August, 2012 | Critical Bench

Your Muscle & Strength Authority Site Since 1999

How To Assess Your Squat

Guest Post By Rick Kaselj Creator of Muscle Imbalances Revealed

There is a good chance you have been doing the squat wrong for a long time.  The squat builds leg strength and shape but also it is important in saving those knees.  You want those knees to be happy so you can keep lifting for a long time.

Lets test to see if you are doing the squat all wrong.

Do this Test to See If You Are Getting the Most Out of Your Squat

Look in the mirror or have someone look at your squat.

Perform a bodyweight squat.

Look to see how far down your hips go.

Do your hips stay above your knees or do they dip down past your knees?

If your hips do not dip past your knees, you are not getting the most out of your squat and you are not helping strengthening knees and hips in order to protect your knees.

Lets chat about why letting your hips pass your knees is important.

Knee and Hip Strength Through Full Range

You want to build strengthen around the knee and hip through full range of motion.  If you are stopping, just above the knees, you are not building full strength in the hips and knees which leaves the knees exposed to injury when the hips pass the knees.  The hips pass the knees often when you are doing day to day things and working.

If you let the hips pass the knees, you strengthen the knees over a larger range of motion plus you work the hamstrings, hip flexors and gluteus maximus which all help in decreasing the stress on the knees and keeping the knees happy.

Testing Out the Squat to See if It will Help You

You can test out what I am talking about.

With your non-dominant hand, grab something very stable like a squat rack or door frame.  Lean back and move into a squat position.

With your dominant hand feel the muscles around your knee and hip area.

Do a few repetitions of the squat and make sure to see what is happening with your quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors and gluteus maximus.

Perform the squat to different heights.

Try a half squat.

Try a squat with your hips above your knees.

Try a squat with your knees in line with your hips.

Try a squat with your hips below your knees.

What happened to your knee and hip muscles at different depths?

Did you feel an increase in activation of the quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors and gluteus maximus when hips pass your knee?

If yes, keep reading on.

What Can You Do About it?

You have done the assessment, now it is time to do a few exercises that will help out.

Finger Squat

A finger squat is a bodyweight squat that will help you build strength around the knee and hip during greater range of motion.

Start in a squat foot position and place your palms together, in front of you.  Keep your arms straight and squat down to a point in which your fingers touch the ground while looking straight ahead.  When you touch the ground, return back to the starting position.

Performing the finger squat will force you to dip your hips below your knees so you strengthening at a greater range of motion of your knees and your hips.

You can do this as a warm-up to your leg program or you can do this at the end of your leg program as a recovery.

Front Squat Hip Dip

Adding a twist to the front bar squat.  For your first set, start off with a warm-up weight.  Perform the front squat and work on dipping those hips past knees on the bottom position.  I am not saying bring your seat to your heels, just dip them past.  You will feel how the squat changes when you do this.

Doing this with the front squat, based on where the bar is, it allows you to lean back more and activate your gluteus maximus muscles which is important for hip health but also knee health.

Wrapping Up

Test out your squat to see if you are going deep enough.  If you are not going deep enough, you are not strengthening your knees in order to prevent injuries and you are not strengthening the hips in order to keep them strong and decrease the strain on your knees.

Make sure to test out your squat depth and give the finger squat and front squat hip dip a go to help improve your squat depth in order to make your knees happy for the long haul.

Hears to getting strong and to happy knees.

Rick Kaselj, MS

 

Are You A Fitness Professional That Needs To Earn CECs and CEUs?
Take Rick’s Home Study Course “Muscle Imbalances Revealed – Assessment & Exercise”

Muscle Imbalances Revealed Review

by Mike Westerdal

The word ‘balance’ generally refers to an even distribution of weight or a state of equilibrium. Balance is something that most of us strive to achieve every day of our lives, in just about every aspect of our lives—especially when it comes to weight training and maintaining the health of our bodies. In contrast to balance, ‘imbalance’ is a state of being out of proportion or equilibrium. At the very least, being in a state of imbalance is frustrating and distracting.

In terms of strength training, the term imbalance is often used to refer to a muscle or body part that it is not functioning as well as it should be. When an injury occurs or a system is not working properly, it places the body into a state of imbalance because it is no longer in a state of equilibrium.

