Can You Get Big Without Squatting and Deadlifting?

Squatting has long been considered the king of weightlifting moves and this is thanks to its ability to trigger body-wide growth by increasing growth hormone and testosterone production. Squatting incorporates nearly every muscle in the legs and seeing as these are the largest muscles in the body, this represents one heck of a workout that can hardly be rivalled by any other move.

Save for the deadlift. The deadlift is kind of like the squat, except that it also trains the lower back and the lats to an extent. More and more people are now starting to wake up to the importance of the deadlift and alongside the squat it’s now considered one of the most important moves in your training repertoire.

In fact, these moves are so widely praised that many people go as far as to say that you can’t get big without squatting or deadlifting. But is this true?

Why You Might Not Want to Squat

If you say that you don’t squat then a lot of people will look at you like you’re crazy. In fact though, there are a lot of perfectly reasonable reasons not to want to squat or deadlift.

If you have a bad back or bad knees for instance, then these moves can both put a lot of strain on your body and might not be suitable to begin with. Likewise, if you’re not terribly confident in the gym just yet, then you might find these moves a little daunting owing to the complex nature of the movements and the large amount of weight involved.

Finally, a lot of people simply don’t have access to barbells, squat racks or the necessary space to throw these kinds of moves. For all these reasons, deadlifts and squats might be off the cards for you.

Good News – You Can Still Get Big!

Here’s the good news though: you can still get big!

In fact, there’s no reason that you can’t get just as big without ever doing either of these moves.

For starters, if space and equipment are the issues, there are plenty of comparable moves that you can use that challenge pretty much the same muscles in the same ways. One example is the kettlebell swing, which you can do pretty much anywhere much more easily.

At the same time, you can still trigger the same kind of anabolic response from your training by finding other ways to involve all the different muscle groups. One of the best strategies? Just to train using a full body routine! Or conversely, why not devise a split that hits two primary movers on one day and the secondary moves on the next.

But really, the change in hormone response triggered from deadlifting and squatting isn’t enough to make a big difference to your physique. In fact, real growth more often comes from targeting specific muscle groups with isolation exercises. This is what allows you to create specific microtears in the muscle and it’s what lets you pump muscles full of blood and metabolites. These are the things that contribute most to growth and hypertrophy.

So if you absolutely can’t – or just don’t want to – deadlift or squat, just make sure to train as many different muscles in the body as possible and to combine that with some serious isolation training to trigger growth. Don’t forget the legs, get a kettlebell if you can and support your anabolic hormone production through the right lifestyle and diet.

Who needs squats anyway?


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