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Squats Designed Specifically for Men

Updated on January 31, 2015

When I hear the word squat, I think of Arnold Schwarzenegger with all his muscles and I think of the power squat - the squat with the heavy weights. For many of us, especially the American babyboomers, this is a common vision. Yet squats come in a variety of different types and can be readily scaled for any physical level. But what about those manly squats the power squats made famous by the body builders? Are these squats appropriate for everyone - men and women? What are the guidelines, who are power squats appropriate for? What are the risks? And what are the alternatives? Are squats simply the end all of all exercises - is this truth or fiction? And lastly and perhaps the main question men are really wanting to know, will squat affect my testosterone levels?

The first rule of squats for both men and women, is the exercise must be performed correctly.

Safety first is always my unisex rule but for men who are overly ambitious this rule must be highlighted.

While many of us may never advance to power squats, I believe understanding this compound exercise favored by most bodybuilders from around the world will help us who may forever choose simply a wall squat or a non-weighted plié squat.

So females, listen up, I do promise not to bore you and that you will learn something about this favored compound exercise that will help motivate you to design the best fitness program for you. And men, I promise to provide the answers to all these questions and more by some of the most renown fitness experts in the world.


Squats

Arnold with Front Squat with Weights and a Board Under His Heels for Challenging His Balance
Arnold with Front Squat with Weights and a Board Under His Heels for Challenging His Balance | Source

The Myth - Squats Hurt Knee Ligaments

Science is amazing, we have so many myths and then debunking those myths take years. Will we ever advance beyond the myths?

Yes, if we listen, read and learn. This is the critical reason why we need education. Education in our public institutions and on the internet.

Squats can be executed safely and squats if performed correctly with the proper posture and the appropriate weight and speed can serve to stabilize the knee joint.

Squats like all exercises, if they are performed with improper posture or inappropriate weight, can be an end to your good health. When in doubt do cardio - run, do basketball, do leg presses, do not attempt an exercise you have have not been trained to perform.

Elements in the Design of the Appropriate Exercise

  • Weight
  • Velocity
  • Repetitions


Exercise Intensity Definition

Bret Contretras, sometimes referred to as "The Glute Guy", provides an exceptional definition and full explanation of the exercise intensity and why it is so important to craft the right exercise for the right person.

Bret sounds the charge for the "intelligent coach" and has over 10 years of practical experience in athletic training to back it up. Besides strength training and setting the right example, Bret hold's his master's degree from Arizona State University and graduated suma cum laude (simply stated straight A's). So let us take the facts from a practical and intelligent coach:

"The weight (load) placed upon a bar, the velocity of the bar, run, or throw (i.e. maximal effort vs. tempo), as well as the height and/or distance of a jump (i.e. plyometrics), to name a few. Appropriate exercise intensity is not only important to ensure “adaptation”, but is also essential to minimize the occurrence of a possible training injury. For example, as an athlete performs the squat exercise with an inappropriately programmed (excessively high) specific intensity (weight), to compensate for this excessive load, an unwarranted flexion (posture) of the lumbar spine may occur in an attempt to achieve a successful exercise performance."

Bret Contreras

Scooby Werkstatt on Squats

Scooby Werkstatt to me is the modern day, Jack LaLanne. He combines practical body building knowledge with real research and figures. He is best known for advocating back-to-basics but he is one of the best motivators in the industry. He is a direct parallel to Jack because he does not just stick to the exercises, he will branch into nutrition and Scoody will take a stand on over drinking. He realizes he has an impressionable audience and he targets his presentation to the youth that he is guiding. Scooby always delivers with his shirt off to showcase that he walks the talk.

Advantages of Squats

Squats and the Myth Associated with Squats

Did you believe the myth about squats and the magical properties for testosterone?

See results

Did you realize that there are great substitutes for squats?

See results

Squats are the favorite exercise of bodybuilders.

Did you realize that squats are not always appropriate for everyone?

See results

Squats Are Not for Everyone

"10.2 percent of the populace has chronic and rehabilitating back problems."

