Why Back Squat

Mark Rippetoe from Starting Strength  reportedly said: “There is never an absolute answer to everything, except of course that you have to do your squats.”

You can find much more quotes and praises about the squat and why you should include squats into your strength training program.

This raises the question ‘Why Back Squats?’ and what are the benefits of the Back Squat?

This article and video covers

  • Why Back Squats is a fundamental movement
  • Why Back Squats activates more muscles than most of the exercises
  • The application of the Back Squat to improve sports performance training

Why Back Squat? Because squatting is a fundamental movement!

Squatting is one of the 7 fundamental movements.

The fundamental movements are classified into

  • Squatting
  • Bending
  • Lunging
  • Pushing
  • Pulling
  • Rotating
  • Gait

The idea to classify movements into the fundamental movements is, that all movements are either a fundamental movement or combination of fundamental movements.

If you want to read a bit more about fundamental movements, have a look at the articles

The squat is a daily life activity, if you look at kids, especially before they hit puberty and the growth spurts start, they always squat down and are able to play and stay in that squat position.

Why is it before they hit puberty?

During puberty and with the onset of the growth spurt, the body of the child and parts of the body grow at different rates. The limbs grow before the trunk and that leads to a situation, where the puber has to literally adapt to a new body and has to learn how to coordinate that new body. With the limbs growing at different rates as the trunk, it becomes biomechanically more difficult to squat and if you don’t practice it, you lose that natural skill of squatting.

Why Back Squats are one of the best exercises

The Back Squat trains almost every muscle in the body. It mainly targets the lower body, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and lower back, but it also activates the upper body.

Why does it activate the upper body?

If you have a look at the benchmarks, that I have outlined in the article

You will quickly realise, that if you commit to training the Back Squat, you will be able to lift quite a bit of weight. The fact of having a heavy load on your back will also lead to adaptations in the upper body.

The depth of the Back Squat influences muscular activation. Whilst a full Back Squat, with a knee angle of 60 degrees or less activates the anterior chain and posterior chain, a Half Back Squat, with a knee angle of 90 degrees knee angle activates mainly the anterior chain.

For the classification of Full Back Squat, Half Back Squat and Quarter Back Squat, have a look at the article

Why Back Squats can improve sports performance?

Once you have mastered the Back Squat technique, you will be able to lift higher and higher loads over time. The higher the loads, the more motor units you will be able to recruit.

There is an almost linear relationship between external load and motor unit recruitment. Consequently, the more load you are able to lift, the higher the activation of your nervous system.

This higher activation of motor units will transfer to the activation of motor units in the sport-specific skill, such as running, jumping or changing directions.

For more information on the activation of motor units, have a look at the articles

The question that stands out, ‘If you do Back Squats everything else will fall in place?’

The answer is a definite ‘No!’, but learning and mastering the Back Squat technique and having the Back Squat as a cornerstone of your strength training program will raise your chances of improving your sport performance.

Concluding Why Back Squats

The Back Squat is a fundamental movement, that kids do multiple times a day, but somehow along the way, we humans lose the skill of squatting and the benefits of regular squatting.

The Back Squat is one of the best exercises to train the fundamental movement skill of squatting.

The back squats trains almost every muscle in the body from the neck to the toe and once you mastered the Back Squat technique, you will be able to lift heavier and heavier loads, which will help to improve the ability of your nervous system to recruit the muscle fibers of your lower body, which will enhance your sport performance.

More information on the Back Squat:

The Fundamentals of the Back Squat

Increasing your Back Squat – How much and how often to Squat

Insider Guide reveals How many Reps in the Back Squat you should do

How often should I Back Squat

How to get a stronger Back Squat in 7 steps

How much should I Back Squat

How to do a Back Squat

What Is A Back Squat

Back Squat video library