Posts Tagged ‘weight lifting’

Squats are one of my favourite weight training exercises by far. Not only do they have many variations but they work several muscle groups at the same time making them highly effective.

Squats can be performed by almost all individuals providing they do not have any problems with their joints, specifically knees or hips. It’s also relatively easy to progress a squat from something very basic to something quite challenging. Before adding the squat exercise to your regime there are a few things to note:
A) Ensure your knees never exceed your toes on the down phase.
B) A squat should resemble the motion your body takes when sitting into a chair.
C) Your weight should be distributed in the mid foot and heels NOT the toes.
D) You should be gazing forward NOT at the floor as this will change your form.

I have listed my favourite types of squat in order of difficulty (easiest first):
1- Stationary body weight squat (feet in line with knees and legs shoulder width apart)
2- Stationary body weight duck squat (feet turned outward and legs slightly wider than shoulder width)
3- 180 degree turning squat
4- Hop squat
5- 180 degree turning hop squat
6- Bosu ball hop squats (start with one foot on bosu and hop side to side squating on each hop)
7-TRX Suspension Trainer stationary or hop squat
8- Goblet squat (with a dumbbell or kettle bell)
9- Bulgarian split squat (one leg extended behind the body and placed on a bench)
10- Barbell squat (Olympic bar on your upper back behind your head)
11- Wide stance barbell squat (same as above but now feet are wider than shoulder width)

Although many other squat variations exist, these are the ones I choose most often in my person training and with my clients.

When you think about it, we will be doing some form of squatting from now until we’re 100~toileting, getting up from the sofa, getting up from a chair and the list goes on.

Use those legs or you’re going to lose that strength!

So if you’re looking for an exercise that works your thighs, hips, core stabilizers, buttocks, quadriceps and hamstrings all at the same time…you best get squatting!


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Lifting weights is one of my favourite pastimes. It not only helps me to relieve stress, build strength and tone my muscles, but also increases my performance during sports and daily living. There are so many variations of exercises, different muscles groups to focus on and ways to challenge my body, I never get bored!

Many people do not realize that we lose 1-2% of our strength each year after the age of 40. This is pretty significant considering the average life span in this day and age is between 76 and 80. You can see why strength training is so important. Conditioned and stronger muscles not only decrease your risk for injury but help lower your risk for heart disease, obesity, certain types of cancer and diabetes.

Spring and summer are right around the corner and more people start thinking about getting back in shape if they’ve been more sedentary during the winter. A balanced exercise regimen includes aerobic activities AND weight training. To help prevent age-related degeneration and increase your quality of life, aim to strength train at least two – three times a week. Be sure to incorporate the five major muscle groups (chest, shoulders, arms, abdominals and legs) into your routine.

10 Tips to Achieving Strength Training Sucess:

1- Always do a proper warm-up (5-10 minutes of cardiovasuclar activity) to raise your heart rate. Do not include a stretch in your warm-up. Leave time to stretch at the end of your workout.

2- Watch your posture, ensure your spine is aligned from the top of your head to the base of your tailbone. This decreases your risk of injury.

3- Always lift with control. Breath in on the easy phase (down) and out on the hard phase (up). This will provide your muscles with ample oxygen to increase your lifting power.

4- Start easy and build up. Do not lift too heavy too quickly. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (aka – DOMS) a day or two after working out is normal but ongoing pain or tearing of the muscle is not.

5- Do not move beyond what your body is comfortable with. It’s very simple- if it hurts, stop! Some people are more flexible than others so you must work within the range that works for you.

6- Do your best to train larger muscle groups first as not to fatigue the smaller stabilizing muscles too quickly. (Large = Chest, Back, Legs and Small = Arms, Shoulders and Abdominals)

7- Leave your abdominals until the end. Technically, your abs should be engaged throughout your workout so training them to fatigue prior to training other muscles can be counter productive.

8- As a rule of thumb, allow 48 hours rest between training the same muscle group. This gives your body adequate time to heal and you will see faster results.

9- Set realistic goals and do your best. Try using the SMART Model explained in my previous post, Realistic Resolutions.

10- Add variety to your training. Switch up your exercises every 4-6 weeks for an extra challenge and to avoid overuse injuries.

I hope these simple tips help you to strength train with confidence. Remember, having more muscle mass means you will have a higher resting metabolic rate, thus you will burn more calories when your body is at rest (sitting, sleeping etc…). This is why its so important to include both weight training and cardiovascular exercise into your routine. Enjoy and good luck!

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