SQUATS: The Ultimate Mass-Building Exercise

Nothing but squats.

by Geo Chang

If you’ve seen the movie Generation Iron or hung around this site for a few minutes you should already understand that if you truly want to build a lean, muscular and powerful physique then you absolutely MUST train legs. You must train them intensely and consistently if you want to build a legendary physique.

Fortunately there’s a single exercise that is the be all and end all to not only lower body development, but the entire body.  The Squat!

Whether you’re trying to shed fat or build muscle, no other exercise works better at targeting and developing the quads, hamstrings, and glutes in one single solitary movement.

Most leg exercises target one muscle in the upper leg.  Leg extensions hit the quads.  Leg curls isolate hamstrings.  But nothing secretes more testosterone and growth hormone, than squats.  They target the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, even hips and lower back.

Squats will also help you shed fat.  How, you ask?  Well in order to burn body fat we must remember the three important keys: cardio, diet, and maintaining fat-burning muscle.   The legs hold most of the body’s musculature. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn when you’re resting.  Squats truly develops and works the entire body.  It is has long held the title of being a total body exercise, the king of all exercises.

Key Points to Remember:

  • Keep time under tension.  Don’t rush the exercise. You want to soak up the pain. Soak up the burn. So that the muscles can get hit efficiently and effectively.
  • Keep the lower back straight and look straight ahead.  Looking up or down will cause rounding in the back which can lead to injury.
  • Squat till your thighs are parallel or slightly below parallel and ensure that your knees are kept behind your toes to ensure that stress is kept away from your knees.

I also enjoy pre-exhausting the quadriceps with leg extensions, so that when I enter the deadly squats, my quadriceps are already fired and tortured instead of just my glutes and hamstrings.

Lastly, practice using different foot stances.  A wide stance targets the glutes and hamstrings, where as a close stance develops the vastus lateralis or the ‘outer sweep’ of the quadricep muscle to give you the nice X shape all bodybuilders strive for.

Happy Squatting!
Geo Chang, CPT.


Geo is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist whose mission is to educate and empower his clients to live healthier and happier lives. Geo has a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition/ Biochemistry and is RD eligible. Geo Has maintained a thriving practice in New York City for more than 7 years. He brings the triple threat of education, experience, and passion to health & fitness for his clients.

You can visit his website here: geometrxnyc.com

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