Courtesy of Liam Tweed
Rich Gaspari, age three, leg pose.
"The squats . . ."
Despite the fact that some of the regular readers of Your Physique may accuse me of being repetitious, I still feel that the squats as an exercise are not receiving the amount of attention that all body culturists the should pay to them. For this reason I am continually stressing the importance of including the squats, performed properly, into every body builder's program.
Several months ago, one of my training partners at the gymnasium I frequent asked me for advice in gaining weight. This young fellow had already developed an attractive physique. His photograph has been used in physical training magazines and he had been training for a number of years. Incidentally, he had not been following the squats regularly. This is an example of the very attitude that is so prevalent among body builders, especially those who really should know better.
My advice to my friend was that he regularly include a set of squats in each of his workouts. I explained the proper method, outlining the number of repetitions and advised him of the approximate poundage to employ.
About six weeks later the same friend of mine announced that he had gained more than fifteen pounds in body weight and felt much stronger and presented a definitely improved physical appearance.
It certainly appears that if one of my personal friends, and a member of the same gymnasium, required special emphasis on the necessity of performing squats, that many readers of this magazine may also need considerable reminders before they too will realize the importance of performing the squats.
Another one of my friends, also a member of this same gymnasium, who to is an experienced weight trainee had neglected the squat for a good many years. Since late last fall however, he has been including the squats in with his regular workout and the last time I saw him he really appeared to be in better physical shape than I ever recalled seeing him in.
I feel that the two instances I have mentioned should provide ample stimulus for all readers of Your Physique and inspire them never to forego practicing the squat regularly with each workout.
The duty of the squats are also threefold. First, they can be utilized to stimulate an increase in bodyweight. Second, they can bring about an advanced degree of overall bodily strength. Third, they can assist the physical trainee in cultivating a high degree of endurance without the necessity of running long distance or following any similar type of road work generally accepted as being necessary for overcoming short windedness.
The first of these accomplishments of the squats is not new now and is accepted readily by most body culturists. The second is not as well known and the third has rarely been mentioned.
I am not writing this or any other article on hearsay, I write only from personal experience, either on my own body or on the bodies of my pupils or training partners. I have had cause to employ the squat in each of these three qualifications.
When I first started to train and after a period of time became aware of the squats as an exercise, which to me appeared logical for stimulating an increase in body weight, I employed them as a weight gaining medium. That my body weight at the time of my initiation into weight training was somewhat under 100 pounds and that subsequent years found me with a body weight somewhat in excess of 200 pounds should be ample proof that the squats do definitely bring about an increase in body weight.
On the other hand, I have lifted some rather heavy poundages in competition and at no time had I ever trained on lifting styles. I lifted my greatest weights when I was training with the squats so as to employ them to develop a high degree of all round physical strength.
And third, despite the fact that I have been a rather heavy smoker for a good many years, I can say that my wind is certainly no worse than the average man of my age who has never smoked in his life.
I believe that the reader will accept the logic of my comparisons and is no doubt eager to learn the correct method of performing the squats to obtain the utmost in increased body weight, increased strength and increased endurance.
So that the reader may not be misled I would like to bring the fact to his attention now that the performance of the squats suitable for an increase in body weight will not necessarily bring about a marked increase in bodily strength or an increase in bodily endurance. Each of these goals require a different squat technique.
Three Variations, photos from a different Barton Horvath article.
I have mentioned the standard method of performing the squat in a few of my previous articles. This standard method is the one which is to be employed. For those who may have missed my previous article, I am here outlining the correct manner in which to perform the squat for an increase in body weight:
Use a weight which will permit 10 rapid, complete squats, without requiring any rest in between. The important consideration is to make certain that the 10th repetition finds the exerciser winded. He is not to remove the weight from his shoulders after the 10th squat but he is to take a few deep breaths and then to perform another 10 squats, but he is to rest between each of the second 10 squats to regain his wind by taking one or as many deep breaths as he requires. The 20th squat should find him distinctly winded again and not feeling as though he could perform any more repetitions. This is the only correct method of performing the squat if one desires to obtain the fullest amount of increased body weight possible.
The method to follow when the trainee desires as much all round body strength as is possible is as follows:
Perform three warm up squats with a fairly light weight. Add 20 pounds, perform another 3 reps. Continue adding weight and performing another 3 reps with each weight until you reach a poundage which will no longer permit 3 repetitions to be performed. Once you reach the poundage which does not permit 3 reps that day you forget all about the squats for the rest of the workout. However, every two weeks you alter the routine slightly as follows: warm up with your usual poundage and the usual 3 reps, but from this point on each succeeding increase of weight perform only 1 squat, a single repetition. Work up in this manner until you reach your limit single repetition poundage.
Squatting for endurance again requires its own individual technique:
Use a very light weight. In fact use a weight which will permit from 40 to 50 repetitions. It does not make a bit of difference how you breathe during these 40 or 50 repetitions for you are certain to become winded, and by just following your natural breathing demands you will be assured of breathing properly. However, don't exaggerate the lightness of the weight, and increase the poundage regularly, as often as you are capable of reaching the maximum number of repetitions of 50. The average slightly experienced body culturist will find between 50 and 75 pounds a good starting weight here. Those further advanced will find 100 to 125 pounds as being suitable. Real advanced trainees may be able to use 200 or more pounds but you can be sure that those capable of performing in excess of 200 pounds for all 50 full repetitions are few and far between.
I trust that my readers will now comprehend the reason why I am so insistent on stressing the importance of the squats, for they should now be aware of the fact that the squats are not a limited form of exercise but are in fact one of the most versatile in any weight lifter's curriculum.
One final bit of advice. Only one method of squatting should be followed in any one workout and naturally, a person should follow one program for two or three months or longer, if he really desires to obtain the fullest benefits from it.
Enjoy Your Lifting!