Should I Squat?

oukeith1

Level 3 Valued Member
Greetings!

I recently achieved timed Simple, and my intent was to transition over to ROP for some pressing work. Turns out the pressing is bothering my right shoulder, so I’m going to pivot over to some barbell work. I just dropped some coin on some nice equipment for my garage, and I’m looking for some input on what I should focus on.

My goals:
-Get stronger
-Lose some weight. I weigh 192, and should probably bring that under 180 lbs. I am 5’10”.
-This is more for GPP and general well being, but it would be nice to build up some decent lifts. I completed Simple, but I am historically not a strong person. At all.

I am thinking of focusing on two lifts: deadlift and bench press.

There will be some light to moderate cardio in the form of running and jump rope 2-3 times per week. This is mostly for general wellness and mental health. Having some conditioning is an absolute must for me.

Given the two main lifts plus some cardio, should I be thinking about squatting as well? I know Pavel is not a fan, but I’m looking for some other perspectives.

I will say that the back squat is the lift I am the least comfortable with. It bugs my knees and I’ve hurt my back doing it before. (My form was probably an atrocity.)

I am open to learning front squat or Zercher.

But mainly I am interested in whatever thoughts you may have on the pros and cons of adding squats to the above routine.

Thanks!
Keith
 

william bad butt

Level 6 Valued Member
should I be thinking about squatting as well? I know Pavel is not a fan
I cant imagine that this is true?

Heavy barbell squats are awesome. Yiu should def do them if you have the equipment. If not on this program a future one. To me, they deliver more than deadlifts (but I might be an outlier).

Only downside to swuats it might aggravate that shoulder, depending on your issue. Tey it out. Once per wee is all you need, go slow. Start light and add 5 or 10 lb every workout.

Eric
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
I am thinking of focusing on two lifts: deadlift and bench press.
Sounds good. There is a category in some federations called Push-Pull where you do just those two lifts.

... should I be thinking about squatting as well? I know Pavel is not a fan, but I’m looking for some other perspectives.
As a recent returnee to 3-lift powerlifting, I'm all for squatting, but if I was going to drop one of the 3, I would drop the squat if being lean and strong was my goal; if adding muscle and being strong was my goal, I'd keep the squat and reduce the deadlift frequency but still keep it once a week.

It's a mistake to say Pavel isn't a fan - minimalism requires choices, and the barbell squat hasn't been the minimalist choice for our barbell programs but that shouldn't deter you from doing it if you want to. But given your stated goals, BP + DL sounds good.

I will say that the back squat is the lift I am the least comfortable with. It bugs my knees and I’ve hurt my back doing it before. (My form was probably an atrocity.)
If you want to squat, then get those things fixed for yourself. If you can't do it safely and to good effect, then don't do it.

I am open to learning front squat or Zercher.
Fine choices, both. You could choose the Zercher + BP and have a great program that way.

-S-
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
If you want to get overall stronger, yes the squat is a great thing to do and goes very well with deadlift and bench press. If you focus on getting stronger and get on a focused strength building program for a while, you'll be amazed how strong you can get in a matter of months.
 

Chrisdavisjr

Level 7 Valued Member
Unless there's something stopping you, definitely include squats in your routine. You can still keep the focus on the DL and BP so you don't need to squat crazy heavy or every day.

When it comes to dealing with knee/back issues, I've found that the same problems that can be aggravated by heavy squats can, in some cases, be remedied by lighter squats: You really don't have to load them all that much for them to be effective and putting in some quality time with an unloaded bar and finding your squat groove might do a lot of good.

If you have concerns about your ability to squat safely, do see a physiotherapist (preferably one who works with lifters) and they should be able to suggest adjustments or remedial drills to get you squatting safely.
 

Philippe Geoffrion

Level 6 Valued Member
Should you squat? Yes

Does it have to be a barbell back squat? No

Squatting is a fundamental movement pattern and indicator of overall health. However, this doesn’t mean you have to load a barbell on your back, especially if you’re not suited for it at this time. The only people who have to barbell back squat are 3 event powerlifters and Olympic lifters. However, everyone benefits from some form of squatting.

When you mention Pavel not being a fan, I believe this is somewhat suggested in PTTP, although overall not true. This is because of the technical needs of a beginner being unable to learn proper squatting mechanics and the need for a rack. In other words, the deadlift is more suitable. It is the working persons lift.

There are many wonderful reasons to squat. Knee health, hip ankle mobility, coordination of the torso and hips, core strength, jumping power. However, like I said, it doesn’t have to be a back squat. Only if you want to powerlift, Olympic lift do you need to back squat. There are a myriad of other squat options. Let’s look at a few.

