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stronger and leaner workout

Your dream workout just arrived. Here’s the plan to get you looking leaner and stronger.

Are you up for the challenge?

We’re now months into the New Year and the numbers in the gym are starting to go down. It is no longer standing room only. There is no sign-up list to use a cardio machine and many forays into the gym have failed. People just aren’t maintaining that motivation of being stronger and leaner. 

Why?

Each year as we cross into the New Year, resolutions to get healthier are made. Going to the gym every day before work, eating healthy and following a strict regimen of no junk food and alcohol are all in the cards. We are either getting leaner or at least staying lean. 

Many last a week. Some last a few weeks. Others continue to follow their resolutions for months.

Many that fail either are not ready for a change or do not have a logical plan to achieve their goals. There are times when you must work late, grab fast food because you are tired and you may have to attend to some personal matters.

We don’t plan for those roadblocks. If you don’t have time to stay in the gym for hours each day, welcome to the club. You still have a chance to get leaner and stronger without having all the time in the world. welcome to the club. You still have a chance to get leaner and stronger without having all the time in the world. 

We all have lives. It’s time to jump back on “The Fitness Express Train” and follow a workout plan that will get you stronger and leaner as the summer months are right around the corner.

In Order To Get Stronger and Leaner, You Need To Hit The Right Marks…

For a busy professional looking for results to get them stronger and leaner without having to spend hours in the gym, it’s hard to find a plan that fits.

For maximum results, the beginner weight training workout should check off boxes in four criteria: Each training day hits the full body, no muscle group is missed, no more than four training days per week and no more than 60 minutes per workout session.

The four-day workout plan below has eight exercises per training session and implements the supersetting method for increased effectiveness and efficiency to get you stronger and leaner.

There are many training methods used in workouts that are effective. Doing straight sets with standard rest in between each set works for some. Implementing a 5 x 5 workout only using compound movements such as squats and deadlifts works for others.

Setting up circuits and only training with bodyweight workout routine while keeping your heart rate up is another method.

There is no one method of training. Supersetting is a favorite of many gym-goers though because it allows for an intense workout while also keeping efficiency high. If you want the best of both worlds, strength and fasted cardio, supersetting is an appropriate method.

Pairing two exercises up and doing one set of each followed by another with no rest in between is supersetting.

Can you feel the burn in your muscles already?

This Stronger and Leaner Workout Program Gets Results

Let’s start with the exercise guidelines. The program is broken up into Workout A and Workout B. Each day will be performed twice each week. Have at least one day of rest in between the first session of Workout B and second session of Workout A.

For example, perform Workout A on Monday followed by Workout B on Tuesday. Take Wednesday off before completing Workout A on Thursday and Workout B on Friday. For each exercise, do 3 sets of 10 reps. Do not rest until all sets are completed in the pair.

For Workout A, start off with the bigger muscle group movements. Compound movements are the key on how to gain muscle and strength as they recruit more muscles, resemble real-life movements and boost testosterone and human-growth hormone in the body.

This, in turn, helps grow your muscles.

leaner exercise for males

Should I Use The Bench Press And Bent Over Row?

The bench press and bent over row are two classic compound movements that are perfect complements to each other. While one is a pushing movement, the other is a pulling movement, setting up an antagonist/agonist superset.

There are many different ways to implement supersets and the antagonist/agonist method is one of the more common.

An agonist is the prime mover in the movement while the antagonist relaxes. When bench pressing, the chest, anterior shoulder and core are the prime movers while the backside relaxes on the bench.

In the bent over row, the entire backside is engaged, as well as the arms, while the chest is able to relax. This is a very effective way because hitting opposite muscle groups in a superset allows the one group to rest while the other performs the work and vice versa. Another good exercise to do is the inverted row.

Start with an overhand grip on the bar or dumbbells and lower the weight to your chest before pressing it back up until your arms are fully extended.

The bent over row is a standing exercise that starts with your feet hip-width apart. Hinge at the hips and bend your knees slightly picking the barbell up with an overhand grip.

