“The Biggest mistake people make with the Squat…Is not squatting enough!”[tweet this].
The Squat is a full body compound exercise, meaning you are getting more “Bang for your buck!” in terms of muscular recruitment, energy output and calories exerted! Not to forget the rewards you can reap afterwards.
Let’s take a closer look:
Increasing your athletic performance!
The Squat trains your body to produce high levels of force through vertical acceleration which is transferable in many sports such as rugby and Olympic lifts. This exercise can also help with dynamic mobility and also flexibility.
The Front squat is great for putting more emphasis on the quads, erector spinae and the rectus abdominis, which can cross over when doing high sprints and jumping. It’s also strict on form in terms of stopping you from leaning too far forwards and throwing the hips back (as you will drop the bar!) The Front squat is also knee friendly compared to the Back squat.
Run faster over Short/Long distances
Being able to run faster is controlled by how much force you can transfer into the ground to propel you forward! Lower body strength is the best way to increase your force.
Whilst running you engage the quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves to produce more force from the ground. Using heavy loads in Squats will engage these muscles and push them past their comfort zones; this will increase strength musculature and core.
A recent study that used eight rugby players on a maximal strength program found the players showed a significant increase in speed and sport specific movements. They employed the following exercises: Back squats; Clean pulls, Deadlifts and Nordic curls, working at 85-90 percent of their 1 RM. Results showed an increase in their maximal Squat by 30kg which transferred to their sprint speed by 6-7.6 % over 5/10/20 meters.
This exercise is not only for the lifters out there but for the long distance runners and sprinters who could generate more power and force through the floor.
Body functionality/mobility and faster walking speed
Suffer from lower back pain? This is an exercise for you! A recent study performed on elderly people suffering from osteoarthritis showed that Squat training resulted in less self-reported pain in the knees, back, better balance and faster walking speed. They also had less evidence of chronic inflammation that is associated with arthritis.
Having a stronger lower body and core will help all populations to move functionally and generally help them experience less pain or suffer an injury.
Increased core and hoop tension (Abs of steel)
Just like your Deadlifts, Squats are great for recruiting the abs more functionally, unlike the infamous Crunches which can do more damage than good. Building a strong core is imperative; you can’t build a temple on poor foundations! Squats will equally strengthen the lower back and the abs, rather that just isolating one or the other which often leads to a “Kink in the chain” which will break if not strengthened.
Other exercises that will get the abs popping include the notorious Deadlift and Pull-ups! (I can hear my clients groaning now…)
Jump to greater heights!
Incorporate full range Squats. This is when your glutes go below parallel and cover the upper portion of your calves. These are essential in improving your height when jumping.
A study was initiated where a group of people only did quarter range Squats while another group did full range Squats. They found over 10 weeks that the group that completed the full range Squats improved their jumping height by 5-8% whereas the group that only did partial Squats only increased their height by 2.6%
So when it comes to training Squats always try aim for a full range of movement rather than leaning towards heavier weights. You will be recruiting more muscle fibres and I guarantee you will find it just as hard.
Not to say partial ranges shouldn’t be used however, if you are looking to get past a plateau in your strength training Partials can be a great boost to your performance…
The Squat is a full body exercise (if you didn’t already know by now) which means many muscles are recruited and needed in order to complete this movement. The more muscle groups we need to use, the more energy we need exert. This ultimately means more calories burnt. Even after two to three days your body will still be guzzling energy and calories in order to get your muscles fighting fit for the next round, the only difference is they come back stronger (if you worked hard enough!). As these muscles are now bigger and better than ever, they need more calories and energy to sustain them, meaning you are burning more calories at rest!
Funnily enough we can complete a full functional squat at a very young age! Its only the years of sitting in chairs and other daily chores that hinder our performance. If you struggle with form when completing this crucial exercise, click the button below and i can show you a few easy steps to help you on your way!
"Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are." Brillat-Savarin [tweet this].
Still Not enough!? Here are 6 more reasons:
1: What’s in it?
So you may be thinking right about now “I’m ok, I don’t eat ready meals this doesn’t affect me” but if you are eating cereal, BREAD and pasta you are in for a big surprise!
Obviously, most foods are processed in some way and to sticking to a diet free of this would be quite hard unless you live on an island, with a ball named Wilson and you got this blog in a bottle.
For example if you grab some spinach and chop it up and place some dressing over the top, you are technically “mechanically Processing” the Spinach.
