“IF you don’t have the squat in your program, you don’t have a program!” is a popular expression in the Iron Game. Why? Because the back squat is the single best exercise for increasing overall body strength and muscle mass. Even so, the back squat is not an ideal exercise for most fighters, and here’s the reason.
Body mass can make or break a fighter’s career. So, determining a fighter’s weight class is one of the most important issues for a coach. After losing to Nate Diaz in UFC 196, Conor McGregor caught lots of flak from his decision to move up from his weight class of 145 pounds to challenge Diaz at 170 pounds.
In contrast, light-heavyweight world champion Michael Spinks was able to move up to the heavyweight class in 1985 and defeat Larry Holmes to become world champion. Holmes weighed 221 ½ pounds and Spinks only 199 ¾ pounds. However, Spinks’ tactic misfired three years later when the much stronger Mike Tyson finished off Spinks in just 91 seconds to capture the championship belt.