Shut Up and Squat!- How to Build Bigger and Stronger Legs
If you are looking to get in any kind of physical shape, you have to do the exercise that incorporates every bit of muscle into one compound movement. The squat. It is a must and a necessary to the bodybuilding equation: a trigger that results in the most serious of gains.
When I first started to train, I neglected many movements that would have exponentially increased my muscle growth. I never performed a deadlift, squat, weighted pull-up, hang clean and press or a farmer’s walk. These kinds of exercises were foreign to me. I always thought of it as unnecessary and somewhat “over the top” when it came to training. I used to shake my head in disapproval thinking to myself that others who performed those exercises were crazy for doing something like that. Maybe it was the danger associated with it or my own fear to try something challenging and new, but it was my own ignorance that was hurting me in the long run. What I did not realize was that these were all the kinds of exercises that were an absolute necessary to gain muscle.
I was the type who solely concentrated on raising my bench press and developing bigger arms. Consequently, I did thousands of reps on the bench press, thousands of biceps curls, and thousands of triceps pushdowns. And while I immediately saw growth in those areas for the first couple of months, the routine did not work so well beyond that. I hit a muscle plateau. Muscle growth was just not occurring. I was hitting the weights often but still not getting any bigger and I certainly was not getting any stronger due to the lack of variety and the lack of muscles being incorporated into my routine. Something needed to change and that something needed to be drastic. I needed to switch up my routine to incorporate other movements.
As I was flipping through one of the muscle magazines, I saw an advertisement of 8-time Mr. Olympia Champion Ronnie Coleman (at the time he may have won his 2nd or 3rd one) with a quote written above his head. The quote simply said “Shut up and Squat!”. It dawned on me and it deeply made me reevaluate my workouts. I immediately viewed any of my prior training routines as meaningless. Ronnie was basically calling me out. Screaming at me! Telling me I’m a whiner. Yelling at me to shut up! Instructing me to stop trying and start doing!
I took heed to Ronnie’s advice instantaneously; and the next day, I went up to the squat rack at my local gym and did 10 sets of squats, and called it a day as I was huffing and puffing at the end of the workout. Well…let me tell you. I never felt such an agonizing pain that radiated throughout my entire body as I did that next morning. It was so bad I could barely get out of bed. My legs were in agony, lower back and abs severely wounded, my biceps more sore than they’ve ever been from an arm workout, and my traps in excruciating pain from resting the bar upon them. I kept asking myself, “How the hell are my biceps sore from a leg exercise?” It just didn’t seem feasible. However, through much experience, I can now definitively reply with: “A squat is a complete body workout…that is how”.
Now you might think, “Why the hell do I want to put myself through all that pain?” But I tell you with deep sincerity, that it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The pain that I experienced was the kind of feeling that when looking upon yourself in the mirror, you view yourself in a whole new light. You view yourself as a better man for what you did yesterday. No doubt, a squat is hard work. It is going to hurt when you’re doing it and it is going to kill when you’re done with it, but the growth you will experience both physically and mentally from it is unparalleled.
Because, yes, it is the full body workout. It turns your abs from mush into rock hard. It gives your biceps that little extra bit of growth. It develops your traps so it can hold the bar with a little more ease next time around. It shocks your body into a whole new level and primes every muscle for expansion. It teaches you to push through adversity, to push through your fears. It teaches you to hold on tight and to never let go, more so than any other exercise has the privilege of doing. It teaches you to never quit. It turns you from ‘softie’ to ‘tough as nails’. And you can most certainly apply that same principle to life.
Get going. Expand your growth. “Shut up and Squat!”
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