Scooby Video About Squats - Are Squats Overrated?

In this video, Scooby covers allot of valuable ground. He debunks the common myth of squats and their "magical properties". He analyzes squats verses leg presses and he provides specific guidance of the attributes of the appropriate client - who should really be including squats in their exercise program.

First, let's address the myth that squats are magical to men. Do squats have magical testosterone and growth hormone properties? High intensity resistances training temporarily increase testosterone and growth hormones but that goes for all exercises not just squats.

Squats are a great compound exercise that work your glutes your leg muscles.

Squats are an easy exercise to do - just need: 1.) the olympic bar and 2.) a squat cage - available at most any gym.

Squats should only be performed if you have a strong core and a good squatting technique.

Squats at least not the body building squats that Scooby is referring to and what most men consider the "squat exercise". Essentially, our spines are not designed for squats. Scooby goes on to details:

"10.2 percent of the populace has chronic and rehabilitating back problems."

Substitutes for Squats:

My number one rule to my fitness clients, was if you feel pain, stop immediately. Squats like all exercises must be designed specifically for your performance level. If you don't have a strong core, if you have had back pain, the wall squat with no weight is the place to begin. But no fear, there is a great substitute that Scooby provides seeking the same intense muscle contraction that squats provides to our leg muscles.

A safe and effective substitute for squats given by Scooby is a leg press machine or leg curl machine and a game of Basketball.

Advantages and Risks of Squats

Squats work the stabilizing muscles and are a great compound exercise.

Power lifters and body builders will always shouts the praises of squats.

Why the basketball game? The game of basketball will work all your stabilizer muscles.

"Squats can be a 911 call waiting to happen" and should be designed specifically for your performance level.

Why the 911 concern? Potential injuries of course are the knees but the back also is severely at risk.

For you see, in the world of fitness, the prescription or the fitness routine designed for you must be specific to your needs. And each of us has different needs. Also, each of us will experience different chapters and different performance levels.

Reminder - Body Builder Squats Offer An Immense Compressive Load to Your Spine

For this reason, Scooby walks us through an advance comparison of the leg press machine and squats. Can you advance to squats after using the leg press machine? That depends upon your dedication and the response by your body. Each individual is different, so take the time to determine what leg exercise is right for you.

Comparison of the Leg Press Machine and Squats

This video details the compressive loads on the spine of the leg press and the squat. In short, squats demand a strong spine. For squats, the compressive load is vertical.

In summary, Scooby recommends power squats if you are able to meet this 4 point criteria:

1. You are between the ages of 18 and 40

2. You have a professional body building coach to guide you

3. Your family has no history of spine injury

4. You use a squat cage for your safety


If you are not able to meet these four criteria - no worries. The substitutes are simple - leg presses, leg curls and the game of basketball.

Back Squat Motivational Poster

Motivational Poster - Man Performing Back Squat with the quote "I am not telling you it will be easy, I am telling you it is going to be worth it."
Motivational Poster - Man Performing Back Squat with the quote "I am not telling you it will be easy, I am telling you it is going to be worth it." | Source

Benefits of Squats - 7 Different Reasons by Jeremey DuVall

  • Increased hormone release
  • Stronger lower body
  • Less risk of injury
  • Increased vertical jump
  • Increased flexibility
  • Stronger core
  • Improved workout efficiency

source: Jeremey DuVall, M.S., CPT

Female - Male Perspective

Perhaps you are reading this article and are skeptical because I am female. That is fair. I completely understand and you are correct - my female perspective is to be challenged. To this end, I will reply ask Scooby Werkstatt or ask Jeremy DuVall - both renown fitness experts.

I don't give compliments readily and especially in fitness and especially about fitness articles but Jeremy DuVall has written an exceptional article that is a must read. In this article, he accurately details the many benefits of squats. If you read one other article about the many benefits of squats, this is article you must read.

