I was approached in the gym last week by a guy telling me he was impressed that I was doing what he called “Spartan squats”.
What is a Spartan squat? He was actually referring to the fact that I was squatting without using a pad on the bar like he normally does.
When I asked him why he uses the padding, he said it’s because the bar hurts the bones at the top of his back.
Does this sound familiar to you?
Well here’s what you need to do in order to lose the pad:
1) Notice that if the bar hurts you then it is in the wrong position on your back. In all likeliness you are setting the bar too high up on your shoulders.
2) Now you know where you normally hold the bar you should pinch together your shoulder blades nice and tightly - This will form a natural ridge in the muscles in your upper back. It is here that the bar should be.
3) Adjust the bar so that it settles against your muscles and not against your bones. This may be quite a lot lower down your shoulders and traps than you perhaps previously thought.
4) Keep your shoulders blades pinched together and your head cocked slightly upwards to really lock that bar in position on your back whilst you do the squats.
5) You should find that the pain you previously felt whilst squatting with no pad is no longer there!
So why should you squat without a pad when you are getting on just fine with one on?
1) It does affect your technique and posture whilst doing the movement. Depending on how thick the pad is, you will find it is actually much less secure on your back and you will be using your arms a lot more than you should in order to keep the bar in place, thus using vital energy you could be using to lift more weight.
2) It eventually will limit the amount you can lift! This is because the padding softens the weight and your central nervous system doesn’t sense the full load that you have put onto it, meaning that you are not going to be fully lifting to your potential. This is the same reason why I believe in not wearing gloves when training.
3) Apparently it makes others see you as a Spartan! And that can only be a good thing.
There we go… always educate yourself in the gym and always ask yourself why you are doing something differently to someone else.
Train Hard but Train Smart!
In the meantime, what is your favourite app on iPhone or Android that you use to help you with your fitness goals and training?
Reply directly to this post or private message me and let me know what you think!
Favourite fitness app?
Watch this space…
Just wanted to bring something to your attention. You may or may not have seen a programme on channel 4 recently called “Fat Fighters”.
I have thoroughly enjoyed watching it and have found it really motivational and I believe that there is something there for everyone so click on the link below and have a look for yourself!
(I believe you can only watch this if you’re in the UK due to licencing laws)
Keep up the good work!
ALWAYS DO FULL SQUATS… It’s better on your knees than you may think!
And there was this guy in there who was talking to one of the trainers at the gym and as I was on the cables just next to them I couldn’t help over hearing some of what they were saying…
Now let me just get this out there first:
The guy in question is huge… really muscular with massive arms and traps.
He’s talking with the trainer about how to put weight on: eat red meat, cheese etc and the trainer asks how much he weighs - the guy says “74kg”
SEVENTY FOUR KILOGRAMS!!!
That’s five less than me and I’m looking at him thinking “I’m in decent shape but there is no way you can be lighter than me with those trees hanging from your shoulders”
Then I look down…
This dude has the skinniest legs I have ever seen for someone who clearly puts in some serious training on his upper body. Now the weight difference makes sense.
The moral of the story?
Having the big shoulders and biceps is all well and good but if you don’t train your legs, you ain’t guna get up in to the heavyweights when it comes to being up there with the best.
TRAIN YOUR LEGS - Squat, Deadlift, Lunge. Do whatever you need to do to add some thickness to those legs and don’t look like this guy…
My good friend Pete just drew my attention to this variation of a push-up that increases it’s difficulty by a butt-load!
Now you may have done push-ups with your hands on medicine balls as a challenge to yourself but have you ever tried it with your feet on medicine balls as well?
Check out the link below to see a video of exactly what I mean:
This is an exercise that will challenge your core as well as breathe new life into the most basic of exercises, which is the push-up.
If you are a twittererer then I recommend you go follow Pete @JumpmanRugs11 as he is one of the hardest working people I know when it comes to working towards fitness and sporting goals and is a massive inspiration.
I hope everyone has had a great Christmas!
Train Hard, Train Smart