I’m Done With Back Squats. Here’s Why.

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A Semi-Objective Rant About that One Exercise You Have to Do or the Internet Will Yell at You

Ah, back squats. The King of All Exercises, according to some. Not me. In fact, I just posted on my Facebook page that I would be giving up back squats for good. The reaction was predictable:

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Now in fairness to Innis, he’s obviously being facetious and poking fun at the expected response. A lot of people seem to think that you need squats. Well, need is a strong word. And you don’t need squats–but I’m not writing an anti-squat rant. I’m not even really going to make a compelling case for an alternative. I’m just going to tell you why I personally am not going to back squat any more.

But first, some history.

How I First Started Squatting

I squatted for the first time in my lift at age 14. It was my first year on the high school wrestling team, and my coach–Pete Kopecky, who, I believe is still the coach there–was all about squats.

The first time he put me under the bar, I did 135 for 8 reps. He gave me some tips, and by the end of our first team workout, I did 185 for 6 reps.

I was good at squatting. With a low center of gravity, short ROM and generally high concentration of fast twitch muscle fibers, it was an exercise I excelled at. Resultantly, I liked it. (For an understanding of why, check out this post.)

I continued squatting, and quickly became enthralled with adding more weight to the bar. In just three weeks, I got to two plates. During my sophomore year, I hit three plates–more than anyone on the team. Some time around the end of my senior year, I weighed in at a chubby 185 and was squatting 405 for 6 reps, and 450 for 3 (both with a belt). Felt good.

Eventually I got lean and found bodybuilding; I learned how to squat ass-to-ankles instead of just going to parallel, as I had been previously. I had to drop my numbers back a bit, but I worked on both full squats and parallel squats for a few years.

By the time I was 24, I had built up a lot of strength and–between squats and various training programs–a decent physique. At my strongest, I was able to squat 525×3 and full squat 335×8.

The Injury, Layoff, and Re-Entry

That year (2006), I suffered my first knee injury;  I tore the medial meniscus in my left leg during, of all things, a game of paintball. Obviously, I had to back off off the leg training for a while.

Sadly, it wasn’t long enough; I came back in just 6 months, and somehow wound up tearing both the medial and lateral menisci in my right leg. I’m not even sure how it happened–after about two weeks of pain and being unable to train (or, in fact, get in or out of my car without extreme effort) I went to the doc.

Now two surgeries in, I spent a year taking it easy on the ol’ knees.

Although I worked back squats in after a long break, they always made me very nervous. Perhaps it was because I could actually feel the instability, perhaps it was because I was always using pretty heavy weight. Whatever it was, I just felt nervous.

Not wanting to re-injure my knees, I started trying to train around my injuries–for longer than I needed to. So, I mostly avoided back squats, using them primarily in complexes and the like, but never as part of a muscle building program. After about 4-5 years of successfully building size and strength without squats, I added them back in. I found that I didn’t really care for them.

At first, I thought maybe I didn’t like them because I wasn’t good at them–my long lack of practice had taken it’s toll, and 315 was a challenge. I reasoned that things would change as I got better. However, it was the opposite: the more I did squats, the less I liked them.

Although I was lifting heavier weight and making progress with my strength, I didn’t experience the surge of awesomeness that I had always fantasized would occur when I was finally able to squat heavy again. I began to dread my squat workouts.

This has continued until now. Although I’ve been able to squat heavy for the more than a year, I really don’t care for it. Recently, I did my Century Sets experiment with back squats, which really sealed it. After 400 reps over a period of 8 weeks, I’d pretty much settled it: I hated squats.

Eventually, that hatred led me to my decision: I’ll probably never do them again. For me, it’s not really “risk vs reward” – I don’t feel nervous about getting injured, at all. Rather, let’s say that the juice isn’t worth the squeeze–the benefit simply doesn’t measure up to the misery.

All of which I’m removing squats from my programming, because I make it a policy not to do things I don’t like.

Reasons to Back Squat

(And Why They Don’t Apply to Me)

Now, we’re just talking about me here, and my experience. But, I do want to make this post useful to you. I want you to think critically about squats, and any other exercise you might be on the fence about; consider whether you actually enjoy it, and what you’re getting out of it. Try to be objective about why you feel you “need” to do certain exercises.

To help, I’ve compiled a list of the Top 5 Reasons you should consider putting squats or any other exercise into your programming. Here ya go, slick:

  1. You use it to help improve your performance in your sport.
  2. You use it for physique enhancement–big quads and general muscularity.
  3. You need to be good at it for some specific reason, like competing in power lifting.
  4. You want to be good at it. This encompasses the enjoyment derived by having a big squat number.
  5. You enjoy it.

All of those are great reasons to squat. Actually, they’re great reasons to do anything, really. But, since none of them apply to me, I’m not going to do it any more. In the interest of giving you a complete picture, I’ll just go down the list.


First and foremost, I just want to get the Mike Boyle bullshit out of the way. Without question the fact that I said I am not back squatting any more is going to cause a bunch of people to say shit like this:

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In the interest of context, for those who don’t know, Mike Boyle came out a few years ago and said ‘we don’t need to back squat.’ He happens to be right, but that has nothing to do with my decision. This stirred up a big internet controversy, as you might imagine. I paid attention peripherally, but neither side had any arguments that changed my opinions drastically.

Controversy notwithstanding, Boyle went so far as to say that with regard to squatting, because you can get the benefits from other exercises, you shouldn’t do back squats. Instead, he favored unilateral exercises like the Bulgarian split squat–which, for some reason beyond human comprehension, he labeled rear foot elevated split squats. I suspect it’s because he hates Bulgaria.

EDIT: Mike was cool enough to reply, and has a good sense of humor. Here’s what he said:

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Anyway, here’s a video, if you’d like to watch–

Based on what he said in that clip, it seems he meant ALL bilateral squat movements; he mentioned front squats but may also have been including things like goblet squats, Zercher squats, etc. He may also have amended some of his statements or reached new conclusions in the past few years.

I’m not certain about either and can’t be bothered to do any further Googling it because as it turns out I don’t give a fuck.

So, there’s that.

Anyway, as mentioned above, my reason for abandoning has nothing to do with that Boyle or his arguments, for a few reasons. Firstly, I don’t compete in sports, so I don’t really take high level performance into account when I design my programs.

Secondly, I happen to disagree with the half of Boyle’s point. Athletes don’t “need” to back squat, but that doesn’t mean they “should” avoid it. Can they have comparable results with single leg exercises? Very possibly. Will I abandon back squats for my athletes? Of course not. I think some can benefit from squatting, and others don’t need to.

Thirdly, Boyle says “the squat isn’t a lower body exercise, it’s a low back exercise.” If that’s how you want to think of it, great. I still want my athletes to have strong low backs, so we squat; we also do heavy unilateral training.

I haven’t written them off for people who want to use them for performance. I don’t train for athletics, though, so I’m fine not back squatting.

That actually brings me to my next point.


At this point in my life, I train for general health and all around secksinezz. I am interested only in looking and feeling good, and so my training is geared around that.

