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squat

The Back Squat Done Right

Photo 1

Despite being a popular exercise, most folks and jacking up their back squat. Tsk. Tsk. Unless staying weak and opening the door for injury sound good, you need to optimize your squat pattern. 


In this extended guest blog post, Kennet Waale digs into the back squat and covers…
*How breathing better and improving mobility is essential for safety. 
* A Miley Cyrus reference. Because why not. 
* What you can do to improve your squat

—–

There is more to a successful squat than throwing a bar across your shoulders and droppin’ low like Miley Cyrus. 

And there is more to a successful squat than sitting up and down.

 Several joints move at the same time, all of which require a lot of tension and synchrony. You need excellent control with your hips, knees, and ankles, to generate strength and move weight.  Above all, you must avoid rounding your back…unless slipping a disk and spending hours in physical therapy is your idea of a good time. 

Bottom line: The squat is not a simple task at all. In this article, I’m going to tackle the common myths and explain what you really need to do to improve.

The Big Myth: You Have To Squat Ass-To-Grass

No. This is wrong. You don’t have to squat ass-to-grass.

Okay, in an ideal world it would be great to see everyone squatting ass-to-grass. But let’s get real….and take into account real world differences. Your structure, injury history and current training are some of the factors that will determine the ideal squatting depth.

And I’ll go further. If you are a fitness enthusiast who is only looking to feel better, shed some body fat and get stronger, then the standard squat isn’t even a necessity in your program.

But if your goal is to compete in powerlifting or Olympic weightlifting, the squat is a staple exercise.  Train it regularly to the depth required to pass and catch a lift.

How to explain the common notion that you have to squat with your buttocks touching the ground? Well, it has a lot to do with poor reasoning and misconceptions by fitness professionals who really ought to know better.

Do the same movements have to occur at the hips, knees, and ankles?

–Absolutely.

Does this mean that every squat should look the same?

–Hell No. 

Can we achieve these movements without the standard squat?

-Yes.

The Danger Of Hyper Extension

Extension and flexion are normal and required movement patterns. But many people tend to hyperextend their lower back during squats, which compromises spinal health.

And it all starts with the set-up. Your upper back is naturally slightly rounded with your lower back being naturally arched. In order to create a solid base, we need to reverse these spinal positions ever so slightly.

This means that your joints, ligaments, and muscles will aid in the support and efficiency of the movement.  Your upper back will maintain an ever so slightly extended position throughout the whole movement.

Focus on keeping your lower back in a nice and steady position throughout the movement from beginning to end.

Beyond The Sedentary Lifestyle

Getting your thoracic spine (upper back, newbs) and hips ready for squatting is essential. So is joint mobility. None of these is possible if you spend your working hours slaving behind a desk, and your relaxation hours partaking in #NetflixandChill.

So, this begs the question…how can we battle against the sedentary nature of our lives?
By improving your most basic human function, pooping breathing.

Optimizing your breathing patterns will:

  • improve stability through your midsection
  • allow for better thoracic mobility
  • aid in hip and low back stability through co-contraction of other deeper stabilizers

These exercises are a great starting point for improving mobility and your breathing patterns:

Perform one set of five or six reps per exercise to optimize your breathing patterns for the squat.

Diaphragmatic Breathing With Lat Stretch: Concurrently feel an amazeballs stretch in your lat while improving your breathing function. 

Quadruped Thoracic Rotations: To improve thoracic mobility

Tall Kneeling Rotations: To improve thoracic mobility. 

Sumo Squat to Stand: Improve hip mobility.

Glute Bridges: Improve glute activation and hip extension, both of which protect your lower back from excessive hyperextension.

 

 

Squatting On The Ground

For some people, it’s best to learn to squat from the ground up with an exercise like the resisted rock-back. This exercise teaches you to hold a neutral spine position as you rock back towards your heels without the compressive stress of a massive barbell. 

 In a quadruped position, attach one or two bands around your shoulders. Breathe into your low back and maintain a nice and neutral spinal position, and rock back towards your heels. Do 2-3 sets of 5 repetitions before moving to the Goblet Squat.

 

 

The Goblet Squat

The Goblet Squat is a brilliant way to start squatting properly because the weights acts as a counter-balance to maintain a neutral spine, ergo, not keeping over and jacking up your back, and helping you sit into the squat safely.

