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Barbell Squat.
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DNAHelix

New York, USA

The purpose of this thread is to evaluate the experiences and share opinions in regards to BB Squat

I'll go first. In my opinion the exercise is equally harmful and useless when the hypertrophy is the goal. Nothing damages your lumbar region quite like the BB Squat. 60% of the weight on your shoulders is absorbed by your back and only 40% goes into the legs.

My best gains, in terms of leg development happened when I was avoiding the squat.

What are your experiences?
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sirloin

Imo the BB squat is the single most overrated exercise in existence, the biggest issue for me is that at no point in the exercise does the spine get deadloaded (unless its a pin squat). When i did bb squat, because of my height and frame it was more of hybrid of a squat and good morning.

As ive mentioned elsewhere, since i stopped squatting my knees and back have felt much better, moreover ive made much better progress with other exercises.
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backtrack

The squat is a must.
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

==Scott==
I found the squat a great glute builder, great for women but not for me. I don't like the look of big ass glutes except on women. I've always hated squats for the above reason and because once you load a bar on your shoulders it causes loads of problems to other parts of the body but even today I do free weight squats. Sometimes at work I do a set of two of 50 to 100 no weight squats and it gives my legs the exercise they need from sitting at my desk too long.
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Average Al

I have a love/hate relationship with squats.

On the love side: one simple exercise works a lot of muscle: legs, hips, lumbar extensors. Plus it feels good, if you can do it pain free.

On the hate side: when heavily loaded, the exercise can put a lot of stress on knee joints, hip joints, and low back. Doing too much volume, with too much weight can really leave me feeling beat up, with nagging injuries.

It is impressive to watch someone strap up and squat a heavily loaded barbell below parallel in good form and control. It is quite an impressive athletic feat. But that seems to be mostly a young man's game. (Yes, some older guys can still manage it, but they may be the lucky exceptions.)

As I get older, I am still inclined to squat a bit, but I mostly just try to get in a modest amount of volume with a weight that requires some effort. I stay away from grinding reps, PR attempts, etc. I stick with weights where I feel in full control and where the bar moves well. I suppose I am starting to treat it more like an accessory exercise, and continue to do it mainly to preserve mobility and function, rather than as a purely strength or hypertrophy focused exercise.

Exercises where you can work the legs without hammering the back and knees are great alternatives: hip belt squat, leg press, trap bar dead squats, etc.
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too old

I think the squatting movement is the best for the thighs/lower body. But not as a bilateral movement. I wish I never did regular squats and deadlifts. Both wreaked my back.
Singled legged squats not only seem to work the thighs more efficiently but can also be a real killer done for higher reps. Have not worked on single leg deadlifts yet.

This coach does not think bilateral squats are best even for young athletes.
https://www.T-Nation.com/...an-split-squats
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BorisV

Maryland, USA

DNAHelix wrote:
The purpose of this thread is to evaluate the experiences and share opinions in regards to BB Squat

I'll go first. In my opinion the exercise is equally harmful and useless when the hypertrophy is the goal. Nothing damages your lumbar region quite like the BB Squat. 60% of the weight on your shoulders is absorbed by your back and only 40% goes into the legs.

My best gains, in terms of leg development happened when I was avoiding the squat.

What are your experiences?


