Squats are an important part of any workout, not only building leg muscles but also quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. They also provide an anabolic aspect to your workout, improving overall muscle building.
If you have realized how important squats are in your workout, you may be surprised to learn that adding box squats can not only bring added benefits to your workout routine but it could also improve your squatting technique overall.
What Are Box Squats?
A box squat is a weight-lifting technique with a box or bench placed behind you. The goal is to aim for a box height for a parallel squat, but you can train with a box that is higher or lower depending on your training. With the weight across your shoulders, you lower yourself to a sitting position until you are seated on the box, pause and then lift yourself up again without bouncing.
Benefits of Box Squats
Box squats offer significant benefits in a workout. The biggest benefit is that it can actually improve your squatting technique. Often, people squat by initiating the knees and not the hips which can overload the quads and increasing the chance of injury. By forcing yourself to “sit back” on the bench, you put more pressure on your hips, relieving the pressure on your knees.
With a box squat, you also tend to take a wider than shoulder stance while holding the bar lower and your knees over your toes. This further increases the stress on glutes, hamstrings and your lower back.
Pausing on the box also forces you to rise from a dead stop rather than “bouncing,” increasing posterior chain power.
Athletes also tend to cheat depth in squats as their weight level rises so a box squat keeps you from doing that. Box squats force you to tighten your body in order to come off the box, getting more benefits from the lift.
How to Box Squat
Begin a box squat by standing in a power rack with the box behind you. Step under the bar and place it across your shoulders then squeeze your shoulder blades together, rotating your elbows forward as if you were bending the bar across your shoulders. Create a tight arch in your lower back, lift the bar and step back, your head facing forward. Push your knees and butt out, then start to lower your body. Sit back until your butt is seated on the bench, shins perpendicular to the ground. Pause, relax your hip flexors and then, with your weight on your heels, push your feet and knees out, pushing upward. Lead the movement with our head, continuing up until you reach your starting position.
Box squats can increase the value of your leg workout but can also improve your squat technique overall. The key is to learn how to do the box squat correctly and to continue using free squatting in order to get a good overall workout. Learn more workout techniques by subscribing to my YouTube channel.
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By RunThaCity — 1 year ago
The Time Under Tension Principle
I can attest to the importance of the time under tension principle in maximizing muscle growth. The tension principle states that muscle growth is a result of the tension placed on the muscle fibers during exercise. The longer you’re under this tension, (by doing more reps or more sets) the more small micro-tears in the muscle fibers, and when the body repairs these tears, it results in an increase in muscle size and strength.
In order to effectively create this tension, it’s important to incorporate heavy weightlifting into your routine. This means using weights that challenge you, while still maintaining proper form. By gradually increasing the weight you’re lifting over time, you can continue to challenge your muscles and create the necessary tension for growth.
It’s also important to remember that rest and recovery play a crucial role in maximizing muscle growth. Allowing your muscles time to repair and grow after each workout is essential for maintaining progress. This means incorporating rest days into your routine and getting adequate sleep each night.
Combining Weight Lifting and Progressive Overload
Combining weight lifting and progressive overload is a key factor in maximizing muscle growth for bodybuilders. Progressive overload involves gradually increasing the weight you’re lifting over time to challenge your muscles and create the necessary tension for growth. This is a crucial aspect of bodybuilding, as it helps to continuously challenge your muscles and push them to their limits.
Weight lifting, on the other hand, is the actual act of lifting weights. This can involve a variety of exercises, such as squats, deadlifts, and bench presses, to target different muscle groups. It’s important to incorporate a variety of exercises into your routine to target all muscle groups and achieve balanced growth.
When combining weight lifting and progressive overload, it’s important to find a balance that works for you. This means gradually increasing the weight you’re lifting over time, but not pushing yourself too hard too soon. It’s also important to listen to your body and take rest days when needed to prevent injury and allow for proper recovery.
