The Ultimate Hard Body Exercise
The Front Squat:
As you may have already discovered, the squat is at the top of the heap (along with deadlifts) as one of the most effective overall exercises for stimulating body composition changes (muscle gain and fat loss). This is because exercises like squats and deadlifts use more muscle groups under a heavy load than almost any other weight bearing exercises known to man. Hence, these exercises stimulate the greatest hormonal responses (growth hormone, testosterone, etc.) of all exercises. In fact, university research studies have even proven that inclusion of squats into a training program increases upper body development, in addition to lower body development, even though upper body specific joint movements are not performed during the squat. Whether your goal is gaining muscle mass, losing body fat, building a strong and functional body, or improving athletic performance, the basic squat and deadlift (and their variations) are the ultimate solution. If you don't believe me that squats and deadlifts are THE basis for a lean and powerful body, then go ahead and join all of the other overweight people pumping away mindlessly for hours on boring cardio equipment. You won't find long boring cardio in any of my programs!
Squats can be done with any free weighted objects such as barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, sandbags, or even just body weight. Squats should only be done with free weights - NEVER with a Smith machine or any other squat machines! Machines do not allow your body to follow natural, biomechanically-correct movement paths. You also perform less work because the machine stabilizes the weight for you. Therefore, you get weaker results!
The type of squat that people are most familiar with is the barbell back squat where the bar is resting on the trapezius muscles of the upper back. Many professional strength coaches believe that front squats (where the bar rests on the shoulders in front of the head) and overhead squats (where the bar is locked out in a snatch grip overhead throughout the squat) are more functional to athletic performance than back squats with less risk of lower back injury. I feel that a combination of all three (not necessarily during the same phase of your workouts) will yield the best results for overall muscular development, body fat loss, and athletic performance. Front squats are moderately more difficult than back squats, while overhead squats are considerably more difficult than either back squats or front squats. I'll cover overhead squats in a future article. If you are only accustomed to performing back squats, it will take you a few sessions to become comfortable with front squats, so start out light. After a couple sessions of practice, you will start to feel the groove and be able to increase the poundage.
To perform front squats:
The front squat recruits the abdominals to a much higher degree for stability due to the more upright position compared with back squats. It is mostly a lower body exercise, but is great for functionally incorporating core strength and stability into the squatting movement. It can also be slightly difficult to learn how to properly rest the bar on your shoulders. There are two ways to rest the bar on the front of the shoulders. In the first method, you step under the bar and cross your forearms into an "X" position while resting the bar on the dimple that is created by the shoulder muscle near the bone, keeping your elbows up high so that your upper arms are parallel to the ground. You then hold the bar in place by pressing the thumb side of your fists against the bar for support. Alternatively, you can hold the bar by placing your palms face up and the bar resting on your fingers against your shoulders. For both methods, your elbows must stay up high to prevent the weight from falling. Your upper arms should stay parallel to the ground throughout the squat. Find out which bar support method is more comfortable for you. Then, initiate the squat from your hips by sitting back and down, keeping the weight on your heels as opposed to the balls of your feet. Squat down to a position where your thighs are approximately parallel to the ground, then press back up to the starting position. Keeping your weight more towards your heels is the key factor in squatting to protect your knees from injury and develop strong injury-resistant knee joints. Keep in mind - squats done correctly actually strengthen the knees; squats done incorrectly can damage the knees.
Practice first with an un-weighted bar or a relatively light weight to learn the movement. Most people are surprised how hard this exercise works your abs once you learn the correct form. This is due to the more upright posture compared with back squats. To see photos of proper form on the front squat, visit http://truthaboutabs.com/Front-Squats.html.
Michael Geary is a nationally dual certified personal trainer (NCSF-CPT, AFAA-CPT), and author of "The Truth about Six Pack Abs" ©2004-2005.
Visit http://truthaboutabs.com to receive several free bonuses that are yours to keep with no purchase necessary
Personal Trainers with Real People, Real Situations
TO DO OR NOT TO DO? ? ABSTWO WEEKS PRIOR TO WRITING ARTICLE:Jeanne is a client I have worked with for a number of years, and through a couple of births with very quick recoveries. She is naturally tall and thin with wide hips and very flat abs.
