In Part 1, I discussed the myth that people shouldn’t learn to squat because they don’t need to, or that machine leg exercises are a good enough substitute. Sure, machines can come in handy and they have their place, especially in rehab. But the skills gained from squatting cannot be matched by a machine. In this section, I’m going to discuss what the squat actually does for you.
The squat is, perhaps, the single best exercise for leg strength and development.
Problem is, the squat is often taught incorrectly, and it’s stigmatized as difficult and dangerous. People warn that it is bad for your knees and back, inappropriate for beginners (or anyone not a male collegiate athlete), too hard to learn, blah blah the sky is falling, etc. So, let’s go through all the scary things we’ve heard about squatting, to debunk them one by one.
A strong midsection is essential to your game. A marvel of engineering, the torso manages to twist, lean, give power to a punch, stay upright, even support an opponent’s weight, and keep you breathing throughout, all with only one supporting “tent pole”: the spine. Much of the torso isn’t bone; it’s gooshy stuff and 26 feet’s worth of last night’s dinner. So where’s the magic? It’s in the coordinated effort of the midsection muscles: abs, obliques, low back, deep torso muscles along with the diaphragm and pelvic floor muscles.
By guest author Ron Dykstra
After reading many, many years worth of borderline worthless magazine information, much of it written by ghostwriters and not athletes, I was burned out on this style of “training”. High volume moderate weight training using multiple techniques to extend sets performed twice a day just did not work for me. I guess I wasn’t taking enough “Get Swole” or whatever magic bullet the magazines were shilling for. My training goals were not realized, but I stubbornly continued to lift, and one day I met a tribe of lifters that were not pumpers, posers, or complete narcissists: Enter the weightlifter.
Gym toys are kind of addictive. You buy one thingamajig, and then before you know it, your gym bag looks like one of those carfuls of clowns with stuff popping out everywhere. Now, you don’t technically need any of these odds ‘n’ sods, but in a consumerist society, the small matter of actual need doesn’t trouble most folks. Here’s a handy guide to gym gear.
I get a lot of mail from people who want to work out at home and would like equipment recommendations. Usually people are looking for some kind of fancy contraption that they saw on an infomercial, something with rods and elastics and flashy lights and slidey things and godknowswhat but it’ll give them a body like the perfectly tanned and dessicated plastic infomercial fitness person and it’ll fit under the bed and it’s only 50 eeezy monthly payments of $49.99.
Well, MY home gym will cost you maybe TWO monthly payments of $49.99, and you can do just about everything you need with it. In this article, I’ll explain how to set up a basic, starter home gym that is cheap, versatile, and kicks the ass of any machine on the market.
Perhaps you are lucky enough to have a bit of space in a basement, or a garage, and perhaps you think that you’d like to fill this space with some lovely plates and barbells instead of some icky furniture or a washing machine. What better way to spend an afternoon than building your own lifting platform!?
It’s not a question I encounter as frequently as “how to lose bodyfat?” but there are lots of women out there who do want to be bigger, heavier, and/or more muscular. It’s a refreshing change to answer this question, frankly. The challenge, as many skinny folks have discovered, is how to do it healthily.
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on the site, it’s counterproductive to try to lose fat at the same time you try to gain mass. It’s like trying to build a house while someone keeps taking the bricks away. Pick one goal and eat and train accordingly.