Monthly Archives: July 2013

How to Squat Properly

The squat is a key functional movement that is essential to building strength and fitness and maintaining overall health.  There are a lot of common misconceptions about the squat that are perpetuated by misinformed media outlets and health and fitness professionals.  You may be familiar with many of these myths, such as, “Squats will damage your knees”, “You’re not supposed to squat beyond 90 degrees/parallel”, or “Squats are bad for your back”.  First, it is important to understand that the full squat is a natural movement that is necessary for everyday life.  The squat movement allows you to get up from a sitting position and also to pick up objects from the ground.  If you’ve ever spent any time observing a young child, it becomes clear that the ability to squat correctly is something that humans are born with, but then forget in the process of becoming older and exchanging natural play for structured sports and activities.

To learn how to execute a proper squat, it is advisable that you first practice air squats, which are squats performed using only your bodyweight.  Follow these steps for a proper squat:

1.)  Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.  The toes should be turned out slightly at about a 15-30 degree angle.  The head and spine should be in a neutral position, with the head lifted and ears over the shoulders, which are pulled back slightly.

2.)  Begin the movement by pushing your hips down and back, as though you are going to sit down in a chair.  Raise the arms and hands out and up as you squat down.  For a challenge, the arms are raised alongside the ears as close as possible.

3.)  As your hips go down and back, maintain the natural curve of your lumbar spine and keep your weight in the heels of the feet.  Do not allow your weight to come forward onto the balls of your feet.

4.)  Do not look down at the ground, but keep your head up and ears in line with the shoulders throughout the squat movement.  Your gaze should be slightly above parallel at all times.

5.)  Keep the torso elongated and the midsection tight as you descend.  The knees should track over the insoles of the feet, but they should not move forward or roll outside of the feet.

6.)  Go down beyond when the thigh is parallel to the ground.  You’ve reached the full squat position when the hip fold is below the knee.  The bottom of the squat should not be a resting position, but your hip flexors and core should be engaged.

7.)  Use the glutes and hamstrings to rise from the squat, following the same route that you took on the way down.  Do not shift forward or move the feet, but focus on putting pressure on the outside of the feet as you push up.

8.)  At the top of the squat, stand tall with the hips and knees extended.

Be sure to include the squat regularly into your training routine for best results!

 


Keep Those Curves Ladies & Work It Out

Katy 1 body defination

When you think of muscle you think of guys, but muscle matters for women too! Muscle = weight loss, All women should be looking to build a bit of muscle, both to look good and lose weight. If you have the basics of building muscle down but simply need a few more pointers to get you along your way, take a look at the following tips from Spotter Katy on advice for women who want to build muscle.

1. Push yourself. While you don’t want to workout too often, when you are working out, you want to make sure you cannot do one more repetition in a set because you are too exhausted. You want it to burn (this feeling is lactic acid stimulating muscle growth), leaving the next set harder to do.

2. With burn comes resistance, and with resistance comes stronger muscles and a more toned look.

3. Harness the big three exercises. The big three exercises when you build muscles include the deadlift, squatting, and the bench press. They should always be included in your workout plan in some fashion as they build strength.

4. Workout a few times a week. You should workout at a minimum of 3 times a week – that should provide more than enough exercise required by your body to build muscles. If you’re more advanced at lifting weights and have done it for a while, you have the ability to attempt maybe one or two more sessions a week – alternatively, if you’re new, start with 2 a week. If you haven’t got a workout, follow our site for workout ideas.

5. Keep it balanced, but limited. You want to focus on both cardiovascular workouts like running and biking while you try to build muscles. However, if you never want to do both extremes at once – for example, training to run a marathon while still lifting 5 times a week. It is great to mix cardio and strength training, but just don’t push each to the max at the same time.

6. Eat well (www.thepaleonurse.com).  The importance of nutrition in the fitness equation cannot be overstated.  Adopt a whole food, nutrient-dense diet that excludes all processed foods.

7. Measure body fat, not weight. If you are participating in a diet and weight loss regime and perform strength training, be sure to measure body fat – not your weight. If you’re actually gaining muscle, you will be gaining weight (pounds on the scale), even if you’re losing fat in other places on your body. Remember, weight does not equal size – it’s about how you look in the mirror, not how much you weigh!

8.  Consume healthy carbohydrates.  Instead of processed carbohydrates and grains, opt for starchy vegetables, such as sweet potatoes and squash.  Include some fruit in your diet as well.

9. Consume protein before and after workouts. Consume about 10 to 20 grams of protein less than an hour before training to help increase the muscle-building effect of training.

10. Shoot for the stars, but it might take a while. It takes a long time to send a rocket shuttle into space and to complete a mission at NASA — this analogy applies to your weight building efforts. You need to make sure to set systematic, reasonable goals for your muscle building program that you can track, progress, and meet overtime. It also needs to be said that genetic plays a role in building muscles – if your body wasn’t designed for a large frame, it’ll be harder to achieve.

Spotters, the bottom line, however, is that if you keep training you will lose weight, and you will also gain muscle and strength. It’s time for the women to get in the gym and start training with weights! Girl Power all the way Spice up your life!

If you need any advice about training with weights or muscle building for women email us toughspotgym@gmail.com  and we will answer you.


A Higher Calling

Talk around the water cooler seems to have shown that there could be the possibility to forge stronger, faster, and more enduring Tough Spotter Athletes through the use of hypoxia training. Tough Spotters always  obtain new techniques and training repertoires, mixing old & new & old & new again, one technique seems to be pushing out seemingly positive results at The Tough Spot Gym tadddaaaaa-”Elevation training”. Elevation training is a technique that was preeminently talked about in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. It was proposed that athletes in areas at higher altitudes, due to the lack of oxygen rich air, would have the competitive edge over others due to their abilities to more efficiently use the oxygen provided to them. Research has said that when an athlete is constantly exposed to this oxygen deprived atmosphere, their bodies would adapt in such a way to produce blood cells, hemoglobin, and hemocrit (oxygen carrying components). The lack of oxygen in high altitude areas also pushes the lungs to work harder therefore making them stronger allowing the athlete/person to draw in more air; more oxygen.


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