THOU SHALT SQUAT, Bench Press, Deadlift!

"What's the point of doing those?"

As I racked the barbell I looked over my shoulder at a young skinny kid asking me why I was doing Front Squats.

His tone was snotty.

But being the helpful dude I am, I started to explain the benefits of front squats.

The young kid really didn't care to know about front squats. Or any squats, for that matter.

He just wanted to tell me what he did for legs, which was leg press, leg extensions and leg curls.

I asked if he was getting the results he wanted. His leg size told the story. They were twigs.

But he insisted he was making gains.

Fine by me. I'm not at the gym to tell anyone how to train their body. Do what you want, I said. If those exercises get you in the gym and you want to do them, then by all means do what you want.

But that moment really sticks out to me.

You don't have to do squats. Or bench. Or deadlifts. Or any other lift for that matter. No matter what any coach, trainer, guru says you are the only one who decides and you are free to do what you please in the gym.

There was a time that I was gung-ho about everyone doing the big lifts. But I've evolved, learned, adapted.. I have found different movements that I enjoy doing or that give me the results I seek.

Life goes on. We change. Our fitness needs change.

Some guys may squat with a barbell until they are 70 years old. And that's all right with me.

But it doesn't mean that you need to. Maybe your goals are different. Maybe you hate that exercise and it gives you pain no matter what form corrections you employ.

So the point is. You decide. Try them all. See what really 'works' for you. Not just according to someone else's opinion.

The fundamental human movements are -squat, hip hinge, push, pull, lunge, carry. So you don't have to squat with a barbell, or bench with dumbbells, or carry sandbags. You CAN do any variation you desire. Or do none of them. Will your results be as good? Probably not, but if it gets you into the gym and working hard on your physical well-being then that's just as important.

Don't let anyone tell you what you have to do. And sometimes try to break free from the norms. Try something totally crazy, off the beaten path. You might just like it and find what you really need.

The programs I create for my clients all include the basic human movements but that doesn't mean it's a barbell squat, bench and deadlift for everyone. I find what is ideal for the client and their current level of fitness and progress from there.