Squat is just a tool; you have a limitless options how to use it (different methods and techniques) and that will ultimately determine whether the tool is good for purpose or not. Certainly, there are certain predispositions (I for one doesn't have a good build for effective squatting), but you can adjust squat technique or the tool itself (Frank Zane's Leg Blaster, or hip squat, or squat in a Smith machine) to better target your muscles. Another big point: irrespective of the tool and methods used, one may have only limited growth potential in legs, therefore, the maintenance, cuts / separation (if that is the goal) and safety should be your considerations. I know an expert (whom I deeply respect) who marvels Zane Leg Blaster, and I clearly see his point: I definitely prefer this piece of equipment over the standard BB squat. However, with some reservations: unfortunately, I had some low-back strains squatting in leg blaster too; proper position is extremely important if you want target mid and low quads (otherwise, I feel it in buttock / groin area most, where I don't want the growth to take place), squats are brutal if you apply certain techniques (like 50-rep challenge, Rest-pause + Pump, Tension/rest, etc.). Personally, I don't favor exercises which make me huff and puff - my focus transfers from the muscles (where I want it to be) to other aspects (like avoiding fainting, maintaining good posture, etc.). In my teens I squatted with 250-300 lbs for up to 20 reps in multiple sets, and my legs have always been lean - probably, I don't have a large growth potential in them anyway. I can walk 30 km a day without being tired. I once increased my body weight from 70kg to 82 kg and my legs were a pair of fatty trunks too, but luckily I was able to get back to my normal weight and cut the BF. BTW, my wife likes when I have lean legs - in this way I can have a better look with longer legs and wider shoulders. As for my current training: I change things a lot and very often, using Nautilus duo squat, leg extension, two types of leg curls, roman chair squat, even Bowflex and Zane's leg blaster as my tools. However, I reserve the latter for the days when I am full of energy and can really push an envelope.
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epdavis7

Did them for years. Low rep, 20 rep, rest pause, continuous tension, you name it. For general strength and hypertrophy they are not needed. Heresy, I know. My primary lower body movements are hip belt Squats, weighted 45 degree hyperextensions, dumbbell calf raises and tibia raises.
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backtrack

For the idiots that fear like large glutes, you'll never be as strong as you can be. They're the biggest most powerful muscles in the body. Good luck.
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HDLou

Ive never been very good at squatting. Even though Im not tall at 5'8" I would always tend to lean forward to far if I tried even going to parallel and found my best depth to stop at was slightly above parallel. The past year or so, Ive been using an exercise I learned about from Doug Brignole called Cable Squats. It ends up being somewhat similar to the Zane Leg Blaster or a type of Hack Squat. Woorks the Quads and Glutes well without loading the spine and using about half the weight.
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sgb2112

For my goals..

1. Hill Sprints
2.Box Jumps
3.Body weight squats
4.Trap bar high handles
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Donnie Hunt

I seemed to really notice it when I tries to push the progressive overload principle with barbell squats. I remember getting lower back spasms about 10 yrs ago when I was really attempting to add the weight. There was a leg press machine, plate loaded, I believe made by Champion at the YMCA I use to go to that had a really good, heavy, direct feel to it.
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

backtrack wrote:
For the idiots that fear like large glutes, you'll never be as strong as you can be. They're the biggest most powerful muscles in the body. Good luck.


==Scott==
For the idiot who calls other people idiots,my glutes and legs just responded better to exercise than the rest of my body.They looked out of place. Probably like Platz. After stopping all glute stimulating exercise did they come in proportion to the rest of my body.I'm as strong as I need to be ( and leg wise probably stronger than most) I was a kick ass cyclist but that's one muscle I always wished wasn't so well developed.
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StuKE

I still squat, I feel like I am cheating myself if I don't. I like that they are hard and uncomfortable, feels worthwhile.
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ron33

Squats were always my favorite , 10 -20 reps with heavy for me weight . A natural high . Now days its bodyweight and goblet squats , lunges ,step ups , and single leg squats , just to keep movin . Don't have the drive 2 put that heavy weight on shoulders anymore . kind of worn down .
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HeavyHitter32

I have found squats (whether barbell, machine, etc.) to be probably the best lower body exercise.

However, despite excellent form, the compression of the weight onto my shoulders began giving me lumbar problems many years back.

The split squat (or lunge like move with dumbells) and static squats (similar to what Darden has discussed) I use as replacements. I also leg press.
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DNAHelix

New York, USA

Thank you for all the responses. The general consensus seems to tether on the verge of harmful/not necessary.

After all, if the goal is health and muscular hypertrophy your best bet is to avoid the "parlor trick" of a movement and frankly speaking you need to do some real reflection if you think that a heap of dangling plates on top of your vertebrae add inches to your manhood.

To name callers in the thread, there are better ways of adding inches to your glutes and all of them are superior to this parlor trick of yours. (BB squat used to be a parlor trick, people used to go to the circus to watch this).