As a rule of thumb, the majority of people find squatting more comfortable with slightly turned out feet. Ensure to push your big toes into the ground, stay heavy on your heels and let all your toes touch the ground.

Once you have mastered the positioning with your feet and learned how to generate lots of tension throughout the entire range of movement, we have to decrease the weight of the kettlebell and add a band around your knees.

We do this for two reasons:

  • Your abs will act as co-contractors instead of the weights of the kettlebell
    *  Aa band forces more external rotation and abduction in your hips aiding in more stability and strength. Basically, you get stronger to lift more weight and prevent injury. 

Photo 1Figure 1: Decrease the weight in increments, until you are able to do it with just bodyweight

PUTTING IT ALTOGETHER with These Five Squat Cues

Woot, Woot!

 

Amongst the gazillion cues available, these are the cats meow for my clients.  

1.“Elbows Together” or “Pull The Bar Through You”

  • Use instead of: “elbows  under the bar”  

Photo 2

Figure 2: Pull the bar through you and point your elbows towards your butt.

Squatting with your elbows “under the bar”, as is often taught, will leave your shoulders slightly more internally rotated. This will lead to a loss of tension in your upper back.

Photo 3

 Figure 3: Don’t squat with your elbows under the bar. You will lose tension in your upper back.

Heck, even if you got your shoulders underneath the bar without losing tension, it wouldn’t help that much. Why? Because your lats have to be on fire to maintain a strong position. When you imagine pulling your elbows together or pulling the bar through you, you will create a strong retracted position with your lats being highly engaged for more strength and a stable spine. More gain and less pain? I’m down. 

One more cure I tend to find work very well to further re-emphasize lat activation is ‘to squeeze your arm pits.’

2.“Breathe Into Your Low Back” or “Create A Balloon Belly”

Use instead of: “ fill your belly with  air” or “breathe  into your tummy.”

As we mentioned above, a well-working diaphragm (breathing) will ensure a really stable base through your midsection. When we increase the intra-abdominal pressure, it will reinforce our upper back and hip strength throughout the movement.

Breathing into your chest and belly could be okay. But we need to remember that there is a front, back and side portion of the body. When you “breathe into your low back” or ‘create a balloon belly” you will reinforce the strong expansion of your midsection in all these directions to protect you from injury. 

 

3.“Push The Ground Away From You”

Use Instead Of: “Push Your knees Out” or “Spread The floor”

Photo 4

Figure 4: Point your toes out and push the ground away from you.

Squatting without proper foot placement and tension is a god-awful task. The majority of people who squat tend to push their knees out,  leaving their feet in a very vulnerable position by lifting their big toes and inside of their feet off the ground.

When you use the cue “push the ground away from you”  you’ll automatically assume a position where your big toes, little toes and heels are firmly pressed into the ground. Pushing the ground away from you forcefully will allow for strong glute activation and safe knee position. Together, this creates a stronger and safer squat. 

4.“Traps Up First” or “Touch Your Head To The Ceiling”

Use Instead Of: “Chest up First “

Photo 5

Figure 5: Think of your trapz and head touching the ceiling when you come out of the bottom of the squat.

Squatting with your “chest up first” can tend to cause more than wanted extension in the lower back. When you start moving up in the squat, we change from a lowering to a rising phase. These phases of the squat differ highly in muscle activation. Other than poor glute strength making it hard to get out of the bottom of the squat, the ‘chest up first’ cue will further reinforce an already weakened position.

If you think ‘Trapz up first” or “Touch your head  to the ceiling” your back and be put in a lot stronger position.

This leads me to the last, and probably most important cue…

5.“Own The Position”

To squat safely and effectively you must know and own every part of your squat.  Know what it feels to sit in the bottom position. Know what it feels like when you break at your knees instead of both hips and knees. Know what it feels like when you are in an efficient versus inefficient position.

If they remember the other cues and lose focus ever so slightly, “own the position” is a good catch-phrase to bring lifters back on track and focus on the quality of each rep, rather than the weight on the bar. 

What Now?

Drop your ego.

Scale things back.

Know that you are where you are because of something that didn’t go to plan in the past.

Bottom line: You have to prepare and you need to practice. The squat can be one of the best exercises in the gym, but you need to own it. That’s how you get better. 

