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.

Photo on <a href=”https://bestrunningshoes.com/”>Best Running</a>

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

Photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/chriswojtewicz/26736265130/”>chris.wojtewicz</a&gt; on <a href=”https://bestrunningshoes.com/”>Best Running</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”&gt; CC BY-SA</a>

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>

Get Stronger and Better at Home

This article is about simple ways to get in better shape at home.

I’m a big believer in going to the gym, especially the right gym Why The Gym You Go To Matters. Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the things you can do at home to get in better shape.The most obvious you can do is eat right and do home workouts. Rather than doing full workouts, I have habits that help me get better results in my fitness pursuits.

Pushup Routine: This routine is especially useful when watching tv. Every time there’s a commercial break, drop down and do 10 push-ups. Doing 10 pushups at a time isn’t hard. By using this approach, you’ll easily fit in more exercise to your schedule without straining yourself. The muscles worked in the pushups will help your performance in other exercises like the bench and shoulder press.

Squat in The Bathroom: Every time you go to the bathroom, do 10 body weight squats. This has the same level of simplicity as the pushup routine. Not only will you burn more calories by getting more exercise but this squat routine will help you improve your squat technique.

Walk Barefoot:

Walking barefoot is something simple you can do at home. The most obvious benefits of walking barefoot are strengthening your feet and ankles. This will help you perform better in any athletic activity. Walking barefoot has also been shown to improve spinal health.

Cardio: One of the simplest ways to get a cardio workout at home is treating a pillow like a punching bag. The idea is to get a pillow that you don’t really use and have someone hold it up in the air for you. Set a timer for one minute and do different punching combinations on the pillow. This is easier on your joints than a punching bag. Doing this with the right intensity will give you a killer cardio workout.

Simple 8 Minute Workout:

I had to sneak in a workout. I learned about this workout from an article written by fitness coach Max Shank. It only takes 8 minutes but it’s very challenging. Do this before you’re going to take a shower. There are many variations to this workout but the way I do it is listed below.

Do as many pushups as you can for 3 minutes.

Do as many squats as you can for 5 minutes.

The benefits of this 8 minute workout includes improved joint health, muscle endurance, and better conditioning.

Health and fitness are a lifestyle. You can get better no matter where you are. Once you make the decision to commit to fitness, you’ll always find ways to improve.

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.

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!

Photo on <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/re/b5e66d”>Visual hunt</a>

Get Stronger With Light Weights

This article shows you how to gain and maintain strength while lifting with lighter weights.

I’m obsessed with strength. Strength is the most important fitness quality other than mobility. Getting stronger will make you better at any physical activity. Getting stronger will help you be a better athlete, build muscle, and burn fat. Being stronger is also useful when you’re moving furniture or have to protect yourself from danger. There’s something empowering about having a body that’s capable. Strength is sexy. I’ve always thought the only way to get stronger is by lifting very heavy weight ( 85- 100 % of your one rep max. You can actually gain significant strength by lifting lighter weights (70- 85 %of your one rep max). Don’t get me wrong, I love lifting heavy weights Strength Vs. Hypertrophy..  Lifting heavy weights for low reps and good form will definitely get you stronger. The only issue is if you’re trying to get stronger, lifting heavy all the time will wear you out. It can be tough on the joints too. It may sound crazy that lighter weights can bring significant strength improvements but it works. The way this works is by focusing on muscular contractions. I recently learned about this method of training. I wish it was covered more online.

When you’re lifting a lighter weight, you need to approach it as if you’re about to lift a weight near your maximum capacity. Focus on contracting/flexing your muscles hard throughout the reps. The reason this works is that when you’re lifting near your one rep max, you automatically activate more muscle fibers. Your muscles contract hard as a survival mechanism to protect you from getting crushed by the weights.By consciously contracting your muscles hard, it sends a message to your brain that you’re lifting a heavy weight. You brain can’t tell if you’re maxing out or using comfortable weight because your muscle contraction is so intense. Some of my fitness idols like Elliot Hulse and Pavel Tsatsouline are supporters of this technique. I also learned that legendary strongman Max Sick (Maxick) used similar methods of training to develop his amazing strength. He would outperform men twice his size in contests of strength.

I love using this approach when doing the back squat. My current max on the back squat is 355 lbs and I weigh 180 lbs. I usually use 285-95 lbs for this approach. I like to keep my reps low at three, the way I’d  if I was lifting closer to my max. I usually do 5-6 sets so I can get enough practice with this technique.Another reason to keep the reps low is because it’s easier to concentrate on each rep to make sure you’re contracting your muscles correctly. With each rep, I contract my muscles as hard as possible.

This approach is also useful for days that you actually do lift heavy. By contracting your muscles hard during your warm-up sets, you allow your body to prepare for the heavier weight. You won’t feel as overwhelmed when you hit a heavier weight. Regardless of what lift you’re doing, focus on squeezing your abs, glutes, and hand muscles. You’ll notice a major difference when you contract these muscles compared to when you don’t contract them. Certain lifts will require you to contract different muscles but the three muscles I mentioned will have the most impact on your lifting performance. This works best with compound lifts like the bench press, deadlift, and squat.

To get better at this approach to lifting, I do total-boy muscle contractions from time to time. The way I do it is to flex every muscle below my neck as hard as possible for six seconds. I also clench my fists as tightly as possible. Do three sets of this with a minute break in between sets.By improving your ability to activate muscles consciously, you’ll also be improving your mind-muscle connection.

34459738494_d8b976242b_c

 

This approach shouldn’t be seen as a complete substitute from lifting heavy. You still need to use heavy loads if you want to maximize your strength. I like using this method as a way to complement my heavy lifting. What workout strategies have helped you gain strength?

1st Photo

Photo on <a href=”https://bestrunningshoes.com/”>Best Running</a>

2nd Photo

Photo credit: vanitystudiosphotography on Best Running /CC BY

%d bloggers like this: