I can’t prescribe or recommend anything for you without knowing exactly what your level of physical ability is, and what your goals are.
What I can do is tell you a little bit about the benefits of squatting, as I have found through my own training, and, from what I’ve learned from others who know far more than me about exercise.
Let’s start by clarifying: I am talking about squatting under a loaded barbell, with weights on it. Yes, if you’ve never done that before, you may be starting out with no bar – just your bodyweight. But, ultimately, more & more weight should be added to the exercise in question here.
First, the simple process of adding more and more weight to your squats, over time, will make your entire body stronger than any other single exercise you can name.
In conjunction with that, if you intend to get stronger, and, you skip working on your squats, you will unquestionably not progress past a certain point. For example, you cannot grow Herculean arms if you don’t squat.
Squatting is not dangerous. I do it under heavy weights, along, in my garage, all the time. I never have a spotter.
Improper squatting is dangerous, but, we’ll talk in detail about how to squat in another post. For the moment, what I can tell you is that with proper form, and, knowing when & how to ‘dump’ (get the hell out from underneath the bar), you can do it safely. It can also be done inside a rack with safety bars, or with a spotter, if preferred.
Not only is squatting a whole body exercise that assists to grow all of your muscles groups, it completely taxes your central nervous system. Done correctly, this has several positive effects.
It ‘shocks’ your system into a healthy ‘growth’ response. Your body adapts: the more you tell it that you need to lift more, the more (with proper rest & recovery) it is able to lift the next time you squat.
Psychologically, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of crushing a set of good, heavy squats. After you’ve done this, you feel like you can conquer anything. That’s one reason why I love doing them early in the morning. It sets the tone for the day. No little deadline at the office is going to scare you if you’ve already squatted heavy & well.
How often & how heavy you squat will depend on your goals. But, there’s no question in my mind that squats are the foundation of any good strength program.
So, if you are looking to get stronger, and, you are not squatting, something vital is missing.