Squatting is so important for health, ability, and ass-tetics at this point it feels silly to even have to still say it. It’s in every exercise and movement tradition and part of every day of life (sit down on anything lately?).
The full pattern is where the goodness is. It’s a critical measurement of and builder of lower body range and strength. But squatting affects the entire body: legs, hips, core, and upper body, especially when performed under an additional load. Increasing your squatting depth and strength will increase your movement ability in every other context. The numbers are clear on this: people who can squat with weight through a full range of movement perform better and have fewer injuries than those who can’t.
At a training with the family lineage holder of the Chen Tai Chi style (the family that invented tai chi no less), the master spoke little English. But after a joint-focused warm up, he said “Work legs first” and then dropped into a squat. Sounds a lot like every modern Strength & Conditioning guru out there, doesn’t it?
There are many variations on squats (front loaded, back loaded, single leg, lunge, RLESS, etc.) and they all provide value. Our anchor, however, is the Front Squat, with the load in the front of the torso. It works posture, lower body range, lower body strength, core/torso strength, arm strength, and mental focus and fortitude. It’s also a common means of picking up and carrying a load. You can progress it across the entire range of ability from therapeutic to aesthetic and athletic.
This is an Everybody Wins exercise! Whether you have never squatted before (gasp!), are a competition powerlifter (you go girl!), or a yogi (you om boy!), or just want to finally do a fitness thing that actually does something, practicing a front squat will make you better at your everything.