If you are truly serious about your training, then you know about Leg Day, and if you are serious about Leg Day, then you will squat. The squat is the grandaddy of all leg exercises. Nothing will employ the hamstrings, glutes and quads quite like this movement. Plus, let’s be real, no one wants to look like this!
When Leg Day rolls around, after taking time to properly warm up and stretch, you should start your session with the squat. Why? Because they will kick your butt and it is better to hit the hard movements when you are less fatigued and feeling fresh.
Recognize these guys? Arnold and Franco didn’t skip Leg Day.
Different people may experience different sticking points while going the their full range of motion during the squat. Some may get stuck in the hole, while others have a hard time locking out. Proper form is huge and once you identify your weak areas, you can address them accordingly to work through them.
If coming out of the hole from the bottom of the movement is a problem, try using less weight and going deeper, ie. below parallel. A2G is a popular expression among those that know the benefit of the squat movement. This translates as “Ass to Grass.”
These deep stretches will both activate the muscle fibers and give you a new sense of humility. You won’t go as heavy as if you were only going to parallel, but it’s well worth the effort!
Some of you might have the tendency to bend forward at the waist. This is often an indication of a weaker core or quads that needs to be strengthened through various assistance exercises. Don’t do this!
Some people have a hard time sitting back on their heels, their weight is on their toes and forces them to lean forward. Use less weight and get used to being on your heels. This is much safer because the weight is balanced on the hips and legs, versus your lower back.
Box squats are another excellent movement to utilize during Leg Day. Depending on how low you set the box, you will obviously be forced to go lower, plus by sitting down for a pause, the quads get targeted more because all of the momentum is taken out of the movement. Here is a quick video with Louis Simmons from Westside Barbell explaining how and why you should do box squats
If you don’t have access to a gym or equipment, bodyweight squats are a great way to target the lower extremities. Go slow, go deep and pause at the bottom for 2-3 seconds. I guarantee you will feel these and with continued practice, you will notice results!
Whether you are training for size, strength, endurance, or just to look better in your bathing suit, Leg Days and squats are not something to be feared or avoided. Train smart, and use these tips to get the most out of your lower body. Weight training is about longetivity and by incorporating these techniques, you can enjoy the benefits of working out for years to come.