Strength 101: The Squat

The word sends shivers down the spines of weak men and weak women. Misinformation and a culture of laziness and mediocrity has managed to convince the masses that squatting could lead to injury, knee problems and lower back pain. This could not be further from the truth. Proper squatting with good form and careful weight selection leads to functional knee strength, functional core and lower back strength AND total body POWER. The cardiovascular system improves, VO2 max increases (VO2 max is a measure of the maximum volume of oxygen that an athlete, you, can use. It is measured in milliliters per kilogram of body weight per minute (ml/kg/min), central nervous system and neuromuscular ¬†efficiency improves, the entire machine that is YOUR BODY, becomes a finely tuned fat burning power plant. If that’s not enough convincing, then take a look at every single professional athlete on the planet. LEGS OF STEEL.

Squatting trains the whole body. Your upperbody and core stabilizes the weight, the legs and glutes do the driving of the weight. The heart and central nervous system engage more than during any other exercise (with the exception of maybe deadlifts). Growth hormone and testosterone have both been proven to increase after a demanding leg workout. This ALONE is reason to squat with consistency and intensity. It is non-negotiable if you truly wish to maximize your body’s full potential, awesomeness, greatness and muscularity. Weak men don’t skip squats, weak women don’t skip squats and neither will fucking you!

Incorporating the squat into a beginner program can look like this

Leg Day Routine:

1)Warm Up- light leg extensions for blood flow and knee mobility

3 sets x 20, 20, 20 (do not go for a burn here)

2)Warm Up- light leg curls for blood flow and knee stability

3 sets x 15, 15, 15

3) Barbell Squats 6 sets

1-3 warm up x 15, 12, 10

4-6 working sets x 10, 8, 8

4) Stiff Legged Deadlifts 4 sets

1 warm up x 15

3 working sets x 12, 12, 12

5) Leg Press Machine 4 sets

1 warm up x 20

3 working sets x 15, 15, 15

In closing, as long as you currently have healthy knees, back and core you have absolutely no excuse to not be squatting. Now get to fucking work!

The video below has a quick segment in the beginning on how to perfect your squat form and learn how to balance your weight on the back of your heels, then followed by a clip of a heavy working set for me in my training leading up to a show. The last few reps you can see my form slightly slip due to fatigue, this is only recommended when you have enough experience to know how much to push yourself.

3 thoughts on “Strength 101: The Squat

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  1. Couldn’t agree more that squat (and deadlift) should be a priority within anyone’s fitness program. At 55 years old, I’ve heard the “bad for your knees,” “increased risk of injury,” and “cause lower back problems” for the better part of 35 years now. So, it’s with great amusement that I watch my friends go in for hip replacements, knee replacements and low T therapy while my maximum 1RM squat remains continues to hover around 600 (in competition) with minimal wear-and-tear or pain. I would make one request of your article. Please, please, please find a different video to illustrate “proper” squat technique. The one you’re using is really terrible. For example: (1) the lifter never achieves good squat depth and therefore sacrifices range of motion and hip mobility; (2) the squatter has placed the bar in a position high on the traps which is causing him to arch is back forward, and; (3) the arch forward then causes the squatter to bring his elbows back rather than downward and under the bar on the ascent to pull his shoulder blades together and remain more upright. Otherwise, the content of your article is spot-on and I appreciate your insight.


  2. Great article Gabe! I’ve been looking forward to your personal training articles. Its the perfect addition to Resurgence.
    I’m new to weight lifting and squats, power lift, deadlift, etc. are quickly becoming my favorites. It just took me getting past the fear factor of bad form and hurting myself. My advice for other is that if this is holding you back then hire a personal trainer to show you. Also take it easy on weight amounts until you get comfortable and good form becomes habitual.


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