Archive for the ‘Exercise Technique’ Category

A Simple Step by Step Squat Guide

Thursday, January 16th, 2020

A squat is a strength training exercise working on glutes, hamstring, calves, and quad muscles and includes the hip, knee, and ankle joint. It is one of the best exercises for leg strength, building muscle in the lower body, and strengthening the core. Literally an entire encyclopedia can be written about the benefits of squatting and proper squat form. We will try to provide a simple squat guide that is simple and easy to digest.

squat guide
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Which Muscles Are Used During Deadlifts? Possibly More Than You Knew

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019
Which Muscles Are Used During Deadlifts

Do you ever wonder which muscles are used during deadlifts? Well, you need to start with understanding the muscles that get affected by the ‘King of all Exercises’ to know about their role in your workouts. There are many grips, foot positions, bars, and acceleration techniques that can be used to target different muscle groups in different ways. Let’s examine the techniques and learn which muscles are directly affected when deadlifting.

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How to Bench Press Safely Without a Spotter

Saturday, August 31st, 2019
Heavy Bench Press

A major concern for all of us big-shot men is how we can bench press when we are training alone. Chest day has always been an important day in the weekly training regimen. It might fall on a Monday, a humpday, or even a Friday, but it is and has always been one of the most exalted workout days of the week for those training with a partner, buddies, or teams.

This is a day when we can walk in the gym with our chests puffed out.

This is a day when we can train those all-important show muscles… the pecs.

This is a day when we can perform the “manliest of exercises”… the bench press!

Let us examine some alternatives to bench pressing flat with a spotter.

(Of course for those of us who already know how to bench press, the bench press is really no big deal. There are about 7 other exercises I’d rather do than bench and at least 5 other goals that are more important to me than having a big chest or a big bench… but I digress… this article is about bench pressing after all.)

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How to Bench Press

Monday, August 26th, 2019

How to Bench Press

Update: I found a sweet How to Bench Press video by elite powerlifter Dave Tate today. The video appears about halfway through this post. If you want to bench press for max strength and “think” you have perfect form, you NEED to watch this video. Therefore I am republishing this article today for every Swole Bench Presser’s benefit.

Your Questions

I get plenty of questions in various comments throughout the website, but I also get comments and questions via the Project Swole Contact Form.

Generally, I address those questions through e-mail, but often I do not have the time to reply to each and every question personally.

From now on I want to take a more proactive approach to answer Your Health Questions by posting them separately in the blog. This way we can be sure that everyone benefits from the Q & A.

Kyle wrote:

“Hey Steve, OK me and a friend got into an argument about how to bench. I said you should touch your chest and he said you shouldn’t because it can injure your shoulder you should stop like 1 inch away from your chest? What is the right way to bench?”

Response:

So, you want to know how to bench press properly?

How to Bench Press

The bench press is the most popular exercise in the gym among men. It is the strongest upper body exercise for most people and has been a social gauge (and wrongly so, in my opinion) of male strength and fitness for more than a century. Fortunately, bench presses are the #1 best exercise for building upper body strength and size, and so should be included in nearly all strength training routines.

On the downside, benching is responsible for many weight lifting injuries, especially in the shoulder area. Hopefully, this post will educate you as to how you should be bench pressing to avoid injury.

How to Bench Press

A concept of a bench press is simple:

Start by laying down on a bench. Place your hands on the barbell with your palms facing away from you (this is a pronated grip). Unrack the barbell and hold it straight up over your upper chest. Bend at the elbows to lower the barbell until it touches your mid-chest. Press it back up over your upper chest. That’s a rep.

In reality, using proper form on the bench press can be difficult to master, as you will see when you read this post in its entirety.

Now, to answer your questions…

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Five Tips To Improve Your Deadlift Technique

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019
deadlift technique

Along with the squat and bench press, the deadlift is one of the most common and useful strength training exercises. A deadlift requires muscles all over the body to perform. The arms, legs, core, and back are all strengthened by regularly performing increasingly heavy deadlifts. However, the deadlift can be of little benefit if one does not do it correctly, and without proper form, there is the risk of injury. You should always try to do what you can to improve your deadlift technique.

