Squatting is a basic foundational movement. Forget smith racks and leg press, there is really no other leg exercise that compares to a squat. Strength, power and mobility are all challenged in the barbell squat, which is why it’s surprising to seeing guys avoid squatting in their programming or just not squatting enough. These are my top 5 reasons why you need to squat more:
1: OVERALL STRENGTH AND POWER
I’m using the term ‘power’ loosely here; power is technically defined as the rate of work over time. Work is defined in physics as the amount of forced placed upon an object times its displacement. When we perform a squat, for example, we use a particular amount of force to move the object (a bar), while the displacement stays relatively stable since we are moving within a particular range of motion.
You move a 100kg barbell from extension to flexion and back to full extension. You’ve performed a particular amount of work. Work increases when we lift heavier, and decreases when we lift less. The more work performed, the greater the strength.
So this means that simply performing a squat creates work for the entire core and lower limbs… talk about efficiency! A leg curl or leg press machine removes the amount of work being performed on the overall unit. A smith machine is even worse, removing all of the stabilizer muscles from the exercise, leaving the core untrained through a squat. With the exception of high level bodybuilders and those on specialized rehab programs, absolutely no athlete should ever use a smith rack or machine to perform exercises!
Let’s briefly get into power. Let’s look at your work done (technically defined as Joules of work) over time. To progress, we need to train power and strength. With more work completed in a shorter amount of time, power increases. Those looking to improve crossfit or weightlifting performance need to pay close attention to how much work and power they do to see improvements. Without a decent stimulus in these two categories, you may not see improvements
2: CROSSFIT AND SQUATTING
Squatting plays two roles in CrossFit; first, it’s a functional movement. Front and back squats are a part of so many of the classic CrossFit exercises. Think of thrusters, box jumps, wall balls and lunges. If you are not squatting 3 times per week, minimally, don’t expect to see improvements in CrossFit performance!
Second, being able to perform squats at both at a high intensity and high volume (lots of repetitions) makes all other crossfit movements easy. Don’t believe it? Just take a look at the top 50 CrossFit games finishers. Check out squat PRs and you’ll notice that the stronger athletes perform better, even at movements which don’t appear to require a lot of strength.
3: WEIGHTLIFTING AND SQUATTING
In Olympic lifting, squatting is jokingly referred to as the 3rd lift. Anyone who lifts knows that squats need to be performed 3 to 5 times per week, every week. There are no exceptions to this. Workouts are usually organized around a 3 to 6 day program. A classic lifting workout looks something like this:
Clean & Jerk
Clean & Jerk
Sure, intensity and volume are played with, as well as the addition of accessory movements, but lifters must squat frequently. Why? Well, even though snatch and Cleans have a squat within the movements themselves, it’s not enough to improve strength. Training snatch and clean & jerk tax the nervous system more than they tax the muscles. Squatting separately from the lifts is the only way to improve strength within the lifts!
… Read the full article here: 5 Reasons why you need to squat more