Have you been doing your daily pushups and hollows? I hope so! 🙂 as this will help you build up the habit of being active all the time. It will also give you lean, sexy arms and shoulders too, which is always a bonus.
Now we move onto week 3 where we get strong!
Lifting weights has transformed not only my fitness and physique but those of my clients too. It’s helped those who need to lose body fat, to lose body fat and it’s helped those who needed to put on muscle, put on muscle!
Heavy weight training also stimulates production of growth hormone, which boosts protein synthesis (building muscle and using fat as a fuel source AKA burning fat!)
So you can see why, if you’re looking for a “miracle” exercise, weight training should be it.
Not many women lift weights, or lift heavy weights and I do understand why as we’ve been told that it will bulk us up but that’s simply not true. It will build muscle, but muscle is what gives us shape, definition and our figures. Granted, if you’re still someone who wants to be a stick thin “supermodel”, weights may not be for you but everyone else…learn to lift!
That’s why this week we are going to concentrate on one of the best exercises out there – the barbell squat.
Quick note. Always, always get a spotter (someone to watch you lift and help out if needed) before you lift.
For most workouts I recommend you warm up in a way that mimics your main exercise, so for squatting – we squat to warm up 🙂
Bodyweight (air) squats are a great exercise to do, well, whenever you can. It mobilises your ankles and knees, gets your heart pumping and I find it wakes me up too. Good squat mechanics are
- Push the hips back and down
- Keep your chest up
- Neutral neck
- Open up at the hips
- Pointing the toes out a bit will help with opening the hips
- Feet flat on the ground
- Feet about hip width apart
- Weight mid foot
- Squat so your hip goes below your knee line
- Knees following direction of the feet, i.e. slightly out (we don’t want them caving in)
- If you’re flexible and strong enough, squat so your hamstrings touch your calves
Perform 10 – 12 reps
The next step is how to set up the barbell for a squat. Gyms have different setups but they’ll all roughly be the same. There will be supporting hooks for the barbell and safety pins you can release the weights on if you need to drop the bar. They’re also a good way to get the correct depth.
So watch this video on how to set up for the squat
Finally, how we squat with a bar on our backs! Start off with a completely empty bar. If you’ve ever trained at my classes, learning how to barbell squat will make the 10kg BodyBar feel like air 🙂
I also want you to perfect your technique before loading up too, as form and accuracy all go out the window when the weight gets heavy 🙂
All the bodyweight squat key points remain as well as.
- The position of the bar, for most people is about mid way on the shoulder blade at the bottom of the traps (the big muscles on your upper back), it’s almost at the bottom of the back of your shoulders – this “low bar” squat position. Some people prefer putting the bar on top of the traps for a “high bar” squat. This is essential for Olympic lifting, however, for the general population, the low bar squat is preferred
- Squeeeeeeze your shoulder blades back together to form a shelf and maintain a solid, tight support for the bar
- Your hands should be comfortably far apart. It really depends on your upper body mobility, which is another story…
- If there were an imaginary line dropping down from the barbell it *must* always be in line with your mid foot. So depending on your own body shape and size, you might need to push your hips back further, or adjust the bar a bit higher.
- Use your hips to drive up, and drive your back into the bar.
- Keep a flat lower back at all times
Go squat and learn to squat well, it will be a fantastic exercise for your health, fitness and getting a rock solid butt 😉
How to add squats into the previous weeks.
So week 3 will be two squat sessions plus two circuit sessions. For example, squat Monday and Thursday, then do the circuits from last week, Tuesday and Saturday.
Foam roll your quads, calves and glutes beforehand and also after. Perform 3 sets of squats of 6 – 8 reps per set. Rest at least 2 minutes, preferably 5 minutes between sets as squats are hard.
PS. Interested in learning how to train with weights? Come to a #StrongNotSkinny workshop!