Then there is Chemical Processing. This varies in intensity depending on how heavily processed and item is. For example, strained Greek Yoghurt and pro-biotics are great for promoting a healthy lifestyle where as the evil cheap imitation also called Greek Yoghurt is processed more heavily with thickening agents and corn starch… not good.
2. Having a Better Body composition will make it easier to loose body fat.
A huge amount of studies have shown that people who eat more processed foods have a higher level of body fat and have a harder time losing it.
A study done in Brazil found that a group who ate 1581 calories daily of which 386 calories came from high processed items. As this increased, so did body fat percentage. These foods included sweets, pasta, bread, chips, fizzy drinks, frozen dinners, cereal, processed meat, and margarine. You get the picture…
Processed foods are specifically manufactured to be addictive, meaning we eat more of them. They are higher in sugar, have no fibre and are made of refined fat. This combination creates the perfect conditions to increase your appetite, increase your blood sugar and generally make you more tired and less active.
This most likely means you are going to eat more calories and get thrown into a spiral of being inactive and tired, meaning an inevitable increase in fat and a slower metabolic rate.
3. Whole Food Calories Vs Processed Calories
You will always be able to eat more whole foods in calories compared to processed foods. The more natural the food, the higher the thermic effect (how many calories your body burns while digesting the food).
Digestion takes longer to accomplish compared to processed foods due to the higher fibre content. This also reduces hunger!
Choosing foods as natural as possible is a sure way to get lean and decrease body fat!
4. Food Label advertising
Labels on food aren’t usually very transparent. Some advertise for being “healthy”, others stamp the protein quantity on the front as a gesture of being nutritionally beneficial with disregard to what else that is in the packet. Then there’s the “Whole grain” message which is only partially true. The manufacturers use processed flour which means the once ‘wholegrain’ flour is treated with chemical processes and typically stripped of any nutritional value it may once have had.
In general food labels are advertisements and should be seen as such. Try to buy whole unpackaged foods, without branding there is no manipulation.
For example, did you know the calories that are measured on the packet are underestimated as energy calculations are based on the unprocessed ingredients?
5. Protect your insulin and blood sugar levels:
Eating processed foods is a sure fire way to increase your diabetes risk and make you more insulin resistant. This is because processed foods are usually high in carbs, little to no fibre which means the body can easily digest them. The ingredients are usually filled with cheaper alternatives such as corn, soy and wheat derivatives and most importantly, again, they are filled with added sugars or artificial sugars.
Combining exercise, natural foods and low “GI” carbs is a proven method to manage insulin health. To find out more about this method, book in at the bottom of the blog for your consultation.
6. The Biggest reason?
By limiting the processed food you eat, you will reduce your cancer and disease risk!
Eating whole foods which are nutritionally dense will help to protect you against inflammation and cancer. Processed foods contain a high amount of fat, sugar and cheap protein. When consumed in large quantities these can cause bodily stress and increase your risk of disease.
Eat rich whole foods that your body can digest to promote health and reduce disease risk.
The Bottom Line?
Stay away from heavily processed foods!
Look past the branding and concentrate on the small print to see what your food is actually made of. Can’t understand it? It’s probably safe to say it has been processed away from what nature intended.
“There is no point in being alive if you cannot do the deadlift” - Jón Páll Sigmarsson[tweet this].
Why should i do the Deadlift?
Here are just a few of the copious amount of reasons to do this compound exercise:
Cutting it short, you are going to sculpt a great looking behind, abs of steel and an all-round killer body! This simple exercise teaches your body to move functionally not only in the gym but outside in ever day life. All you have to do is correctly lift the barbell off the floor (what else do you need!?).
Still not Satisfied?
Well, here are five more reasons you should be doing this simple exercise:
1. Feel the Burn!
This exercise recruits a vast number of muscle groups, so not only are you going to be building lean tissue you are going to be burning a heap of calories during and at least two days after! So sit back and let the fat burn off…Or hit the gym and burn a heap more!This simple exercise that doesn’t require a spotter (unlike the infamous squat) which means more flexibility in the gym and you look awesome doing something relatively easy. If things get a bit difficult and you need an escape plan, just let go of the bar.
Want to make it even easier? Use a hex bar rather than the traditional barbell. This will distribute the weight evenly and build your form ready to go that step further.
Feeling crazy? Why not throw it into a killer circuit to have an even greater metabolic burnout. Here’s a quick example of a great circuit to hit the posterior chain and core.
a) Deadlifts 10 repetitions
b) Kettlebell swings 30’s
c) Walk outs 10 repetitions
30’s rest and repeat 5 times.
