(Above Photo: Steve Reeves - Mr. America 1947, Mr. World 1948, Mr. Universe 1950)
Our last post on Vince Gironda brought something to mind that you might have heard about him. That is, Vince was very much opposed to doing heavy, regular (butt out), back squats for classic physique building. It is said that he did not even have squat racks in his famous gym (Vince's Gym)!
Why was Vince so opposed to regular back squats? First, let's remember that in building a classic physique, the idea is to keep the waist and hips as small and narrow as possible. Large hips (and waist) destroy the classic V-taper that classic physique builders are interested in developing. So you can see that you don't want the mass of the glutes (gluteus maximus) to increase.
So what do the glutes do? And what do they have to do with squats? When you do a regular back squat, you go from a standing position to a "seated" position as you bend the knees and lower the body. This movement at the hip joint is called "flexion." So you flex at the hip on the way down. OK...that's no problem, gravity is doing most of the work on the way down. But to go back to a standing position, you have to "extend" at the hip on the way up. What muscles are the main extensors of the hip? The glutes! So heavy, regular back squats can greatly increase the mass the glutes. Vince called this "spreading the hips." Large glutes and hips are exactly what you DONT want to build in a classic physique! This is why Vince opposed heavy, regular back squatting so strongly.
However, that being said, we have to mention that we think that the degree to which regular squats will increase hip size (to the point of ruining a classic physique) probably has a large genetic component. There have been champion classic physique builders, like Steve Reeves (see photo above), who did regular back squats. But because, genetically, they were endowed with structurally narrow hips, the regular back squat was not a problem for them. On the other hand, a classic physique builder with structurally wide hips (genetically) might do well to heed Vince's advice and avoid heavy, regular back squats. Otherwise, the increased mass from doing squats, on top of already structurally wide hips, may ruin the symmetry of the classic physique you are trying to build.
But Vince wasn't against all squatting. He did favor other kinds of squats like hack squats, sissy squats, front squats, thigh squats, and squatting on a press (or Smith) machine with feet forward and back straight.
So this is something to definitely think about if you are striving to build a classic physique. If you have naturally broad hips (in terms of your bony structure), then it may be best to avoid heavy, butt-out, regular back squats. Instead, do other kinds of squatting (as mentioned above). On the other hand, if you have structurally narrow hips, then heavy, regular back squats are probably OK for you. In all cases, strive to keep the hips (glutes) toned, but not massive (unless you are really thin and need to build them up).
5 years ago