Design A Squat Program That is Right for You

If you understand squats and the protection it gives to the knee joint and the benefit to your health, you need to understand the different levels of squats. There are dozens of types of squats but the category of the squat and the type that you and your trainer choose must be right for your fitness level and your family history.

If you have a history of bad backs, stay away from the advanced squats for your personal safety. If you have the core strength and medical clearance no history of family members with bad backs, do add a new personal goal to work your way up to the power squat.

Types of Squats

 
 
 
Power Squats
With Added Weight
Advanced
Wall Squats
Body Weight Only
Beginner
Wall Squats with Weight
Add in a Bar Bell or Medicine Ball
Intermediate
Wall Squats with Adduction
Addin a Soft Ball Between the Knees
Beginner
Plie Squat
A Wide Squat Targeting the Inner Thigh Muscles
Beginner
Plie Squat with Weights
With Added Weight
Intermediate
Bulgarian or Russian Squat
One Leg with Weights
Advanced
Plyometric Squat
Squat with a Jump
Advanced

Motivational Poster - "Do Squats"

Motivational Poster with red print saying "when you feel you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, do squats"
Motivational Poster with red print saying "when you feel you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, do squats" | Source

Do Squats - Seven Simple Mantras

  1. Aim for squats daily.
  2. Men if you start squats young, you may be able to power squat when you are over 40.
  3. Not squatting is bad for the knees.
  4. Perfect form prevents injuries.
  5. Squats are available for all levels of fitness.
  6. Choose a type of squat that is right for your fitness level.
  7. A squat is the foundation of all fitness programs.


Other Tips:

Breath deeply into your belly, do not take shallow breaths only chest level - get that oxygen flowing.

Remember This Basics of Squats

"Don't skip squats - they burn more calories than most any other move."

"Don't skip squats - they protect the knees."

Squats belong in all exercise programs but power squats with added weight belong under the guidance of a well trained coach.

Learn the best level of squats for your body.

Do squats daily.

Power Squats Have Special Considerations for Both Men and Women

Squats for men have special considerations because often we are only considering power squats - squats with weights. In reality, power squats have special consideration for both men and women.

Whether male or female, we have learned from the best of the best in the field of fitness that there are special considerations for power squats.

Ladies and gentlemen, when deciding what squat is right for you, do listen to the three experts that we consulted here. Take their advise and together with your personal trainer or body building coach, design a fitness program that is precisely right for you. Recognize the importance of the squat and recognize the hazards that power squats may impose upon your health.

Just as in swimming, you wouldn't jump into the deep end first, so too, with squats. Start with a squat where you can master and achieve the perfect form and then move up to the intermediate and then the advanced squats.

There are no wimpy squats. While some may say that shallow squats, wall squats, plié squats are wimpy - remember, we all must start somewhere. All squats are all good.

Also, remember, not doing squats can hurt our knees.

Jumping into the deep end with squats can do allot of harm not just to your knees but also to your back. Build your core, work with your trainer and over time, you will be able to advance to another level of squats.

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    • Easy Exercise profile image
      Author

      Kelly A Burnett 2 years ago from United States

      Kain 360,

      I love your work and am honored you stopped by. Squats should not be all about the maximum weight. Light squats in high repetition are also great for toning.

      At home, I would recommend the squat you find the hardest - embrace it and conquer it!

      Interesting, you have a day of the week for you barbell squat - this is GREAT! Congrats.

      Keep you the great exercise and the great job on HubPages!

    • Kain 360 profile image

      David Hinerman 2 years ago from PA

      Fantastic hub! I have been squatting since 2012, but switched to a different type of squat -- olympic squat I think -- where you squat below parallel. My squat is not very good compared to my bench, deadlift, and pull up strength, though.

      I barbell squat on Fridays at gym, but what would you consider a good squat to do at home, earlier on in week? Sometimes I just do a bunch of bodyweight squats or hold a dumbbell, but I rest only a minute between sets to make it harder at home.

      Also, squatting below parallel requires a lot of flexibility and mobility I have found. I been trying to learn more about stretching hips, hamstrings, glutes etc. so it does not inhibit me.