2. Need for Speed or jumping to Greater heights?
Deadlifts are a great exercise to boost power and improve force transfer from the lower body to upper body. By training for an “explosive positive” you will be able to build speed by improving your ability to accelerate through the entire motion of the lift. By training with a lighter load of 30-40 % of your one rep max, research has shown you can produce the same amount of power as with a power clean!
3. Help strengthen the lower back and build that core!
The Deadlift is by far superior to any other typical core exercise as properly trained deadlifts can activate all the muscles in the trunk, including the rectus abdominis, obliques and the paraspinals of the lower back. Believe it or not the squat actually requires greater activity of the lower lumbar region of the back than the deadlift!
Moral of the story? Train both squats and deadlifts for killer abs. If you are hard core and training both in a session make sure to prioritise squats as this will warm the lower back ready for those explosive deadlifts.
4. Do Deadlifts for better mobility and less pain
Unfortunately in my experience the people who can benefit from deadlifts are the ones who think it’s dangerous…
The fact is you are more likely to suffer from back pain and injury by not properly isolating the glute and hamstrings and not keeping an arch in the lower back.
Training deadlifts along with other compound exercises such as the squat can help improve functional movement patterns in the lower body, and coordination in the hip and knee joints therefore reducing risk of hip and knee injury!
The Deadlift is also an essential exercise to teach fundamental movements for everyday activities, such as picking up luggage from the floor or a boot of a car.
Not only will you be able to get your shopping from the back of your car without pulling your back but deadlift training will improve balance, walking and quality of life.
5. Deadlifts help break training plateaus!
Training the Deadlift should be done sensibly… it will make you stronger from head, shoulders, knees and toes. You will reap the rewards by having stronger glutes, hamstrings and back but also build strength in the arms and hand grip. This will inevitably mean numbers will start to climb in your other exercises. Now imagine if you threw squats into the mix… the sky is the limit!
Learn how to effectively execute a perfect deadlift with the free work-up skill below and start breaking some personal bests.
In the meantime here are some hints and tips to help you on your way:
BMI doesn’t measure Body fat content (which you think would be essential), muscle mass, bone density, overall body composition and finally racial and gender differences.
True Story (how this affects you)
Let me tell you another story, this one is a true story and happened to one of my Clients, who we will call Bob.
Bob has on average 1-2 Personal Training sessions with me in Harrogate on a weekly basis and he may go for a run on the weekend. The Business he works for are very generous and care about Bob’s health. Once a year he gets a full body assessment at Nuffield Health Hospital, where they will test his body fat %, core strength, posture, stress and general fitness. On his last visit Bob found that his body fat % had stayed the same as last year (17%) which is a good healthy range. He also found that his body weight had increased by 2kg. Considering his body fat had not fluctuated we can safely say that Bob had increased his lean muscle tissue. Increased muscle tissue means increased metabolic rate! This means, more energy spent at rest and therefore we can chip away the infamous body fat % a lot faster. Happy days!
Bob has Health insurance through his company too! This company rewards good health with cash pay outs, which is awesome, right?
However when Bob received his health checklist, he scrolled through the copious green ticks, non-smoker, blood sugar levels etc and finally came across the final box BMI, with a red cross…
Bob was now 2kg overweight on the BMI scale. This means no cash pay-out… Bob is not rewarded for his well-earned muscle mass but penalized.
So why hasn't this system changed?
"It always seems impossible until it’s done." Nelson Mandela[tweet this].
The HARD truth...
This isn’t new, Health experts will commonly comment “BMI is flawed”. It goes through the cycle of news and then it all goes quiet again. It is a broken system that doctors still use to measure your health. It promotes healthy individuals to lose muscle mass for fear they may be labelled as overweight. Minimal muscle mass in the long term means a slow metabolic rate and eventually fat stores will start to rise. It is extremely hard to get your metabolism burning from a stand still!
Muscle mass weighs more than fat (it is denser, per cubic inch of muscle weighs more than a cubic inch of fat). Therefore, BMI will inevitably class muscular, athletic people as fatter than they really are.
Even using BMI for less active people can be a flawed system. As there is no compensation for difference in height it can skew the results for taller people making them believe they are fatter than they really are, and shorter people appearing thinner on paper than in reality.
Circumference Measurements are a good simple way to measure body fat but it can depend mostly on the individual and their body shape. Using a combination of measuring techniques are the most effective and then taking a calculated reading from all measurements. This can be from skin fold measurements, circumference and body stat machines (although these can be consistent in being inconsistent). This is why an initial consultation with a personal trainer is so important. The trainer can gain a good understanding of a client’s current health and also their needs for training from these measurements.
