Improving your Squat with three key tips
In this video, I reveal a few tips to help you improve your Barbell Squat, get stronger, lose fat and build muscle. Squatting is a great muscle building exercise. If you could only go to the gym and do one exercise, it should either be squats or deadlift. If you squat safely and properly, you will build muscle and get lean in no time.
Tip# 1 – Use thin plates under your heels for leverage and balance. This will help you push more weight in your Squat. Some people use special weight lifting shoes to accomplish this as well. The raised heels of weightlifting shoes allow the knees to travel farther forward over the front of the foot, allowing the hips to be closer to the heels, thus bringing the torso angle more towards the vertical.
Here is a good, standard weightlifting shoe:
Tip# 2 – Do 8-12 reps, 3-4 sets, and increase the weight by 10-20 pounds per set until you hit failure. 60 second rest period between each set. Pyramid sets are commonly used by bodybuilders or athletes looking to gain strength and muscle size. Pyramid sets are characterized by a descending number of repetitions with the resistance increased for each set. For example, the first set might include 12 repetitions using a light weight; the second could include 10 repetitions using a moderate weight, and the third set could consist of 8 repetition using a heavy weight. With the increased resistance for every set, pyramid sets are recommended only for experienced lifters with proper exercise technique.
Tip# 3 – Pause at the bottom of the squat movement to get a good stretch. This will help warm up and unwind tight muscles, and you’ll be able to push a higher amount of weight increasingly in the future.During a pause squat, an athlete comes to complete stop at the bottom of the movement, holds the position for however long is dictated, then explodes out of the hole. This is quite literally how you perform the movement. You would perform whatever type of squat (overhead, front, back, dumbbell, kettlebell, etc.) as you normally would, keeping good form throughout knowing that you must come to a complete stop at the bottom position, below parallel. At this point you, can play around with the time you hold the weight, from 1,3,5 or 7 seconds, but it is important that you use a lighter weight than you normally would for that squat as it’s much harder to come out of the hole from a stationary position than it is from one fluid motion. When holding the pause, it’s paramount that you remain tight in the hole. This will require concentration and practice. Getting loose in the hole can lead to lower back rounding and falling forward during the concentric aspect of the squat.
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