The Importance of Nutrition
Nutrition is an essential aspect of bodybuilding and a key factor in maximizing muscle growth. In order to effectively build muscle, the body requires an adequate amount of fuel in the form of macronutrients, such as protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
Protein is particularly important for muscle growth, as it provides the building blocks for muscle repair and growth. It’s recommended that bodybuilders consume between 1.6-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Good sources of protein include lean meats, such as chicken and fish, as well as plant-based options like beans and tofu.
Carbohydrates are also important for providing energy during workouts, as well as aiding in recovery and muscle growth. Bodybuilders should aim to consume between 3-5 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight per day, with a focus on complex carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
In addition to protein and carbohydrates, healthy fats are also an important aspect of a bodybuilder’s diet. Healthy fats, such as those found in nuts, seeds, and olive oil, help to provide sustained energy and support overall health.
It’s also important to stay hydrated and consume enough vitamins and minerals, such as calcium and vitamin D, which are essential for muscle health.
Rest and Recovery
Rest and recovery are critical components of bodybuilding and maximizing muscle growth. The tension principle states that muscle growth is a result of the tension placed on the muscle fibers during exercise, which triggers the body’s natural repair process. Rest and recovery are crucial for allowing the body to effectively repair and grow muscle tissue.
Adequate sleep is a key aspect of rest and recovery, as it allows the body to recharge and repair muscle tissue. Bodybuilders should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to support muscle growth and overall health.
In addition to sleep, taking rest days and incorporating active recovery techniques, such as foam rolling and stretching, can also help to support muscle growth and prevent injury. During rest days, it’s important to give your muscles time to recover and repair, and avoid intense exercise.
It’s also important to listen to your body and be mindful of overtraining. Overtraining can occur when you push yourself too hard and don’t allow your body adequate time to rest and recover, leading to decreased performance and injury risk.
Supplements: A Supplement, Not a Replacement
Supplements can be a helpful addition to a bodybuilder’s diet, but it’s important to remember that they should never replace a balanced diet and consistent training regimen. Supplements are meant to complement, not replace, a healthy diet and exercise routine.
Common bodybuilding supplements include protein powders, creatine, beta-alanine, and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). Protein powders and BCAAs can help to increase protein intake and support muscle growth, while creatine and beta-alanine can enhance strength and power during workouts.
However, it’s important to remember that not all supplements are created equal, and some may not be effective or even safe. It’s recommended to speak with a doctor or registered dietitian before starting any supplement regimen, and to only purchase supplements from reputable sources.
Patience, Persistence, and Consistency are Key
Patience, persistence, and consistency are key elements for success in bodybuilding. Building muscle and maximizing muscle growth takes time and effort, and it’s important to have a long-term perspective and not expect immediate results.
Bodybuilding requires consistent training and diet habits, and progress will often be gradual and incremental. It’s important to stay committed to your goals and to consistently challenge yourself in the gym, gradually increasing weight and intensity as your strength improves.
In addition to consistent training, it’s also important to be patient and persistent with your diet. A balanced diet that is high in protein and nutrient-dense foods is crucial for supporting muscle growth, and it may take time to see the results of your diet and training habits reflected in your physique.Post Views: 905
By RunThaCity — 5 years agoBurnout is a real thing. It happens when you fill your cup too much and it overflows. It means you’ve worked too much, invested too much, given too much, been used too much and cared too much. The one thing you didn’t do enough of was take care of yourself. Self-care can save you from the turmoil of life if you take the time to do it. Practice self-care by trying the following tips.
- Stress Management – Stress looks different on everyone, and calming techniques are different for everyone. What calms one might actually stress another. However, some stress-reduction techniques apply to everyone. When you find yourself flustered and overwhelmed, take the time to slow down and focus on taking deep breaths. Deep breathing centers you when everything feels like it’s moving too fast.
- Practice Mindfulness – Mindfulness is being present to what’s occurring, what you’re experiencing and what you’re feeling. When you become present to your experience, you’re more equipped to focus on solutions to negative feelings. It allows you to embrace your feelings instead of repressing them, which can lead to the unhealthy practice of bottling up negative energy. The practice of meditation and self-affirmations can help you become more mindful.