This is a contrast to how I trained in my early 20’s — at that point, I wanted maximum size, maximum strength, maximum leanness, and all that other stuff that young guys want. I wanted to be as strong as possible in the general sense, but I also wanted some specific numbers.

Now, I just like having a balanced physique, which includes a decent set of legs. And as anyone who knows me can tell you, although I have naturally huge calves and my upper body grows just from looking at weights, my quads have always been the one area where I have to work my ass off to gain size.

Naturally, as nice wheels are a priority for me, my selection of leg exercises is based on my observations of what works for me and has worked over the past decade and a half that I’ve been training seriously. Back squats have always added size to my booty, but weren’t amazing for leg growth.

It seems my posterior chain fires aggressively on back squats, but they’re not great for my quad development. On the other hand, front squats, hack squats, trap bar deadlifts, and lunges have historically been great for sexy legz.

In fact–and I know I’m going to get lambasted for this by some fucking barbell purist–I’ve found that from a sheer aesthetic perspective, I get more out of the leg press machine than barbell back squats.

For those interested in such things, the perfect set up for me seems to be one of two things:

  • Heavy Trap Bar Dead – 6×4
  • High Rep Front Squat – 4×15
  • Leg Press – 8×8
  • Leg Extension – 3×10 (failure on last two sets)


  • Deficit Trap Bar Dead – 4×20
  • Walking Lunges – 5×8 steps per leg
  • Leg Press – 5×8-10 (failure on all sets, drop set on last set)

Obviously, these are high volume, but that’s what works for my quads. There are variations of course, but the best quad growth I ever had was when I was alternating these two workouts, with the occasional Century Set thrown in.

My quad workout today was this:

  • Front Squat – 4×5-7
  • Hack Squat Machine (constant tension) – 4×12-15
  • Front Loaded BB Bulgarian Split Squats – 4-8-10 each
  • Leg Press (constant tension) 4×12
  • Single Leg Extension – 4×8

(In this workout, the leg press and leg extension are alternated. Out of interest, I do the leg extension unilaterally because when done bilaterally, the leg closest to the machine will do more work; I do them one at a time and position each leg in dead center of the pad to alleviate this issue.)

Now, looking at that, you’ll see that three of my five exercises are on machines. Why? Because my goal is to build and maintain a set of reasonable large, well-developed quads–not to impress a bunch of bros on the internet who are going to judge me because I use machines.

Of course, just because I don’t train for strength doesn’t mean I’m not strong. When you’re pulling trap bar deads from a deficit for 20 reps at 375-450 pounds, you’re gonna stay strong. Which is great. But it’s not the primary goal.

Anyway, that’s just what makes my legs grow, particularly my kwadz. If my legs responded better to squats, I’d do them. But, they won’t, so I don’t. (Hat tip, in Bruges.)  If you want big legs and you notice back squats do the job, have at it.


Next up: I don’t need or even really desire to have a “good” back squat. As far as squat skill, I have no need to either build or maintain a high level of proficiency . I’m not going to compete in powerlifting, and as far as I know, there is no other activity that requires me to be good at back squats specifically.

Given that, there’s really no reason to practice them in an effort to build technical skill. People who compete in powerlifting should squat, because they need to have a high level of technical proficiency. So squat. People who compete in the CrossFit games need to have a high level of technical proficiency in the overhead squat.

If you’re not going to do either of those things, and you don’t enjoy either of the exercises, then fuck it.

I’m also past the point of wanting a big squat number for any reason at all. When I was younger, I liked having a big squat; I liked chasing numbers in the Big Three. I wanted to bench 400, squat 600, and deadlift 700. I never got to do any of those. I topped out at 385×1, 525×3, and 660×3. Then I started chasing other goals that I enjoyed more, like learning Elvish.

Not having hit those numbers doesn’t make me feel like a failure or want to go back and relive my glory days. I enjoyed training for those things, and it was fun at the time. Now, it’s not. Again, I don’t want to be weak, but I have no interest in quantifying my strength with an exercise I don’t really like.

Which brings to me my final and, perhaps, most important point: I don’t like back squatting.


I just really and truly don’t enjoy it. Some people love squats, and I understand that; I’m just not one of them.

I can’t tell you the reason I don’t like them. Can you explain your tastes? I can’t. I can’t tell you why I’m an ass man instead of a breast man. I can’t tell you why I prefer my steak rare instead of any other temperature. I can’t tell you why I prefer bourbon to gin. I just know what I like.

I also can’t tell you the reason I used to hate brussels sprouts and now love them. Your tastes and preferences just change. And as it happens, I used to enjoy squatting quite a bit. This was before I fell in love with the deadlift, which I prefer in every way. And to me, yanking a heavy barbell off the ground is infinitely preferable to squatting with one on your back.

Squatting no longer brings me pleasure of any kind–so why do it, when I can get the results I’m seeking elsewhere?

In my article that outlined my Rules for a Successful Life, one of the most important items I listed was pretty simple: say no to shit you don’t like. It is one of the hardest things you can do, and one of the best things to learn.

We all invent these ideas in our heads, requirements and obligations and qualifiers. We do things we don’t want to. We say yes when all we want to do is say no. We go to dinners with people we don’t want to break bread with, say yes to telemarketers because we’re too polite to hang up, and all these other endless nonsensical things.

In the context of fitness, we do this with exercises; we follow these unspoken rules enforced by the Internet Police, because we don’t want to face the implied consequence of being branded a certain way. If you use machines with your clients, you’re not a good trainer. If you don’t use the FMS, you’re not a movement specialist. If you don’t do Oly lifts, you’re not functional. And on and on and on.

We attach unnecessary importance to concepts because we don’t want to lose face in the eyes of people we don’t even fucking know. Somehow, specific exercises play into our estimation of people in terms of how dedicated or qualified they are. Have you ever stopped to think how absolutely ridiculous that is?

Even the highest level coaches do this.

Here’s the quote that I think sums it up best: -



Well, people of the Internet, I have a new quote for you to plaster all over your feeds: -

Feel free to share.

Fuck squats, I’m out.

If YOU happen to be in my coaching program, or doing one of my various workout programs…then that’s because I decided they WERE necessary for YOU. You are not me, and we may have different needs. 

The point of this is definitely not to convince you not to do back squats, and it’s definitely not to give you a reason to email me and ask me if you can/should stop doing them. 

The point is to give some very specific insight a very specific situation (mine) and to foster DISCUSSION. 

About the Author

John Romaniello is a level 70 orc wizard who spends his days lifting heavy shit and his nights fighting crime. When not doing that, he serves as the Chief Bro King of the Roman Empire and Executive Editor here on RFS. You can read his articles here, and rants on Facebook.

Comments for This Entry

  • Scott Burgett

    lol "like learn elvish." That was great,

    January 5, 2018 at 7:27 am

  • Betty Boop

    I fucking hate squats. They do nothing for my quads at all. I just feel exhausted but feel nothing in my legs.

    March 31, 2017 at 12:17 am

  • Bella Christi

    So glad I found this.

