“The results obtained from a single set of twenty repetitions using maximum poundage and lots of heavy breathing are legendary.”
Last updated on October 10, 2019
For the large majority of us, making gains in size and strength is a very difficult process, even at the best of times. To try to do it without squatting is to make a very difficult job into an almost impossible one.
The squat is by far the number one strength and growth exercise. It directly involves many of the main muscular structures of the body, and indirectly affects others. It forces very heavy breathing which, on empirical evidence, plays a considerable role in stimulating fast muscular gains.
The results obtained from a single set of twenty repetitions using maximum poundage and lots of heavy breathing are legendary. This form of the squat, combined with one to three hard sets for each of two to seven other basic exercises, produces what is probably the most growth producing routine ever designed. But it is such hard work that it is not used anywhere near as much as It should be.
The squat, when properly performed, is by far the hardest bodybuilding exercise. This is the main reason why the squat is not given the attention it deserves. So long as the squat is neglected, the more that bodybuilding gains are compromised.
If you train hard on the squat using minimum sets, usually with medium to high repetitions, and maximum poundages, you will automatically experience growth in other areas of your body. There is a knock on effect. As the squat improves, so does everything else.
Great gains have been produced by using the squat as the ONLY exercise. This is especially so in the case of the extreme hard gainer who is unable to make gains on even abbreviated routines. A period of two to three months on a squat only routine (usually using twenty repetitions), twice a week,can provide the foundation for later gains from an expanded routine.
Make the squat your key exercise. Combine it with always striving to keep adding weight to each exercise while always maintaining strict style. These are the two most fundamental requirements for effective bodybuilding. The two biggest steps you can take towards the size and strength you want.
When properly performed, the squat is the king of exercises. If incorrectly performed, it can become a dangerous exercise. But there is nothing to be worried about so long as you are sensible and careful. Always keep your head up and your back FLAT. You have to lean forward to some degree and this is fine so long as the back is kept flat—even during the pause between repetitions. Have a training partner watch you squat to check how flat your back is. By rounding or hum-ping, or even arching your back, your invite serious short term and long term back problems.
Always be fully prepared for each maximum effort set you do. Warm up thoroughly by doing a light and a medium warm up set first. Do them slowly and properly. Psyche yourself up before each hard set. Become inwardly aggressive and determined to give your all to each set.
Rest the bar on your shoulders so that it feels as comfortable as possible. Place some padding between the bar and you.
Use a ½ thick block under your heels or a couple of five's to help you maintain a comfortable upright position, and to evenly spread the stress of the exercise over legs, hips and back. Some people cannot do full squats without discomfort and must keep to parallel squats. This is fine. Do not force your body to do something which it finds violent.
Use a comfortable feet spacing, usually a little wider than hip width with toes pointed outwards slightly. Always descend slowly while inhaling deeply. Rise fairly rapidly while exhaling forcefully. Keep the knees above the feet and avoid pushing them in-wards as you rise out of the bottom position.
To learn the safe squatting technique you may have to initially decrease your poundage, then build up slowly over several weeks while maintaining correct style. This cannot be recommended strongly enough. It will lead to both safer and more effective training.
Before each workout, set a realistic but challenging target of repetitions and poundage for each set you are going to do. Then you know what you have to do. When the workout comes around make sure you give your absolute all to achieving your goals. The persistent achieving of small goals will take you step by step to your long term goals.
So squat safely and with great effort. Add poundage whenever you can. Make the squat your priority exercise, it is imperative.
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