I get far more quad & glute activation with sled than I ever got with squats. I am thinking of slowing down with sled though, not in the mood to buy a bunch of new pants as everything lately fits way too tight around thighs.

Plus at least the sled has some practical real life application, what part of real life or everyday life is imitated by a heavy loaded squat?

I rest my case, gentlemen.

Stay frosty and happy training to you all.

Thanks again for thoughtful and elaborate inputs all of you have provided.
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MikaelPR

I would encourage everyone if they haven?t used one of the plate loader pendulum/ swing squat machines to do so. Most of the benefits of barbell squats without most of the harmful effects. Lean back into the long back pad, keep the feet in the middle of the platform and perform slow 1/3 ROM zones with smooth turnarounds; middle, bottom and then top. I guarantee you?ll be as pumped in your quads and glutes as you ever have after doing a set of BB squats.
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BCK1

I started squatting around age 13.... It developed in to a low (ish) bar squat as I chased poundage, got up to 480lbs x 11 (I used to squat until I crashed out in the rack)... developed strong glutes/poseterior chain, deadlifts playing a part also.... Over the years, using different equipment I've bough, leg press/hip belt/squat machines, I can't say one has been 'better' than the others.... I've gone back to barbell squatting (because I enjoy the challenge) however now I use a higher bar, more upright style.... pre-exhausted in some way and/or higher reps (30 rep squats are fun!)... The preexhaust is obviously using leg ext/curl/leg press etc... Since doing this I have noticed more 'prominence' in my quads....
I've discussed this on other forums and while I get the bio-mechanical implications, I'm not convinced the models necessarily consider stress-loading response /adaption, bone density increase etc, etc.... All depends on your view of research and the research around it I suppose...
In a nutshell, I don't believe all squatting is created equally and "squat = injury" isn't necessarily true (I've actually had an opposite experience)... But, is it necessary or a must for hypertrophy? Certainly not... Can the barbell squat be used for hypertrophy/strength gains (safely)? I believe it can...
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Chris H

i feel the mysticism around squats is fueled by those who bio mechanically are suited , and hence can do them well.
However thats a minority imo.
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AndyMitch

Chris H wrote:
i feel the mysticism around squats is fueled by those who bio mechanically are suited , and hence can do them well.
However thats a minority imo.


That?s pretty much it.
The only good squat is a ?full? squat and I can?t do them safely, just not built for them, but when I did they felt good.
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AndyMitch

If you look like a garden gnome you?ll do well.
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Grant D.

Illinois, USA

I have NEVER done a Squat NEVER done a Deadlift.

I was very fortunate to "enter" strength training in the mid-70's and was receptive enough to not follow the bulljive/lemming debacles pre-Nautilus pre-Universal. That said, I haven't even done a dynamic leg exercise in many many years/decades (except to track my gains). That said, I have never seen anyone with the leg/lower back strength I have and/or size ... except possibly druggies.

Anyone can approach their capability and gain with Max Pyramid and achieve size/strength/load gains they assumed were unattainable ... in 2-3 minutes every 2-3 weeks.



DNAHelix wrote:
The purpose of this thread is to evaluate the experiences and share opinions in regards to BB Squat

I'll go first. In my opinion the exercise is equally harmful and useless when the hypertrophy is the goal. Nothing damages your lumbar region quite like the BB Squat. 60% of the weight on your shoulders is absorbed by your back and only 40% goes into the legs.

My best gains, in terms of leg development happened when I was avoiding the squat.

What are your experiences?


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Brian Johnston

Ontario, CAN

Not sure where you got your numbers (60% tension in the back and only 40% in the legs... maybe straighten up a bit)...

But, never found a better thigh developer, but that could be me. I can kill myself on various leg presses, Roman chair squats, hack squats, etc., and nothing makes my legs pop like squats. I do back squats here and there, but also other types... Zane Blaster, Zercher and Front squats (Google Front Squat Harness), Hip Belt, etc. I mix these up a lot, including how I do them.
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