The regular back squat is undeniably the best-known builder of quad mass. When you squat you simultaneously involve all the biggest muscle groups: the back, glutes and quads. This increases your lung efficiency, revs the metabolism and causes release of growth hormone, stimulating all-over muscular body growth. But unfortunately squats are also one of the most neglected and abused of bodybuilding exercises. Go into any gym and you may have to wait 20 minutes to use a leg-extension machine, but odds are you’ll be able to walk right up to the squat or power rack. Why? Because squats separate the men from the wusses, that’s why! Besides working the legs and lower back, squats stress just about the whole body. When you have that amount of muscle mass being stimulated all at once the end result is pain and fatigue. Many would-be bodybuilders are unwilling to endure either and instead opt for the leg extensions.
Do Squats Really Bad For Your Knees?
Then are those who claim that squats are bad for the knees. While it is true that this area is subjected to some stress during squats, and some people truly cannot do them – or at least not heavy squats – the same holds true for leg extensions. In fact from a kinesiological point of view leg extensions are actually harder on the knees than squats. Extensions are an example of an “open-chain movement.” This means that while the quads are contracting and pulling on the knee ligaments and attachments, there is little or no counter action by the hamstrings. During squats, the contracting hamstrings help to stabilize the knee region (which is why the squat is considered a closed-chain exercise). Done properly squats are no more dangerous than leg extensions. In fact many kinesiologists and physical therapists recommend doing squats as opposed to extensions because squats mimic a natural movement while leg extensions don’t resemble any movement you’d make during the day.
Some people avoid squats because they think they’ll build huge glutes. Again some myths never seem to disappear. While squats do stimulate the glutes more than leg extensions, they won’t build you a wide ass! Large asses are usually the result of overeating. Besides, you need a decent set of glutes to both balance out the physique and reduce the pressure on the lower back. A bodybuilder with an ironing board for a butt won’t win any contests. Now, it’s safe to say that the main reason why many people avoid squats is because of sheer laziness. They just don’t want to work hard at the squat rack. Well I’m here to tell you that if you have any hopes of building a great set of legs, you will have a very difficult go of it unless you squat on a regular basis. Not only will squats give you pillars of power, they’ll add slabs of muscle to your upper body as well. As Peary Radar, the original publisher of Iron Man magazine said first (though others followed), “If you want big arms, squat!” This may surprise you. But as I said earlier, the more muscle mass being stimulated the more of an indirect growth-promoting effect is placed on the rest of the muscles.