    January 3, 2017 at 10:19 pm

  • Brandon Hewitt

    I also read that Mark Rippetoe doesn't believe you're a man unless you're over 200 pounds. If he's trying to lead by example, then I assume he also thinks we should all grow man-tits, dress like a highschool gym teacher, and generally aim to be unfuckable in any way possible. Maybe then I can be a man!

    October 16, 2016 at 12:58 am

  • Jamsie

    I personally cannot stand how religious people get about certain exercises/equipment, etc. I cannot stand how I feel under the a barbell during a back squat. I'm 40 years old and play no sports and I am not obliged to follow any specific training program, so I'm done with back squats. What I sub for them I'm not 100 percent sure. It might be front squats or it might be Zercher squats. I tried front squats on my last leg day and wasn't in love with them, but I also didn't feel like I was going to die either. A lot of discussion of this issue involves phrases like, "That's just your opinion." My opinion is that Roman is 100% correct, but the **fact** of the matter is is that no one can make me do back squats! Thanks Roman.

    September 26, 2016 at 9:10 am

    • Jamsie

      Oh, and don't even get me started on "Coach Rip." My son says stuff like the coach does, and we just tell him to learn when to keep his mouth shut.

      September 26, 2016 at 9:11 am

  • ted wagner

    I don't work out for Mark Rippetoe, John Romaniello, Jason Ferruggia, or anybody else. I work out for me and I quit doing squats about 4 months ago because, like John, I no longer saw the point. I was giving them all the enthusiasm of making a paper clip chain, so I just dropped my attachment to them and moved on.

    August 27, 2016 at 9:07 am

  • drbarney

    Frank Zane warns us that overdoing squats that are too heavy will cause injury. He says that when you are older you can use a machine he calls the leg blaster to get the same benefits for the quads as a squat that carries more risk so that alternative seem like a good bargain for older bodybuilders. The details are in his website. Also, don't dismiss the leg press machine and the different ways you can use it. It seems that different angles and ranges of motion might be a good idea.

    August 27, 2016 at 8:58 am


    Excellent analysis ! Coincidentally , you are searching for a LANG 335-8 , my colleague used a template form here

    July 1, 2016 at 4:33 pm

  • AR

    You understand that you do not need to squat massive amounts of weight, right? Also, if you are talking about quads, probably you were squatting wrongly from the get go. Squatting is done primarily by engaging the posterior chain, which involves glutes and hams primarily. The quad is mainly stabilizing. Knee problems emanating from squat most likely have to do with improper positioning of knees in regards of the feet. You should be able to break the parallel with no repercussion on the knees at any load. Back pain (and I had a back surgery as well) comes from leaning on your toes while squatting (a beginner's mistake even experienced athletes commit in order to increase their loads.) I recommend squatting. But as anything done with weights, one must not skip the fundamentals and progressively increase weight and intensity.

    February 7, 2016 at 1:01 pm

  • Fanatoli Guyoff

    I actually learned them as "one leg elevated squats" and have only ever heard them called that. I like his name better though.

    September 28, 2015 at 10:06 pm

  • Beetlejuice (Who me?)

    Back squats are the worst. Did them for years and just got shoulder problems and back tightness. Only lift you need is coventional deadlifts and deficit deadlifts. That will build a massive posterior chain.

    September 16, 2015 at 1:24 pm

  • Renato

    The real problem is in the more and more system. You come to a point that the body says enough is enough. Why not doing 50 or 60 kilos on the barbell squat and rep till exhaustion. Try it. Didn't Tom Platz do squats with 100 kilos for ten minutes? I wouldn't do the low reps. The problem is in the non-stop overload principle. The body is not made to be lifting endlessly heavier and heavier . A lot of lifters get injured in the process of getting stronger and stronger.Or their joints deteriorate in time. Even machines have a maximum lifting capacity. Be wise, use your brain. That is what seperate us the most from animals. If it is all about muscle strength then we would have been born gorillas or rhinos. Well to each their own. :-)

    August 21, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    • Kaminsky

      That's where I'm at. I'm no powerlifting/shake drinking meatball type but I've always dinked around in the weightroom. I read SS by Rippetoe and started more or less doing a typical SS workout. I loved it, bought into it and swore by barbell lifting for about 4 years now, maybe 5. I never ate as much as I was supposed to but still woke up recently at age 45 5'8" and 190 pounds with a 400 pound deadlift. I was 170 about three years ago and was at 162 as a weightlifting 28 year old. Again, I never ate much. But I think my natural, God-intended weight is about 160-165. So what do I do? Keep lifting and eating? Should I creep up to 205 as my 50th birthday approaches? I also feel often depleted and not nearly as spry as I used to in regards to women. Okay...age, but I wonder if constantly pushing your body to the max without eating tons of food is taken out of your system elsewhere; like your mood, you libido etc. Unless you eat eat tons of food (which powerlifting demands) then you run into a wall and I wonder if it depletes you more than you realize. You got the cool bumps on your shoulders and back that didn't use to be there but I wonder if it's too taxing. THoughts?

      April 4, 2016 at 12:32 am

  • Christopher brinkley

    Bulgarian split squats. Barbell hack squats. Front squats. Deficit trap bar deadlift. Lunges sumo squats.. Reverse lunges with a front loaded rack. Step up. Box jumps . leg press with bands. Romanian deadlifts. Sumo deadlifts . prone leg curls. Seated leg curls.. Leg extension. Sissy squat. Single leg press. Single leg extension. Standing leg curls. Single prone leg curls... Bam!! 30 inch quads no SQUATS needed.

    April 3, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    • antidopinguser

      just compare: mark ” you should squat or you’re a pussy” rippetoe: with Dorian Yates, 6x mr O (1992-1997), which stopped squat in 1986 and performed leg presses: Well, if being a “man” makes me look like that fat slob (rippetoe) and being a “pussy” makes me look like Yates, i want to be a “pussy” lifelong ahahahah

      April 15, 2015 at 10:02 am

  • John Romaniello

    I do. The bar is just loaded in front.

    March 23, 2015 at 9:34 pm

  • John Washer

    If you don't squad, you don't squad. Nobody is holding a gun to these people's heads and say squat or die. People take it like they are eating that thuggaroni and cheese pizza.

    November 18, 2014 at 6:30 pm

  • Ty C

    "You ain't squat if you don't squat" - Every internet fitness community.

    October 12, 2014 at 5:50 pm

  • Ram Sivasubramaniam

    Matthew Maloney that is very true i had to research and watch so many videos before i properly learned how to squat. it took me about two months to get decent form.

    March 29, 2014 at 1:13 am

  • Matthew Maloney

    Ram Sivasubramaniam yes i am aware, i learned the hard way man. i caution people so they don't have to get hurt and can squat like a man, ha.

    March 29, 2014 at 12:35 am

  • Ram Sivasubramaniam

    Matthew Maloney practice with light weight till u get it down then u start slowly increasing. if ur not flexible enough start stretching cus this is the best excercise to become a man

    March 28, 2014 at 10:26 pm

  • Matthew Maloney

    I love squats, but you can seriously fuck yourself up if you're not doing them right and loading up on weight.