About Kennet Waale

Kennet Waale is a coach for Movestrong Training Systems, and the co-founder of Thy Vertex; a multifaceted health facility in Brisbane, Australia.

He earned his Bachelor’s degree in human movement studies as an exercise scientist at The University of Queensland. During his almost eight years of coaching, he has gone to work with athletes up to the Commonwealth and Olympic levels as well as every day folks wanting to look better naked.

kennet_profile

 

How To Squat Big Weight

[Piece Written for Natural Power and Muscle Magazine, download your free copy here]

” Drive through the earth.”

“Make the plates jump.”

“Accelerate as fast as possible.”

“Explode all the way up.”

You’ve heard the cues to squat big weight, but what do they actually mean? More importantly, will they teach you how to squat big weight

For a big squat you need to be strong AND explosive-– one without the other leaves much to be desired in the rack and on the playing field. 

Problem is training both is complicated. You need to develop speed, speed-strength, power and maximum strength qualities to reach your potential and keep your chicken legged’ squat off the safety racks. Don’t worry, it’s not as complex as it sounds, at least not after you read this. Miss out on these methods and you’ll be stuck in mediocrity; however, if you work hard you’ll explode through plateaus and finally learn how to squat big weight.

 Force Velocity Curve

What?

Graphs? 

Don’t worry, it’s not your eleventh grade math class. The force velocity curve is a hyperbolic graph that shows the relationship between force and velocity, an inverse relationship between weight (force) and the velocity (speed) that you lift the weight. The heavier the weight the slower movement (absolute strength);conversely, the lighter the weight the faster the speed (speed) of the movement. These qualities make up opposite sides of the spectrum, with speed-strength, strength-speed, and power making up the middle of the curve. force velocity curve for squats, How to Squat Big weight, speed squat, big squat,  How to squat big weights Photo Credit: elitefts.com

To squat big weight  multiple qualities must be trained to minimize weak points and optimize the nervous system to fire all on cylinders. If either end of the curve is neglected performance will suffer. You can’t train solely maximum strength if you want to be your strongest and you can’t train solely “speed” to be explosive.

Qualities on the Force-Velocity Curve

Maximum Strength: Here’s the heavy lifting, generally 85%+ maximum effort for multiple sets of 1-5 five reps to build maximum strength. Going heavy is vital to developing a big squat, but avoid shitting a kidney and missing reps. Missing reps overtaxes your nervous system, leaves you weaker, and wrecks your confidence. Hit reps the you know you’ll make and yourself for the occasional max-out attempts.

Strength-Speed, Speed-strength and Power: Speed-strength and strength-speed are synonymous with power: They both produce a super-high power output compared with their longer duration, lower velocity counterpart maximum strength. Compare a tractor trailer and a Ferrari— It’s great to have a ton of horsepower, but for high-performance it’s best to generate horsepower rapidly.

Power= Work/Time

In this case explosive barbell exercises are best using loads between 30%-85% for multiple low-rep sets is best. (Baechle & Earle, 2008). Maximum power is achieved through moving moderate loads at high velocity with loads of 40-60% 1-rm. For a big squat speed squats are ideal for power development, technique practice, and increased work capacity. Brace hard, use a rapid, yet controlled descent and explode out of the hole.

With lower resistances speed-strength is addressed with an emphasis on velocity of movement against a small load. This could be a sled sprint with 10% bodyweight, light jump-squats, or single leg plyometric.

Speed: Pure velocity is the key and exercises like un-weighted box jumps, broad jumps and  sprint work. If a big squat is your focus then jumps are the best option because they match the mechanical movement of the squat and have minimal risk compared to sprints.

Your best choices are broad jumps, vertical jumps, and box jumps to increase your rate of force development and explode through stick points.

[Side Note: If you’re an athlete that requires speed for on-field dominance there needs to be a premium placed on it. In this case intense movement skills like acceleration and top end speed should be the first priority in your training, not lifting maximal weight.]

Squat Pattern Velocity Movements:

For developing a strong, explosive squat the intensities on the force velocity curve must be trained. Not every quality must be trained in each training session, but all need to be addressed. Squatting twice per week allows you to do just that with one heavy and one speed session. Separate these sessions by at least 48-72 hours for full recovery.

