Squatting is a basic foundational movement. Forget smith racks and leg press, there is really no other leg exercise that compares to a squat. Strength, power and mobility are all challenged in the barbell squat, which is why it’s surprising to seeing guys avoid squatting in their programming or just not squatting enough. These are my top 5 reasons why you need to squat more:
1: OVERALL STRENGTH AND POWER
I’m using the term ‘power’ loosely here; power is technically defined as the rate of work over time. Work is defined in physics as the amount of forced placed upon an object times its displacement. When we perform a squat, for example, we use a particular amount of force to move the object (a bar), while the displacement stays relatively stable since we are moving within a particular range of motion.
You move a 100kg barbell from extension to flexion and back to full extension. You’ve performed a particular amount of work. Work increases when we lift heavier, and decreases when we lift less. The more work performed, the greater the strength.
So this means that simply performing a squat creates work for the entire core and lower limbs… talk about efficiency! A leg curl or leg press machine removes the amount of work being performed on the overall unit. A smith machine is even worse, removing all of the stabilizer muscles from the exercise, leaving the core untrained through a squat. With the exception of high level bodybuilders and those on specialized rehab programs, absolutely no athlete should ever use a smith rack or machine to perform exercises!
Let’s briefly get into power. Let’s look at your work done (technically defined as Joules of work) over time. To progress, we need to train power and strength. With more work completed in a shorter amount of time, power increases. Those looking to improve CrossFit or weightlifting performance need to pay close attention to how much work and power they do to see improvements. Without a decent stimulus in these two categories, you may not see improvements