    March 28, 2014 at 8:10 pm

  • christian

    //short version Ro-man. Thank-ye. If I could buy you a bag of mint oreos, I would, except well, it'd be healthier drinking turpentine, sans that tastiness that mint oreos provide. I digress. You said this, "one of the most important items I listed was pretty simple: say no to shit you don’t like. It is one of the hardest things you can do, and one of the best things to learn." I love that. Stoked to read the article when I should really be doing something else. //long version And I 1000% agree. I'm a people pleaser and often find myself doing things I don't really want to be doing. Why? What is the point?! Of course, if it means helping someone in need or like, you know, being a kind person, I'm down. I don't want to lose *that*. But sometimes I think I'm "too kind" and spend more time doing what other people want. I have big dreams and goals. Speaking of, I'm trying to get in the best shape of my life and am doing StrongLifts 5x5. I just started. I've never weight trained in my life. 5x5 swears by back squats. I've heard such great things about front squats though, so I swapped those in instead. Then a friend challenged me with this article: And I thought, "Crap… but I like *front* squats." But because I'm a "rule follower" I thought, "Time to try back squats." Not now thanks to thine article. I'm gonna do front squats. Because I like them. I'm not looking for numbers or sports. All I want is for people to faint when I take my shirt off. Well. Just my girlfriend. (Is that too much to ask?) I think front squats will help transform me from the noodle I am now, to the beast I will be in 12 weeks. And when I say beast, I really mean, a pretty good looking dude with his shirt off. That's what I want. And that's what I'm going for. Thanks for the stellar writing. Ben Wyatt. Out. :) PS: Here's a picture from my gym today in lieu of the oreos. Try not to faint.

    March 6, 2014 at 12:55 am

  • Ram Sivasubramaniam

    squats are the king excercise if u have hip problems you do stretches and rehab excercies to fix em and then u start squatting you can't be like i got bad knees i cant squat u got build urself up. for example doing pullups i had to start of jumping now i can do them with ease. SO NO BITCHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 3, 2013 at 4:05 am

  • Ram Sivasubramaniam

    wow he put leg press in his workout what a pussy

    December 3, 2013 at 4:03 am

  • Brandon S.

    While I'm biased and a competitive powerlifter, I respect your right to do what suits you best. That's the great thing about training. Only you know what works best for your body, what you like/don't like, and the risk/reward you pay for doing so. Will I probably be beat to hell by the time I'm 50 if I stay highly competitive for bet. But to me personally, I see it as worth it until I reach goals X, Y, and Z. So props to you man, I respect you being honest and thinking about YOU! The only little thing I ask is, what is your thought on "doing the things you hate"? Clearly this falls in that category. Good post though, Roman.

    July 22, 2013 at 1:47 am

  • squatette

    Bulgarian split squats are way more damaging to the knee than back squats.

    July 18, 2013 at 11:22 pm

  • Ines Subashka

    Great post! Lately, the same thoughts are passing through my mind. I love Bulgarian split squats, and I love Bulgaria ( unlike Mike Boyle ;)), probably because I am a Bulgarian :D What I observe is that most people have a lot of mobility issues, which interfere with proper back squat form, and usually bring more harm, than good. Unlike the back squats, the Bulgarian split squat, allows for a better technique, and a pretty good loading of your legs. If I had to choose just one squat variation that I could do to the end of my life, I'd do this. And besides that I've been experimenting with Bulgarian split squats from deficit and it really brings for a great burn ;) Have a great day and thanks for the great read! Ines

    July 17, 2013 at 4:48 am

  • John Romaniello

    Great question! The problem with most leg press machines is that they're selectorized, and the weight stack is on one side. So, you get more loading on your right than your left. If you have a plate loaded leg press (hammer strength etc), it's not as much of a problem. Still, I prefer to do them unilaterally.

    July 16, 2013 at 3:14 pm

  • John Romaniello

    Interesting! What do you use in place of deads?

    July 16, 2013 at 3:12 pm

  • John Romaniello

    If you love, do it. Hope you enjoy =)

    July 16, 2013 at 3:12 pm

  • John Romaniello

    Thanks for stopping by, Scott. Appreciate the feedback!

    July 16, 2013 at 3:11 pm

  • John Romaniello

    I much prefer trap bar deads, personally.

    July 16, 2013 at 3:11 pm

  • John Romaniello

    Hey Cindy, You know, I do get emails about the language from time to time. Yours was the first time someone really took the time to look at it from MY perspective before writing it. I felt like you were making a suggestion, not chastising me. That makes a difference. I can't promise I won't swear, but I can promise I'll keep your words in mind. Thank you, Cindy.

    July 16, 2013 at 3:10 pm

  • Healthy Lifestyle Trainer

    So many good things in this article. Like the brussel sprouts. I hated them as a kid and now think they kick ass, especially braised. But with regards to back squats, I had gotten up to 315x12 for 3 sets back in '07. Then I went to a week long GYROTONIC training (I'm a personal trainer and GYROTONIC instructor) and I felt like my back had been decompressed, which is probably exactly what happened. I never put a barbell on my shoulders again. A big reason I stopped and also stopped using back squats with my clients is what you say about skills. Only under a very limited set of circumstances are back squats a truly functional exercise. Exceedingly rarely in life will you carry anything on your shoulders, let alone pick something up shoulder bearing. That's why I do continue to use and enjoy deadlifts. A totally functional movement. You pick stuff up from the ground all the damn time. And I'm totally down with you on not trying to impress internet bozos who I'm never going to meet anyway!

    July 16, 2013 at 1:14 pm

  • Robert Bateman

    I am a Chiropractor 5' 8" and play basketball. I have never done bar squats and never will. I have always used plyometrics, bodyweight squats including Bulgarian squats and jump training. At 19 years of age I could dunk a volley ball. I never had the ups to dunk a basketball. My point is the loading on the knees is not beneficial long term due to the complex mechanics of the flexion-extension phase. There are plenty of other exercises to use. I'm 42 now and still playing ball and giving the kids a run for their money. BTW I think Boyles theories are somewhat flawed and don't altogether make sense.

    July 16, 2013 at 5:41 am

  • Mike

    Personally, I always thought that compression from the loaded bar on my spinal column was too much (regardless of how strong the trapz are). About a year ago I started doing body-weight squats and their different variations. Now, I'm able to do 10-15 Pistols on each side and feel much more rounded in terms of my leg strength and balance. Great article thank you for the post!

    July 6, 2013 at 8:17 pm

  • Your Living Body

    Don't tell this to Crossfitters.....

    July 5, 2013 at 10:05 pm

  • Your Living Body

    I've had squatting issues for years due to my extremely flat feet. Playing soccer for years didn't help either as I had all sorts of alignment issues. I'm impartial to the squat but I think it's a great exercise. I think you summed it up nicely though with your reasons to squat if you actually need to squat. Now that I'm in my 30's the only thing I really care about is staying healthy and looking like I'm in good shape - the last thing I want is to end up with an injury and/or chronic low back pain because I'm trying to push myself at squats. My main love in life is surfing - as long as I keep my strength and endurance up for that and the occasional 10K I'm happy.

    July 5, 2013 at 10:02 pm

  • Augie S

    I do belt squats. Haven't done front or back squats in years.

    July 5, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    • John Romaniello

      Do you use plates, or a cable?

      July 6, 2013 at 9:07 am

      • Augie S

        Plates. I use a Spud Inc. squat belt (check elitefts, Rogue, Amazon, Sorinex, etc) and an Olympic loading pin. I train at home. Lowes sells these reinforced rubber step stools that are a perfect height for belt squats. They're also stackable so they take up little space. But I've got a friend who does belt squats at his local gym. He just packs his loading pin and belt in his gym bag and stands on benches. Bruno wrote an article for t-nation on hip belt squats on 8/26/11. Good read.

        July 6, 2013 at 10:46 am

      • Augie S

        BTW, you're not limited to plates. I've seen guys hook a chain to kettlebells, heavy chains, etc. Nothing wrong with cable if you can set it up and get enough weight. Most functional trainers use pulley systems with a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio so you have to stack a decent amount of weight to get enough resistance for belt squats. Not many gyms have belt squat platforms (Westside does) but I don't have the real estate for that in my home. Some platforms use cables while others use plates.

        July 6, 2013 at 11:04 am

  • Pankaj

    There are many things I hate doing. But that's my fault. If I don't like my medicine, I try to find some way to sugar-coat it and gulp it down.

    July 4, 2013 at 4:38 pm

  • Alex J

    Like you Roman, my bootay grows exponetially with back squats (BS) and very very little quad development, So in Engineering Da Alpha, would you advise replacing BSs in all phases it occurs? And with what??

    July 3, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    • Roman Author

      Allow me to answer your query with a few of my own: 1) Would you prefer more quads and less glute recruitment? 2) If that's the case, what exercises do you feel work well for your quads?

      July 3, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    • don slater

      Boyle is right. You do not have to squat. I say, Hill sprints will rip your legs and are good for your overall health and weight. Be natural,eat right ,train hard. 99% of us will never compete in anything meaningfull after high school anyways. And for those that do at least 20% of them(cheaters) take drugs to do it.So focus on priorities. God,family,health etc. Bought the alpha book its worth the money.

      July 4, 2013 at 12:40 am

    • John Romaniello

      If you would prefer to avoid it, feel free to sub with front squats, trap bar deads, etc

      July 6, 2013 at 9:07 am

  • John Romaniello

    That's actually a great question. As it happens, my booty gets work from deadlifts, which are my primary lower body movement. Also gets hit in RDLs, lunges, glute bridges etc

    July 3, 2013 at 8:19 am

  • Mike

    Damnnnnnnn you really hate those things dont you. I do too, thats because when I was a teenager I was following this workout in a magazine that called for squats and then follow up with dead lifts.Bad order of exercises! My legs were taxed after the squats so my back was all that was left for the dead im still dealing with that injury 20 years later. Not the squats fault but never the the less I hate both of those exercises.

    July 3, 2013 at 8:36 am

  • Mark Hewitson

    I would of thought one of the main reason to Squat is because its a compound movement, rather than doing all the isolation work from leg press and extensions..

    July 3, 2013 at 7:06 am

    • Roman Author

      Depends on the goal. As you will have noticed in the descriptions of my current leg workouts, I'm using trap bar deads and front squats--both big compound movements that allow for multiple muscles to be used. However, at a higher level of development, and for the purposes of pure hypertrophy, isolation can be important. For me, it seems that my quads grow more readily with direct work.

      July 3, 2013 at 8:29 am

  • Bret Contreras

    Good article Johnny!

    July 2, 2013 at 11:41 pm

  • Ruth Valentine

    Like :-)

    July 3, 2013 at 3:13 am

  • Cindy

    This article shows how much you have grown as a trainer, a bodybuilder and a man. Good on you. I myself have never liked back squats, they just don't "feel right". It is great to have someone I admire tell it like it is and give " permission" to trust my own instincts rather than do what is told to me is good. Everyone is different in bodies, injuries, abilities and imbalances. Thank you for this article I enjoyed it immensely - except for the F--- language. I am not a prude and I realise you probably write as you would speak but women read your articles and I just find that language unnecessary and I cringe whenever I see you write it. Just a thought for you to consider that you have no idea of who is reading your stuff - young, old, men, women, kids, religious, ethnics, your mum, your fiancé - anyone. Please don't be offended and just tell me to unsubscribe if I don't like it as that is not my point. I love your opinions and an in awe of your knowledge, pretty much I love your work.. I'm just asking you to consider that some of your audience may be offended or put off by the use of such language . I hope you take my comments in the loving, caring way in which I mean them. Thanks John.

    July 2, 2013 at 10:40 pm

  • Guest

    Like you Roman, my bootay grows exponetially with back squats (BS) and very very little quad development, So in Engineering Da Alpha, would you advise replacing BSs in all phases it occurs? And with what??

    July 2, 2013 at 10:08 pm

  • TonyGentilcore

    LOL on the Brussel sprouts comment. I fucking HATED them as a kid. Now, though, my girlfriend and I can't get enough of them. Nice article, too dude.....;o)

    July 2, 2013 at 5:22 pm

  • Brad Joanisse

    I'm rather glad you posted this article Roman. I don't by any means mind squatting, and frankly I cant even lift a ton. But my prime issue with the exercise is that I am completely and utterly unable to do anything heavy upon the shoulders for more than a few reps before I succumb to arm-numbing pins and needles. Thanks for the clarity, I'm happy to continue with the dumbbell squats for now!

    July 2, 2013 at 6:53 pm

  • Travis

    I tell my clients this. There is no such thing as a bad exercise, only a bad application. If back squats are not good for your structure or your mobility isn't good enough, there is no reason to do a back squat. Of if you just hate an exercise don't do it. I might be a minority here but I hate direct arm work. Bores the hell out of me. Maybe that's why I have small arms. I love back squats though:) I really liked this blog post. Nice job Roman

    July 2, 2013 at 6:49 pm

  • Dave Smith

    I agree with you Roman. There are many other ways to build muscularity if you have an imagination and can work a muscle through the way in contracts. I have had 3 low back surgeries (none related to lifting) and a compression fracture on my T-12. The risk of loading weight on my back isn't worth it. As a Movement Specialist and Trainer, I believe in performing movements we use in life. I have never had to lift a weight sitting on my back in daily life, however I have to pick things up a lot so I train deadlifts and dumbbell squats. Movements that mimic much more what I am going to face in my daily life. As far as belief, I think your right on. There are no real rules to this game of fitness. The only couple I think are, Enjoy it and Push yourself hard to do better!

    July 2, 2013 at 6:03 pm

  • Beancounter61

    And trap bar deads are really squat replacements and safer deads all wrapped into one. For the older, wiser guy. Right Roman?

    July 2, 2013 at 1:56 pm

  • Beancounter61

    It's the fiance. Roman noticed that she has achieved great fitness without back squats, so he's going "body part preservation fitness," which is smart. Right, Roman?

