Saturday, November 10, 2012

Squat Variations! Blast Fat & Shred Muscles!

The Technique:

Typically I see a few common problems on an air squat

-You don’t stay in your heels which means your weight goes into your toes which will lead your knees too far forward.  This will put undue tension into your knees
-You sit too “vertically” down and never load, aka stretch, your hamstrings and your glutes.  This leads to a lack of power and it can also be the catalyst for you to fall forward into your toes
-Instead of keeping a constant straight spine you hunch your back.  This leads to a very weak posterior chain which will make any loading of your back (a la a weighted back squat) very dangerous.  Practice holding your spine straight so that you sit with proper technique
-You squat without air in your system.  When you have air in your system you are way stronger through your entire body.  This will help you hold your technique much better throughout the entire range of motion
-Your knees collapse inward toward each other.  It is important to drive your knees wide throughout the entire rep.  This will help you load your inner thighs as well.  The more muscle that you can recruit in your legs the more powerful and stable you will be
From start to finish here is what the rep should look like.
Starting in a standing position you should have your feet approximately shoulder width apart.  Send your eyes forward to a target and hold your gaze there throughout the entire rep.

Before you sit down you should take start your inhale.  As you begin to descend make sure that your focus is on sitting back with your butt instead of sitting down.
This will begin to load your hamstrings and glutes.
As you get lower and closer to the bottom of the rep your back will likely want to hunch over especially if you lack flexibility in your legs, groin, or back.
When you get into the bottom of your rep your back should still be straight and your knees should be flaring outwardly.
Make sure that your weight is still in your heels and begin your ascent back up (by the way the rep should be rhythmic and you shouldn’t need to stop at the bottom).

On the way back up you can engage your hip and push it forward a bit to give you even more power.  On the way back up you can let the air back out of your lungs and prepare for another rep.

Stand with your feet wider than hip width apart, toes slightly turned out, holding one heavy dumbbell (or two lighter weights crossed, as shown) with both hands.
Bend your knees, push your hips back behind you, and lower into a sumo squat, reaching both hands to the floor.

As you press up out of the squat, bring your arms overhead and then bend your elbows, lowering the dumbbells behind your head.

From there, extend your arms and press the weights back up to the ceiling. That’s one rep. Do 3 sets of 15 reps.

Squat to Press Stand holding a medicine ball close to your chest with both hands, your feet just beyond shoulder-width apart [A]. Push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body until the tops of your thighs are at least parallel to the floor [B]. Then simultaneously drive your heels into the floor and push your body back to the starting position as you press the ball over your head [C]. Lower the ball back to the start. That's 1 repetition.

Hold a rope attached to a low-pulley cable.
Squat until your hips and knees form 90-degree angles.
Shift your body weight back over your heels and push to stand back up.
Pause, then pull the cable toward your ribs, keeping elbows tight to your sides.
Squat back down and let your arms go straight as you drop down.

Stand tall with the sandbag lying on the floor vertically between your feet.
Feet should be just beyond shoulder width apart with toes slightly pointed out in a sumo squat stance.
Keeping a good body position (chest up, lower back arched, weight on heels) squat down, scooping your hands under the sandbag.
Draw the sandbag to your chest and stomach with a bear hug as you stand. Now you're ready for your repetitions.
Begin to draw your body towards the ground as if taking a seat. Make sure to keep a tight lumbar arch during the entire movement. Keep your weight on your heels.
Stop once your thighs drop just bellow the 90* angle, hips just bellow knees. (Make sure your knees are pointing the same direction as your toes during the entire movement.) (At this deep point of the exercise your chest should be up with the sandbag hugged firmly to it and lumbar should still maintain a tight arch.
Driving through your heels push your way back up to a tall standing position.
At the top of the movement your hips should be pushed forward and gluteus (rear) should be tucked under to complete the full range of motion.

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