New Year. New Resolution. New You.
Boom. With you on that.
Unless you’re one of those people who end up coming into the gym for a hot minute, aka the first 2 weeks of January. Then you disappear never to see a gym until the weather starts getting warmer. In which case we’ll see you for about 2 weeks in May.
If you are one of those people, I hate you.
Those people just piss everyone off. Including themselves. I mean, if you’re going to do something, stick with it.
But it’s much easier said than done though, right?
And since it’s the New Year I know a lot of you are going to be joining the gym. So, I figured I’d start off the year with 5 simple and effective gym exercises for your 2014 bod.
I know, you’re gonna be like, only 5?
And I’m like, yea, only 5.
Cause we need to keep shit simple.
It’s really the best way to do anything. It will ensure that you’re consistent, which will in turn produce results. You can learn more about how to build better exercise habits in my article about how to earn more money through consistent exercise.
Everyone wants a complicated routine. I did too when I first started lifting. Psychologically it makes you feel that you’re getting more accomplished. Especially if you’re devoting a lot of time to it. But more time and effort doesn’t necessarily mean better results.
You know how you have that one prospect to call?
That one report to pull at work?
You just don’t get to it because you are plowing mindlessly through all these emails sitting in your inbox. When in reality, it’s much more productive to do that one thing vs. many others. Even if it doesn’t take that much time?
That’s kind of how we look at workout routines. The more complicated the exercises and rep schemes, the more beneficial and effective it will be. But in reality, it’s better to do just a couple of exercises with maximum effort to garner greater results. Even if it doesn’t feel that way.
In any and every case, simple is always more effective. And the exercises we’re going to go over the next few weeks will accomplish three things for you in an effective and efficient manner:
- Spend less time in the Gym
- Look Sexy as Hell
- Get you Functionally Fit
Mark Rippetoe, author of Starting Strength, says it best:
“The human body functions as a complete system – it works that way, and it likes to be trained that way. It doesn’t like to be separated into its constituent components and then have those components exercised separately, since the strength obtained from training will not be utilized in this way.”
So instead of going bat shit crazy with an insane new workout routine for your New Year Resolution. How about just checking out these five simple exercises I’m about to break down for you over the next few weeks. Plus, they’ll give you a killer workout and bod. Oh, and I’ll also break down why they’re so effective and efficient, for you, the modern professional.
Here’s what we’re getting into today:
- The Benefits of Compound Movements
- Simple and Effective Gym Exercise # 1: The Squat
- The Squat Workout Challenge
The Benefits of Compound Movements
First and foremost . . . what the hell is a compound movement?
It’s a movement that involves multiple joints to complete. Think about squats vs. leg curls. On a leg curl all you’re using is your knee joint to complete the exercise. In a squat, you’re incorporating not only your knee joint but also your hip joint.
Because your using multiple joints, you’re also recruiting large muscle groups and creating greater overall stress on the body. This means more work for your body to do and . . .
This means 3 things for you:
- You won’t have to spend that much time in the gym.
- You’ll put on more muscle faster.
- You’ll burn more fat faster.
Now, let’s get into the compound exercises that you should be incorporating into your sexy ass 2014 body workout routine.
Simple and Effective Gym Exercise #1: The Squat
Are you really surprised here?
I’m obsessed with the squat and you should be too. I’ve talked about the squat being the king of all exercises and even how your butt increases the likelihood of being more attractive to the opposite sex, guy or girl.
It’s benefits include none other than:
- Better functional mobility
- Greater bone mineral density
- Stronger Core musculature
- Prevents lower back pain
- Develops Stronger Abs
It’s basically fucking awesome and if there is one exercise I’d recommend anyone to do for their 2014 bod it’s this one. It’ll get you results fast. So let’s get into how to get this shit done:
1. Step under and grip the bar as close to your back as possible, with a thumbless grip. Your back should be supporting the bar.
2. Once you feel the weight of the weight on your back, step back from your rack. Your feet should be positioned at shoulder weight, with your toes pointed outward at a 30 degree angle.
3. Keep your chest and back tight, you can do this by inhaling deeply and beginning to squat. This will ensure that your upright and have a tight posture throughout the squat.
4. Concentrate on pushing your hips back, and the rest of your body will follow. Also, maintain eye contact with an object about 4 to 5 feet ahead of you on the floor.
