If you lift weights then you should be squatting. It doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman; squats are an essential part of any weightlifting program.
Why? Because they are the absolute best exercise you can do for your body.
Some might argue that the deadlift is superior to the squat. It is a close race. But in regards to what most people are looking to gain from working out the squat comes out ahead.
Why the Squat
- It works almost your entire body in one way or another
- It is the best leg exercise for working the entire leg
- It helps with explosive power
- It helps with balance
- They provide metabolic boost to help your whole body grow
False Points about the Squat
- They don’t give you a big butt
- They don’t cause your hips to grow wider
- They don’t make your abs bulge out (that is from steroids)
- When done properly they don’t damage your knees
Here are my three favorite squat workouts. They each have a different goal but all provide great results. A general tip for people who are new to squatting or have a hard time mastering form is to use a Smith machine. The Machine keeps you in more of a fixed position but it is easier to learn the basic form which requires you to learn how to drop your butt back and down instead of leaning forward. Proper form prevents your knees from traveling forward over your feet which can lead to knee damage.
This is the classic Reg Park workout that will never go out of style. This is done when you are looking to boost your entire body size because this routine will spur your whole body to grow. You will add amazing size to your chest and legs.
After you are warmed up you will superset squats with straight-arm dumbbell pullovers. For the squats, after you finish a rep take two deep breaths in and out before doing the next rep. For the pullovers just do them in a normal style. After finishing the squats rest 15 seconds to 30 seconds and start the pullovers. Rest a full minute and then start the next superset.
- Breathing Squats – 3 sets of 20 reps, superset with
- Straight-Arm Dumbbell Pullovers – 3 sets of 15 reps
The 5 x 5 Squat Program
This program is just for straight leg size and power. If you add this to your leg workout I highly recommend you do very limited exercises for the rest of the routine. A few sets of light leg extensions and leg curls will probably finish you off until you get used to squatting like this.
After you are warmed up with lighter weights get a work weight that you can handle doing about 8 to 10 reps with. Do a set of 5 reps. Stop and rest for 1 minute. Then repeat with the same weight for 4 more cycles. It might not seem like much but you are doing 25 reps with a weight you normally might do 10 reps with. If you need to, increase the rest period for the last few sets. Either use a spotter or a Smith machine because this program is brutal.
High Rep Squats
This was a big one of Tom Platz who was known for phenomenal legs. He liked to do squats up in the range of 20, 30, 50, and 100 reps. Really what he was doing involved tapping the endurance fibers in his leg in addition to his low weight work. Now 100 reps is a bit much but I like to mix a high-low workout in now and again.
Start on a normal 4 set routine working up to a weight for your last set where you crank out 6 to 10 reps. Rest about 2 minutes and change the weight to your warm-up weight (like 135 lbs) and then start cranking out the reps. Go for as many as you can. By the time you hit 20 or 25 your quads are ridiculously pumped.