Here are the best exercises for the squat pattern in the Force-Velocity Continuum: It’s simple– contrary to what Tracy Anderson says,  if you lift foo-foo weights your body won’t surpass it’s minimal essential strain. The SAID principle states that specific adaptations occur based on the imposed demands.  You must train each quality of the strength curve to minimize imbalances and develop balanced strength, power, and speed.

Speed: Box Jump, vertical jump, broad jump

Speed-Strength: Dumbbell or Vertimax jump squat

Strength-Speed: Speed Squats with 40-75%

Maximum Strength: Squat singles at 85-95%+

Targeting the squat pattern with multiple sessions per week while addressing force-velocity spectrum leads to greater gains in power, strength, and explosiveness.

The Workout

[Download Natural Power and Muscle Magazine for the workout and articles from Nate Miyaki, Eric Prush, Tony Bonvechio,and JC Deen

Day 1: Speed-Strength+ Maximum Strength

Dynamic Movement and (optional) movement skills

1a. DB Jump Squat 3×5

1b. Plank 3×45 sec

2a. Heavy Squat 5×2-3 @ 85-95%

2b. lateral band march x8

3a. Bulgarian Split Squat 3×8-10

3b. Palloff Press 3×12

4. Sled March/ Prowler Push

Day 2: Upper Body Push/Pull

squat big weight, how to squat big weight

Day 3: Strength-Speed + Speed

Dynamic Movement and (optional) movement skills

1a.Broad Jump 3×5

1b. Side Plank 3×30 sec.

2a. Speed Squat 5×3-5 @40-75%

2b. Fire Hydrant x8

3a. Barbell RDL 4×8-10

3b. BW Glute Bridge 4×12

4. DB Walking Lunge 2-3×8-12

Day 4: Upper Body Push/Pull

Wrap Up

It’s not typical for most to squat more than once per week, but neither is being strong, shredded, and athletic.

At some point you’ll plateau and gains stop getting results so easily. When it happens it’s frustrating and leaves you searching the “interwebz” for answers. This plan teaches you how to squat big weight– with multiple sessions, fluctuating intensity, and training multiple qualities to achieve rapid gains in explosive strength and power.

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Surviving Cheat Day

It was Saturday. Gorgeous, about 70 degrees and radiant sunshine. I spent the morning at the gym, training clients and blitzing a short workout. On the way home I ran some important errands and made it home by noon– Not bad for a Saturday! Everything I needed to do for the day was completed and the day was only half-way through.

photo from Buy-Beer.com http://www.buy-beer.com/bbq-beer-chicken/beer-butt-buddies2/
photo from Buy-Beer.com
http://www.buy-beer.com/bbq-beer-chicken/beer-butt-buddies2/

Even better, I had most of the day to eat and drink whatever I wanted….Cheat day had arrived.

There is nothing wrong with a cheat day, mentally they provide a break from a strict diet and let you relax and unwind. Physically cheat days can provide a much needed refueling for the body and boost various hormones such as T-3 and T-4 that can be down regulated if you are constantly dieting.

Cheat days kick ass. In disciplined dieters they improve compliance and provide a mental and physical break from dieting– As long as they’re kept within reason. Unfortunately, reason wasn’t present yesterday. Two pizzas, chicken wings, plenty of beer, a trip to a vodka bar, and hefty forth meal left me in a greasy stupor.

I drank like a fish and ate like it was going out of style.

Where do all of those calories go?

Eventually carbohydrate storage reaches capacity, leaving excess sugars to saturate the blood stream and  join the party around your love handles. If alcohol is involved that will halt all fat burning even further, promoting further fat storage. Eeeek. That’s the perfect storm to blow up quicker than a Kardasian wedding.

The Solution

There is a way to minimize the damage on these gluttonous days as I learned from Tim Ferriss’ book The 4 Hour Body. The goal isn’t to burn massive amounts of calories on cheat cheat; instead, prepare your body to receive and utilize the excess sugars you’re consuming.

Ideally, you will take more of these excess sugars and calories and have them pushed into your muscles rather than your waistline.

How?

Glute-4 Activation.

What is Glute-4?

Glute 4 is a protein responsible for insulin related glucose transport into cells. Muscular contractions stimulate muscle cells to translocate to the surface of the muscle, making them more receptive to insulin and stocking the muscles full of glycogen from those carbs you just ate.