For example, a torn rotator cuff in the shoulder results in a state of imbalance because the injury inhibits you from performing many of the exercises and movements you would normally be performing.

For many of us, one of the biggest difficulties of being in a state of imbalance is identifying the cause or condition that placed us there in the first place. In other words, we know that we’re in a state of imbalance but we’re not entirely sure what happened to cause the condition of imbalance. And if you don’t know exactly what the problem is, there is no way you can figure out how to treat it.

This is precisely the reason Muscle Imbalances Revealed: Assessment and Exercise was developed. MIRA was developed by four well-known fitness pros—Nick Rosencutter, Anthony Mychal, John Izzo and Rick Kaselj—who say that the program offers a “complete guide of assessments and exercises to help pin point problems and fix dysfunction in order to bust through fitness plateaus and get faster results.

Unlike most programs, MIRA takes a different approach in that it is almost entirely presented in a series of 12 video presentations that can either be streamed or downloaded for later viewing.

The overall MIRA program blends proper training and proper soft tissue work to enhance the speed at which people recover from injuries.

The first video is entitled Muscle Imbalances and the Performance Client: Assessments and Exercise Progressions to Improve Performance and Prevent Injury. This first one—as well as the next two—is narrated by Nick. The first part of the video is focused on helping you assess your body and uncover the root of the problem that you may be facing.

He does an excellent job of walking you through the assessment process, teaching you how to understand the difference between various symptoms, which allows you to then determine the correct underlying cause. Next, he gets into the actual assessments that he uses to pinpoint problems. The ‘Thomas Test’ is one assessment that he uses. He provides step-by-step instructions that show exactly what you need to do to perform the assessment. Afterwards, he moves on to the exercises you can do to address the problem.

Assessment and Exercise for Athleticism is the title of the next video set. This one is narrated by Anthony Mychal. In this video, Anthony focuses on identifying and eliminating muscular imbalances that inhibit overall athleticism. The following presentation is headed up by John Izzo and is entitled Assessment and Exercise for Personal Training. John’s presentation focuses on Assessments for Optimal Health. This presentation is primarily geared towards personal trainers. Its purpose is to help them to help their clients to achieve their personal fitness goals.

Rick takes the lead in the next video presentation, which is called Assessment and Exercise for Injury Rehabilitation. This one of course emphasizes assessments to identify injuries, followed by exercises and movements to alleviate the problems. One presentation is focused on knee injuries and another targets the back.

The rest of the videos are very similar with each of the guys narrating the presentations that cover his particular areas of expertise. All of the presentations follow the same basic format, beginning with an introduction before moving on to the assessments and then the exercises. Each video includes a handy PDF outline that covers major points of the presentation. These are great for taking notes and following along.

Be forewarned though—MIRA is not for everyone. The program is really designed for persons who already have a working knowledge of the body and muscular systems.

MIRA is not set-up for the casual workout enthusiast. Overall, I think MIRA would be a wise investment for someone who is looking to improve his skills. The all-video presentation style could be a little cumbersome for some people but the quality of the program makes it well worthwhile.

Overall It’s A Great Home Study Course That Will Give You A Huge Competitive Advantage In Your Field While Providing Better Results For Your Clients

Muscle Imbalances Revealed – Assessment & Exercise

A few people asked if they could get a look into Assessment & Exercise, here are 6 clips from A&E, enjoy.

Before I get to the clips from Assessment & Exercise, John Izzo shares with you what he goes through in his presentation:

 

 

Component #1 – Assessment & Exercise for Performance with Nick Rosencutter / Length – 1:27:03

 

 

Component #2 – Assessment & Exercise for Athleticism with Anthony Mychal / Length – 1:35:01

 

 

 

Component #3 – Assessment and Exercise for Personal Training with John Izzo / Length – 1:10:14

 

 

 

Component #4 – Assessment and Exercise for Knee Injury Recovery with Rick Kaselj / Length – 40:29

 

Plus there is:

  • The VIP coaching call which we will be setting up
  • You can earn Continuing Education Credits (CECs or CEUs)
  • Additional presentation that I am going to do on Assessment & Exercise for Back Injury Recovery