    July 2, 2013 at 1:54 pm

  • Steve NxtTraining

    Roman, what an awesome post! I usually read your stuff....and this one was awesome, as I constantly toy with "Do I need to squat anymore as a 30 year old strength coach, personal trainer who wants to stay strong (relatively) and stay lean at 185 lbs. I always dread the squat day bc only have 45 mins MAX to workout and without 5-10 mins of warm up, my knees feel like shit. Deadlifts, I can jump right in and go, and always do well. I agree with you 100%....thanks for writing it....Steve, Philadelphia, PA.

    July 2, 2013 at 1:26 pm

  • Patrick O'Flaherty

    Roman, On your trap bar deficit deadlifts... How many inches were you elevated off the ground? Was this elevated platform a commercially available piece of equipment or did you make it yourself? Were your 20 rep sets "Touch & Go" or did you pause to reset your grip after each rep? Thanks, Patrick O'Flaherty

    July 2, 2013 at 9:19 am

    • John Romaniello

      Good questions. For height, I actually just stand on a 45 pounds bumper plate. Some I'm elevated about 3.5 inches. Reps were touch and go; no resetting grip if I didn't need to.

      July 2, 2013 at 9:52 am

  • mvalent23

    I saw the title of this in my email, and almost unsubscribed from your mailing list. But then I read it and thought "I'm not sure if he's an evil genius or not, but I get what he's saying". I read through it and instead of finding reasons to not squat, I found a whole bunch of reasons to keep doing it. I find it so funny that some of the best lifters and even body builders out there started doing heavy squats at or below parallel. Now that they have great strength, they abandon the one exercise that helped them get there the most, while preaching against it. Then I read later on that "You don't have to squat, you can do these 5 things in it's place". Really, let's think about that: 20 - 25 minutes in the squat rack, or 90 minutes doing a leg circuit and same result (2 of which are squat variations, by the way). Thanks, I'll take the squats.

    July 2, 2013 at 1:09 pm

  • Lou

    I love me some trap bar deads, but I need to use straps to get any real work in on my legs without my grip giving out. Is that OK???

    July 2, 2013 at 9:08 am

    • ChuckS123

      Advice I've seen is to do as much as you can without straps, then use straps. That way you exercise your grip to it's limit, then go to your limit of other muscles. Many people's grips give out long before they get to the limit of other muscles.

      July 2, 2013 at 4:43 pm

  • Liza Laura

    I understand you want to build your kwadz, but Roman girlz love guys with a nice bubble butt too :) what do you do to keep you glutes nice and round without squats? As a proud owner of a bombshell bootie I find nothing has shaped my apple bottom like high volume ATG squats :))

    July 2, 2013 at 1:03 pm

  • James Fairbairn

    Classic Roman. Never get tired of this shit.

    July 2, 2013 at 12:48 pm

  • Scott Tousignant

    Solid article Roman. It's great to see that you shared your opinion and experiences while stating reasons why they may not apply to others. ...and the sample workouts you shared look wicked awesome! I was totally in agreement with the 'enjoyment' factor... until I realized that I didn't do any leg workouts in my late teens and 20's because I didn't enjoy leg day... like many guys... ...and it's the reason why I had to bust my butt off in my 30's to make my stick legs a thing of the past. Ironically, leg day is now my favorite training day... closely followed by back day. Thanks for the share Scott Tousignant

    July 2, 2013 at 11:49 am

  • Alex

    This post is just an opinion and should be treated as such. Same thing I said on Facebook. If people have a mobility squatting or got injured at some point doing it, they start bashing it. 2nd, the low bar squat is not a leg press, it's a hip movement and it involves what It involves not just quads and glutes (abs, lower back, hamstrings too) Just my 2 cents. If I can't squat correctly, I'd like to learn, not substitute for 5 machines worth of exercises and lose 1hour in the gym just for legs. Sorry Roman, i loved your book, but I can't agree on this one, ever.

    July 2, 2013 at 11:47 am

  • Nerast

    I really don't see what's the big fuss about. I think one should train a certain movement pattern (like the squat), or a muscle group (if that's your way of looking at it), but specific excercise selection is totally goal/equipment/individual/context dependent and, IMO, doesn't really make a difference as long as you are able to impose whatever training adaptation you were looking to get. People tend to get religious about certain pieces of equipment or excercises. I personally (still) enjoy doing back squats, but there is absolutely nothing magical about them, at the end of the day it's just another tool in the toolbox. Sometimes they are just what is needed and sometimes there are better ways to get things done and it would be really stupid to keep doing them if you don't feel you're getting anything out of it.

    July 2, 2013 at 11:05 am

  • Roy Ritchie

    I can 100% relate to this. I also used to love squats but grew to see them as more a hassle than anything and although ave always had strong legs, never seen any more development in them through squatting. I canned them in favor of single leg leg extensions and the leg press which in turn, made balloons of the quads so I didn't quit squats, but I do them a lot less and don't really enjoy them as much now.

    July 2, 2013 at 10:55 am

    • Roman Fitness Systems

      Logic. Out of curiosity - do you do other squat variations? I like the goblet squat for conditioning, and fronts for growth.

      July 2, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    • Roy Ritchie

      I do front squats more for quad development and I find them more challenging too as I know it'll get my 100% focus, not that back squats shouldn't but if my hearts not in it then I feel its not overly safe to be going crazy on them. I actually started more goblet squats on conditioning days after reading your book (See what I did there) and really enjoy them, something different and not something you ever see being done, well, in my local gym anyway.

      July 4, 2013 at 7:45 am

  • Barney Vincelette

    I used to be indifferent about Bulgaria until I discovered that they manufacture and sell glow-in-the-dark cloth that is very affordable on e-bay. I bought some and made a suit that is a riot to wear when walking out of the bright sun into a darkened movie theater while complaining about a nuclear waste disposal engineer having spiked my laundry detergent with plutonium salts because he thought I was trying to seduce his wife. Trust me, you haven't lived till you wear clothes that glow in the dark. But I digress. I find full range of motion hack squats more salubrious because they are athletic but not jockocratic. I hate most sports especially the commercial ones and bodybuilding is less about whom you can beat and more about demonstrating to the world that nobody has to become a victim of the obesity epidemic and suffer all the physical disfigurement and disease that goes with it. Several women and men have beaten anorexia by living the bodybuilding way of life. That to me is an inspiration.

    July 2, 2013 at 10:53 am

  • Jamie McCue

    I've recently come to this decision myself. I suffered from Osgood Schlatter disease for years growing up and it is good all round training that has helped me get over it, not just squats. I'll still do it from time to time but squats are treated the way everyone used to treat arm curls and I refuse to overdo it. I'm starting to notice young guys squatting at least 4 times per week (with their knees about to pop on each rep) because the "big macho" guys online have convinced them that squats are all they need to do. They won't last long with this advice and it's great that you have both given them an alternative and confirmed my thoughts to me.

