Intense Squat Workout To Start The Week!

This post is about the tough squat workout I did last night. This workout will help anyone improve their squatting strength.

Yesterday I did one of the hardest squat workouts I’ve ever done. I mentioned before that I like doing my hardest workouts at the start of the week and this workout fit the bill .

Lately I’ve been focusing on strengthening my paused squats. Ever since I began my assault on the Squat , I’ve been doing a lot of paused work. I figure that if I get stronger at my paused squats, my regular squats will be easy. The last time I tested my squat max was 3 months ago. The other benefit of paused squats is there’s no hiding. When you pause at the bottom, you’ll know if you’re reaching depth on your squat. Paused squats also prevent you from using momentum to get back up. It’s pure muscle strength.

The way I’ve been doing paused squats is doing 6 sets of 2 with 4 second pauses. I always rest 3 minutes in between sets. I went doing 315 pound paused squats to 330 pound paused squats.

Since I’m a little crazy, I decided to mix things up a little. I used cluster sets for my squatting routine.

What Are Cluster Sets?

Cluster sets are sets within a set. Let’s say you normally do four reps of an exercise. When you’re doing your reps, stop at two and rest for 20 seconds. Keep resting for 20 seconds after each rep. You’ll find that you can do more than 4 reps within that set.

If you end up doing five or six reps within that set, rest like you normally do before the next set. As you continue this rep scheme in each set, you’ll find yourself doing more reps than you normally do.

You can manipulate sets and reps in cluster sets to build muscle, gain strength, or both.

The Workout:

The goal of this workout was to get 18 total reps for the paused squats. Instead of doing two consecutive reps, I’d do one rep and rest for 20 seconds. I did 3 reps per set. My body definitely felt different working out like this. This felt more like a pure strength workout than when I’d do six sets of two. The last time my body felt like this was when I tested my squat max three months ago.

Once I got to my fourth set, I thought about giving up. I felt some fatigue in my hips. As I mentioned before, I’m not a big fan of giving up.I pushed through and did my six sets for 18 total reps. It felt great. I knew I had to adjust the rest of my workout and my following workouts in order to avoid burn out.

As someone who loves challenges , I’m glad I did this workout. It was one of the hardest workouts I’ve done in a while. The most challenging part was mental. I know I could get the reps up. I just needed to fight my inner doubts. Tough workouts like this will teach you that your

Total Body Workout For 2/21/19

I’m sharing the total body workout I’ll be doing tomorrow. This will be part of my current routine.

Fitness is an experiment. You try different things to see how your body responds. You can mix your sets and reps or follow a new workout program. Tomorrow I’ll be doing a workout I’ve never done before. I’ve done all the exercises that will be mentioned but never in one workout. This workout follows the trend I’m going in my fitness.

I’m currently doing a total body workout split. I prefer this method because it let’s me get more work done in less days. I also prefer total body workouts over bodyweight splits because I feel less soreness the following days. The only drawback is total body workouts affect your energy levels more. Different things work for different people but so far this approach has been working for me.

The goal of my workouts is to hit as many muscle groups as possible while also activating a lot of muscle fibers. I talked about the benefits of activating a lot of muscle fibers in my previous post How To Build An Impressive Body .

The Workout

Below is the workout I’ll be doing.

Dynamic Warmup

Dumbbell Overhead Press: 5 sets of 3 with 3 minute rest in between. I’ll be using 85% of my one rep max. I’ve been doing more overhead presses because I feel like my shoulders have been a weak point. Dumbbells allow me to work each shoulder equally.

Squats: 60% of my 1 rep max. I’ll do 5 sets of 3 with 1 minute rest in between. I’ll be using the Compensatory Acceleration Training (CAT) method Use CAT For Strength Gainz.

Farmers Walk: I’ll carry two 90 pound dumbbells for 45 seconds and rest 2 minutes in between sets. It’s hard to do a one rep max percentage for farmer’s walks but you should aim for at least your body weight for the total weight you’ll be carrying. I’ll do 3 rounds of this.

