Squatting sucks. No debate; they’re easily the most dreaded exercise among the lifting community. However, they’re also one of the most effective exercises a lifter can perform. The results speak for themselves. As much as I dread getting under the bar, I will never give up barbell back squats, as they are great for building size and strength in a time-efficient manner.
If you’re a true bro, you know, a skipper of leg day, can barely squat a buck 85, chicken leg type of guy, well, I’m here to save you. I want you to join the movement and help cure golf T syndrome. It’s a widespread disease among the Tik Tok generation, and I want to cure it. If you suffer from golf T syndrome, read this article from start to finish as I enlighten you on the how, why, and when of squatting. If you already squat and have some nice-looking tree trunks, well, now’s your time to gloat and revel as I talk about how great squats are.
With that, let me teach you about the importance of squats.
Why Are Squats So Important?
Squats are part of what I consider to be the big 6 of exercises.
Many powerlifters may try to brainwash you into thinking that you only need to perform the holy trinity, AKA SBD(squat, bench, and deadlifts). While on the opposite end, you have bodybuilders performing over a million exercises per workout.
My belief is that there are 6 core exercises that every lifter must perform. They are the:
- Bench press
- Overhead press
- Bentover row
You can do variations of the big 6, but you cannot outright neglect and replace them. For example, you can swap out the bench press for an incline or dumbbell press, but you cannot outright replace it with something like a cable fly or hammer press.
Now, since squats are in the big 6 in my eyes, that means they’re a mandatory movement. That doesn’t mean you have to do barbell back squats exclusively, as you can do a variation if you’d prefer.
Some variations that I deem acceptable are,
- Front squats
- SSB squats
- Box squats
- Paused squats
- Dumbbell split squats (you’ll have to add in more glute work)
- Belt squats
- Goblet squats (beginners only, first 1-2 months)
Notice how I don’t have leg press, hack squats, or any other type of leg machine in here. Well, that’s because machines are just simply inferior to free weights, sorry but the truth hurts.
Side Note – Free weight squats are also much more cost effective if you’re thinking about building a home gym. A good power rack, is much cheaper then a good leg press machine.
Now, why are squats part of the big 6? Why are they a mandatory exercise?
Squats Work The Whole Body
It is true that squats primarily stimulate lower body growth, specifically the quads, low back, and glutes.
But squats do indeed warrant a growth response from the entire body. Fitness culture has this tendency to focus on things in isolation.
E.g. separating the upper and lower body, trying to work specific muscle groups, etc.…
This isn’t a bad thing, in fact, it’s very smart, but we have to remember that the body is one singular unit. It takes the whole body to squat that bar up and down, that’s why it’s so hard. Your whole body is fatigued and stimulated during a squat. Which indicates that the exercise warrants a response from your entire body. The squat stimulates tons of muscle growth, only matched by the deadlift (another extremely hard full-body exercise).
If you haven’t already, add some squats into your routine. Start performing any squat variation at least 2 times per week, and watch the muscle grow like weeds.
Squats Build Character
Heavy squats are hard! If you’ve done a hard set of squats, you know what I’m talking about. It’s a whole-body experience that will leave you shaking and gasping for air.
Heavy squats are only outdone by heavy deadlifts, making them the 2nd hardest compound movement (in my opinion).
Side Tangent – if you can do heavy deadlifts, you can do heavy squats.
Doing these hard, brutal compound lifts will make you tougher, both mentally and physically. You don’t have to train like blood and guts era Dorion Yates, but you sure as hell have to push it harder then the average commercial gym schmuck. Squatting and deadlifting are what separate the average population, from the lifting population.
It takes a certain type of fearlessness and relentlessness to go for a PR on each of these movements and to really push it. Going for a PR on a squat or deadlift is like running headfirst into a fire. You know it’s going to be painful, but you still push forward despite the consequences.
Well, if you’ve added squats into your next workout because of this article, great!
Hopefully, I’ve cured any gym bros suffering from flamingo leg syndrome. Trust me, as a former chicken leg haver like myself, it ain’t a good look.
Alright, guys I hope this article helped you out, and I look forward to hearing your feedback in the comments.