Tag: Squats

One of the popular questions I get asked alot is what supplements should people take? Supplements aren’t needed but some are definitely helpful. For the purpose of this article I will focus on the benefits of why you should be taking creatine to assist you in your fitness journey. Several people shy away from creatine due to the fear of water retention. If you ever had several alcoholic drinks, high sodium meals or just didn’t consume enough water, the day after you will notice a weight increase and more of a fluffer look to your physique. That’s your body retaining water in the skin. Creatine on the other hand causing you to hold water in the muscles which in my opinion makes it a very useful supplement.

If you’re a powerlifter, bodybuilder, crossfitters or just someone who wants to put on some muscle size, creatine can benefit you. Creatine may also help those who perform high intensity sprints or endurance training. So how does creatine actually work? Creatine increases your muscles phosphocreatine stores which help create additional ATP energy. During high intensity exercise such as resistance training, ATP fuels your muscles during your workout. ATP energy is burned faster than the human body can reproduce it so supplementing with creatine allow you to produce more ATP which will improve performance during your high intensity training sessions. If you’re currently not supplementing with creatine you probably notice days in the gym where you hit a certain amount of weight for a certain amount of reps successfully. But on the last set with same weight, you’re unable to execute. This is due to not being able to reproduce ATP fast enough at that present time. Since supplementing with creatine, I’ve noticed an increase in energy. Prior to using creatine I found it difficult to successfully complete 4 sets of 3 reps on my heavy squat days being that my body wasn’t producing more ATP. This is the key benefit of creatine supplementation!

Now you know the most important benefit of creatine so which one do you purchase? With the supplement industry constantly growing, several different forms of creatine have been developed. Creatine monohydrate is the one I’d recommend for two reasons. One is the cheapest form of creatine and two other forms are still relatively new which haven’t been tested to see if they actually work how supplement companies claim they do. Creatine monohydrate is the most common you will find and is the form that most scientific studies have used to conduct their research on the effectiveness of the supplement. So instead of possibly paying an overpriced charge for creatine, stick to the one that has been proven to work for years. Just to give you an idea of how cheap creatine is, a 200 serving container of creatine on Vitacost.com will cost $17.32 not including shipping. That should last you about a half of year if you’re only taking the daily recommended amount of 5 grams.

Out all the supplements that exist today, creatine monohydrate is one of the few that is actually backed up by science. I personally used creatine whether I’m bulking, dieting or just maintaining simply because of the improved performance during my workouts. So to address the title of this article “no creatine DOES NOT make you fat”. Instead it provides your muscles with additional energy than what your body can naturally produce to push past intense training sessions. If increased strength, muscle or endurance is one of your goals, creatine is the one supplement that can benefit you!

Compound exercises are king when it comes to developing a solid physique. These exercises recruit multiple muscle groups which allow you to maximize tension while stimulating muscle growth. Please be advised that performing these compound lifts without properly warming up could potentially put you at risk of never being able to perform them again. The fact that numerous muscles and joints are involved in these movements, its best to warm up all areas that will be utilized during the movement. Squats is one of the compound lifts that requires the entire body to be warmed up in my opinion especially if you’re lifting heavier loads of weight. Below are 5 exercises you can start incorporating to make sure your body is ready the next time you squat!

 

Banded Pull-Aparts: This is a movement that is great for shoulder mobility. Squats is lower body exercise so why do I need to warm up my shoulders? Well, your shoulders play a role in how secure you hold on to the bar while it’s resting on your traps. If you are unable to retract your shoulders back while squatting, it also becomes difficult to maintain tightness on your upper back while squatting.

 

Pull Up/Lat Pull Downs: The upper back plays a huge role in protecting the lower back when squatting. Most of us either have a poor muscle mind connection with their upper back or we fail to activate them. Perform 2 sets of 5-10 reps will help activate those muscles to make sure tightness is maintained during the squat.

 

 

Pigeon Stretch: The hips tend to get really tight for a lot of us especially those who work desk jobs. Men usually have tighter hips than females because men don’t have to ability to give birth but that doesn’t mean women don’t have to stretch. Any form of tightness in the hips can prevent you from squatting effortlessly into your hips. This is one of the most effective stretches due to the fact that you can focus on one hip at a time.

 

Goblet Squats: All compound lifts have exercises that are similar in order to warm up to the movement. I’m not suggesting not warming up with the bar as you would before progressing to heavier weights, but adding this variation will help train your body to descend in the hips while keeping your torso upright before you begin the squat. This is great exercise to add after loosen up your hips from performing the pigeon stretch.

 

Half-Kneeling Ankle Mobilization: Most people fail to realize the importance of ankle mobility. For people with longer femurs like myself, it’s crucial to stretch the ankle to allow the knee to travel in front of the foot. Individuals who are taller with small feet is a perfect example who need great ankle mobility in order to perform a proper squat. Having tight ankle joints can cause you to not to perform the squat in full range of motion which may force the upper torso to sink down putting a lot of stress on the lower back or on the knee joint.