The squat has been named the king of all exercises. Sure there are other leg exercises, but squatting works the entire posterior chain, sends the hips and knees through a full range of motion, activates the stretch-shortening cycle, and is a natural movement. In addition, squats can be effect using barbells, dumbbells, or only your body weight. Squats need to be in every strength training program.
The technique of how to squat will be a topic for a later post. For now, let's determine what is better, the front or back squat?
The purpose of a warm up is to prepare the body for what is to come. Therefore, it should reflect the type of training session it precedes. On a high intensity training sessions should begin with a warm up whose instinsity builds. I like to include agility ladders towards the end of a warm us session before higher intensity training days.
Agility ladders have usually been the domain of court and field sports. Given the change of directions and numerous accelerations involved in these sports, agility ladders will help develop these qualities. So, why should a track and field athlete utilize agility ladders?
We've been running since we were young children. Parents are constantly scrambling after their running toddlers. Running is something bipedal human beings do. It is a natural activity. So, why is it that as I see so many with terrible running mechanics?
At some point during our development, some of us forget how to run. Just like any skill, if you don't use it, you loose it. This is not a position paper on why we loose the skill of running. Instead, I'd like to exam what constitutes good running form...
Barbell complexes have piqued my interest lately (mostly because all I have for weights right now is a barbell). A barbell complex is a sequence of exercises, done without rest, with a barbell.
It seems that barbell complexes can fall into three categories,
This is a warmup complex I'm currently doing.
Improvement comes from small gains over time. Putting in the work day after day, week after week, and year after year improves performance. The key is consistency.
Spurts of activity (the season) followed by periods of inactivity (summer break, Thanksgiving break, Christmas break, spring break) do not help you improve. This turns into a sinusoidal (wave) of strength and conditioning that doesn't improve over the long term, it simply oscillates throughout the year.
Athleticism can be constantly improved. Their might be highs and lows of intensity and volume to your training, but over the long term you can see linear improvement with consistent attention to strength and conditioning.
Milo of Croton is the oldest example of this type of development that I know. According to myth, he lifted a newborn calf everyday until it grew to full size (then he apparently ate it). Talk about simple training and progressive overload! It seemed to have worked because Milo subsequently won six Olympic medals.
It's not sexy, it doesn't show up on YouTube, and it is hard, put putting in the work day after day, week after week, and year after year improves performance. So, rise and grind.