The “squat” is the ultimate exercise. No other exercise comes close in recruiting overall muscle tissue to do as much work as the squat. If used right, the squat is the greatest tool in your “lean gains” arsenal.
If your looking for the best way to achieve core strength, welcome to the world of squats. As you increase your squat lifts, you’ll notice a weight increase with all of your other muscle groups, simultaneously. They’re simply effective.
How Squats Changed My Body
If you suffer from “flat butt”, look no further than the squat. I won’t waste time looking for a study that shows you how effective squats are for shaping your back end. I cat attest to the awesomeness of squats via my own personal testimony.
When I began lifting weights over 20 years ago, I weighed in at 145 lbs and had no noticeable muscle. I was 19 and I had a firm belief that weights were going to be change I had hoped for all my life.
The results were instant and I couldn’t have been happier. I easily put on over 20 lbs in my first year. The second year showed much progress as well.
The third year was the first time I experienced anything in the way of a plateau.
It was time to start working legs.
I spent the next few years including squats as part of my weekly workout routine. Much like when I started working my upper body, the results came quickly.
Squats didn’t only add mass to my frame. They completely changed my physique.
When I started lifting at 19, my size 28 jeans would fall off me without a belt. I add no ass. Squats not only changed that but baby, I got back! I ended up in a tight-fitting size 36 jean. I had a rock-hard rump and I loved it.
My legs had gotten so big that most days, I had to slap Vaseline on my inner thighs to combat the pain induced by my legs continually rubbing together when I walked.
At the age of 30, I was performing squats 2X every week. I maxed out on several occasions at 615 lbs. I now weighed in at 240 and I favored no other other exercise as much as doing squats. I loved the rush of being that strong and the challenge of trying to push my body a little further.
I was eating over 8,000 calories a day and not seeing any noticeable increase in fat. Squats were the primary reason I gained muscle mass and strength.
If your desire is to get big or get ripped, squats can be a huge part of your results by incorporating them into your weekly workout.
Correct Form For Squatting
Bar position ultimately determines your back angle, as seen in the comparison of the front-squat, the high-bar squat and the low-bar squat, all seen below.
The bar should remain balanced over your mid-foot, in any variation of the squat you choose. Imagine drawing an imaginary line from the middle of your foot, straight up above you. Does the line travel through your barbell? It should.
Keep the back straight. You decide how low to go but keep in mind 2 things:
- The deeper your squat, the more your butt is exercised.
- If you decide to do deep squats, imagine that you are sitting in a chair at the bottom of your rep. Don’t go any lower than this. You crossover from a lot of leg growth to a lot of future knee problems and that’s not a problem you want.
Performing squats right takes some time to learn. You’ll lack stability as a beginner and that takes a few months to get. As you become more stable, really focus on driving from the top of your legs and your bum. That’s where you want to be sore the next day so work it hard. Be careful because going to deep with too much weight can have a long-term negative effect on your knees. You can’t do enough to take care of your knees.
Squats are an amazing tool. Unfortunately, I’ve reached an age where my knees give me a lot of trouble, so I stick to the Smith machine for most leg workouts now, but I can usually always make my legs sore.
Come to think of it.. that’s another reason I used to love working legs. Sometimes, pain is a very good thing.
Work those legs and watch the gains come!