5. Make sure the your shoulders, chest, back, and butt are tight while you descend into the bottom of the squat. Your thighs should at least be parallel to the floor, if not lower the weight. You ultimate goal should be getting your butt to the floor as seen in the pictures below.
6. As you raise yourself out of the bottom of the squat – your butt and shoulders should be being pushed upward at the same time. Maintain tightness in your lower back and torso, and exhale towards the top of the repetition to ensure that you remain tight.
Some Problems You Might Run into and How to Fix Them:
There is going to be novices and intermediate lifters who can take advantage of this exercise. And undoubtedly you’ll run into the problems I list below, if you don’t great. If you do, I’ve provided some recommendations on how to fix the so that you’re squatting properly.
Not flexible enough to get parallel or below parallel
This is something that is quite common in individuals who either don’t know how to squat properly or have just learned to squat. The reality is that this isn’t a flexibility issue, it’s actually a foot placement issue.
Concentrate on keeping your feet pointed at a minimum 30 degree angle, more so if you need to. The only way for the squat to be effective is to break the 90 degree plane and get fucking low.
Another quick and easy fix is simply placing a box underneath your butt. Sit down with the bar and as soon as your butt touches the seat, pop back up. Make sure that the box is at least parallel and continue to work on getting lower until you no longer need the box.
Even better use this stretch to loosen up your hamstrings and widen your stance below. If you get fatigued, stand up and go back down after a couple of seconds of rest. Rinse and repeat until you’re comfortable with that position.
Sinking Down into the Squat
Many people I observe squatting will typically lead forward with their chest and go down into the squat.
Try it. You’ll notice that you probably can’t get parallel, and if you do get below parallel you’ll be leaning forward on your feet, along with your knees being well over your toes. This will put way too much stress on the knees.
Concentrate on pushing the butt back, almost as if you are using your butt to open a door. Only focus on pushing the imaginary door with your butt, you’ll get lower and the rest of your body will follow. This will also ensure that you place all of your weight on the heels of your feet.
Another quick and easy fix for this problem is to stick a block of wood right by your knees. While your standing, push your butt back into the squat position. If your knee hits the block of wood – you’re leaning forward on your toes. You can also use a PVC pipe aligned vertically by your knee. It’s a great visual to help you understand where your body should be during the squat.
Leading with Your Chest out of the Squat
Just as you push your butt back to descend into the squat position, you should be pushing your hips up to ascend out of it. A lot of people will lead with their chest, initially using this to begin ascending out of the squat.
It’s a no-no and asking for injury. it won’t allow you to get any power coming out of the squat position as there will be no power coming from your hips.
An easy way fix this is to concentrate on lifting your lower back first coming out of the squat. Obviously much easier said than done – here’s a quick and effective exercise you can implement in order to correct this:
Lift just your knees and quads of the ground using your lower back. Focus on this muscle wile you are getting out of the squat, once you start to use it, you’ll understand how to leverage it in the squat.
Where Your Eyes Are
An undoubtedly easier error to fix in the squat however an important one to note. Considering that your neck is part of your spine – where you’re looking interrupts the angle of your back coming up and our of the squat.
You’ll notice how I look up – is much different to when I’m looking at an object 4 or 5 feet ahead of me.
Make sure to concentrate on that object 4 to 5 feet ahead of you – put something there if you have to.
The Squat Workout Challenge
This workout program is going to get you sore as shit, but will get you stronger, more muscle, and will burn fat provided you’re eating correctly. It’s summer simple bot don’t mistake that for being easy.
It goes as follows:
- Establish a weight you can squat comfortably at 12 reps.
- Use that 12 rep weight and do 20 reps – DON’T PUT THE BAR DOWN.
- Keep the bar on your back, breathe, take your time, knock out 20 reps. The following week – add 5 to 10 pounds each week until you plateau and cannot continue to go up in weight.
This is great for adding strength, revving your metabolism, and focusing on proper squat form.
I’d recommend working out only one other day during the week, which ever you’d like. You want to give your body proper recovery time. Considering that the weight you’ll be squatting should be heavy – you shouldn’t be able to blast out 20 reps. It should be HARD.
Try it out for 8 weeks.