I’ve heard of balance training, I’ve heard of barbell squats, and I’ve heard of swiss ball squats. To my recollection, no one has ever done any of those exercises quite like this.
Posts Tagged ‘squats’
Serious fitness enthusiasts and athletes want to be bigger, stronger, and leaner. The number one way to make that happen? Train your legs with complex free-weight exercises such as these best leg exercises.
Your legs are the largest group of muscles in your body. They are the foundation of your strength and power. Never will you be able to bench press 315 if you can’t squat 315 first. By training your legs hard, you will be setting yourself up to gain the most progress compared to every other muscle group.
Arnold loved squatting, and look what happened to him. If you want to be Mr. Olympia, a famous Hollywood actor, and the governor of California, you need to squat! This article will give you great direction on training the quad, while our best hamstring exercises will give you some great ideas for supersetting or dividing leg day into a push and pull split.
By training your legs, you will:
- Lift the most weight of all muscle groups.
- Burn the most calories of all muscle groups.
- Form the foundation of your body’s strength chain.
- Stimulate the highest growth hormone release through training.
Generally speaking, while working out the primary concern of bodybuilding is to develop a toned upper body, to the extent that aspiring bodybuilders sometimes forget to pay much attention to their legs. And if they do train legs, it is pretty much the bare minimum and a half-willed effort – leg press and leg curls, for example.
Many beginners focus so much on a toned set of abs or bowling ball shoulders, that they skip out on leg day and forget to include their squats and deads throughout the week. This greatly affects the symmetry of the body. So to obtain that perfect physique you dream about, you will need to include leg workouts too. (more…)
Don’t Waste Time Training Legs the Wrong Way!
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
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.
How to Perform Squats
There are many different lifts that a weightlifter can do to increase their strength, speed, and power. All kind of weightlifting is great for your body, but I prefer to not waste time in the gym lifting with tunnel vision, going from machine to machine and seeing little results from my hard work.
Instead, I would rather do 3-4 exercises with maximal intensity to wipe out my whole body in order to reap a maximal anabolic effect. The most well known and most dreaded of these exercises is the squat.
Rules to remember when squatting:
- Keep the lower back straight and mostly flat; do not round your back!
- Keep knees pointing out slightly, do not let them creep inwards as you push yourself up.
- The bar should rest on upper trap muscles and the rear heads of the shoulders.
- Push from your glutes (butt), not your knees; your hips should raise first and everything else should raise with them.
- Fill your stomach with air before descending and keep it tight with your chest out while pushing up.
- Push up with your eyes focused 30-45 degrees above normal eye level.
- Try to keep your knees behind your toes to avoid injury.
How NOT to Squat
8-time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman said it best: “shut up and squat.”  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. 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.
How to Increase Your Squat By 100 Pounds in 10 Weeks
Update: Here is an old post I found about increasing your squat strength. I’m not sure that anyone ever really gave me much positive feedback on it, so I’m posting it again in case anyone wants to take a stab at putting 100 pounds on their squat in 10 weeks.
The squat is arguably the best exercise that any athlete can perform. Overhead press, bench press, and deadlifts rank right up there too, but I digress… No one wants to have a weak squat. To be considered ‘really strong’ you should be able to squat 2x your bodyweight.
Back in college I was regularly squatting 450 or so at a fluctuating bodyweight of 190-210 lbs. I have no genetic gifts when it comes to muscle size and strength. If I can lift 450 anyone can, so man up and put in some effort.
The goals of this workout plan are:
How to Perform Overhead Squats
How to Overhead Squat
Among the best exercises for strength, size, speed, and power, are squats – no exceptions. Front squats, jump squats, and overhead squats are all great alternatives to the king of squat exercises – the barbell back squat.
Squatting will help you develop powerful legs and a rigid core, have no doubt, but when we get creative we can mix and match exercises for an even more effective exercise that trains the whole body.
Sometimes we must think about our upper body as well and there is no better way to look and feel jacked, than to build massively strong shoulders. And there is no better way to feel sexy as a female, than to have sleek, strong, healthy shoulders. It is also equally important to build structurally invincible shoulders to proactively protect yourself from injury.
Combine everything together that I’ve just mentioned, and you get the overhead barbell squat. Let’s see how to do them correctly.
Increasing Your Vertical Jumping Ability
A single vertical jump for maximum height is one of the most intense exercises you can do.
Why? Because it requires you to utilize your entire lower body chain in a maximal effort contraction, to produce a maximal amount of force in a split second.
The important aspects of training to work on, to increase your vertical leap include:
- Squatting strength – Maximal leg strength transfers directly to a vertical jump. A strong 1 rep max = a big jump.
- Squatting speed – The faster you can squat, the more power you can generate, the higher you can jump.
- Squatting power – Tied in directly with speed and strength, squat heavier and squat faster and you will jump higher.
- Acceleration – You want to continue accelerating out of the hole all the way through the top of your jump.
- Single leg strength – To eliminate strength imbalances and to improve neuromuscular coordination, train your legs individually.
- Calf strength – Your calves are used at the end of the jump, so max calf strength can mean an extra inch on your vert.
- Sprint speed – Sprinting trains the Type-II Fast Twitch muscle fibers, which are what you need to attain your highest jump. Acceleration applies here as well.
- Hip drive – Your hips are responsible for a significant portion of jumping power from a parallel squat position to standing.
- Glute activation – Your glutes are responsible for driving you out of the hole at the bottom of a squat or jump.
Jump squats are great.
This is an excellent sport specific exercise that can be used alongside plyometrics to help you increase your vertical jump.
Jump squats will also help you power through a plateau in your regular squat development by conditioning your quads and hips to power through the lockout at the top of the movement.
Jump squats are an excellent sport specific exercise that can be used to increase power for:
- Olympic weight lifters
- Olympic athletes that either throw (javelin, shot put) or jump (long jump, pole vault)
- Basketball players who need to jump high
- Football players who block or tackle
Add jump squats to your regular workout, your HIIT routine, your HIRT routine, or your sport specific training.