With these five tips, one should be able to perform deadlifts in a way that increases their strength with little chance of harm:

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Use Proper Form and Nutrition to Prevent Injury

Friday, November 24th, 2017

Too many times people throw themselves into an exercise routine with the expectation that if they heave as much weight as possible, enough times, they’re going to see the results they want. In reality, the result they’re likely to see is an injury that sets them back significantly in achieving their fitness goals.

gym injuries

Whether you’re just starting out or finessing your current exercise routine, it’s essential that you always take the time to ensure you’re practicing proper form. If you don’t, you are cheating yourself by lessening the positive effects of your workout and opening yourself up to serious injury. Aside from maintaining proper technique as you build strength and flexibility, you should also focus on the nutrition your body needs to function, recover, and grow. (more…)

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Lift Your Game – Why Hanging Is The “Missing Link” Of Strength Training

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017
bodyweight grip strength

Strength training is a popular, effective and growing form of exercise which aims to use different apparatus in order to strengthen and refine your muscles. Often relying on body weight and muscle control, one of the benefits of strength training is that it teaches users to get to know how their bodies and muscles work and to focus on how different muscles work together to initiate movement. One of the best bodyweight grip strength exercises, and arguably one of the best back exercises is hanging.

As with any form of exercise, different moves and sets develop popularity, based on their perceived efficacy. A form of strength training called ‘hanging’ is one such exercise. Below we’ll take a look at what hanging is, and why it’s a good thing to integrate into your routine.

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5 Tips for Bodybuilding With Lower Back Pain

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

Bodybuilding is a great way to sculpt and tone muscles, but the strain that it places on the body is sometimes too much to bear. Injuries are not uncommon among bodybuilders, and lower back pain is one of the most common problems experienced by lifters everywhere.

Back Workouts

If you’re experiencing lower back pain, you don’t have to stop your workout routine. However, you should remember these tips that will help you manage your back pain and heal quickly. Warming up, stretching properly, and maintaining strict formex will go a long way, but try these too:
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7 Effective Exercise Proven to Shred Those Lady Thighs

Monday, December 19th, 2016

Here’s one for the ladies of Team Swole – a guest post by Emily of Body Shape 101

One of the biggest problems that women face is inner thigh fat. Flabby inner thighs that rub together while walking are not only a sore but irritating as well. Most people can relate as this quickly jogs their mind to painful friction burns especially when wearing a dress or skirt.

Besides this painful fact, inner thigh fat interferes with your figure and self-confidence as well. However, you’d be pleased to know that inner thigh flab is not chronic and that you can easily get rid of it through simple exercises. There are leg exercises and equipment purposely meant to curve and tone your legs, such as recumbent bikes, but you may need to indulge in some cardio exercises as well. 

1. Cossack Squats

This is a highly effective workout that targets your lower body. It will shape the glutes and thighs on all angles by burning the excess fat and in this case, inner thighs.  (more…)

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The Best Pull-Up Workout You Can Do at Home

Monday, November 14th, 2016

Build Upper Body Muscle & Strength At Home

Pull Up Workout at Home

Pull-ups are simply one of the finest body weight exercises that can be carried out for your upper body. Pull-ups workout your core, back, arms, and shoulders working out almost every muscle in the upper body. Pull-ups can be performed virtually anywhere that you can locate a bar to cling from.

We all know about the normal pull-up; how tough they are! This exercise in itself demands great power, and if you cannot perform at least 20 standard pull-ups in a row, then I suggest you do not attempt any of these advanced pull-up versions until you can.
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How to do Barbell Rows

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Back MusclesLike pull ups, heavy rows are one of the best exercises to train your back. The king of rowing exercises is the standing barbell row, but the problem is that too few people perform them properly.

You might see the following common technique flaws in people executing barbell rows:

  • momentum – using the posterior chain to generate momentum, instead of using the muscles of the back and arms
  • rounded back – weakness in the lower back or hip tightness can cause your lower back to round, which is bad for the spine
  • standing upright – you have to bend over nearly parallel to the floor in order to work the upper back properly

As I mentioned last week, you can fix all of these issues by switching from barbell rows to inverted rows, or you can learn how to perform barbell rows correctly.

Let’s talk about how we can best use barbell rows in our training routines.

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Top 6 Leg Training Mistakes

Friday, July 24th, 2015

Don’t Waste Time Training Legs the Wrong Way!

Leg Training Mistakes
Your legs are the foundation of your physique. With their bulging tear drops, incision-like cuts, and shredded striations, prize leg development can win you a contest. Lagging leg development can also lose you a contest. Additionally, having strong legs makes it that much easier to develop a strong upper body. Here are 6 mistakes most athletes make when training their legs. These tips apply both to active bodybuilders and newbies, so pay attention!

The Top 6 Leg Training Mistakes

  1. Not Training Legs At All

    A lot of people completely avoid leg training. Why? Personally, I find it hard to understand. But there’s obviously a reason why they do; theories are they already have some preconceived notion that their legs are developed beyond what they are in actuality, or they see leg training as “hard”.

    It’s true that leg training can be painful, and you generally are sore afterwards, but many bodybuilders grow to love that soreness, as with other muscles. Avoiding leg training is a critical mistake, and you can’t build a house without a foundation.