Keeping your back straight, pull the bar toward the abs region, squeezing your shoulder blades. Lower it back to the starting position and you have performed a row.

leaner squats exercise

What About Squats And Stiff Legged Deadlifts?

These are two more compound exercises. They have primary focus on the lower half of the body. Squats are one of the most common moves we do every day. There are many benefits of squats. Picking up a box off the floor involves squatting.

The primary muscle target for a squat is the quadriceps, but the hamstrings, glutes, core and back are all recruited during the movement.

In a squat rack, get under a barbell with your feet hip-width apart and the barbell positioned behind your head on the shoulders.

Start the movement by bending at the hips and knees, keeping your back straight. Keeping your knees behind the toes, lower until 90-degree knee flexion before pushing it back up to full extension at the top.

The stiff-legged deadlift is a great target for the spinal muscles and hamstrings, as well as many others. A hip-hinging movement, it serves as a great complement to the squat. Start with a barbell in hand with an overhand grip. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart with only a slight bend in your knees.

Press the hips back and keep your back straight as you bend forward. Go until you feel the hamstrings fully stretched without compromising your back position. Finish by pushing back to the top where full extension is reached.

Want to Get Stronger and Leaner? Want A Break From The Heavy Weights?

In that case, it’s time for some pull-ups and dips for your bodyweight workout.

Pull-ups are a great test for relative strength (strength in relation to your bodyweight) that target primarily the lats, but also the arms and core region.

With an overhand grip, grab the pull-up bar and lower yourself until your arms are fully extended. Pull your body up until the chin is above the bar and squeeze your shoulder blades. Lower yourself to the starting position and repeat.

Dips are also a great test of relative strength and primarily hit the chest and triceps, as well as the core.

With one hand on each parallel bar, slowly lower your body with the chest coming forward slightly until you feel a full stretch in the chest and front of the shoulder. Push yourself back to the starting position until your arms are fully extended.

What About Biceps And Triceps?

The last pair of exercises in Workout A are biceps curls and triceps kickbacks. These two isolation exercises focus on one muscle group and once again are a classic example of agonist/antagonist super setting.

To do biceps curls, grab a pair of dumbbells with your palms facing forward. Your elbows should be grazing the ribs and arms fully extended to begin.

Keeping your elbows in line with the shoulders, bend the elbows and lift the weights until they reach the shoulders before lowering them back to the starting position.

Triceps kickbacks are single-arm exercises that are done on a bench. With one knee on a bench and your upper body parallel with the floor, grab a dumbbell and position the upper arm parallel with the floor.

Extend the arm until it is straight before coming back to the initial position.

leaner workout

How Do I Do The Overhead Press And Lat Pulldown?

For Workout B, the protocol is much of the same, but the movements are different. The first pair starts with two compound movements, the overhead press and lat pulldown.

The overhead press, one of the best deltoid workouts, is a standard pushing movement that recruits the deltoid muscles, as well as your upper back, chest and core regions. Stand tall with a dumbbell on each shoulder and palms facing forward.

Press the dumbbells until your arms reach full extension before lowering them back to the starting position.

The lat pulldown is a standard pulling movement that hits the opposite side of the body. Sitting on a bench, grab the lat pulldown handle with a wide overhand grip.

Keeping your upper body in a tall, sitting position, pull the bar until it hits the upper chest, squeezing your shoulder blades before bringing it back to the starting position.

Don’t Forget Your Legs Even While Getting Leaner!

There is no complete workout without single-leg work. Too often, we focus on strengths and not weaknesses, making the gap between the two even greater.

Unilateral, or single-limb, exercises, place a stronger emphasis on balance as opposed to strength.

That’s just the way we are programmed making it even more important to eliminate the muscle imbalances that plague us.

That’s where unilateral training comes into play. The next superset involves forward lunges and single-leg deadlifts.

Forward lunges are a great target for the quadriceps, as well as the glute muscles and hamstrings. With a dumbbell in each hand and an upright torso throughout the movement, lunge forward with one leg until both knees reach a 90-degree angle.

Push off with the front leg back to the starting position and complete the same movement with the opposite leg, continuing to alternate.

