No Need To Squat For Big Legs Unless you are a powerlifter squats aren't obligatory.

Contrary to popular belief squats are not an obligatory exercise. You can build strong and muscular lower body without squats. Many people don’t experience that much benefits from doing squats despite the wild advertisement that has been going on. The truth is that you don’t need to squat and mandatory exercises do not exist.

Not everybody was built to squat

Believe it or not Arnold did not have the best levers for squatting.

Believe it or not Arnold did not have the best levers for squatting.

Technically, all people can squat unless there is an injury or some kind of inherited genetic problems. For the most part the squat is a natural movement for the majority of the population out there. However, when you introduce a barbell it becomes a different story. To paraphrase Mike Tyson: ‘Everybody has a plan until the weight gets heavy.


Everybody can boast about how good of a squat form they got. Once the barbell gets loaded and the last few reps of the set are reached it all changes and suddenly that pretty form disappears like a pickpocketer in the bus.

Usually the guys that do not have optimal squat genetics turn the movement into a good morning and the squat looks ugly and painful. Those individuals often have really short torso and long legs. This is not optimal for squatting due to the extreme bending over required to balance the barbell. As a result those people often don’t get as much out of the squat compared to the natural born squatters – people with long torso and short legs. The latter can squat more upright and most of the stress is evenly balanced between the quadriceps and the posterior chain. Those people usually love squatting because they can put high numbers and the movement looks sexy when they do it {Tom Platz for example}. So, should the ‘unlucky ones’ kill themselves because they were born with anti-squat genetics? Not at all. They could just try different exercises for the legs.

Related article: Can You Build A Huge Back Without Deadlifts?

What would be a good squat alternative?

It depends on your goals, but if mass is you main aim, a good choice would be the leg press since it takes the back out of the movement and you can focus on the lower body. It can also be programmed very intelligently in your routine, just like the squat. The leg press is not a very exciting drill but it’s a solid way to focus on your legs.

Other good movements would be Bulgarian split squats, front squats, trap bar deadlifts, hip belt squats, goblet squats. Obviously, some of the mentioned exercises are still a version of the squat, but they allow you to be more upright compared to the classic barbell back squat.

You can’t avoid squats, if you are a powerlifter.

The only time you absolutely must squat is when you’re a powerlifter competing in all the three lifts. Powerlifting is the only sport/activity that requires squats to be trained since they are part of the main event. Unless you are a bench press and/or deadlift specialist – you can’t avoid squats no matter how much you hate them.

It’s interesting to note that even Olympic weightlifters don’t need to squat since their competition lifts are the snatch and the clan & jerk. Squats are supposed to be solely assistance exercises. Back in the day the popular coach of the Bulgarian team, Ivan Abadjiev, was aiming at making the most simplistic routine consisting of competitions lifts only. At least those are the rumors. The goal was to remove everything that’s not essential and focus on the big moves. However, as far as we know the front squat and the back squat remained part of the assistance exercises of the team forever.

Related articleAre The Olympic Lifts Muscle Builders?

Will I be a man if I don’t squat?

Of course, you will be a man not only if you don’t squat, but even if you don’t lift at all. Fulfilling the wet dreams of some gurus who have a squat fetish won’t make you a man. You can be 100 pounds with wet clothes and still be more ‘man’ than many of the muscle addicts who are afraid to spend a night separated from their pre-bed protein shake.

Weightlifting is supposed to improve your confidence but it’s not the purpose of anyone’s life. It’s just a part of it and before powerlifters, bodybuilders or whatever we’re all humans looking to develop their consciousness, or at least some are.

The squat is not a miracle exercise and while beneficial there are other ways to achieve your goals. Why waste your time when you’re not getting the promised results? As they say, only a crazy person would be doing the same thing and expecting different results.

Unfortunately, looking at how we live in general – we are all crazy. Doing the same stuff and hoping for different outcome.

If squats don’t work for you, throw them out of the window.

One comment

  1. Victor

    I got injury in my lower back with romanian deadlift since 2014. After that, I have fear of all exercises that bring me some risk of injury again. So, I decided to avoid squat, deadlift and romanian deadlift. And I don’t like machines (leg press). Can I built some mass in my quads with dumbbell lunges? Or this exercise is not proper for that?

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