- Physical Self-Care – Taking care of your body is one of the best ways to take care of your mental health. To care for yourself physically, you should turn your focus to the three tenets of physical health: eating clean and healthy, exercising and getting enough sleep. When you take care of your health, positive mental health follows.
- Personal Retreat – Take the time to step away from everything. More than just a vacation, a retreat gives you a break from the life that you normally know. It’s the time to relax, unplug, be unreachable and do absolutely nothing except exist and perhaps indulge. You might feel guilty for taking time away for yourself, but once you return to life refreshed and recharged, you’ll be an even better employee/boss/parent/friend/spouse/partner than you were before.
- Just Say No – The D.A.R.E. program in the 80s was onto something with this phrase, but this phrase can apply to so much more. Saying “no” to others does not mean you’re letting them down. It simply means that you’re choosing to not wear yourself thin by agreeing to everything that’s asked of you. It means you’re choosing not to let your cup run over.
- Mental Breaks – A break doesn’t have to entail physically stepping away from something that’s bringing you stress. You can shut off your brain by compartmentalizing your stressful thoughts into a place that you only visit at certain times. Take small breaks every two hours when you’re working on a long project and make it a point to not think about or discuss the project during that time. Your productivity will even improve. Go on a date with your spouse and make it a point to not discuss anything related to finances, family or other topics that create stress and tension in the home. Instead, discuss your dreams, favorite books or vacations that you want to take.
- Walk Away From Unhealthy Situations – If you have a relationship or a work situation that doesn’t serve you well, it’s OK to break it off. If it’s an argument or toxic debate that you don’t want to be in, you can stop participating. Don’t get riled about things that you don’t need to be angry about just because your ego wants to have the last word. It doesn’t make you a bad person for ignoring the conversation, and you haven’t lost the argument just because you went silent.
WriterHere are some self-care practices you can start adding to your daily routine. Try to do as many as you can, even if you don’t start doing them all at once. The more you implement into your lifestyle and the more frequently you practice them, the better you’ll feel.Post Views: 8,191
By RunThaCity — 5 years ago
The joke of skipping leg day is an old mainstay within fitness communities, and this is largely the result of leg exercises being harder to adhere to in the past. With less motility than arms, finding the right regime of easily-performed exercises for various leg muscles, especially the hamstring, can be something of a nuisance.
Today, we’re going to look at the best exercise routine for strengthening your hamstrings. Before we begin, it goes without saying that you want to balance these evenly, and never be excessive with speed, routine length, or the like. Injuring your hamstring can be excruciatingly painful, and can temporarily (or in rare cases, permanently) reduce or take away your ability to stand or walk.
How do I Know My Hamstring is Underfit?
If you already have a decent regime of general leg exercises, you may be unsure if you need to alter any of your routines to provide a better workout for your hamstrings. There are symptoms that can easily be picked up on, though.
- Cramping, Spasms, Charlie Horses – Charlie horses are very painful, uncontrolled contractions of muscles that are essentially a form of acute cramp. The most common Charlie horse that happens within the leg is in the calf muscle, or along the sole of the foot, but they can also occur in the hamstring and other upper leg muscles, if they’re not properly fit. It’s worth noting that this can also be a symptom of potassium or vitamin deficiencies as well, though if that’s the case, such problems will occur in other parts of the body as well.
- Gluteal and Upper Leg Fatigue – If walking, standing, squatting and other leg-related activities result in significant fatigue across the back of the upper leg, or the base of the gluteal area, this can be a sign that your current routines aren’t sufficiently exercising your hamstring, causing it to fatigue much more quickly than other muscle groups.
- Restless Legs – True restless leg syndrome is not what we’re talking about – that’s something that a physician should address immediately due to it being a symptom of much more severe problems than your workout routine. However, mild restlessness, which leg workouts should usually help to abate, can indicate some muscles not being properly worked, and your hamstring is a prime candidate for this.