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How to Perform the Pallof Press

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

The problem with most rotational movements is that they produce shearing forces on your lumbar spine. One of the foundations of biomechanics is that you don’t place your spine into a simultaneous state of rotation, flexion, and side bending, and you especially don’t add an external load.

Pallof Press

This eliminates a number of popular abdominal exercises such as dumbbell side bends and the twisting abdominal machine. Exercises like the Russian twist should be performed with care, making sure that the trunk is flexed rather than the spine.

There is a quick and easy solution to the inherent problems with twisting exercises – don’t twist.

Enter: The Pallof Press!

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Top 6 Arm Training Mistakes

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Want big arms? Want lean, shredded arms? Then don’t make any of these arm training mistakes. Here are 6 great arm training tips for bodybuilders, fitness athletes, sports athletes, and newbies alike. Forget the myths, stop the mistakes, and train your arms proper!

Arm Training Mistakes

The Top 6 Arm Training Mistakes

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Top 6 Shoulder Training Mistakes

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Having great shoulders really makes you appear sleek and powerful. However, chest and back training does not suffice when attempting to build spectacular shoulders. You must train the shoulders directly, intensely, and often. Be attentive of these 6 common mistakes that people make when training shoulders.

Shoulder Training Mistakes

The Top 6 Shoulder Training Mistakes

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Top 6 Chest Training Mistakes

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Your chest is a large and complicated muscle. Considering its size you would think it would be easy to stimulate growth. Do some flat bench, another secondary movement, and your chest starts growing. Unfortunately the pecs are a much more muscle group area than that. In fact it is downright complex.

Training the pectoralis is a major puzzle to most bodybuilders, thinking a couple sets of bench press is all it takes, or going to the other extreme by dedicating a full day to 20 sets of different bench press variations. In this piece we would like to expose the answer to this puzzle by discussing the six most prevalent chest training errors and then providing tips to avoid them.

Read carefully; you will be surprised how many mistakes you are likely making.

Chest Training Mistakes

The Top 6 Chest Training Mistakes

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Top 6 Back Training Mistakes

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Do you limit yourself by avoiding horizontal or vertical back movements? Did you know that your traps and lower back also need to be strengthened? Are you stuck on lat pull downs as your main back exercise? Can’t do a pull up?

Tsk, tsk, tsk…

Avoid these 6 common back training mistakes and you will have a much better chance of looking like Atlas and performing like an Olympian.

Back Training Mistakes

The Top 6 Back Training Mistakes

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5 Squatting Mistakes

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

How NOT to Squat

Chick Squatting
8-time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman said it best: “shut up and squat.” [1] After all, there’s nothing better for building lower body mass. Squats force you to use numerous stabilizing muscles and exhaust hamstrings, quads, and glutes.

To get the most out of squats, however, they must be executed with correct form. Avoiding these common squat mistakes will take both your performance and physique to the next level.

Mistake #1: Not Engaging Your Core

The core is the body’s center of gravity and is where movement originates. [2]If you have a weak core, it will be much harder to keep the weight stable. It also places you at a greater risk for hip or lower back injury.
To properly engage your core when performing a squat, concentrate on sucking your belly button towards your spine. A strong core will be able to maintain this posture throughout the exercise. If you have a weak core, using a weight belt around the waist protects the spine and keeps you from relaxing the core.

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The Importance of Proper Form in Crossfit

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

Crossfit WomenIf you are the type of person who enjoys physical fitness, then you’ve no doubt tried several different types of exercise, from basics like jogging, cycling, and swimming, to instructional classes in yoga, Pilates, and step aerobics, to workout DVDs for P90X or Insanity. But if you’re looking for an up-and-coming exercise regimen that is going to continue to challenge you for a while, then perhaps Crossfit should be on your radar.

The only real caveat with this intense form of exercise is that it is all too easy to injure yourself if you’re not careful. Since you are pushing yourself to your physical limits with timed circuits that require you to fit as many reps into the allotted time as possible, you’ll find that you tire long before you’re through. So it’s not only important to know your limits, but also to observe proper form in every exercise. Here’s why.

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Double Rope Climb

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Want massive forearms?

Aside from freaky traps, lumpy forearms are an excellent way to tell if someone is strong. Forget about pecs, biceps, even legs. If you are hella strong, you will most likely have thick, meaty traps and forearms. In order to get sick forearms, you have to use a variety of grip and forearm training.

Here is an interesting exercise called the Double Rope Climb. This is great training for both forearms and grip. Unfortunately it is Not easy to implement unless you have two strong ropes and something on which to anchor them. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t last long if I tried this.

forearm

This is another exercise that could be performed on back day, for conditioning drills, on “arm day” if you have an “arm day”, in a grip training routine, during circuit training, or integrated into a HIIT routine.

Watch out for that rope burn!

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