Nothing is more frustrating than slaving away at the gym, and not seeing results. Too often, people hurriedly scramble from machine to machine without a second thought towards compound exercises. Usually, this is because of time constraints, lack of motivation, or the free-weight section seems too intimidating.
While machines are great, they rob you of acute growth hormone signaling and opportunities to work harder by using precious stabilizing muscles. Trying to sculpt a chiseled physique without these bread-and-butter exercises is a fool's errand.
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There's a reason this exercise is the king. It not only incorporates the entire lower body, but causes the body to respond by naturally releasing a burst of anabolic hormones. Squats are physically demanding, and will stimulate the muscle recruitment and appetite you need to grow.
With all of their benefits, squats can place harsh compression and stress on the spine and joints unless performed properly. Always warm up with a weight you are comfortable with, and always have a spotter with you when possible.
To properly perform a squat, keep your legs about shoulder-width apart and keep your eyes pointing straight ahead. Flex and tighten your abs and glutes throughout the movement. Bring your glutes down as close as possible to your ankles.
You should never reach a dead stop, as soon are you approach the bottom of the movement you should be squeezing your glutes and using them to help power yourself back up for the next rep.
The steely sinews of the back can be especially resilient to training and growth. It is much more common for forearms to fatigue and give out before the back does. The first recommendation is to get a decent set of lifting wraps to ensure full back exhaustion.
One of the more powerful exercises for stimulating growth hormone release, the deadlift can also be dangerous unless proper form is followed. After loading a comfortable weight on the bar, keep your feet about shoulder-width apart with toes pointing forward.