For a functional strength standpoint is the barbell squat the be all end all? Not taking aesthetics in mind. Why would I ever need to bother with calf raises or anything else? My calfs seem big enough anyways...
for functionality i wouldnt say squats are end-all, but i do think they are king, in terms of strength and functionality. other exercises to consider are lunges, split squats or another one-legged type exercises, work it along with squats and you're all set, IMO
Friends don't let friends slam weights on the ground after every set
I can think of other reasons why you'd want to vary your movements. Variety for one. Helps to keep things fresh and interesting.
'functionality' for what?
Interesting that you bring up calf raises. Personally I need to do them as an accessory exercise in addition to squads and DLs. Without some kind of calf workout I was routinely twisting my ankle hiking or playing sports. After a couple calf-raise workouts that stopped. It makes sense to me, your hams/quads get stronger and so the rest of the leg needs to get stronger to support. But my calves are naturally pretty small, and you might not have the same problem.
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Step ups, lunges, single leg squats/pistols, split squats, etc. are all great choices. I find these to be most effective as assistance or secondary leg exercises -- Mostly because you can't lift maximal weight with them (as you can with squats or deadlifts), but also because it's usually a lot less practical to do unilateral leg exercises with heavy weight/lower reps.
I think with the proper technique other exercises aren't absolutely necessary for someone training recreationally (non-competitive). With a slightly wider than shoulder-width stance, a big sit-back, and depth below parallel you can hit not only the quads but also the hamstrings, glutes, adductors, and lower back pretty hard. It may not be optimal to only SQ, but for someone with limited time or equipment it could work. I think the best "minimalist" approach would be to SQ and DL, which would basically cover the entire lower body and lower back pretty well.
Lunges are a great functional movement.
And whereas squats work primarily the legs and glutes the deadlift works those too plus your back, forearms, grip...pretty much everything except the chest.
So eventually, two things can happen the way I look at it:
1. The stronger side can no longer continue to compensate for the weaker side when weight is added, and/or...
2. It contributes to some type of muscular imbalance/ issue that hinders mobility and leads to poorer squat technique, and therefore no/slower progress on the squat.
All this, of course would take place over several months or even years. And it doesn't necessarily lead to a complete plateau... it would more likely lead to only a decrease in the rate of (what would otherwise be optimal) progress.
So... the best case scenario of not doing any unilateral exercises would be essentially no noticeable negative effects on progress of the bilateral exercises. But the worst case scenario could eventually mean a total plateau and muscular imbalance/mobility/etc. issues.
The very short answer is yes. For one reason, whatever your relative weakness in the squat is it will always remain so and thus limit progress unless you perform different exercises which target said weakness.
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I do deadlifts on tuesday and squats on friday. That's all the action my legs get for the week and they are probably the most musclar part of my body. Not necessarily the strongest but certainly the most developed size/appearance wise. I've learned to embrace the quad/inner thigh stretch marks.
Age: 23 - Weight: 237 lbs - Height: 6'1''
S(atg) - B - DL
375 - 335 - 515
"Gaining weight and having bigger body will make you look great on any clothing. Men with strong body are very attractive to women. General people tend to admire big muscle too." -mbijay
deadlifts, db lunges, gms, leg exts, leg curls
they all have their place.