Cool, so what do I do?

As close to your delicious meal, whether it be pizza, doughnuts, or whatever else you are craving you must force major skeletal muscles to contract to stimulate glute-4 translocation. And it doesn’t take nearly as much activity as you think.

Here are a few good options:

1.Bodyweight squats 20 reps. Quarter squats are fine, full are better
2.Push Ups (or wall push ups, you can do these in a bathroom stall, oh boy!) 20 reps
3.Band Pull aparts 20 reps
4.Isometric Quadriceps extension: lock your leg and flex as hard as you can for 20-30 seconds. This one can work (or use other muscles) while you are seated if you are out to eat. This way people won’t think you are as weird as me.

**You can do these things in private if that makes you feel more comfortable, but you probably shouldn’t care so much what others think, especially as it pertains to your health and lookin good neeeked 

These exercises take all of a minute or so to perform as close to your cheat meal as you can, as well as 60-90 minutes post-meal. This way you are activating the biggest muscles in your body to be more receptive to the surplus of calories floating around in your blood stream to lead to bigger muscles, rather than a bigger waistline.

Wrap Up

So there you have it. It’s not necessarily a good thing to go as crazy as I did and eat/drink 10,000 calories . Just know there are strategies to minimize the damage while maximizing the fun, even while trying to look your best

Resources:

Ferriss, Timothy. The 4-Hour Body. New York: Crown Archetype, 2010. 100-120. Print.

 

Top 10 Tips to Add Muscle

tips to add muscle, high performance exercises


I’m going to keep this simple and straight forward.  If you’re not building muscle, you’re probably missing the basics.

1. Eat Big to Get Big

You can’t put 60 miles worth of gasoline and drive 120 miles can you? Providing your body with the essential calories and nutrients is rule #1. You will be working hard in the gym, you not only need to provide enough calories to fuel your workout, but you also need a caloric surplus in order to gain weight. For each meal aim for 1-2 fistfuls of protein (30g or so), 2 fists of vegetables, healthy fats, and carbs such as sweet potatoes or rice. Track what you eat using a site such as livestrong.com and consider reading up on carb cycling to maximize muscle and minimize fat.  Supershakes are a convenient and easy way to pack your body full of quality nutrients for muscle growth.

2. Progressive Overload

To build muscle you must follow the laws of progressive overload. You must continuously work to add weight to the bar, increase the speed you move the bar, increase the number of reps, or decrease rest periods each time you set foot in the gym. Give your body a reason to grow by challenging to a new level every chance you get (within reason), repeating the same workout pound for pound and word for word will not help yield the gains you are looking for.

 

3. Stick with Compound Exercises

Mixing in endless amounts of curls, leg extensions, calf raises, and lateral raises will do little more than delay your recovery and hinder your progress. Stick with squats, deadlifts, presses, bench presses, chin ups, dips, hip thrusts, and rows to build a well rounded physique. Major structural exercises like these will work the most muscle mass and stimulate the biggest release of testosterone to fuel your muscle growth. You don’t need gimmicky machines, cable crossovers, and shiny new equipment to get the job done; they are often a waste of time. Pay your dues with a barbell, kettlebells, dumbbells, and your own bodyweight to move your body the way it was built to move.

 

4.  Train Heavy

Training heavy is becoming a lost art in many gyms. I see so many people training every exercise at 12-15 reps chasing the pump that it makes me sick. Most individuals tend to follow body part splits with crazy high volume and rep ranges that only work for beginners and/or steroid users. Most drug free lifters make phenomenal gains by putting more weight on the bar and focusing on rep ranges between 3-8. Anything over 8 reps really begins developing endurance unless you can handle significant weight for reps. Bottom Line: If you add 50 pounds to your squat or a deadlift in a year you will be bigger, add weight and see magic happen!

 

5. Get In Get Out

Workouts are meant to stimulate, not annihilate the body. Get in a solid warm up and try to complete your workout in 45 minute or less. You are in the gym to work out and see results, not socialize in-between sets on the preacher curl. Get in, get out, eat, and repeat.