Let’s take a moment to talk about how important leg exercises are as a whole. On a cosmetic level, if you focus only on your upper body, you will look patently ridiculous. We’ve all seen those guys who spend all day lifting and bench pressing, but neglect their legs entirely. They look like cartoon characters!
But, on top of this, you also greatly increase your risk of knee and hamstring injuries, and these can have lasting or permanent ramifications, leaving you permanently walking with a limp, or experiencing significant pain.
It also makes squats much harder to do, as well as any practical lifting to carry or move heavier things.
Gender Doesn’t Matter
Something else we need to point out right now, is that this is just as important for women as it is for men. The same danger of leg injuries can happen if a woman’s hamstrings aren’t properly trained and well-exercised.
Equally, let’s all be honest. What kind of legs do most men prefer on a woman? Scrawny, neglected beanpoles? Or, is a woman with shapely, toned legs usually preferred? And, ladies, which would you prefer? Healthy, toned legs, or skinny, weak ones? It really matters for both sexes, equally.
You Don’t Need Crazy Equipment!
One last thing to point out, before we look at the six most effective exercises is, while having some decent equipment at your disposal does help, but you don’t need ridiculous, expensive and overwrought equipment to get a solid hamstring workout.
We live in a time that’s unrivaled historically in both fitness and nutrition sciences, as well as the elaborate equipment we can produce. This equipment is all well and good, but you really only need a few simple things, to get a full workout, including hamstring-targeting routines.
There are two routines we’ll look at that need some fitness equipment usually, but you can makeshift these if need be.
#1 – Romanian Deaflift
The Romanian deadlift is one of the simplest routines you can do. Simply hold a weighted barbell at shin level, arms straight, bending horizontally at the waist, and partially at the knee. Lift upward until your legs, waist, and arms are straight, the barbell at just below your pelvis. Hold, tightening your legs slightly, and lower back down in a controlled descent.
#2 – Barbell Back Squat
This is another simple exercise. Hold the barbell across the back of your shoulders, just at the base of the neck, elbows bent, palms outward. Have your legs apart so your feet are just past your shoulders.
Bend at the knees, outward, producing a spread-legged squat. Hold, and lift back up slowly. Remember proper squat form with this one.
#3 – Bulgarian Split Squat
This one should not be attempted by people with hip or knee trouble. Start with one leg bent at the knee, behind you on a bench. Hold weighted dumbbells at either side of your body. Bend your other leg at the knee and hip until it’s at a near sitting position, your leg on the bench at a J-like bend as a result.
Use some tension in the benched leg when returning to a standing position. Alternate between legs, evenly.
#4 – Glute-Ham Raise
This one is best served with leg press equipment. Lie face down, legs braced, cushion under your upper legs. Cross your arms across your chest, and lift yourself to a vertical position at the knees. Hold, and lower yourself back after a couple seconds. This is one of the most powerful (and fatiguing) hamstring exercises.
#5 – Leg Curl
This is the other exercise best suited with a weighted leg press. Lie face down, bracing the weighted lift just above your heels. Bend at the knee, as far as your leg and the weight will permit. Hold for about one second, and lower it back under muscle control.
#6 – Kettlebell Swing
This exercise is usually a “cooling down” or “finishing” routine, and is one of the higher kinetic impact exercises. This also works as a partial cardio exercise, so if your doctor has warned against excessive cardio, be wary of this one. Using ball weights, start bent horizontal at the waste (similar to the Romanain deadlift), the weights held back, between your legs. Bend up at the waist and the knee, swinging the weights in a parabola until your arms are almost level in front of you.
Swing back into the start position under control (don’t let inertia do it for you). Be extra careful on resuming the start position, that you don’t allow inertia to bring your arms at high speed into your groin – it doesn’t matter what your gender, that will hurt.
To learn more about hamstring exercises and other difficult group targeting routines, subscribe to my YouTube channel today. I have so many awesome things to show you!Post Views: 8,377