Do you need to squat? I get asked this question a lot by various people ranging from recreational athletes to the elderly. It’s a valid question as squats are often either considered the “end all be all” or “if you squat your knees will implode”. With some personal trainers and fitness influences praising the barbell squat and some often shunning the exercise completely, the answer most likely lies in the middle of the spectrum.
You have to look at the big picture and your goals when it comes to implementing the squat. If your sport or hobbies involve the squat movement (powerlifting and olmpic lifting coming to mind) then I would definitely be encouraging some barbell squat training into your program. However, if your sport or hobby doesn’t involve then it MAY not be needed as it can be a higher risk exercise and risk:reward ratios are important when it comes to programming. However, if you do not view the barbell squat as important to your training or too high of a risk due to previous injury etc… thats okay, I personally still think a variation of a squat should be implemented into your training. Examples of these include front squats, hack squats, smith machine squats, various squat machines, goblet squats, zercher squats, and the list goes on. You may not like, enjoy, “feel”, or even want to do barbell back squats, and thats okay! If you can find a way to work your legs whether through focusing on strength, power, or hypertrophy then good for you! Or you may not be built where squats are easy and can be quite difficult and that’s okay as well. In the end it comes down to your personal goals and preferences.
For majority of my clients and myself I will always have a version of a squat in the program and somewhat push them to pursuing the ability to be able to do a barbell back squat as a goal. In my opinion the squat and all it’s versions can be quite important for a variey of training programs whether focusing on hypertrophy, strength, or power.