When you start weight training, the squat is often one of the first exercises you are shown how to do because it is an essential exercise. It is very interesting to strengthen the lower body but your core strength as well. To progress and to gain strength and mass with more safety, the thigh press is also an excellent exercise. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of both exercises.
The squat at the bar is simply the best movement for the thighs. It is an ultra-comprehensive exercise for the mass of the thighs, but also to work on the buttocks, adductors, glutes and your core strength. It is an excellent movement for all strength training practitioners, as it can really increase endurance thanks to the volume of the muscles that comes into play and the overall stimulation very interesting for the whole body.
However, even if this movement has a slight effect on hamstrings, this effect is far too slight to be sufficient. It is therefore always necessary to complete the squat with movements for the hamstrings (leg curl, or raised from the ground with legs stretched for example) to balance the knee joint properly. Despite all the benefits of squatting, it is true that it is a risky exercise for the back and for some people for the knees. It is a bit like the bench press and the ground lift, it takes time to learn the movement and perform it well. As it is very hard, we lose in lucidity with the passing of the rehearsals and we therefore lose in technique.
The thigh press is a flexion/extension movement of the legs, which makes it possible to reproduce the effect of squats on the thighs, but in a simpler way. This is a basic exercise for the quadriceps and the whole thigh. The buttocks can be very involved in the movement. The further down you go, the more they will be stretched and participate. It is also a good alternative for those who have difficulty squatting or want to preserve their backs. However, this movement is much less complete than squat because fewer muscles come into play. But it is also an advantage, because it is generally less tiring for the body and less exhausting in terms of breathing and breathing. In addition, there is no need to manage the balance and maintenance of the bar. It then becomes possible to focus much better on the thighs.
As for the disadvantages, we often hear that we should not lock the knees at each repetition. Still, take it easy and don’t pull your knees inwards to protect the joint. You should be careful not to loosen the buttocks of the backrest at the bottom of the movement to avoid rolling up the pelvis and risking injury. We see this when the load gets a little heavy and the knees are brought back against the chest.
As you understood, both exercises have their advantages and disadvantages. The squat will require more muscles while the thigh press will be safer. For a beginner, the press will logically be a better exercise if they are afraid, but it is a less effective exercise for the overall body mass. Over time, the two exercises can be combined very well for even more results.