The Intelligent & Relentless Pursuit of Muscle™

No to Squats and Barbell Rowing?

No to Squats and Barbell Rowing?

I love my critics. It's just sometimes, they're wrong.

I'm often criticized for being anti-squatting. Maybe it's because I've written a lot about the merits of single-leg training, or simply because I don't believe that every lifter has to do squats to build a strong, muscular physique.

Whatever the reason, while I realize that criticism is just part of the territory when you put yourself out there, that particular criticism kind of grinds my gears.

  • It's just not true – anyone that knows me or has lifted with me knows I love squats. I'm actually pretty good at them too, for whatever that's worth. Single-leg training and squatting don't exist in binary opposition to one another.
  • There's just something about squats that gets people's panties in a twist. Maybe it's because it's a part of the sacred "Big 3," but even so much as suggesting an alternative to squatting ignites an almost visceral reaction from certain individuals, almost like you insulted their momma.

Think about it. If you asked me my opinion on whether I like barbell rows or dumbbell rows better, I might answer like this:

No to Squats and Barbell Rowing?

results speak louder than words and theory

No to Squats and Barbell Rowing?

I doubt many folks would have a problem with the above, and I bet most would even agree that it makes a lot of sense.

That's because barbell rows aren't considered a sacred exercise – and barbell rows and dumbbell rows are more-or-less interchangeable in most peoples' programming because both have been proven to get good results.

Now go back to the preceding paragraphs and substitute squats for barbell rows, Bulgarian split squats for dumbbell rows, and quads for lats. Keep the rest of the passage exactly the same.

Here's what you get:

No to Squats and Barbell Rowing? No to Squats and Barbell Rowing?

Nothing really changed from one passage to the other, and the logic is exactly the same, but I'm willing to bet the second passage pissed some of you off.

If it did, I'm willing to wager it's because you love squatting and have gotten good results from squats in the past and don't suffer from back pain.

If that's you, I'm jealous.

But realize that not everyone is as lucky as you, so before you call for my head, at least realize where I'm coming from and what I'm actually saying.