Goblet Squat- if you’re banging yourself up during back squats, try taking the bar away first. Dan John has called this the best squat tool for learning proper mechanics. You don’t even need a weight in the beginning. Prying can help loosen the hips, and get your body primed for heavy squats later down the road. These can simple be sprinkled in to your warmup to keep your hips, knees and core working harmoniously to achieve proper squat positions.

BW Squats- if you’re banged up, like I said ditch the bar. High(we) rep squats, without load,are great for all the joints involved but they must be performed correctly a la Pavel’s description in Beyond Bodybuilding for joint health. I mention goblet squats first because they teach proper mechanics that the weight forces you to use that can transfer well to all other squats.

The previous two I’d consider as base building drills but can help you move to the bar. Now, let’s look at barbell options.

If your shoulders bugging you, these others may help.

High bar or front squats - the low bar position requires more shoulder flexibility demands than high bar. The higher bar position will allow more upright posture. Same with the front squat. Premiering shoulder mobility drills can help with shoulder mobility. I like simply doing a few band exercises or sometimes I just do overhead squats with an empty bar or broomstick. It’s very specific to the squat.

Zercher squats- zerchers also waylay the shoulder issue and are a very adjustable squats meaning they can be made more hip and knee dominant. They do not require a rack and get the bar off your back as well. The anterior loading adds extra elements of core demands.

Knee health
If knees are bugging you, box squats may be of use but they’re not usually for beginners as generally no one performs them correctly. Paused squats with a lighter weight may be better and in fact are a great tool for learning correct bottom position and teaching you not to just drop and pray but control the movement downwards. Tempo squats with an exaggerated descent would also surpass this if it’s an issue.

Your program is simple which is great. It’s one of Pacel’s original templates. Squatting will be valuable to any lifter, as long as it keeps them healthy and adds to their training, not subtracts from it. Trick is to find a way to do squats that add to your overall health and strength journey, keeping you in the game and off the sideline.
 

Glove1054

First Post
Squats are a great exercise. And of course it is advisable to include it in your program and work your legs at least once a week. But it all depends on your health condition and possible injuries. I would recommend consulting with a sensible trainer and sports doctor and after that already build a training program depending on their recommendations.
 

godjira1

Level 5 Valued Member
I for one think Zercher Squats are awesome. Ok it can suck quite badly as well but if you are worried about your back the more upright position of the zercher squat might stress it less.
 

oukeith1

Level 3 Valued Member
As an update, I think I am going to settle into the 3-5 program that Pavel wrote about in Beyond Bodybuilding. Take 3-5 exercises (squat, bench, dead), and do 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps and work each exercise every 3-5 days. Thinking of benching every 3 days and squatting and pulling every 5 days. With the light cardio mixed in. We will see how it goes. I have most of my equipment, but still waiting on my 45’s to be delivered, which have been quite delayed....
 

AyBu

Level 2 Valued Member
As an update, I think I am going to settle into the 3-5 program that Pavel wrote about in Beyond Bodybuilding. Take 3-5 exercises (squat, bench, dead), and do 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps and work each exercise every 3-5 days. Thinking of benching every 3 days and squatting and pulling every 5 days. With the light cardio mixed in. We will see how it goes. I have most of my equipment, but still waiting on my 45’s to be delivered, which have been quite delayed....
You may want to read Tactical Barebell. It has some nice programming. For example take a cluster of 3-4 exercises and do them Mo-We-Fr. Also 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps, with some cycling.
 

LukeV

Level 6 Valued Member
The squat lovers are out in force and may have evidence on their side but I prioritise human dignity and have always refused to squat. It's an ugly motion and, dare I say it, excelled at by particularly ugly people. No-one will win a beauty contest performing the squat, whereas the deadlift, leg press, box jumps, lunges etc are all perfectly adequate lower body exercises that can be performed with grace and style. I read an article about Anna Kournikova's training and she deadlifts, never squats. There you have it!
 

guardian7

Level 6 Valued Member
Double KB front squat is also an option. I think a case could be made that you could own it before starting the barbell squat. Deadlift and Bench pairs nicely in programs like power to the people, especially if you have less experience with the lift. I had great results with the program a couple years ago. As others have mentioned, BB squat is the most difficult if you are training alone and don't have instruction.
 

Glove1054

First Post
It's not squats that hurt your knees, it's the wrong technique. For example, in no case should you squat with a lot of weight so that your knees extend beyond your toes since usually the bodyweight is distributed evenly for balance and when lifting you need to push yourself with your heels, not leaning forward too much. In addition, the backrest is worth paying attention to. No humps in the lower back and thoracic region: can lead to spinal injuries. If interested, you can click here and choose a training program or consult with professionals. I also had knee pain and was advised to reduce the weight and work with half the range rather than fully extend the knees to avoid stress on the joints.
 
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