Muscles of Iron

The Essential Deep Knee Bend

If you are seeking to gain muscular bulk and physical power, you may want to implement one exercise more than any other, The Deep Knee Bend. To put this remarkable exercise into perspective, consider what Charles A. Smith had to say about it some years ago in Your Physique. The former A.A.U. weightlifting official observed,

“I cannot recall a single weightlifter of note, or any bodybuilder of prominence who does not, or has not used the movement [deep knee bend] or a variation, either for building lifting power or molding greater muscularity and adding much needed body-weight. Take any Mr. America or National Weight lifting titlist—John Grimek, Steve Stanko, George Eifferman, John Davis, Alan Stephan, Tony Terlazzo, Steve Reeves, Frank Spellman, Pete George, Dave Shepherd—all have used the squat, as it is commonly known. John Davis, world's heavyweight champion and the greatest lifter in history, makes it the main portion of his workouts, pressing and squatting one workout, snatching and squatting the next and so on.”
Paul Anderson performing a deep knee bend with a 660-pound barbell across his shoulders.
Paul Anderson was a squat specialist, and frequent practice of this exercise helped him to become one of the strongest men who ever lived. This photo shows Anderson officially squatting 66012 pounds at 20 years of age.

So, take it from Charles A. Smith—put the deep knee bend at the forefront of your training routine. There is no better way to build total body strength and power. You can throw out all other exercises, but don't abandon the squat. This exercise not only is the best leg builder in existence, it has an anabolic effect upon the entire body. That is, hard work at the squat rack produces a general effect upon the body's biochemistry which increases potential for muscular growth in ALL body parts. This is why arm training is more effective when curls are incorporated into a workout program that includes plenty of squats. Likewise for chest exercises, back exercises, etc.

Performing the deep knee bend, especially when high repetitions are employed, can be very hard and unpleasant work. Regardless of the excuses they give you, this is the real reason most gym members avoid this exercise. However, if you want to reach the upper limit of your physical potential, if you want to become big and powerful, you absolutely must pay your dues inside of the squat rack. Build your legs with the deep knee bend and only then will you possess the internal milieu needed to “powerize” your entire body.

Yours in strength and health,
Robert Drucker

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