Do Not Miss Out on this Monster-Mass-Maker
When lifters discuss the most basic and fundamental compound exercises, the BB Squat is almost always at the forefront of the conversation. And this is for good reason, as there are few movements as effective for building mass, strength and power! However, because squats are also extremely exhausting and difficult, many trainees skip it, and instead choose to substitute far inferior exercises on leg day. Well, I am here to provide 5 compelling reasons why this is a huge mistake if one is truly serious about making profound progress in the gym!
Testosterone Boost: Many research studies have shown that performing several sets of intense squats helps to markedly elevate natural testosterone output. And since “test” is our body’s primary muscle-building hormone, having more of it running through our system is certainly a good thing!
Squat Tip > Speaking of intense squatting, make sure to vary your repetitions from workout to workout to get the most out of this movement. Some days stay in the 4-8 rep range; other days work in the 9-15 rep range; and on days you feel particularly brave, try all-out-sets going to failure in the range of 16-25 reps!
Multiple Muscles: Very few exercises can match BB Squats when it comes to engaging multiple muscles in the body. A perfectly executed squat is a literal symphony of muscular action that brings into play the hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves, while at the same time, effectively activating the “core.” Thus, there is good reason that squats are often referred to as the “king of lower body movements.”
Squat Tip > For some lifters, squatting with the heels resting on 10 lb. weight plates (or wooden board of similar thickness) allows for greater balance and more efficient targeting of the quad muscles.
The Crossover: When I mention “the crossover” what I am referring to is just how much regular (and progressive) squatting contributes to gains in strength in other important muscle-building exercises, such as deadlifts, lunges, leg presses, Hack squats and more. Interestingly, I have seen so many lifters who boast about working with 1000+ lb. on leg presses, for example, that do not practice squatting regularly, and can only utilize maybe 225 lb. for clean reps. However, every person I know that can squat 405 lb. or more can also load up any leg press machine to its limit and crank out reps like a beast!
Squat Tip > Utilize a wide stance to greater target the inner thigh muscles (adductors and vastus medialis) and a narrow stance to more strongly activate the vastus lateralis of the outer thigh.
Sport-Acular: Many mainstream sports, such as football, baseball, basketball and volleyball require athletes to display tremendous leaping/jumping ability, and/or power that manifests via thigh, hip and glute strength. Squats profoundly contribute to each of these attributes and thus can quickly improve performance on the playing field.
Squat Tip > To make even greater progress in sports performance try adding in (along with standard style squats) plyometric-type squat exercises such as Box Squat Jumps, Kneeling Squat Jumps, or BB Jump Squats.
Knee-Friendly: Contrary to popular belief, properly performed squats are not bad for the knees, and in fact many studies have shown the opposite – that deep squats can effectively increase knee stability. Injuries to the knee from squatting will normally only occur when the lifter is a) Using poor biomechanics, b) Attempting more weight than they are ready to handle, and/or c) Not controlling the eccentric contraction and “bouncing” out of the bottom.
Squat Tip > Before beginning an intense squatting workout I recommend the following warm-up: 5-10 minutes on the stationary cycle; 2-3 high rep (15-20) sets of leg curls; 2-3 high rep sets of leg extensions; 1 set of 50 broomstick twists (to get some blood into the core).