Jump rope for 5 consecutive minutes. I’ll be switching from a steady to a fast pace throughout.

I’ll finish off with some static stretches.

What I like about this workout is that my body won’t be bored. I’ll be working almost every muscle in my body in different ways. This workout has strength, speed, and conditioning in it. If it sounds interesting, give it a try and see how your body responds to it.

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How To Build An Impressive Body

I’m sharing my formula for achieving a body that looks good and is functional

What’s an impressive body? It depends on who you ask. Some people would say a hulk like body of an elite bodybuilder while someone else would say the slender body of a yogi. To me an impressive body is one that can display strength and athleticism. An impressive body also makes you want to say ” Damn I look good ” when looking in the mirror. I like looking and feeling like an athlete. Transforming your body to its best version is very simple. It’s simple but not easy. This post is based off of personal experience and years of observation/ research.

Diet: The most important thing you can do to transform your body is having a good diet. The simplest way to describe a good diet is one in which you mostly eat non- processed foods. My diet includes a lot of lean meats, vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats. I also eat most of my carbs for breakfast and post-workout meals. Also , try to add foods that improve your insulin resistance. Diet is the MOST important part of a body transformation.

Lifestyle: Your lifestyle also plays a big part on how successful your body transformation will be. Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep and reduce stress. You need to recover from the stress of training but that’s difficult if you’re dealing with a lot of outside stress. Lack of sleep raises the stress hormone cortisol in your body. One thing that I do to reduce stress is meditate Meditate For Faster Results!! .

Workouts

Time for the sexy stuff. When it comes to training to build an attractive and strong body, focus on activating as much muscle fibers as possible. The most ripped athletes in the world all do some type of training that involves a lot of muscle fibers.

To activate a lot of muscle fibers in your training, do moves that involve a lot of muscular tension, explosive movements or both. Including both in your training will help you maximize your potential.

If you want to maximize muscle tension, do heavy compound lifts. Compound lifts like squats, deadlifts, and bench press at 85-95% of your max will utilize a lot of muscle tension. In case you don’t know, a compound lift is a lift that involves many muscle groups. You can also create a lot of muscle tension using your bodyweight. Gymnasts utilize a lot of muscle tension through the various movements and poses they go through.

The other part of this equation is explosive movements. The most explosive movement you can do is sprints. No wonder sprints are known for their fat burning benefits. Proof of this is the physique of most sprinters. Plyometric jumps and Olympic lifts are other forms of explosive movement. You can also do traditional lifts in an explosive manner Use CAT For Strength Gainz.

Conditioning:  Adding some type of conditioning to your workout routine will drastically help you with your appearance. I’ve never seen a highly conditioned athlete that’s fat. I’m not calling this cardio because the word cardio is often associated with steady rate movements like jogging or biking.

The type of conditioning I’m looking at is of the high intensity mold. Doing repeated movements that tax your muscles and leave you out of breath is the type of conditioning that will lead to major physical changes. Examples of this are hill repeats and kettlebell swings. These are both great forms of conditioning because you’re repeating the movements and they activate tons of muscle fibers due to the explosive way you’ll be moving while doing them.

I think the best way to utilize conditioning is to do it separately from your main workouts. I’ve had tons of success doing conditioning this way. I’ve talked about the conditioning workouts that have worked for me in previous posts.Explosive Fat Burning Workouts .

Sample Workout

Below is one of the workouts I do that utilize these training principles.

Warm-up

Forward Bounds: 2 sets of 6 with one minute rest in between sets

Deadlifts: 10 sets of 1 using 85% of my max. 1 minute rest in between sets

Weighted Chinups: 4 sets of 3 with 55 pounds. You can adjust the weight based on your strength level. 1 minute rest in between sets.

Jump Rope: I usually finish this workout with jump roping for 5-7 minutes. There’s no rest during

Closing Thoughts: By following the formula in this article , I’m confident that you’ll develop a body you’ll be proud of. One that looks good in the mirror and performs in real life. At some point in my fitness journey I’ve utilized some or all of these principles. Doing this has allowed me to easily transition from one goal to another. I hope this article helps you on your journey!

Photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/floris-oosterveld/35562172343/”>Floris M. Oosterveld</a> on <a href=”https://bestrunningshoes.com/”>Best Running</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”&gt; CC BY</a>

Use CAT For Strength Gainz

This post is about how focusing on speed will help with strength gains

If you’re not familiar with CAT, you’re missing out.Adding CAT to your training routine will help you make major progress in your strength. I’m not talking about your pet Mr. Whiskers. I’m talking about Compensatory Acceleration Training (CAT).

I have to say CAT has helped me make noticeable gains in the last couple months. My squat was stalled for a couple months and I realized I lacked speed in the movement. I mention this in a previous post Assault on The Squat pt.2 As I did more research I found CAT.

Background: CAT originated from a man named Fred Hatfield who also goes by the name Dr. Squat. It’s a good idea to take squatting advice from a guy with a name like that. Dr. Squat believed that you can get significantly stronger in your squats just from working on your squatting speed. He was the first person to squat 1000 pounds so I definitely had to look into this.

It all comes down to applying force. The key to moving 400 pounds is by applying more than 400 pounds of force, otherwise the weight won’t move. When Dr. Squat was preparing for the powerlifting meet in which he squatted over 1000 pounds, he would rarely squat more than 800 pounds. He was focusing on applying as much force on the bar as possible. Dr. Squat swears by this method and from personal experience, it works.

How To Use CAT: From what I know, the key to CAT is speed. From what I’ve read, its best used for deadlifts and squats. You’ll choose a weight that’s between 55 and 70% of your one rep max. When using CAT, you’ll lower the weight like you normally do.

The difference is when you’re rising back up. This is the part where speed comes in. The goal of the concentric/ rising part of the lift is speed. Try to move the weight as fast as possible throughout the entire concentric portion, and not just at the bottom of the lift.

How I use CAT: I use CAT for both my squats and deadlifts. I’ve been able to move heavy weight easier since adding CAT to my training. I normally do CAT deadlifts after doing heavy squats. I do 5-8 sets of 3 with amount rest in between. I do CAT squats after doing heavy shoulder presses. I also do 5-8 sets of 3 with a minute rest in between.

I like this rep scheme because it allows me to maximize the speed I use in each set. Also, the total volume is high enough for me to improve my muscle memory in the movement. To make things more fun, I like to pretend I’m using weight that’s heavier than my current max. It helps me be mentally prepared for the days that I lift heavier weights.

Closing Thoughts: Not only is using this training method effective, it’s fun too. As someone who’s into athletics, I like moving explosively. CAT has helped me improve my performance on heavy lifting days. I’ve had people tell me my heavy lifts look effortless. I think it’s because my body has because so used to applying large force on the lift, it’s natural now. I plan on using this in my training for the foreseeable future since I’ve been getting good results from it.

Here’s a couple links that also explain CAT.

https://boxlifemagazine.com/what-is-compensatory-acceleration-training-and-how-can-it-help-you-get-stronger/

https://www.google.com/amp/s/breakingmuscle.com/amp/fitness/compensatory-acceleration-training-speed-up-your-strength-gains

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Do A Workout That Scares You!

This post is about why you should do a workout that scares you from time to time.

Remember the satisfaction you felt after doing something that scared you or made you nervous? It’s one of the best feelings you can have. As a fitness lover, I believe it’s important to do workouts that scare you a little.Not only will it spice up your routine and help you with your fitness goals but it’ll also make you a better person.

In our day to day lives, we don’t always get the opportunity to do something scary. With work, family, and friends , it doesn’t really come to mind. I’ve always heard how moving beyond your comfort zone will make you grow as a person. One way to move out of your comfort zone is to do a workout that scares you.

Fitness Benefits: It’s pretty obvious that doing a challenging workout will help you achieve better results with your fitness through the stress it puts on your body. There’s a mental side to this too. By doing and finishing a workout that initially scared you, you build up the confidence to do other ” scary “workouts. The more often you challenge yourself, the further along you’ll be in achieving your fitness goals.