    July 2, 2013 at 10:08 am

  • Jim

    I retired myself from back squats long ago, simply because they never did anything for me. Think about it, loading up your spine with as much weight as you can handle. We're supposed to be opening up our spine, not compressing it. Along with deads, two of the most overrated exercises ever. I've had much better physique enhancement without them.

    July 2, 2013 at 10:04 am

  • Andrew Maclennan

    Great article John. I agree with a lot of your comments. I have stopped doing conventional squats due to a bad knee injury and resulting weakness in one leg. If I squat then my strong leg does more of the work and I get far more rotational torque going through one hip and I'm not keen on getting one of those replaced anytime soon. Also it very much depends on what you get out of squats as you said - stiff ankles that I have work my posterior chain well and I have big glutes but small quads. I could mobilise my ankles to change things but years of bad sprains in basketball when I was a young fella have stiffened them up. Stiff ankles are great for top end speed running fast but crap for acceleration (which is linked into poor squatting). Anyway, enough.

    July 2, 2013 at 9:53 am

  • Anne

    After reading this...I'm going to squat with even more passion!! I love the rack.

    July 2, 2013 at 9:34 am

  • chuck

    You speak Elvish? That's baller.

    July 2, 2013 at 6:22 am

  • Christopher Sauerwein

    Love the last line This post is not just about squats, it is about taking charge of your life. Cheers Roman

    July 2, 2013 at 3:04 am

  • Jose Gamez

    *Greek accent * You no do no squats? What you mean YOU NO DO NO SQUATS?!? it's ok. We do front squats.

    July 2, 2013 at 2:51 am

  • David Cortés

    Nice article Roman "pussy" Romaniello. I dropped back squats a year ago, now I only do front squats and deadlifts. I always found the back squat "awkward" for me, After 7 years of training, when I lift heavy on the BS, I always, always, always end up doing some kind of good morning to finish the movement. Like the "NEEDZ MOAR HIP DRHAV" From rippletits. With the front squat I use less weight, but I keep my upward the whole time, I feel it on my core, upper back and quads and they don't work my huge ass as much as the back squat (which gave me my huge ass on the first place). As a side note: Did you know that, until last year Dimitry klokov, a russian olympic weightlifting superstar did NOT use backsquats in his training? Because He didn't get much from it.

    July 2, 2013 at 2:44 am

  • Alex

    How come you sent out an email on 2/28/13 titled, "5 USELESS Exercises (Don't do them!)‏", where one of the exercises listed was the leg press, but then you blog about doing leg presses? You even said they are "destroying" results and can "actually harm your body?"

    July 2, 2013 at 2:08 am

  • John Romaniello

    frunt skwatz 4 ur kwadz, brah.

    July 1, 2013 at 10:04 pm

  • Yannick Noah

    Awesome post Roman. Such an epic way to end the article. I guess for non professional fitness enthusiasts like me i tend to be inclined to follow whatever some high level experts say. So when such coaches say "you shall squat" , it is like a command of a prophet that I cannot say no to haha. But thanks to people like you you have offered me another perspective of things. You didnt diss squats straight away but you provided reasons for doing so and you didnt make your personal choice everyone's choice. As for me, I used to love the squats (down to parallel) because i used to chase the big 3 as well. But i became unhappy doing them after a while because there are just too many cues to pay attention to and like u, i felt nervous doing them. And for some reason which is unexplainable, I didnt feel good doing them and they were not quite enjoyable anymore. Now i far prefer front squats.I find that it is easier to do and they feel better although some may say it is a more complicated lift. I still do back squats but i now squat deep so i feel on the legs more without worrying too much about the load. I use deep back squats now for volume work. P/s: i thought of comparing your ending to an epic scene in World War Z but i fear there are some that might not have watched the movie so i decided not to. haha

    July 2, 2013 at 1:30 am

  • Aizan Suhaira

    Thank you for putting this out in the open. Your sentiments echo mine almost exactly. I haven't done any back squats in a while and instead prefer goblet squats, lumberjack squats, sumo deads, lunges... i.e. anything but back squats. It resulted in healthier knees and a rekindled love for leg day.

    July 2, 2013 at 1:05 am

  • Jason John Klein

    Good stuff coach

    July 2, 2013 at 12:27 am

  • Roman K

    Hi Roman on the other side of planet! I recently came across this page...your information is good in one sense to go in the direction of what you like as you will excel more however just because you are not competing or are not aiming to be an athlete does not mean you dont do exercises that you dont like. These exercises make you stronger and improve limitations usually. My view is the back squat is essential for many reasons however i dont load a house on to it. Yes you dont have to do it as you are doing other variations however for me it is too fundamental. I guess if you are getting the results elsewhere it isnt a 'need'. I am not a fan of extensions due to the shear stress on acl. Do we train to destroy our ligaments and increase instability or to have strength with stability? In regards to good quad development yes you will get that.

    July 1, 2013 at 11:29 pm

  • David Quinn

    Another problem with barbell squats that folk dont really thinkmabout is if your frame is not aligned properly, ie you have one hip higher thannthe other, the hip closest to the grounds leg will initiate the drive first basically meaning the entire load almost is on one leg and by the time the other leg gets involved it only does 20% of the work. People like that are actually setting themselves up for pain, not to mention you will progress far slower as like i say you are pretty much squatting with one leg for most of the rep

    July 1, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    • Ross McGuire

      That's why i don't do them dude

      July 2, 2013 at 11:41 am

    • David Quinn

      my right hip is tilted Ross, it is roughly tilted to an inch donwards on the right basically when i squat the bulk of the pressure is on my right leg, this places a lot of strain down one side of the back and on the right knee. It is also probably why every time i squat i have more DOMS in my right leg the next day. Its a great exercise but without a proper structure to work on it can be very hazardous, not to mention it seriously reduces poundage

      July 2, 2013 at 11:49 am

    • William B. Peel

      "In fact–and I know I’m going to get lambasted for this by some f***ing barbell purist–I’ve found that from a sheer aesthetic perspective, I get more out of the leg press machine than barbell back squats." - (quoted from the article) Yes. I've struggled with squatting issues for years and documented my journey over on Dave Draper's Iron Online site. In my personal case, I find the leg press gives me the ability to use heavier weight safely and I can focus the resistance where I choose. Leg Extensions, hip belt squats, leg presses and trap bar lifts get it done for me. As to "the squat is the king of exercises" crowd - opinions vary. (Remember" Roadhouse?")

      July 2, 2013 at 3:12 pm

  • David Quinn

    Have you ever tried cable hip belt squats, i feel these are a superb lternative to barbell squatting, you can go closer tonfailure and the lower back isnt a factor. This exercise is far superior to the hack squat machine, which imo is a knee wrecker.

    July 1, 2013 at 11:19 pm

  • Austin Smith

    I agree with this article. I happen to love back squatting, but it is definitely not a "100% must have exercise that everyone in the world should fucking do." Because some people shouldn't. Also, this article would get a +1 even if I didn't agree with it, because you introduced me to the word "kwadz".

