Opinion: Are Barbell Squats Necessary For Bodybuilding?

To barbell squat or not to barbell squat?

The barbell. It has become an essential piece of of weight training since its inception. Barbell exercises have become the staple in strength and conditioning, powerlifting, and of course bodybuilding for decades now. The barbell squat in particular has translated over to many different disciplines and sports strength programs. From MMA to sprinting to powerlifting, the barbell squat has become one of the most popular strength and muscle building exercises out there. But is the barbell squat necessary for bodybuilding purposes?


For many the answer is a simple “yes, now can we move on,” yet a recent video post by popular strength training Elliot Hulse raises the question beautifully. If your goal is to build an aesthetic, well muscled physique, then is barbell squatting truly the answer?

While Elliot Hulse has his own reasons for dropping the barbell squat for the time being, it doesn’t mean that others should necessarily do the same. After all, our bodies are different and barbell squats could potentially stimulate muscle growth more efficiently in one individual more than another. Barbell squats tax the nervous system, requiring multiple muscle groups in the motion which can in turn translate to massive gains throughout the body. Ditching a movement like that completely may work for a more experienced lifter. For newbies and novices, the barbell squat is one of the absolute best exercises to include in your training.

The barbell squat not only ensures you get incredible strength gains, but it will also build multiple muscle groups throughout your body. There’s no way you could simply put that to the wayside, especially if you’ve only just begun your strength training. Once you’ve gained the muscle maturity and the experience, training solely on machines becomes a much more valuable option, especially as you grow to understand how your body works, how your muscles are stimulated and exactly how to attack them to force them to grow.

So what do you think? Is the barbell squat necessary for bodybuilding?

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Managing Editor at Generation Iron, Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. Check out his InstagramTwitter and Facebook to keep up with his antics.

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Managing editor of Generation Iron, Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. He has been writing about bodybuilding, combat sports, and strength sports for over 8 years. Check out his YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Sound Cloud for in-depth MMA analysis.