Doing a workout that scares you will also revitalize your love for fitness. Excitement and anxiety are very similar emotions. You’re more likely to be into a workout that excites you. Personally, the idea of doing heavy deadlifts excites me more than doing wrist curls. Maybe it’s the level of danger involved that raises my excitement levels.

The main fitness benefit to doing a workout that scares you is mental. Nothing will build mental toughness like doing something that scares you. In order to have any great achievement you’ll need to be mentally tough. You don’t need to become a world class athlete but being mentally tough will help you achieve any goal faster.

Mental toughness has been a key factor in the achievement of many fitness goals such as running a marathon and squatting 600 pounds. Don’t be surprised if you start setting big goals as a result of doing ” scary ” workouts.

Things To Consider: One thing that’s important is to make sure the workout contributes to your goal. Don’t do a workout just because it sounds hard. If there’s no benefit to the workout, the level of satisfaction won’t be as high as if you did a challenging workout that moves you closer to your goal. Also, use common sense. It wouldn’t be smart to do a high volume leg workout if you sprained your knee the week before.

Another thing is to make sure you have good form before trying to go heavy or do a large amount of volume on an exercise.There’s a difference between challenging yourself and being reckless.

Closing Thoughts: If you’re looking to spice up your fitness technique or build the type of mentality that will help you achieve great things in your life and fitness, do a workout that scares you. At the very least, you’ll feel a sense of thrill. At best, you’ll realize the only thing holding you back is the limitations you place in your mind.

Photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/149902454@N08/35493040080/”>Witches Falls Cotages</a> on <a href=”https://bestrunningshoes.com/”>Best Running</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”&gt; CC BY</a>

Why The Gym You Go To Matters

This post is about how your environment affects your workout goals

You are the people you surround yourself with.If you want to maximize your fitness results, focus on your environment.

I used to go to a gym near my house. It was a solid gym and I liked the people that went there. That gym had all the equipment I needed to build a stronger and more attractive body but there was something missing.

That gym had a lot of older members and I respect them but I couldn’t maximize my abilities in that environment. My chances of achieving my fitness goals improved dramatically when that gym closed down.The gym I eventually joined afterwards was what I needed. I was surrounded by people that were a lot stronger and more fit than me. It was the best thing that ever happened for my fitness goals.

I feel like I was subconsciously drawn to getting significantly stronger when I joined that gym. Seeing great displays of strength became the everyday norm for me.Humans are built to mentally and physically adapt. I adapted to my surroundings by getting stronger. Stronger than I ever thought I could be. In addition to getting stronger, my love for working out increased.

If you want to get stronger, train with or near people that are stronger than you. If you want to get in better shape, surround yourself with people who are in better shape than you. Another benefit of being around people that are achieving your goals is you can get great advice. I’ve learned so much from people that are stronger than me.

What environment would you want to be a part of ? One with people who just go through the motions or one with people who aim to be extraordinary. The choice is yours.

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Assault on The Squat pt.2

This article is about what I did to boost my squat performance

(Long Read)

In a previous post I mentioned my plan to boost my squat performance.My 1 rep max was 355 pounds before I implemented my plan. It’s time to share how it went.

The two main methods I used to make an improvement were paused squats and CAT squats.

Workouts:

During this training phase, I kept my normal routine but made some adjustments help my goal of getting a stronger squat.One change was squatting twice a week every other week. The week in between I’d do a heavy deadlift day and a light squat day. My light squat days were focused on explosiveness.

Paused Squat Workout:

In my main squat workout, I focused primarily on paused squats. Below is the workout I’d did.

1. Paused Squats- 315 pounds, 6 sets of 2 with 4 second paused. I chose this weight because it’s a weight I’m mentally and physically comfortable moving. Also, it’s heavy enough to make my muscles work harder after a 4 second pause. I’d rest 2 minutes in between sets.

2. Bulgarian Split-Squats: 3 sets of 3 with 90 pound dumbbells.I followed the paused back squats with Bulgarian split squats to target my legs more directly.

