Sunday, 17 January 2010

Squat Form

Now with any exercise form is extremely important, by keeping the correct form throughout a lift you are ensuring you will not injure yourself and that you are giving the specific muscle group the best possible workout. This is most evident in one of the big lifts called the squat so squat form is very important.

The squat is one of the big compound moves, for this reason it is also the best exercise for training all the muscles of the legs. One of the issues with the squat is that many people do not lift in the squat correctly thus causing possible injury to their lower back as they put more strain on the back thus causing the legs to do less work. In essence this means that the legs aren’t getting such a good workout and the back is straining under the position and weight put on it.

The first thing to mention on squat form is that the lower you go in the lift the better training effect you are going to get…have you ever heard the term “Ass to grass” well its true this is the best way to train the squat.

When carrying out the lift you should bend the knees and hips to lower your body down, during this the back should be kept straight and your knees should not move forward past your feet throughout the lift.

The most common mistakes people have are lowering themselves to quickly causing and moving the torso too far forward both of these increase the force on the back, especially the lower back region which can cause injury.

Deep squat or shallow squat

There are terms for squat types; these are deep squat or shallow squat.
The deep squat is a squat whereby you squat below parallel (over 90 degrees or thighs below knees). This type of squat is the legal requirement in a powerlifting competition.

The shallow squat is one where you don’t reach the parallel before pushing back to your starting position.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Negative Biceps Curls

Negatives are a great form of training and training negatives is something I have talked about before in this training negatives article. The reason why training negatives is really good is because it can really beat that plateau many of us hit after training for periods of time.

Negative training works by lifting only the negative part of a lift, this is because the negative part of the lift is the part in which you can lift the heaviest. By doing this you can push your muscles that little further by lifting heavier than you would by carrying out the full exercise.

For negative Biceps curls you use a dumbbell, barbell or EZ bar (I prefer a barbell) then only lift the negative part of the lift. This works by getting a partner (barbell or EZ bar) or yourself (dumbbell) to lift the weight up to your shoulder area by other means than carrying out the biceps curl exercise then you control the weight down to the starting position of the biceps curl and repeat.

Many people swear by carrying out negative biceps curls at the end of their arm workout to punish their biceps that last little bit for that extra push. I believe this is great and swear by incorporating negatives into my training.

If you are finding increasing your biceps size, beating a plateau on strength or you simply want a change from the usual mundane exercises then you should try negative biceps curls, I promise you wont regret it.

Negative Biceps Curl Video

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Max Effort Training

Max Effort Training, also known as ME training, is a type of training carried out by Powerlifters and Strongmen to increase their one rep max on big lifts. The Max Effort training actually means you are lifting the heaviest weight you can to increase your strength.

So how does it work?

When you carry out the max effort training method you are placing a heavy demand on your body, this does not simply mean the muscles but also the central nervous system. By putting this demand on the body its natural action is to adapt by increasing your strength, this happens as the body reduces the central nervous system inhibition so the maximum amounts of motor units are activated.

How do you carry out ME training?

A max effort workout will always centre around one big compound lift; these are usually the deadlift, bench press of squat for a powerlifter and deadlift, squat and overhead press for a strongman. You will only carry out the max effort style lifting on the big lift; any other exercises are completed as normal.

The max effort exercise will be completed as follows:

Work at 90% to 100% of your one rep max.
Carry out on one exercise per training session only
Carry out 1 to 3 reps per set
Carry out up to 10 sets
Leave 2 to 5 minutes rest between sets
Carry out on the same muscle group once a week only

The ten sets would be carried out as follows:

425 is your current one rep max

It is important to note that max effort training should only be completed on the same muscle group for three to four weeks before carrying it out on a different muscle group entirely as it can cause negative gains if carried out over longer periods.

The best way to complete your training regimen with max effort training is to carry out ME training for one to three weeks on your chest, then one to three weeks on your back and finally one to three weeks on your legs. This will mean using a cycle or rotation on your training regimen so your body doesn’t get used to what you are doing and you are keeping with the max effort training within the one to three weeks per muscle group.

I have personally used this type of training myself and found it to be an amazing way to increase your strength in a short period of time. Your muscles will fatigue quickly when you start carrying it out and you will reap the rewards very quickly.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Muscle Power Shop Questionnaire

Today we are launching the Muscle Power Shop questionnaire where we can learn more about who weight trains and the reasons why along with how much people lift.

The idea is to get hundreds, if not thousands of replys to get a huge database on people who weight train.

If you are interested give it a go, you can even look at the results others have entered. All details are anonymous so no one will ever know who entered the information.

Click here to take the Muscle Power Shop Questionnaire

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Back in Training

I mentioned on my last journal post that I was seeing my consultant to see if I could start training again after rupturing a disc in my back. Well I saw my consultant at the end of November and he gave me the okay to train with a few clauses...

1) No deadlift
2) No shoulder press
3) No leg training sessions

Now I start back after what ended up being four months off training and I trained for 18 days of the month. Not bad going for my first month back eh! Well training started hard as I had lost some strength and alot of stamina, to combat this and the lack of leg training session I did some running (as well as my weight training) to increase my fitness.

I have been training weekly as follows

Monday - 3 to 4 kilometre run
Tuesday - Rest
Wednesday - Shoulders
Thursday - 3 to 4 kilometre run
Friday - Rest
Saturday - Chest and Triceps
Sunday - Back and Biceps

This is not ideal as I want to be back training fully but it is working well as my strength is increasing, my muscles are responding and I am getting fitter as well as losing that extra pounds gained from not training and still eating like a horse.

Im weighing in at 95 kgs still so missed out on my target of 100kg by the end of 2009 because of the injury.

Im looking forward to 2010 as one thing is certain, the injury has made me want to train even harder and I am going to put even more effort in. Training is about strength of mind as well as strength of body and my strength of mind is at the best it has ever been....roll on 2010!!!