Title: King Squat: Rise to Power
Author: Dave Yarnell
Synopsis: The history of squatting is explored from the early 1900’s to the present day.
Review: I was hooked only a few seconds into reading “King Squat: Rise to Power” and quickly realised it was a very easy read. There is no complicated language or scientific jargon and this helps the book flow perfectly. Indeed, you can read any of the 23 chapters in any order you choose and it will still all make sense.
Anyone seeking different training approaches or training inspiration will find plenty of ideas here. The book is packed with routines from oldtime strongmen and modern day strength and physique legends. The famous 20-rep breathing squat programme is mentioned several times, a simplistic but powerful routine which produces awesome gains. Minimalist routines such as the “Press-chin-squat” programme will open your eyes as to how unnecessarily complicated modern day routines can be. Of course, there are present-day routines suggested by the very successful and influential powerlifting club, Westside Barbell.
There is a huge selection of exercises featured in this book. Some exercises, such as one legged squats, will be familiar to many lifters. Zercher squats and belt squats will likely be less familiar. All these exercises are worthy additions to your exercise arsenal if you want to maximise your leg strength and overall physique development.
Throughout the book, you will see many pictures of training equipment. Photos of the magic circle device and the moon bench are examples of unconventional equipment no longer seen in gyms. Yarnell has made some good choices in showing us photos of present day squatting tools such as safety squat bars and the Manta Ray device.
“King Squat” does not focus solely on squats though. Some sections of the book analyse the deadlift and the bench press. Chapter 7 introduces us to deadlifting legends Bob Peoples and Vince Anello and gives us tremendous insights into the training methods that they used. Chapter 4 teaches us many interesting shrug variations which may advance your bench press and deadlift strength.
One of the best chapters in the book, in my opinion, is the interview with Tom Platz. This world class bodybuilder placed so much focus on the squat and achieved some of the best leg development ever in bodybuilding history. Squatting 635 lbs for 15 perfect reps was a display of his truly phenomenal leg strength!
Trainers of all experience levels will find tons of useful information within “King Squat”. Beginners will find squat technique advice beneficial. Intermediate lifters will learn about squat variations that will boost their strength. Veteran lifters and time-constrained lifters will find the many abbreviated routines useful.
Summary: Dave Yarnell succeeds in teaching us about the history of the squat. It is obvious that an enormous amount research has gone into the book and it reflects the genuine enthusiasm of the author for his subject. This book is informative, educational and entertaining. Even with 27 years’ of training behind me, I still found loads of ideas here to try in my own training. “King Squat” is an easily assimilated necessity for any strength fan’s book collection!
Book rating: 9.5/10
- “Almost every fine, powerful pair of legs in existence today is the result of the squat.”