3. Cardio: I usually finished the workouts off with 5-7 minutes of jump roping.

CAT Squat Workout:

On my speed focused squat days, I used Compensatory Acceleration Training (CAT) squats. I read that CAT squats should be done with 55-65% of your 1 rep max so I chose 215 pounds as my working set. I aimed for 6 sets of 3 so each of my reps were as explosive as possible. Sometimes I’d get carried away and do more sets. Moving explosively is fun. I did this workout the same days I bench-pressed. I did this workout every week.

Core Work: I also did some direct core work. I used to do these but for some reason I stopped doing it for months. I chose alternating leg raises as my core work. The key to making the most of this is bracing your core as if you’re about to get punched really hard in the stomach. This move builds core coordination, allowing all your core muscles to fire as one unit when performing a heavy lift.

Progression:

During the period of using this approach, I was getting more comfortable with my squat. My speed on the cat squats improves drastically so I moved up to 225 pounds. I also got in a groove with my paused squats. I went from being relieved to be done with 6 sets to wanting to stay at the squat rack all day. I knew this was a good time to test my one rep max.

Outcome:

After 5 weeks of using this approach, it was time to test my squatting strength. Below is the workout I used to test my squat. I rested 4 minutes in between each set.

3 reps at 330 pounds

2 reps at 340 pounds

1 rep at 355 pounds

3 reps at 335 pounds

2 reps at 345 pounds

Now it’s time to test my max. I went for 360 pounds. 360 went up smoothly and I felt good enough to go for more. After a 4 minute break, I went for 365. 365 felt so easy. I didn’t strain at all. After another 4 minute break, I was ready for 370. I went for 370 but I got stuck halfway through the lift and my spotter helped me finish.

After 5 weeks, I gained 10 pounds on my squat. I think I could’ve gotten 370 if I didn’t run out of gas.The previous sets felt easy but the nervous system can be tricky. I’m also happy that I at least got past the bottom position on the missed reps. I think the paused squats are a big reason for that.

Learning Points:

Paused squats are great for getting past sticking points.

The key to improving lifting performance is applying more force to a lift. You need to apply more than 400 pounds of force to move a 400 pound weight.

CAT squats will teach you how to apply more force when squatting.

Paused squats help your deadlift performance because it teaches you to unleash great force from a dead stop position. Paused squats also causes major glute activation

What’s Next?

I plan on continuing this approach to boost my squat. I’m a big believer in these two strength building methods. Pausing at the bottom of your squat takes away the momentum factor that plays into regular squats. It also gives you better awareness of your squat depth so you don’t cheat any reps.

CAT squats obviously boosts squatting speed but it’s known as a great way to boost strength as well. The purpose of CAT squats is to apply the type of force you’d do for a heavy weight into a light weight. The more force you put into a weight, the more likely you’ll be able to move it. This training method was created by a man named Fred Hatfield aka Dr. Squat. I’ll take squatting advice from a man named Dr. Squat any day. The journey continues!

Why You Should Lift Heavy When Trying To Lose Fat

This post is about the best way to lift weights when trying to lose fat

When it comes to fat loss, the most important thing is your diet. If you have a terrible diet you’re not going to lose much fat unless you have amazing genetics. Another thing that comes to people’s minds when trying to lose fat is cardio. Cardio definitely has its place in a fat loss program but people often neglect weightlifting.

Weightlifting can be your best friend when you’re trying to burn fat. The key is doing it correctly. I believe doing heavy ( 80-95% of 1 rep max) compound lifts helps a lot with fat loss. Personally, I’ve looked my best when I focused on lifting heavy. I think it’s because lifting heavy activates a ton of muscle fibers.

Logically it makes sense to lift in a way that makes your muscles work harder when trying to burn fat. I never understood why some think doing high repetitions is the way to go. My opinion that heavy lifting is the best approach comes from the same train of thought that sprints are better than jogging for fat loss. Intensity wins when it comes to transforming your body.