Single-leg deadlifts require plenty of balance and primarily target the glutes and hamstrings, as well as the lower back region.

Start with a dumbbell in hand and one foot off the floor. Bend forward at the hips keeping your back straight until you feel a full stretch in your hamstrings and glutes before bringing it back to an upright position.

Finish all reps on one side before hitting the other leg.

The Next Superset Involves The Chest Flye And Reverse Flye

The chest flye targets the chest region and utilizes dumbbells. Start by lying supine on the bench with a dumbbell in each hand.

With a slight bend in your elbow, start at the top with your palms facing one another. Slowly lower them, opening up the chest until it is fully stretched before bringing it back to the starting position.

The reverse flye hits the backside, specifically targeting the rear deltoid. Instead of lying supine on the bench, lay face down on the bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Start at the bottom with your arms hanging and palms facing one another.

With a slight bend in the elbow, raise your upper arms until the elbows are shoulder height, squeezing your shoulder blades at the top of the movement.

The last superset of Workout B isolates the quadriceps and hamstring muscle groups working with machines. The leg extension and leg curl are a perfect complement to the squats, lunges and deadlifts performed throughout the two workouts.

The leg extension hits the quadriceps while the leg curl targets the hamstrings making them another perfect example of the agonist/antagonist pairing.

BUILD Protein

Conclusion

Supersetting saves times. Supersetting burns calories. Supersetting builds strength. If you are looking to build a strong, lean body, this workout plan is for you.

So what are you waiting for?

Start today!

By Adam Clark, CPT

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For a full bodyweight squat you want to put your arms straight out in front of you and make sure they are parallel to the ground. Keep your spine in a neutral position during the entire exercise. You do not want to round your back while making sure you do not hyper extend and over accentuate the natural arch of your back. You could strain your back and cause serious injury, especially if you decide to add weights to the squats exercise.

Most of your weight will be on the heels and balls of your feet (imagine you are glued to the ground). To know if you are doing this part of the exercise correctly, you want to make sure you are distributing your weight to the right places. You should be able to wiggle your toes during the entire exercise.

To get the most out of the squat exercise, make sure you are keeping your whole body tight the entire time. Here are a few steps to help us breakdown squats:

  1. Bend at your hips and push your butt backwards. While your hips continue going backwards make sure your knees begin to bend.  It’s important to be conscious about starting with your hips going back and not by bending your knees.
  2. Keep your back straight and a neutral spine the entire length of your squat. You want to keep your chest and shoulders up. A good way to maintain the correct form, is to look straight ahead and find a spot or object on the wall to concentrate on; this will help with your balance as well.
  3. Now squat down, focusing on keeping your knees in line with your feet the whole time. You don’t want your knees to start to go over your toes, if they do bring them in but make sure to have your knees no wider than your feet.
  4. Squat down as far down as you can go while maintaining correct form or until your hip joint is lower than your knees (which would be parallel to the ground.) This part of the exercise you want to be focusing on your hip joint, not your legs. Remember depending on the size of your thighs, your squat may look as if you have reached your uttermost depth. I promise you can go deeper than this. But anything less than parallel is a going to be only a partial squat.
  5. Once you get to the bottom, it’s time to go back up and repeat. You have completed a full bodyweight squat.

A few tips when doing a full bodyweight squat…

  • Keep everything nice and tight, take a deep breath in and breathe out putting your weight and pressure on your heels while keeping the balls of your feet on the ground the whole time.
  • If you want to tone your butt, make sure to squeeze your butt when you return to your starting position.
  • To get the most out of the squat exercise, keep your body and core tight the entire time. It is very important to get your form down when starting. Especially because you will want to start adding weights to your squats to challenge yourself.
  • Do not get discouraged when you first start. Everyone is different, so our squats won’t look exactly the same. For example, someone with a longer femur, will squat slightly different than someone with a shorter femur, starting with their range of motion. So if your squat looks different than the person next to you, it doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong!
  • For more information, you can also check out “Do squats really work?”

 

-Terry Asher

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