Discover the Secret Assessment and Exercises to Help Bust Through Fitness Plateaus, Get Faster Results, Rapidly Recover from Injuries and Improve Performance Without Ever Leaving the Comfort of Your Own Home!
http://criticalbench.com/goto/MuscleImbalances 

Stage Ready Nutrition and Training Review

August 2, 2012 by  
Filed under Recent Posts, Reviews

Reviewed by Mike Westerdal

Preparation for a physique competition or a fitness photo session takes a special degree of commitment and effort that goes above and beyond the ordinary. Whether you’re up on a stage or in front of a lens your body needs to be as close to perfect as possible because even the slightest flaw will be magnified ten-fold and can mean the difference between success and failure.

Long-time fitness pro and natural bodybuilding expert Brian Cannone knows this fact well. Through his more than 20 years in the industry he’s developed a keen understanding of the subtle nuances in nutrition and training that shed fat, build lean muscle and result in a stage-perfect or photography-ready lean, muscular physique. Brian shares his secrets with us in his Stage Ready Nutrition and Training Guide. Let’s check it out see what Brian has to say.

For the majority of men, it can be an immense struggle just to get your body fat levels into the single digits. Most of us would be thrilled to achieve a body fat percentage of 8 or 9 percent. While that may be great for the average guy, if you’re considering getting in front of a camera or up on stage, that just won’t do. In fact, if you want to model or compete, you’ll need to target getting your body fat percentage down to between 2 to 6 percent.

If you’ve set your sights on this lofty goal, then Stage Ready Nutrition and Training might be just want you need. Brian has laid out a step-by-step plan that will guide you along the proper path to success. The 95-page book is divided into eight chapters, each of which covers a different aspect of the process.

Chapter one is focused on both mental preparation and planning. You might be tempted to skip this chapter but don’t, because it’s probably one of the most valuable parts of the book.  Being in the proper frame of mind is absolutely critical to achieving success in any endeavor—even more so when you’re goals take you far above and beyond the ordinary. Second, without proper planning you’re most likely going to fail. After all, if you don’t know what your destination is, how can you get there?

In the next chapter Brian covers the scientific basics behind fat loss. He says that the purpose here is to provide you with a detailed and accurate assessment of where you are at any given moment a simple way to instantly measure your progress at any time. This feedback/guidance system uses body fat analysis, a strength assessment and a fat-burning zone assessment to help you track your progress.

Chapter three is focused on getting super lean and shredded in as little time as possible. The most important rule here is to maintain a negative calorie balance in order to push your metabolism to use stored fat for energy. Everything in this chapter is built on this core principle and is designed to ramp up the capability of your metabolism to burn stored fat. Individual sections cover daily caloric intake, increasing your activity levels and proper supplementation.

In the following chapter, Brian shares his no-fail way to get the best results from your nutrition program. This is an excellent chapter because it shows you how to take the guess work out of the nutrition component of the fat-burning equation. The information here is invaluable to say the least because miscalculating the proper negative calorie target for you could mean the loss of valuable muscle mass or it could add weeks, or even months, to your timeline.

Chapters five and six or also focused on nutrition and metabolism. There is good information about maintenance calories and Brian includes some handy tables so you can do your own calculations. Afterwards, he moves on to discussions regarding protein, carbohydrate and fat intake, along with information about macronutrients. The chapter also includes a food guide and a sample meal plan.

Next, the guide moves into the training aspect of preparing for the stage or camera. Brian’s approach is a four-phase plan that is designed to transform your physique so that it’s stage-ready. The first three phases last three weeks each, with the final phase being the recovery component. The final chapter of the book will tell you everything you need to know about supplements that can help you achieve your goals.

Although Stage Ready Nutrition and Training Guide is designed for those persons with the very specific goal of preparing for a competition or career in front of the camera, it can still appeal to anyone that wants the look like they compete whether or not they actually do.  Just because you look like a high level bodybuilder or model does not mean that you have to compete.  It’s cool to know that you could if you wanted to though.

Click Here For 6 Insider Shortcuts To Getting A Stage Ready Body