Historically, BMI was created in the 1830s by Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet (1796-1874), a Belgian mathematician, sociologist, statistician and astronomer. 200 years on with all the technology available to us, why haven’t we come up with something more efficient to be standardised across the medical society?
Apart from the obvious: Diabetes/hypertension/heart disease and accelerated aging…but here's what you need to know:
Sugar however doesn’t directly cause these health problems, but eating too much in our diet every day is a good way of making us fat and diminishing our health. The average person can eat up to 28 tea spoons a day (450 calories worth) and the worst thing is that we don’t even realise we are doing it! Sugars are hidden in our everyday consumable products e.g. cereal, readymade sauces, readymade meals, fizzy and soft drinks… basically anything processed. These goods can also be advertised as “healthy options”, it’s not surprising then that obesity is on the rise.
Sugar is Sugar… whether its fructose, glucose. The only thing that changes is how our body breaks and utilises this form of sugar. Here are the basics that we need to know:
Glucose is sugar that is processed into glycogen and is eventually stored in our cells for energy. Any excess is turned into fat. Glucose on its own isn’t sweet, but when paired with fructose it becomes what we are accustomed to as sugar. Glucose should be used after an intense workout to replenish energy stores quickly. But from a body composition point of view it should be avoided.
Fructose is sugar found from fruits and some vegetables. It makes up a high proportion of sweeteners too. Fructose is metabolized by the liver and doesn’t raise insulin! But studies have found added fructose can put you at greater risk of diabetes, fat gain and raise the dreaded visceral fat. Be wary of sweeteners with a high percentage of Fructose to glucose ratio, as it may only have a low glycaemic index (how fast sugar is released into the blood stream) but it can slow your metabolic rate and any excess will be turned into fat!
Addiction isn't about substance - you aren't addicted to the substance, you are addicted to the alteration of mood that the substance brings. -Susan Cheever-[tweet this].
“The Catch 22 about Sugar”
Sugar is addictive! So eating sugar in moderation by concept will be hard… you are always going to be craving sugar! Here’s the science: Sugar has the effect of altering hormone responses and brain function so we are driven to eat more of it. Funnily enough Sugar can manipulate the brain very similar to heroin.
Many people eat some if not a strong foundation of processed foods, nearly all of which contain some added sugar, leading to intensified cravings. This is putting you at risk of insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity and disease.
The Moral of the Story?
Stay away from processed foods and you might have a chance of avoiding sugar… Look at the labels of shop bought goods and look for those added sugars. Usually if it says its fat free they’ve added sugar to compensate. Just because it’s got more protein doesn’t mean it’s healthy, it may have more protein but still have those sugars. Keep sugary fruits to a minimum. Bananas for example are high in sugars and are great for an energy boost before or after an intense session! Having it for lunch at the office is only going to spike your sugar levels and then any excess will be stored as fat.
Interested in some Free fitness and health tips that you can achieve from home? Sign up below!
Here are 10 simple steps to help you get on your way:
Thanks for reading and happy Training
Tri Force Training
New Additions at our Personal Training Facility!
Come try the NEW additions at our personal training facility in Harrogate! The SPARC and ARC Trainers!
These top of the line machines are excellent for burning fat, building muscle, skyrocketing power output and improving endurance. Covering all of the bases the SPARC Trainer is an excellent addition to your personal training sessions! Click below to get your free workup skill and body stat to try the SPARC yourself!
Here is just a few of the many benefits:
Why not book in for a try and a Free Body stat below:
The 1 Million Kilo Challenge!
On Saturday the 12th of March in Harrogate, A team of 12 (including myself), undertook the 1 Million Kilo challenge in aid of Yorkshire Cancer Research!
We smashed our Giant of a challenge in record time! starting at 7 am and finishing at 3.30 pm! That's 8 hours of continuous heavy lifting!
Overall we each completed 30 sets on Deadlifts, 30 sets on Bench-press and 30 Sets on Squats with a grand total of 900 repetitions! I personally manged to contribute 1000 times my body weight and then some!
With all your Help and support we managed to raise an epic £10,410.08 and we couldn’t have done it without you!
So I’d like to say a big thank you from the team for all the Donations contributed and also a big thank you to all those who took the time out of the day to see their Personal Trainer (although I’m sure you enjoyed me suffering for a change!) .You made the difference to getting those extra reps!
Tri Force Training
Sean Baldwin is the founder of Tri Force Training, a Personal Training service in Harrogate.