If you've spent any time in the gym you've probably heard of the big 3 when it comes to exercises: Squat, deadlift, and bench press. These three are quite popular with squats being known as the 'king.' To which I rebuttal, king of what?
The Squat is NOT the King
The fitness industry (especially the body building crowd), would like you to believe that you will only ever become really strong and muscular if you squat. Because if you do not squat, you're a pussy right?
These claims come from meat-heads who want to shove their ideology down your throat (and you thought religion was the only place where unwelcomed ideology would be pushed on you huh?). Now, I do not think squats are a terrible exercise. They have their time and place in routines for some people depending on what your fitness goals are. However, calling squats the “king of exercise” is a hyped up claim that is simply not true. Any exercise is just a tool to be used again, depending on what your fitness goals are. Match the tool to the job.
When to Squat
If you want to add a lot of mass to your legs, butt, and hips then by all means, squats are your tool. Want to go up in weight? Squats will get the job done. Yes, squats activate a lot of muscles in the body, but the majority of gains will be made on the lower body. The lower body tend to grow at a much faster pace than the upper body. So if your goal is to add a bunch of mass to your lower body then squats will take you there.
Squatting Is not Really That Hard
So if your fitness goals do not consist of adding a bunch of mass to your lower body then I suggest not squatting. Squatting is not really that hard … Do not get me wrong, obviously exercise done right is tough, but squats are not super intense or anything. Squats are actually pretty easy to get good at and it's really not a big deal.
What's Your Goal?
Some people do not want a massive lower body. Some people would prefer to be more athletic, fit in nice pants, or focus on aesthetics.
If your goal is athleticism, then jumping ability and sprint speed are impressive feats gauge power and performance. For athleticism purposes, the big 3 I would recommend would have power cleans, weighed chin ups, and overhead presses.
1. Chin Ups
Chin ups are an amazing exercise that measures pulling ability and relative strength. Mastering pull ups and chin ups does wonder to not only your athleticism, but physique in general. Chin ups really work the biceps and back in addition to also engaging your entire upper body. Weighted chin ups will allow you to progress in power and strength.
2. Power Cleans
Power cleans build great lower body power. Many Olympic lifters are also known for having phenomenal sprinting and jumping capabilities. As mentioned above, sprinting and jumping are much better gauges for lower body performance than just being able to squat a lot of weight.
3. Overhead Presses
Overhead pressing demands intensive pressing power while also requiring some legitimate core engagement. Being able to press significant weight while sustaining some serious core stability, is a great indicator of upper body strength and output.
What great is that by focusing on athleticism you will notice significant carry over to aesthetics. Combining the above exercises with a solid nutrition approach and intermittent fasting will result in a very powerful and delicious good looking physique!
Wrapping It Up
Remember, squats are not the 'King of Exercises', they are simply an exercise. Just another tool in the exercise toolbox. Match the tool to the objective. If you're looking for a more extensive approach to building a lean and chiseled physique that will turn heads, I recommend checking out Visual Impact Muscle Building.
This course does a damn good job at crafting an outstanding body that is functional and good looking. You can check out my review of the program here.