Strength Training and Proper Squat techniques

17 May

I believe there is a dichotomy within the workout population, when it comes  to people in a workout gym like LA fitness. There has always been the weight lifters, cardio (fat-burners, usually on the treadmills) body builders, and strength training. If you ask people who adamantly belong to one of these groups you will see there is a big difference in the way they achieve their health fitness goals.

First off, the body builders. They mostly like to shape the muscle and fat in such a way as to have a good looking body. These people are seen working harder in the spring time so they can show off their beautiful aesthetic bodies in tight swim wear. I’m sure Narcissus, the Greek man who fell in love with his own reflection, would have something to say. Body Builders usually find that healthy medium between mass and reps that lead to a “cut” muscle.

This is definitely in contrast to those who want a muscle to gain in strength. For instance, if you want great pecs, then a weight bench is not the best exercise. Though pushing iron from a weight bench is a primary exercise for building pec muscles, they do not shape them as well as doing butterfly with free weights, in reality they build strength and the ability to push back the same weight they are pushing against gravity. Ask any football player, especially those on the offensive line, few of them have a herculean body, but they are asked to push against guys who may be in excess of 300 pounds and asked to push them in a certain direction, that takes strength.

Anybody who is in rehabilitation could probably care less if the muscle looks nice, as better function of that muscle is their main goal. The exercise shown below is made for strength training, not mass and muscle gain. If you are looking for the perfect thighs, then this is not the exercise for you, but if you have knee or hip problems and want to get stronger in order to better protect those joints then squat away.

Proper Squatting is taught in all gyms and still many of us get it wrong.

1) start off with no weight, just a bar for balance. Or Start with no bar with a stable chair behind you (in order to catch you if you lose balance).

2) Legs and knees should be slightly more askance than the shoulders, toes pointing forward, and pelvis straight and not rotated in any way.

3) Bending begins at the knees and hips, back straight and not over arched

4) Knees are never to extend beyond the line of the toes, and your center of gravity should be behind the knees and not right on top of them.

5) If you have a chair behind you bend your hips mainly until they reach about 90 degrees from the thighs. You should feel that you will lose your balance backwards, but that is what the chair is there for. Repeat and remember that it is not how many times you do it, but for how long. So slower is better.

6) Don’t cheat – it is easier if your upper torso leans forward to compensate the center of gravity. That is way too easy. keep the upper body from leaning forward.

Note: Do not do this on those squat machines that move only up and down. They are restrictive in their mechanics and can go against the normal body mechanics. Free weights are always better in my opinion because the extra balance needed to perform with free weights is an added bonus to fitness


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