      Most people at gyms put 300+ lbs on bar and only squat down 2 inches....

    • Easy Exercise profile image
      Author

      Kelly A Burnett 2 years ago from United States

      poetryman6969,

      The best method for anything is all natural. Yet, man has been given the ability to perform surgery, create supplements and through science has even traveled to the moon.

      Google's mantra is "do no harm" and if we apply that to ourselves to our own personal surgeries, supplements, we must weight not only no harm to ourselves but also to our families and our community. We are not just an individual on this earth, we are here to be a part of the community. To be present with our friends, our co-workers, to care for each other in the manner we would want to be taken care of is really the ultimate goal. "Good for you" is subjective. For Arnold, the supplements, perhaps the enhancements were part of the career he had chosen. The only one who can judge the use of supplements or enhancements such as steroids is God.

      Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; " There is allot of wisdom in this one sentence.

      Great exercise question, my friend, thank you very much for asking.

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      When I think of Arnold I think of steroids. Do you think some enhancements are good for you?

    • Easy Exercise profile image
      Author

      Kelly A Burnett 3 years ago from United States

      Hi DDE,

      Thank you so much for commenting on this often forgotten exercise. We have heard all the hype about fitness equipment but often our body offers some of the best exercises.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Great suggestions in squats a helpful and informative hub about exercise.

    • Easy Exercise profile image
      Author

      Kelly A Burnett 3 years ago from United States

      dwelburng,

      What a great in depth analysis - thank you. I believe less weight is the appropriate prescription for most people. You make an excellent point that I did not highlight, as the hip flexibility improves, your range of motion and the depth of your squat will improve. Great point. Thank you!

    • dwelburn profile image

      David 3 years ago from Chesterfield, UK

      Yes I think wide squats are good, but you have to be flexible. I have a preferred stance width that is just a bit wider than shoulder width.

      As for depth; I do like to get to parallel (tops of thighs parallel the the floor) as this works the thigh more fully. Most people don't get anywhere near this depth because they are using a weight that is too heavy for them. Of course many people do have flexibility issues and so will need to squat a bit more shallow. Though hopefully over time they'll be able to go lower as hip flexibility improves. I like to do hip stretches to keep mine reasonably flexible.

    • Easy Exercise profile image
      Author

      Kelly A Burnett 3 years ago from United States

      dwelburn,

      You make a really important point, squats do not have to be completed low. I prefer to train my clients with shallow squats. I want them to get started. Yes, more advanced clients can opt to go low but the majority of our populace is better off with shallow squats, slow squats and I also feel that the wide squats hit more muscles for me.

      Congrats on a great exercise program you have - you are an inspiration for all of us. And yes, squats always help the knees.

    • dwelburn profile image

      David 3 years ago from Chesterfield, UK

      Great article on squats. I'm almost 52 and I still do them with a 300lb bar on my back. I always go to parallel, but not below as I have hurt my back on a couple of occasions when I went too low. I also find they help my knees a lot.

    • Easy Exercise profile image
      Author

      Kelly A Burnett 3 years ago from United States

      Squats for men are different because the male focus is different. Addressing the myths of squats and showcasing the many benefits of squats helps both men and women better appreciate this exercise. Sadly squats are over appreciated by men and under appreciated by women with a couple of myths thrown into the mix.

      Squats are an exceptional exercise that I feel should be on everyone's must do list daily. Yes, I said daily. We all talk about activity for 20-30 minutes but we don't add in strength exercises. Squats don't have to mean power squats with lots of weights. Squats need to be appropriately designed with the proper amount of weight.

      Squats for the majority of us, simply need our body weight and nothing more.

      For myself, I have a family history of knee problems and the added weight combined with the added repetitions really help my knees.

      We have learned about the beauty of simply pure foods but we also need to learn to celebrate simply pure exercise - body weight exercises that allow our muscles to shout with joy and protect our knees.

    • sexyboo123 profile image

      sexyboo123 3 years ago

      omg!!!