10 Myths About Barbell Squats

Myths About Squats

via: sculpturealley.net

Myth 1: Squats will make your waist bigger and “spoil” your physique

Many bodybuilders believe that their midsections will get out of proportion if they perform heavy squats regularly. While it’s true that squats strengthen your abdominal muscles, your abs will never get so big that they look out of proportion.

The grotesque guts that IFBB bodybuilders display today are the result of GH (growth hormone) and insulin abuse. Squats have nothing to do with this phenomenon.

Myth 2: High bar squats do not provide enough stimulation for the posterior chain

This myth was started by Mark Rippetoe and his books. While it’s true that low-bar squats place more stress on your hips and posterior chain, the high bar squat provides plenty of stimulation for your rear muscles (glutes, spinal erectors, hamstrings).


Note: All weightlifters do high bar squats and showcase developed posterior chains.

Myth 3: You can’t build strong legs without squats

Squats are an effective lower body exercise, but not the only one in the world. Regardless of what the “experts” say, you can build strong legs without barbell squats. Resistance is resistance, and there are many ways to provide it.

Myth 3: Squats are as good as steroids for the beginner lifter

Many novices are convinced that squats and milk are as effective as anabolic steroids. This is a complete lie and pure marketing hype that has nothing to do with reality. Squats are just an exercise.

Myth 4: Squats will make you an Alpha male

Many people associate heavy squats with ”alpha” mode. The reality is different. Squatting is just an exercise. You can hallucinate that you are fighting imaginable armies, but at the end of the day, you are simply training your legs and CNS. Are squats hard? Yes, very hard. And yet there are harder things in life. (e.g., living)

Most heart surgeons in the world have never performed a single barbell squat in their lives, and yet they are more “alpha” than any squatter in the world will ever be.

Myth 5: You have to squat heavy to build big legs

You can build big legs with higher repetitions. You don’t have to max out on squats ever to reach your natural potential.

Myth 6: There are secret squat programs

Regardless of what the “experts” tell you, there are no secret squat programs. Many advanced powerlifters use very basic programming. Ultimately, programs are like cars – there are many types but the underlying fundamentals are the same.

Myth 7: Everybody should squat

Why? Unless you compete in powerlifting or Olympic weightlifting the role of the squat can be played by a different exercise. Period.

Myth 8: Squats will make your arms bigger

I am almost sorry to inform you that the squat is not an arm exercise.

Myth 9: You should squat until you puke to get results

Squatting until you puke is not a requirement to get results. The only thing that you are doing is torturing your nervous system and causing damage. Train hard and smart, not hard and stupid.

Myth 10: Squatting with spotters is safe

Even if you have spotters, squatting can be dangerous. The weight is heavy and you need at least two knowledgeable spotters to protect you. Unfortunately, most random spotters don’t know what they are doing.  The safest way to squat is in a power rack with the safety pins ready to catch the weight if you fail to complete a rep.

4 comments

  1. Yuval Goldstein

    Heavy leg exercises do trigger the release of Testosterone (not particularly squats). It is also not true that squats have nothing to do with upper body musculature. Heavy leg training does contribute to the development of the upper body. I personally can attest to the fact that heavy leg exercises trigger the release of Testosterone. A few years back I had a very good leg session at a Gold’s Gym in California and about 10 minutes after the workout my libido skyrocketed.

  2. EJ

    Dude! seriously your still banking on the no male figure stereotype! I find that people who worry so much about hyper-masculinity are the most insecure of all! Otherwise a very informative post.

  3. Personal Trainer

    I have never seen someone squat ATG 225 for 10 reps with little arms, Squatting recruits so much muscle that it triggers GH and Testosterone in the body, the bench press is similar but not enough to trigger leg growth. I quit accessory lifts and saw massive upper body improvement, including bicep growth from simply deadlifting, cleaning, snatching and squatting. 17 inch biceps with 8% bf and squatting 455 @ 150 pounds. Those myths come from methods that actually work sooo…

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