Alternative To Heavy Lifting: Outside of lifting heavy, the best way to lift when trying to lose fat is explosively. Explosive movements force your muscles to work hard. Your body is also forced to activate many muscle fibers in order to move explosively.

Training like this is the reason I’ve been able to stay lean for the longest time. In addition to boosting fat loss, who doesn’t want to be strong and explosive? Lifting like this solves the problem for those who want to lose fat while keeping or gaining muscle.

Assault on The Squat!

This article is about strategies I’m using to strengthen my back squat

I’m obsessed with the back squat exercise.There’s something about this movement that makes me want more. Maybe it’s because the back squat was one of the first movements I’ve done in the weight room. I squatted before I ever benched or deadlifted. The joy I feel for an improved back squat surpasses that of any other lift.

The back squats is an awesome movement that hits nearly every muscle in your body and has a positive effect on testosterone and HGH production. It’s also an empowering movement because you’re overcoming the force of gravity to move something that’s meant to keep you down.

My current one rep max is 355 lbs but I’m determined to increase it. I’m using the high bar method for my back squat which means putting the bar on top of my traps. I’ve been told switching to the low bar stance will help me move more weight but I’m determined to see how far I can get with the high bar method.

Even though there’s many exercises that will help you boost your squat, the best way to improve your squat is to squat. Depending on your fitness needs, you can modify lifts in your favor.

Plan of Attack:

One of the best ways to get better at something is to attack your weaknesses and see how it can become a strength. With the back squat, two things I have to work on is bar speed and just getting out of the hole ( the bottom position of the squat). I’m using two squatting methods to attack these weak points.

Bar Speed: To improve my speed in the squat movement, I’ve been using Compensatory Acceleration Training (CAT) squats. This method involves setting up the barbell at 55-60% of your one rep max. In this method, the lowering portion of the squat is done in a controlled manner. The concentric/ rising part of the squat is done as explosively as possible. Imagine yourself as a rocket being launched when rising in the squat.By trying to move as explosively as possible, you’re teaching your body to contract/ activate your muscle fibers quickly. The faster your muscle fibers activate, the more explosive your movement will be. Increasing my squat speed means I feel less strain in the movement.

Getting out of The Hole: The hardest part of the squat is the bottom position. If you can increase improve your ability to get past the bottom of your squat, the easier the lift will be. In order to get more comfortable at the bottom of the squat, I’ll be doing a lot of pause squats. Pause squats also teach you how to brace your core through out the lift. It also forces you to rely on pure strength rather than momentum. Paused squats have helped me in the past so I’m confident it’ll help me again.

To Be Continued….

The Power is in Your Hands

This post is about using your hands to boost your workout performance

Lifting heavy weights is awesome. There’s all kinds of changes you can make to improve your lifts like stretching a certain muscle or changing your body position. I recently learned about a hack I can use that will help me with any lift.The key is in how you grip the weight. Grip strength is obviously important in a lift like the deadlift but it can also help your other lifts.

Try doing a lift while passively holding a weight. Now try the same lift while gripping the weight tightly and see if there’s a difference. I briefly mentioned this in a previous article Get Stronger With Light Weights  . I learned about this technique from legendary strength coach Pavel Tsatsouline. This technique has been very useful for me when I do any of my heavy lifts.

The more I thought about it, the more it makes sense. Lifting heavy triggers the Flight or Flight response in your body. Flight or Flight is when you’re in a very stressful situation and your body’s natural response is to run away or fight. This is your body’s way to protect you whether you’re being chased by a wild animal or have heavy weight on your back.By holding onto a weight as if your life is depending on it, the flight or fight response multiplies. By eliciting a greater fight or flight response, your body is forced to “fight” or generate greater force in your lift. How else can you explain those stories about a mom lifting a car to save her baby that was stuck under?

This is probably why my lifts usually improve the better I get at Farmers walks Get Strong With Farmers Walks!. The farmers walk strengthens your grip and your core. The stronger your grip is, the easier it is to hold onto a weight tightly. A stronger grip also allows you to squeeze the bar harder and elicit that flight or fight response in your body to generate greater force.

Get your hands stronger!

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