For anyone taking their lifting seriously squats hold a special place in their lives. It’s a deep and complex relationship you develop with this special movement; and like many relationships, you love it, hate it, and feel like you can’t live without it. It’s primal, as is the nature of The Big Three.
The Big Three are primal because they replicate acts of strength we’ve been performing for the entire history of our species. With the bench we are pushing something away from us. It’s aggressive, like a confrontation. The deadlift is picking something up. This one is obvious; an action we’ve needed to perform probably more than any other basic movement.
The squat diverges from this theme somewhat. It obviously builds very functional strength, but doesn’t have as direct of a correlation to a natural movement. I relate it to an aspect of humanity that’s more philosophical, but no less primal: struggle.
There’s no easy squat day. If you had an easy leg day then you can have no doubt that you’re doing it wrong. Unless you’re deloading It should always be difficult. It’s a struggle. Depending on the lifter this struggle can begin long before the actual lift. I tend to believe that the more advanced the lifter the sooner this struggle begins. The importance of it is known, and even if you know you’re going to squat in 50 of the 52 weeks in year, that 2% matters.
Belted and chalked up, the bar digging into your traps, you drop down into the hole, anticipation building as you prepare to explode out of it. You’ve made it through your warm-ups and even those weren’t easy. Hit your lift and you achieve a new PR; miss it and all you have is the pain. You start to come out of the hole, and there’s that phrase, simple but like no other. If no one is yelling it at you, you’re yelling it in your mind to yourself. Head up, chest out!