These 5 Exercises Will BLOW UP Your Squat

And Build You Some Tree Trunks Too!

by Alec Enkiri | 5/11/24

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Want a massive squat? Add these 5 exercises into your routine and you'll be smashing huge weights in no time!

Today we're going to talk about building a massive squat! Including a variety of different squatting movements in your well rounded fitness program is a tried and true way to build monstrous strength and rock solid, tree trunks for thighs. So today we will be discussing a few exercises and techniques aimed at helping you to build bigger, stronger legs, a back made of solid steel, and an ironclad posterior chain so that you can move more weight through the squat pattern.

Now I know half the bodybuilders and powerlifters are going to come on here and say that "front squats aren't a good assistance exercise for the back squat," such and such lifter squats huge weights without ever front squatting, and front squats are terrible for building muscle (lol), BUT I would encourage you to ignore these people and give front squats an earnest go.

The advice of enhanced bodybuilders is often minimally applicable to natural trainees so that can be disregarded, and when it comes to powerlifting there is an overt bias towards the low bar squat simply because it helps more people move more weight from point A to point B. That does not make it a better option for building muscle and strength compared to other squat variations, however, and when discussing carryover into a more natural squat pattern (think, the way somebody would squat if they were never instructed to exaggerate the hip action of the loaded squat pattern) the front squat reigns supreme as the king of all assistance squat variations.

I'm not saying you have to squat high bar to see carryover from the front squat. But as long as your primary squat variation is not an ultra low bar style with exaggerated hip mechanics and excessive back engagement, then with diligence there is a good chance the front squat will become your best friend. I have seen this time and time again in many of my clients as I have transformed them from front squat haters to front squat lovers. Most people who hate the front squat just never went through the proper steps to get good enough at it to reap the benefits it offer, which for many people entails a moderately lengthy break in period where moderate training weights are used and the exercise is treated as a tertiary movement for a period of time while its relative importance in the overall training program is gradually increased.

The people who execute this process patiently and properly end getting way more out of this movement than they ever thought they would, get way stronger at it than they ever thought they could, build way more muscle in their legs than they had previously, and build an upper back made of solid titanium. As such end up falling in love with the front squat in the process of all of this. 

So if you squat with these aforementioned natural squat mechanics, with a goal of adding more weight to the bar, the front squat will become your best friend. It just takes a bit of diligence and solid programming to become good enough at it to reap these rewards.

The pin squat is quite possibly the best tool in existence for both building massive power out of the hole of the squat, while also simultaneously reinforcing good position in doing so. Simply because it's really, really hard to become even a mediocre pin squatter if you can't retain good position coming out of the very bottom of the pin squat. This aspect challenges you immensely. I've been pin squatting with high intensity for several years now and it still challenges me immensely. But once you start to figure out how to combat it, it is going to carry over immensely into your free squatting endeavors as well.

I'll warn you, these things are HUMBLING! It is a hell of a task to sit all the way into a heavy ATG squat, deload all of that weight onto the pins, sit underneath the heavily bar in a full squat position for 1-2 seconds that feel like an eternity, and then somehow stand up from that highly compromised position with it. You have to learn how to be very uncomfortable; you have to learn how to go from 0 to 100 in the blink of an eye; and you have to learn how to harness that power with full control so that the bar actually goes where you want it to go. So these things are tough as hell, very technically challenging and physically grueling, but it's worth it!

The Hatfield squat is great because it provides many of the advantages of leg machines while still retaining the natural mechanics of free squatting. Personally, I hate most leg machines. They are often awkwardly made and they put my hips into these funky positions that they really don't like being in. However, with the Hatfield squat I can still get many of the stabilizing benefits that machines offer, which allows me to overload my legs in a different sort of way, and I can do so while still performing a true, natural, ATG squat pattern. I can get a huge range of motion through the hips and knees and I can do so in a way that doesn't put any undue stress on my joints. This is going to help me add meat onto my thighs which will increase my strength potential.

With the good morning we are focusing less on the legs and more on the posterior chain. We're stretching and smashing the hamstrings, we're loading the glutes and the hips, and we are absolutely crushing the erectors in the back as well. And that last part is really the most operable part of this equation, in my opinion, because you can, in fact, get a MASSIVE SQUAT while having weak glutes and hamstrings. I used to be guilty of that myself! I could out squat my deadlift at certain points in my training career because I neglected those posterior chain muscles so much.

However, the flipside of this coin is that you can't get a massive squat if your erectors are weak. The erectors are those big meaty muscles that run all the way up and down your back on either side of your spine. They are responsible for keeping the back rigid during squats and deadlifts and other exercises, and the good morning targets these muscles and emphasizes them to a much a greater extent than squats while, unlike many other exercises that target this muscle group, doing so in a fashion that is much more specific to squatting and therefore more likely to carry over well into the squat.

The point here is really just to do some unilateral work! This doesn't have to be a reverse lunge, but I just like reverse lunges compared to other lunge styles so that is how I do most of my lunging volume (I have also grown to enjoy split squats a lot more in recent history as well though!). Further, I am of the opinion that any lunge not done from a deficit is borderline a waste of time, so that is where specifically the deficit reverse lunge recommendation comes from.

The extra range of motion is always a good thing for hip and knee health, as well as hypertrophy of the applicable muscles. I don't actually expect this exercise to carry over directly into the bilateral squat itself, however, I do believe that movements like this can be a very good diagnostic tool for left to right imbalances in the hips and legs, and that becoming very comfortable on each leg individually is a good tool for long term injury prevention. Frankly, it's hard to push your squats really hard if you're injured or always in pain (and I've been there, trust me!), so adding in some unilateral work is a good insurance policy to keep you pushing big weights for the long haul.


So there ya have it! 5 exercises to help you add some meat onto your thighs and SERIOUS POUNDS onto your squat.

I hope you found this article helpful! If you did please be sure to share it with someone you know who is also looking to build a massive squat and tree trunks for thighs. Keep training hard and I will catch you guys next time.

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