6. Sleep 8+ Hours

You need to recovery to grow, and optimal growth and recovery comes with getting 8+ hours of sleep per night. Sleeping well and long will increase your testosterone naturally while giving you more energy and making you more efficient throughout the day. Turn off the TV and get some sleep

7. Foam Roll

Staying healthy and recovering from workouts is absolutely vital to making consistent progress in the gym. Foam roll troubled areas such as the shoulders, pecs, IT bands, calves, and piriformis to improve movement quality. Pick up a foam roller or use tennis balls, baseballs, softballs (ouch), medicine balls to break up scar tissue. If you are financially able try to get a deep tissue massage once per week.

 

8. Incorporate SOME higher reps into your training

The emphasis on your training still needs to be on lower repetition multi-joint exercises to build muscle. However, increasing reps on occasion to 10-15 reps will increase your muscles ability to store glycogen and water. This will add volume to the muscle and increase their size. This is known as non-functional hypertrophy. If you goal is solely aesthetics and not strength/power mix 1-2 exercises per workout with a higher volume. Just be aware this can compromise your performance on big lifts!

 

9. Keep a Workout Journal

Writing down your workouts and tracking your progress is incredibly important to make consistent gains in the gym. How in the heck will you know when you have a new PR, or when you increased your reps by 5 on your squat from 2 months ago? Keeping a detailed workout journal will show you exactly what has worked in the past and what has not. Your workouts will improve and so will your knowledge of how your body reacts to different workouts.

 

10. De-load every 6-8 weeks

De-loading the muscles and nervous system every month or two will keep you healthy and mentally fresh in the long term. Muscle building is not an overnight ordeal, it takes years to build and smart programming. Take a complete week off on occasion, drop your intensity, or your volume for a week to allow joints, ligaments, and the nervous system to health up.

The Top 10 Tips to Add Muscle

Lift heavy, eat, sleep, repeat to get the gains you want. By taking these tips and focusing on 1 at a time until it becomes common practice will bring your training and physique to where it wants to be.
And if you’re looking for a program to get rollin,’ I’ve got you covered here.

Get Your 12 Week HFT Mass Program Today

Exercises to avoid: Adductor Abductor Machine

Stop spending your workout with this awkward machine in hopes of a nice set of thighs or glutes.

adductor-machine
Photo Credit: deansomerset.com

Sorry, your attention should be elsewhere. If you’re looking to maximally develop these areas learn to squat, lunge, deadlift, sprint, and move optimally rather than wasting your time.

Although this wonderful device provides resistance for both adduction (bringing the legs together) and abduction (spreading the legs apart) it neglects to train the muscles of adduction and abduction as stabilizers, their primary role. Although they provide a burn” to the inner and outer thighs it serves no functional purpose and will not further “tone or shape” a muscle.

These machines are useless.

Although they provide a burn” to the inner and outer thighs it serves no functional purpose and will not further “tone or shape” a muscle. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as spot reduction. Contrary to belief you can’t change the shape or tone of your muscles– your insertion points aren’t going anywhere. If you want to a muscle to show visibly the issue isn’t muscle shape, but subcutaneous fat covering the muscle.

Adduction:

The adductor muscles are responsible for adducting the leg away from midline at the hip-joint. These muscles have multiple functions beyond simple adduction as you see below:

  • Adductor longus: Hip adduction, hip flexion
  • Adductor brevis: Hip adduction, hip flexion
  • Adductor magnus: hip extension, hip adduction, hip flexion
  • Adductor minimus: hip adduction
  • Pectineus: Hip adduction, hip flexion
  • Gracilus: Hip adduction, hip flexion, knee flexion

 Abduction:

As stated in described by their group name, the abductors abduct, or move the legs away from midline in the body.These muscles have multiple functions beyond simple abduction as you see below:

The Muscles responsible for abduction include:

  • Gluteus Medius: Hip abduction
  • Gluteus Minimis: Hip abduction, hip internal rotation
  • Tensor Fasica Latae : Hip abduction, hip internal rotation

Isolating these muscles services little purpose, as there are few instances these muscles work as a solo-primary mover in exercise. Muscles that control abduction and adduction must work synergistically to keep the femur (upper leg bone) in proper alignment and maintain frontal plane stability. Neglecting these functions with purely isolated training leaves the body open for knee injuries due to poor stability/mobility in the hip and knee and flexion based back injuries.

