Exercise Are Barbell Squats an Essential Part of a Training Program?

Whether for sports performance, weight loss, bodybuilding, or just to look good, the barbell squats are often assumed to be a go to exercise.

barbell squats

While it does work your glutes and will lead to muscle growth, is it essential to add to a clients program? If your ONLY goal is to build a bigger butt, then the barbell squats are ok, but for any other goal, you can do without it. I’ll explain why!

Over time, placing a heavy load on the spine is not healthy.

Even if you have perfect form 100% of the time, you will put pressure and strain on your discs/vertebrae. For kids, seniors, and non professional athletes, is it worth the risk to hurt the 1 spine you have, just to have a bigger butt? I would say no. A herniated disk, compressed disk, strained low back, and hip problems can all stay with you for life. Unless squatting to get a bigger butt is worth the potential risk to you, I would eliminate it from your programming and replace it with a non spine loading alternative.  Even for sports performance, the data isn’t clear whether squatting actually translates to better performance for running speed, jump height,and other variables the culture assumes it does.

I’m not saying the barbell squats are worthless

I am just saying that there are other safer exercises out there to achieve the same goal for most of the population. Lunges, sprinting, step-ups, sled pushing, and cable machines are just a few other ways to engage your glutes safely without loading the spine. Next time before loading hundreds on pounds on your spine, think twice about what your goals are, and is it worth it.

What do you think?