It’s probably the most hated exercise from beginners, it requires strong willpower, good technique and pain tolerance. It’s the squat, the king or exercises.
I’ve heard plenty of excuses in many years of coaching, “I don’t want my legs to grow too big” or “I don’t need squats”, but let me tell you: you can’t build a well proportioned physique without squats, and I’m not just talking about legs.
The thighs are the largest muscles in the body, and that’s the reason why squats don’t just stimulate growth for those muscles, but also improve the metabolism in a way that will encourage a general muscle growth, including abdominal muscles.
To squat, you need concentration and determination. And possibly you need a training partner, not only to help you to squeeze that last rep when your legs are shaking and your mind is telling you to stop, but also to assist you in case you really can’t lift that damned barbell.
You also need a weighlifting leather belt to help you stabilize your core.
It’s extremely important to warm up properly, with squats you are pushing your body to the limit, both mentally and physically, and you need to be sure that muscles and joints are ready for the challenge.
Controlled descents until your thighs are parallel to the floor and explosive executions with a lock out of a second or two between reps, then a pause of 4 or 5 minutes to replenish the ATP reserves. Start with a weight that will let you do 5-6 reps and stop when you are unable to do more than 3.
Short answer: yes, you need heavy, properly executed squats to stimulate muscle growth.