The bar was loaded. My back was covered in chalk. The belt was squeezing my waist like a pair of pliers. A rhythm that could make a dead heart beat again, and a guitar escorting your soul to the place where deities live, were coming out of my headphones. I got under the bar – ready to kill, ready to tear weakness and castrate the demons holding me down.
Right when I was about to unrack the iron sculpture, destiny gave me not what I wanted, but what I needed. A man with toothpick legs and absolutely monstrous arms teleported himself out of nowhere and started doing biceps curls right in front of me with no shame whatsoever.
”No! No! No! Just, No! I thought that one must squat and deadlift to build the biggest upper arms possible,” I said to myself, abandoned my squat mission and sat on a chair I had secured for rest in-between sets.
I wanted an explanation. I wanted someone to put an end to my puzzling. Nobody did, but I found the answer myself once I opened my eyes and reclaimed my common sense, which had been infected by a drunken ego looking for an alternative way to acquire arm superiority.
Today, I give you five reasons why squat addiction is taking you further away from your goal to build the biggest arms you can.
1. You Don’t Squat with Your Arms, Hopefully
The fact that the arms are not part of the muscles extending or flexing your knees should be easily conceivable on the part of a man capable of tying his shoes. Yet the right brain of many lifters is deeply altered by legends suggesting that squats catalyze biceps and triceps hypertrophy. The source of this notion are experts sleeping next to a barbell plate who need to be constantly reminded that there are laws in this world other than those found in their remarkable souls and thick heads.
Year after year, those geniuses and their crew of fully or partially reprogrammed warriors riding the horse of delusions return to the theory that a young man eager to burst out of his sleeves and earn the characteristic ”muscular” should chain himself to the squat and reach arbitrary numbers approved by the Party. Only then he would be worthy of receiving a T-shirt specifying his gender.
The argument upon which the crusaders serving the the squat rack rely on is: ”The squat triggers unparalleled growth response throughout the entire organism and turns babies into men.”
This notion is not based on concrete evidence or strong logic. It results from a level of self-righteousness rising rapidly above reality and sanity.
The squat, one of gravity’s strongest allies against humans lifting weights, generates a lot of pain stimulating the creation of gym legends. But the fact that an exercise is difficult does not give us the right to wrap it in qualities that don’t exist. The squat neither increases your testosterone levels by an amount worth talking about nor does it hit your arms directly. No matter how hard you squeeze the bar or scream, the squat will never be an arm exercise. It’s dedicated to the lower body and the trunk.
2. If You Are Squatting, You Are Not Curling
You have to choose. The day or the night? You can’t have both. If you build your routine around squats, you lose the right to act surprised when you look in the mirror and identify a centaur. This is what you get for deactivating your left brain when you need it the most. If you want to build the biggest arms you can, a squat rep does not count as a step towards your goal. The more you squat, the further away you move from your goal because you are investing your mind, body and soul into an adventure unable to produce the results you want.
Because of a demonizing campaign against curls and their friends, many people hiss like a cobra when they see you curling. Forgive them. They just don’t get it yet, for their egos are too focused on receiving validation from other men.
Humans feed off approval. We want others to see us as unique and superior creatures. It takes a certain amount of experience, courage, and unconventionalism to get out of the gym matrix and do what you want to do without paying attention to the audience.
Squatting knights criticize curl and bench monkeys for focusing on arm training due to narcissistic motivation, but how are they any different? Why do you want a big squat? Oh, just say it already! Your precious squat is the equivalent of big arms.
Paths? There are many. Exits only a few.
3. The Squat Consumes Too Much Power
The squat-martyrs are easy to recognize. Just look for lifters in the squat rack with frightened eyes carrying a spark of hope alluding to a distant future of prosperity and respect. On the outside, those men could appear submerged in calmness and humility, but if you listen carefully, you will hear that they are barely breathing – a sign of constant awareness, crypto-depression and a lack of inner peace.
Where is this coming from? It comes from the hard life of a squat slave answering to the master each workout. When you are a squat-martyr, your entire life revolves around the squat, and your happiness depends on your performance within the four pillars of the rack.
The squat extracts everything out of those lifters and leaves them on the ground, incapable of concentrating and inserting an appreciable effort into something else. And yet the drama continues because many souls believe that their desires will manifest as soon as the plates on the barbell multiply.
When the squat-martyrs think about that moment, a faint, vicious smile injected with a good dose of greed plays upon their cheeks and eye area. Undoubtedly, at that very moment, they are thinking of the day when their knee bending efforts will finally synthesize bigger biceps that will help them immigrate from the land of Do-You-Even-Lift.
Unfortunately, or not, that day will never come for two reasons. First, you are natural, probably. Second, if your main goals are bigger arms, why are you spending all your money on squats?
Don’t count on indirect or accidental wins. If you know what you want, get it.
4. The Natties of This World are living on a Testosterone Budget
Theoretically, training your legs shouldn’t limit the growth of your arms or any other body part, but the field results point in another direction. I’ve seen naturals with good leg development. I’ve also seen naturals with decent arms. But I have never seen a well develop upper and lower body owned by the same natural warrior. Part of the explanation hides in the term testosterone budget.
Even the mainstream muscle scholars admit that sooner or later the natty gains come to an end, and stagnation reigns supreme. No amount of extra training or BCAAs can help you get past that point, but if you pin your glutes with muscle elixirs, you will break the barrier.
What’s the difference between your natural and roided state?
The extra male hormones that come from roids alter the regular processes in the cell and stimulate protein synthesis [growth] beyond the norm.
The natural limits are related directly to the levels of testosterone in the natty system. Once you have amplified maximally the abilities of your natty testosterone to trigger growth, the game ends. There’s no more testosterone. You’ve spent it all.
This partially explains why bench and curl monkey have a hard time bringing their legs up whereas 5×5 centaurs often spam online forums with threads such as: ”A cure for small arms?”
5. The Squat Wrecks Elbows, Wrists and Shoulders
The upper body does not lift the barbell when you squat, but it’s often placed in a very uncomfortable position to support the bar. The front squat, for example, overextends the wrists when performed with a clean grip. The low bar squat is notorious for wrecking your shoulders, elbows and wrists, which is why most powerlifters squat with wrist wraps longer than the Eiffel Tower.
Another variation that seems to really hate human elbows is the Zercher squat. Holding a barbell like a box digs into your elbows and bruises the skin.
In short, the squat does not build arms, but can easily hurt them.
6. Squats Stimulate Bulking
Weightlifters and powerlifters are divided into separate weight classes because heavier people are expected to lift more, and they often do. The bench press and the squat are heavily dependent on bodyweight, which is why so many natty souls ”eat through their sticking points” as advised by legendary permabulkers on steroids. Naturally, the results are grotesque – selfies of hippos sucking their guts.
Extra lard will increase your absolute strength but will hurt your strength to bodyweight ratio in the process. If you weigh 170lbs/77kg and squat 220lbs/100kg, adding 22lbs/10kg of whatever bodyweight to your frame could easily boost your squat to 240-270lbs/110-125kg. Are you stronger? Technically, yes. Was it worth it to gain the extra fat? Probably not.
How does this hurt your arm construction plans? Simple. When you gain fat, it is distributed over the entire body. Your arms receive a small amount too. The extra fat covering your arms will make them bigger but will rob them of definition, which is what you need to create the illusion that your arms are larger than they are. A shredded 13-inch arm could easily look more impressive than a 15-inch arm loaded with water and fat.
P.S. Curl more and squat less when bigger arms are your goal.