    July 1, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    • Christos Tsiftis

      Hey Roman, long time no speak! Nice article bro. I've always hated back squats and up until recently would do exercises like Vince Girondas Sissy Skwadz which worked well...until I read Keys To Progress by John McCallum who says Skwadz or bust. Since I started 6 weeks ago on back squats Ive put on 7 kilos and hit 90kg. My strength has increased in everything and i needed new shirts and slacks for work! Only downside is my ass has widened somewhat, LOL. I now backsquat during winter during bulk up. Whatever works for you, right! Oh, BTW Congrats and nice work with Arnie. Ciao.

      July 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm

  • Doug Millasich

    Ah - ha.

    July 1, 2013 at 11:02 pm

  • Peter Bellagio

    In your opinion, would you be where you are without squats?

    July 1, 2013 at 10:53 pm

  • Checo Guerra

    Just as I started to grow fond of back squats....Front squats are tricky for me. Gotta work hard on my wrist flexibility and grip to achieve a decent (or at least safe) front squatting technique. Proud member of the aesthetics-purposes-only association.

    July 1, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    • Josh Bobbitt

      Agreed. Tried front squats today, and I'm just not mobile enough to get the technique down.

      July 2, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    • Josh Bobbitt

      Agreed. Tried front squats today, and I'm just not mobile enough to get the technique down.

      July 2, 2013 at 9:37 pm

  • Graciany Miranda Grajales

    U hate squats

    July 1, 2013 at 10:41 pm

  • Nick Efthimiou

    So what you are saying, is if I like gin, and my friend likes scotch, we can both go to a bar, order what we like, and still end up in the same place?

    July 1, 2013 at 6:25 pm

  • Robert J. Peterson

    Man, great reading. If there's one that that I, from my completely know-nothing perspective, try to impart about weight-training, it's that everything isn't for everyone. Not everyone has to do this or that lift to be (or to get) in good shape. Do what works for you, and just make sure you have some fun while you're in the gym. QED.

    July 1, 2013 at 5:55 pm

  • Andy Peters

    Haha classic! Great article!

    July 1, 2013 at 9:47 pm

  • Mike Vacanti

    Boyle hates Bulgaria, LOL. This post can be applied to so many things that get blasted with groupthink. Solid read as always, thanks for sharing dude.

    July 1, 2013 at 5:36 pm

  • martin

    Yeah, you're a dick Sorry you got raped by boys that did curlz in the squat rack then squatted over your roided face.. :*

    July 1, 2013 at 5:32 pm

  • Mihalescu Andrei

    This better to have squat and stopped then never to have squat at all.

    July 1, 2013 at 9:04 pm

  • Ryan

    I've never liked the squat much either - I can't go low without arching my lower back. I always felt that it worked my lower back more than my legs also. Kinda figured that meant I needed a stronger core. Thoughts?

    July 1, 2013 at 4:59 pm

  • Dan

    Until Mark Rippletoad can squat his bodyweight, I'm not going to take him seriously.

    July 1, 2013 at 4:59 pm

  • Connor J Ralph

    So roman, what I am getting out of this is squats are utterly useless if you are not an athlete or looking for sheer strength. Which I am not. I'm more like you. Want to look better and feel better. Numbers are nice but not really that important. I am using your Engineering the alpha book and I really enjoy using the workouts and tips. I can't say if I remember a straight just back squat, I'll have to look thru it to see. But if there is, is it reasonable to substitute that one out for a variation if we are in the same boat as you? I personally hate doing back squats. I have bad knees myself and going anywhere near parallel scares the shit out of me. Any exercise that'll work as a good replacement for it, if it's in the book at all, besides the ones you've listed up there? Thanks a lot you've really motivated me to keep working out and I really appreciate all the help and posts you do! Your Alpha buddy, Connor Ralph

    July 1, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    • Roman Fitness Systems

      Feel free to use front squats or trap bar deads. I wouldn't say back squats are utterly useless for non-athletes or strength seekers. For some people, they are the ONLY thing that gets their legs to grow. Just different for different peeps.

      July 1, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    • Connor J Ralph

      Thanks Roman, I'll start using those. I don't see a lot of improvement from back squats so it's nice to have some alternatives!

      July 1, 2013 at 9:25 pm

  • Chad Mollick

    Commented in the original post but after reading your reasoning I understand that you don't like squats and that's cool. However, you can't deny results and the results thousands and thousands of people have gotten from squatting can't be denied. You may not like to do them or feel uncomfortable or maybe just don't feel like they work for your body. But results are results. In my opinion.

    July 1, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    • Josh Bobbitt

      Correlation or cause? Can we reasonably say that results wouldn't be the same when using a different movement?

      July 1, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    • Roman Fitness Systems

      Again, I think squats are great for some people, including athletes; for me structure, they seem not to work for my goals.

      July 1, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    • Chad Mollick

      I would agree that structurally they don't work for all. Just like front squats and goblet squats are uncomfortable for me. However, would you agree for overall muscle activation and total body, not just quad, size and strength, back squats, if structurally conceivable for your body type, are hard to impossible to beat? Damn... That was a lot of commas.

      July 1, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    • Roman Fitness Systems

      +1 on the comma usage. So, yes, I would agree that if it works for your body type, there it's one of the two best exercises for full body activation. Personally, I would give the edge to deads, but, again, that's really just personal preference.

      July 2, 2013 at 1:30 am

  • Chad Mollick

    Commented in the original post but after reading your reasoning I understand that you don't like squats and that's cool. However, you can't deny results and the results thousands and thousands of people have gotten from squatting can't be denied. You may not like to do them or feel uncomfortable or maybe just don't feel like they work for your body. But results are results. In my opinion.

    July 1, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    • Travis Janeway

      As a student of Rip's, and movement in general, I'll agree to disagree. In my specific experience, "correct squatting" fixed my chronic knee problems, and facilitated improvement in everything except distance running. I like Ido Protal's concept of 2-2.5 BW squat as "good enough" and utilizing various styles of squatting (low bar, Oly, Box, wide stance, narrow, single leg etc.). To me, a decision not to squat is like a decision not to be good at swimming, deadlifting, hand balancing, or any other fundamental human movement skill. Isolated knee flexion/extension is not a human movement skill. I guess I am one of the Squat lovers. Mostly because of how much they suck and the physiological response inherent to the training.

      July 1, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    • Roman Fitness Systems

      Great points all around. To be clear, I as I said in the article, I am still using front squats, deadlifts, trap bar deadlifts, single leg squats, etc. So, I really wouldn't say I'm relying solely on "isolated knee flexion."

      July 1, 2013 at 10:15 pm

  • Lucas Pellan

    haha great article. I agree, Boyle probably hates Bulgaria.

    July 1, 2013 at 8:45 pm

  • Mike Samuels

    Great post John. I'm still a squat-lover, but completely get why some folks decide to ditch them. Out of interest, in your old leg workout you had 15-rep sets of front squats. Whenever I've tried to go above 5/6 reps, I find the bar starts to slip too much, shoulders slump forward, wrists hurt (insert more wimpy excuses here) so I stick to going heavier. How d'you cope with higher reps? Clean grip/cross-arms/straps? Any tips? Cheers man Mike

    July 1, 2013 at 8:44 pm

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