critical, but when you have the form down, guess what… you’re squatting now! Start light, forget about weight, and don’t worry about what the dope on the smith machine is doing. Be honest with your form and honest with yourself. From there you will see nearly immediate progress and the sky is the limit. The sky is the limit because your legs will be incredibly strong and you can jump higher.