HOW to GAIN 10KG of MUSCLE FAST by David Renouf
The three most important exercises to gain over-all strength and muscle size are; Squats, Deadlift and Bench press, all with free weights. Today we will start with the Squat.
The Squat is one of the three most important weight/strength training exercises because it works your entire body, not only your legs.
In fact, contrary to what some say, if your goal is to build just huge legs, then the squat is not necessary your best choice (more on this next week) but for over-all body strength and size in the shortest time the Squat is definitely one of the best three. Here we will teach you the correct form and technique so as to maximize your strength and size gains while minimizing the chance of injury.
What is a Squat?
While in a standing position place a bar on your back (shoulders rear-deltoid), and then bend your knees until your hips are parallel or just below your knees. At the point when your hip joint is just below your knee joint, straighten your knees until you are back into a standing position. We will be demonstrating the low bar Squat as it allows you to use more weight and if more weight is lifted correctly this will mean greater strength and muscle gains.
Why the SQUAT gives fast results.
When you squat all of your body is working so it is referred to as a ‘compound’ movement. All of the muscles in your legs (including your calfs) are activated to lower and lift the weight, your abdominals and lower back are stabilizing, your arms are helping to grip and hold the bar and your deltoids take on a support role.
- Muscle gains. Even though muscle size is not totally directly related to strength it is close enough so lifting heavier weights is going to result in strength and size gains. So getting stronger at Squatting is all-important in making quick and permanent gains. This is especially true when you first start weight training.
- Strength gains. While squatting (correctly) your legs will travel through a full range of movement which will not only help you with muscle and strength gains but also in every day life activities.
- Flexibility benefits. Due to the full range of movement required in performing a proper squat they are great for maintaining or improving you flexibility as you gain more muscle size.
- Strengthen Your Knees. When performing squats correctly there should be no adverse effects on your knees, as the muscles around the knees strengthen and grow so it will decrease the load on the knee joint.
- How to Avoid Injuries. Always squat with a Power Rack with adjustable safety/spotter arms. Adjust the safety/spotter arms so they will catch the bar should you lose balance or fail to control the weight. The rest is form and technique – start light, add weight gradually, and always remember ‘It’s not the weight you push, it’s the way you push the weight’.
Un-racking the bar. Face the rack step under the bar stand up and step backwards with the weight on your shoulders. If you step forward to un-rack the bar you will then have to step backwards to rack the weight when you have finished your set which can be dangerous as the rack will be difficult to sight properly.
- Set the bar in the power rack at about mid-chest level.
- Position your feet directly under the bar.
- Bend your knees (with minimum flexing at the waist) and put the bar on your back (shoulders).
- Tense (especially your abdominals) and straighten your body and knees to un-rack the bar.
- One half step back with one leg and then the same with the other leg, making sure to stay above the safety/spotter arms.
Setting up. Starting out you will have to focus on a lot of things at the same time so below I have listed a few of the more important. Start out light, best with the bar only.
- Grip Width. Grip the bar reasonably wide and keep in mind that your hands are only keeping the bar in position and it is your back that should be taking all the weight.
- Bar Placement. Position the bar reasonability low and so it rests on your back muscles, not on the back of your neck or spine.
- Chest Up. By expanding your chest this will help to tense your back muscles and by bringing your shoulder blades together you will have created a good base to hold the bar in position.
- Stance. Foot placement should be about shoulder width apart with your feet turned out slightly.
- Head position. Your head should be positioned straight forward, not up or down but with your eyes looking slightly in an upward direction as that’s where you want to eventually end up.
Lets get started. Un-rack the bar and with your muscle tense (especially your abdominals) step backwards in to position with your spotter arms under you.
Now for the actual movement (The Repartition). A rep has, in the main, three parts to it.
1) The Descending (lowering of the weight)
2) The Pause (mid way point)
3) The Ascending (lifting of the weight).
Part one of the Rep. The descent or the lowering of your body.
Just before you start your descent take a deep breath which you should hold until you are about 25% into your ascending (driving up) part of the rep.
- Knees. Your knees should always be in-line or track over your toes during the entire movement. Never let your knees buckle in and take on a knocked kneed position and never let them flair out, as both of these situations will put undue stress on your knees.
- Lowest position. Your hip joint must be lower than your knee joint. This will allow you to activate maximum muscle fiber and minimalize the chance of injury.
Lowering your self in a slow and controlled manner will allow you to stop at the correct pre-determined position (lowest point of your squat) and not over shoot, losing control and ending up on the floor.
Part two of the Rep. The pause or mid point.
At the mid point your hip joint must be slightly lower than your knee joint. This will allow you to activate maximum muscle fiber and minimalize the chance of injury.
At this lowest position of your squat there should be a slight pause, if not a visual one then definitely a mental one. This is very important, as at this point you will need to focus on driving back to the standing position.
Part three of the Rep. The ascent or upward drive.
Keeping your abdominals and total core tensed with eyes looking up you now drive up off the bottom of the movement. As you move up you exhale at a rate that will allow you to be totally exhaled when you reach your original starting point. The correct breathing technique is very important. If your breath is released too soon, say at the pause position (bottom of the rep) you will lose a great deal of core stability and you are more likely to collapse forward at the waist. On the other hand if you hold your total breath until the top or the completion of the rep you are then likely to build up too much pressure in your head resulting in headaches or other conditions.
Also remember to make sure your knees are tracking in line or over your toes all the way through the movement. This will help to eliminate damage to your knees.
Perform the squat correctly and consistently and your going to see amazing gains.
Train hard, eat big and sleep well,