Muscle Building Workouts at Home!
Most people make an excuse that they don't have time to workout, they are too lazy to spend any time on workouts. Whatever time they are left with, they want to relax, watch TV or listen to music .
Six Minute Abs
Six minutes out of your day. All you need is a level floor.
Increase Your Training Intensity - Partial Repetitions
You can only build muscle tissue if you can generate progressively stronger muscular contractions, so this calls for an emphasis on finding ways to increase exercise intensity. This should not be confused with exercise duration as maximum training intensity will actually shorten the time needed to achieve maximal muscular growth.
Personal Training: 3 Powerful Ways to Position Yourself as an Expert
Regardless of what profession you are in, it is critical that people believe that you know what you are talking about! You won't find very many successful lawyers whose clients never win in court, or popular doctors whose patients are continually misdiagnosed. This concept obviously applies to personal trainers as well, and making sure you are viewed as an expert in your field is as important as having the knowledge to begin with.
8 Tips To Building Your Dream Body
Just like routines, this document is not intended to be a "one size fits all." Take from it what you will, but please remember that what is most important is your health and well being.
5 Diet Fitness Tips You Can Use Today
Are you ready to live a more powerful life by taking control of yourweight and physical condition? If so, here are five ideas that canstart you on the path to a healthier, slimmer body today.1.
3 Amazing Ways to Shape Up Your Muscles in Less Than 7 days!
Imagine you need to look great to get all theattention at the biggest party of the year. The cloakhas already started ticking and you have got 7 days tofix yourself for the D-Day.
Exercise The Right Way - The Lat Pulldown
Other articles in this series looked at a number of exercises, mainly from the perspective of developing a comprehensive muscle building program. Sometimes we take things for granted, especially when it comes to performing the basic exercises that constitute the core of most bodybuiders' training regimes.
Follow the Path of MOST Resistance! Why Weight Training Is The Fast Track To Sculpting Your Body
Resistance is NOT futile! When it comes to changing your body for the better quickly and permanently, nothing comes close to good old-fashioned weight training.The shape of your body is determined by three things: muscle, bone and fat.
What Do You Mean Low-Intensity Training Isn't The Best For Fat Burning?
But how can this possibly be? Everywhere you look, it's always said that long-duration, low-intensity training is best for fat loss. All high-intensity work does is burn carbohydrates, right?Wrong.
Bodybuilding Benefits - The Price for Confidence!
Success came to me at an early age. However, it did not come without a price.
Weight Lifting 101
WHY WEIGHT LIFTING?What's the one thing that you can do to lose weight, re-shape your body, improve muscle tone, become stronger, fight off osteoporosis, lower blood pressure, etc.?Weight Lifting! Or as it's also called, Strength Training!For the rest of this book I will refer to the art of weight lifting as strength training.
Machines VS. Free Weights II
Machines are bad, there I said it again. How many of us join health clubs or purchase expensive home exercise equipment under the notion that the machine will protect our back, make the exercise easier or guarantee your results quicker.
Moving From Beginner To Intermediate Level Bodybuilding
By now you've made significant progress in your bodybuilding career. For the past three to six months you've learnt how to perform the core lifting exercises in a technically correct manner.
Anabolic Hormones - A Two-Edged Sword
When I was a young boy, emerging muscles were the coolest thing. If a vein popped out a little, that was even more awesome.
Balance Is Key To The Optimum Physique
As Purposeful Primitives we understand the need practice two distinct types of training: progressive resistance for the external musculature and cardiovascular training for the internal plumbing. In addition, training need be coordinated with a distinct eating regimen that amplifies instead of retards results.
Current Dietary Recommendations in Strength Training
Efforts to expand the limits of human strength and endurance have kept the scientist and the athlete occupied for centuries. The quest for another pound of muscle, or to lift next couple of kilos has been relentlessly pursued in the gym and the laboratory alike.
Make Sure To Rest For Muscle Growth
One of the best pieces of exercise advice is to make sure you know that your muscles grow when your resting not training. That's right, you don't actually get bigger and stronger when you're in the gym.
Two Major Training Mistakes You Must Dump Immediately!
The number of myths about natural bodybuilding are too numerous to mention. For every guy who knows the principles of effective bodybuilding, there are countless others who don't.