Barbell back squat vs smith machine squats
Many strength and muscle building experts will say, the barbell back squat is much more effective at building size and strength. They argue free weight squats are a more natural movement and require much more stabilization and balance, which increases its effectiveness. However, the Smith machine is much easier to learn, especially for beginners, which many argue is safer. I contend that it depends upon the person’s build. If one has long legs and a shorter torso, they will have a very difficult time performing a squat correctly in order to get optimum stimulation for strength or growth. In this case and in others, they would benefit greatly from performing smith machine squats. But what does science have to say? Which is better for gaining strength?
Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada compared the free weight squat to the Smith machine using electromyography (EMG). The purpose of their study was to determine which exercise was better at stimulating the prime movers and stabilizers of the legs (e.g., tibialis anterior, gastrocnemius, vastus medialis, vastus lateralis and biceps femoris) and trunk (e.g., lumbar erector spinae and rectus abdominus). Six healthy participants performed 1 set of 8 repetitions using a weight they could lift 8 times, i.e., 8 rep maximum.
Contrary to our hypotheses, muscles of the legs (specifically the vastus medialis and biceps femoris) displayed greater EMG activity during the free weight squat compared to the Smith machine squat, whereas there were no differences between exercises for EMG activity of trunk stabilizers.
Researchers conclude that the free weight squat may be superior to the Smith machine squat for training the major muscle groups of the legs and possibly would result in greater strength development and hypertrophy of these muscle groups with long-term training.
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 23(9), 2588-2591.
Bodybuilding, General training, Legs, Weight training, Xternal Fitness, Xternal Furci
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Just F-in squat
Some say the squat is the king of all leg exercises. They even go as far as saying that if you don?t squat, your chances of building big, strong legs are next to impossible. And there are others who even take it one step further, claiming the squat is the best overall exercise there is period, and no routine should be without one.
Yes, I agree that the squat is unquestionably a very productive exercise in that it works a large number of major muscle groups. More so than any other exercise, however, it is not essential to do the barbell squat in order to get muscular and strong legs. More-over, for some the pain caused by injuries or anatomy makes this exercise very uncomfortable and unproductive. For instance, those who have very long legs and short torsos have trouble doing squats due to bad bio-mechanics. Some people need alternatives, but, for this Exercise of the Month article I focus on how to perform the barbell squat properly and show how to change what muscles are emphasized.
Bodybuilding, General training, Legs, Power lifting, Weight training, Xternal Fitness, Xternal Furci
Tags: bullz-eye.com, dumbbell squats, hack squats, Headlines, high intensity weight training, killer leg workout, leg workout, leg workouts, sissy squats, squat, squat rack, squats, Weight training, weight training exercises, weight training programs, weight training routines, weight training workouts, women weight training, www.bullz-eye.com
Ten simple steps to getting stronger now
Follow these 10 steps by Men?s Fitness.com to gain more strength (and essentially, more muscle).
1.) Own the “big four.”
The squat, deadlift, bench press, and shoulder press are the best strength-building exercises, period. The chinup and row are great moves too, but don’t make them the focus of your workout ? they can be assistance lifts to complement the bench and shoulder press, keeping your pulling muscles in balance with the pressing ones.
2.) Use barbells first.
Forget all the fad equipment. The barbell is king, the dumbbell is queen, and everything else is a court jester ? it may have its place, but it’s not essential. Start your workouts with barbell exercises, such as the “big four,” as described above. Barbells let you load a lot of weight, and lifting heavy is the first step toward getting stronger. Once your heaviest strength exercises are out of the way, you can move on to dumbbell and body-weight training.
4.) Maintain a log.
Write down your exercises, sets, reps, and the fate of each workout. Keep track of your best lifts and the most reps you’ve done with a certain weight on an exercise. Constantly strive to improve those numbers.
7.) Add weights slowly.
The main reason people plateau and stop gaining strength is that they go too heavy for too long. Abandon your ego and do your main lifts using 10% less than the most weight you can lift for the given rep range. Increase the weight each session ? but by no more than 10 pounds ? and stick with the same lifts. You’ll rarely plateau again.
To see the entire list of 10, click here.
A lot of beginners (and veterans of the gym for that matter) like to do a variety of exercises and a variety of different movements in efforts to gain muscle. But as the article notes, keeping it simple is key. Doing compound movements and keeping track of your gains is crucial. After that, everything else is just additional.
Bodybuilding, Exercise, General training, Power lifting, Weight training, Xternal Fitness, Xternal Furci
Tags: bench press, deadlifts, Exercise tips, gain more muscle, gain more strength, gaining strength, shoulder press, squats, tips for gaining strength and muscle, tips to gain strength, ways to gain muscle, ways to gain strength, Workout tips
Some say the squat is the king of all leg exercises. They even go as far as saying that if you don’t squat, your chances of building big, strong legs are next to impossible. And there are others who even take it one step further, claiming the squat is the best overall exercise there is period, and no routine should be without one.
Yes, I agree that the squat is unquestionably a very productive exercise in that it works a large number of major muscle groups. More so than any other exercise, however, it is not essential to do the barbell squat in order to get muscular and strong legs.
I do believe the squat is a very effective mass and strength builder, but for some the pain it causes due to injuries or anatomy makes this exercise very uncomfortable. An example of anatomy getting in the way are those who have very long legs and short torsos. These individuals have a very hard time being successful with this movement due to poor biomechanics. Some people need alternatives. But, if you want to learn how to perform the barbell squat properly and how to change what muscles are emphasized, go here.
Bodybuilding, Legs, Power lifting, Weight training
Tags: compound exercises, exercises for legs, high intensity weight training, how to build bigger hamstrings, how to build bigger legs, how to build bigger quads, how to perform a squat, Powerlifting, squats, Weight training, weight training programs, weight training routines, weight training workouts
The reverse lunge.
The major muscles involved are the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. The knee and hip joints are flexed on the eccentric (downward) portion of the exercise and extended during the concentric (upward) portion. The abdominals and erector spinea are isometrically contracted throughout the exercise for stabilization.
Much more than the squat, this exercise is an excellent choice for athletes. The biggest advantage for athletes and fitness buffs alike is its ability to strengthen and stretch the muscles surrounding the hip joint. The action strengthened by performing this exercise is imperative for sports like basketball, soccer, football, gymnastics, wrestling and fencing.
Read the rest HERE.
Bodybuilding, General training, Legs, Power lifting, Weight training
Tags: athletic performance, dumbbell lunge, Exerise, improving athletic performance, leg training, Legs, lunges, reverse lunge, sport specific training, squats, stabilization, Weight training