Opt For These instead:

All lower body unilateral exercises and variations including: deadlifts, Lunges, Squats (any variation), step ups, sprinting, banded shuffle walks, hip thrusts, bird-dogs, fire-hydrants and banded monster walks.

Training the adductors and abductors is NOT a bad idea, but using the “Yes-NO”machine is a waste of time. Muscles DO need to function in isolation, but overpowering their ability without training them dynamically is recipe for injury.

Plus, I’m not sure this is how you want to see your co-workers during lunch. Avoid the adductor abductor machine, it has no place in your routine.

abduction/adduction.
Yes-No Machine Is sending mixed messages. 

18 Ways to Build Muscle, Lose Fat, and Rule the Freakin’ World

Image

1. Be goal oriented

Pick a goal and go all in towards that goal. Start small and keep your goals written down somewhere visible where you see it each day.

2.  Perform Hill Sprints

Hill sprints are grueling hard work that simultaneously toughens your body and mind. Start at 2 days of 4-6 60-80 meter hill sprints to build a chiseled physique and regain your athleticism.

3. Train Movements First, not muscles

Train the body through a variety of movements such as squatting, hip hinging (deadlift), vertical pressing, vertical pulling, horizontal pushing, horizontal pulling, lunging, jumping, hopping, and skipping. Bringing up lagging body parts through assistance work can be beneficial especially if your goals are aesthetics only, but everyone should be able to perform these movements with some proficiency.

4. Perform Soft Tissue Work

Foam rolling and other soft tissue work is one of the best ways to improve your movement quality and decrease pain. Soft tissue work improves the quality of the muscle to support better mobility and flexibility.

5. Perform Glute Work

Low back pain can be crippling, especially if you are looking to rule the world. The most common reason for low back pain is inactive and weak glutes. Train that booty with hip thrusts, lunge variations, bridges, and squats and feel it working!

6. If something hurts, stop doing it

Pain is a warning sign that something is not right, we can all agree on that. Unfortunately, most gym goers think no pain no gain. WRONG! If your Ferrari started smoking under the engine and the check engine light ison would you say screw it? Hell no you get it fixed.

7. Jump

Jumping is a great way to maintain explosive power, quickness, and coordination. You can jump rope, perform jumping jacks, box jumps, it doesn’t matter. Just make sure you perform some variations of jumping!

8. Train Outside

Training outside is liberating and refreshing. Perform hills sprints, a bodyweight circuit, or grab some sandbags, kettlebells, and some friends and see what you come up with. Get creative and have fun!

9. Include Low Rep Training in your workouts

Training with lower reps 1-5 and higher intensity will build strength and explosiveness, two very important traits in having a healthy, athletic, world dominating physique.

10. Deadlift

Learn to do it correctly and it is the most “Functional,”badass movement you can perform. Picking heavy things off the ground is vital!

11. Focus on Posture and Form

Never ever ever ever ever round your shoulders or lower back when lifting or doing anything else. This will lead to injuries when lifting and poor posture with everything else. Use a flat back and big chest.

12. Eat Dead Animals

Nuff’ Said

13. Warm Up

Perform a warm up of foam rolling, jump rope 100x, 3-D Lunges, pushups, medicine ball throws, and jumps. These will loosen you up, increase blood flow, improve movement quality, and ramp up your nervous system to increase your strength.

14. Challenge your grip

A strong grip and forearms are awesome, who doesn’t envy Popeye? Use Fat Gripz, Grip 4orce, plate pinches, farmer walks, or wrap towels around bars and dumbbells.

15. Stop Performing Burn-outs

Performing exercise to failure on a consistent basis just leads to a fatigued CNS and eventual burn out and injuries. Performing sets to failure is okay on occasion, but keep it to every few weeks.

16. Pick out an exercise program and stick to it

Switching from program to program will keep you from your goals. Learn to spot a good program such as 5/3/1 and stick with it for 12 weeks minimum. Pick productive basic exercises and master them.

17. De-load

Take a week every 4-8 weeks (more frequent if you lift heavy), and back down the volume, intensity, or both. This will keep you motivated while preventing injuries and burnout.

18. Keep in touch with Friends and Family

Maintaining relationships with the people who helped mold you is a great way to relax and keep a good perspective on life. Healthy relationships are vital to a healthy body and mind.

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