Q: I read an article by the late Vince Gironda that said squats build big glutes. What do you think about that statement?
A: I want to categorically state a few things about the squat:
1) Squats will never disproportionately develop your glutes as compared to your thighs. The people who make that statement simply don't understand the correlation between genetics and exercise physiology. I know that Vince realized that. I also know that some coaches train everyone based on how they themselves train. That's a failing on a coach's part. Gironda's physique in its prime was flat and wide, a miniature Steve Reeves, if you will. His physique, though aesthetically pleasing, was never powerful looking'he had no rib cage or chest depth and very light legs. His physique was built primarily with shaping exercises and never with much weight. Shaping exercises serve a very important function in building a big, beautiful, symmetrical and strong physique'but they must be preceeded by heavy compound exercises for the large muscle groups: Squats followed by hacks or sissy squats, bench presses followed by flyes, heavy rows followed by pulley rows or chins, standing presses followed by lateral raises or upright rows.
2) Squats are the only exercise that in time can change your body type completely. A natural Middleweight can become a natural Heavyweight with no increase in percentage of bodyfat. I've done it with many people, including myself.
3) No other exercise stimulates your whole body the way deep, full squats do. That stimulation strongly influences hormone production. It makes your pituitary gland fire more efficiently, thereby ensuring more strength and muscle growth in your entire body.
When I'm asked what keeps me training hard after all these years, I have a one-word answer: squats. IM