How to Do Squats Correctly – 3 Myth’s About Squatting

If you’re looking for the most physique-changing exercise in existence, you would arguably be looking at the squat.

The squat builds lean muscle on your upper and lower body, burns fat and cranks your metabolism up to that which resembles a champion race horse!

But how to do squats correctly? With all of the benefits squats bring, it’s still interesting to see the massive variety of techniques people use when performing squats. Most of them invalid and/or potentially dangerous! (If squats are even included at all! Don’t get me started..Just do yourself a favour, get serious and include squats into your routine!)

It’s not just limited to trainee’s in the gym – Most qualified trainers are also providing gym users with incorrect and outdated information when it comes teaching their clients how to squat correctly!

Today I want to look at 3 myths which surround squat technique and correct them for you so that you are not only squatting correctly, but effectively for maximum results!

How to Do Squats Myth Number 1 – “Your Knee’s Are Not Allowed to Travel Past Your Toes”

I want you to look at your knee’s the next time you’re walking up a flight of stairs..Take a look at your knee when you step up on a kerb..Maybe take a look down when you next get up off of your chair.

You’ll very likely see that your knee’s travel slightly past your toes – This happens naturally and is FUNCTIONAL!

But what’s the first thing most trainers tell you when squatting?

“Don’t let your knee’s go past your toes!”

Although their safety is your priority, they are potentially making the exercise far more dangerous for you – How?

Well if your knee’s aren’t travelling slightly past your toes, you’ll need to lean forwards at the hips. This increases the pressure on your lower back by up to 300%!! Now imagine this with a 100kg barbell on your back..What about 140kg? 180kg (400lbs)? You’re asking for trouble – Once your lower back goes, you’re out of the gym. There are no work-arounds. The bottom line – Protect your lower back at all costs!

You’re also using your glutes for the movement predominantly when you don’t allow your knee’s to travel past your toes. Allowing your knee’s to travel slightly forwards will allow your quads to fire into the movement too.

“Won’t this hurt my knee’s?” – Ok, you are adding around 60% more pressure on your knee’s when using this technique – However, 60% more pressure on the knee’s VS 300% on the back is a much better compromise, trust me. Your knee’s will be able to handle the weight but everybody’s threshold will be different. I started using knee-wraps when I started squatting above 140kg (315lbs), Just as a preventative measure. My knees feel absolutely fine! If you’re worried about your knee’s, then wrap them up from the very start and don’t squat too deep.

How to do squats correctlySo what should the squat look like? Very simply, at the bottom of the movement your shins and upper body should be parallel with each other (like in the picture to the right – By the way, I’m wearing totally the wrong footwear here as I just decided to film impromptu that day – Your footwear should be flat i.e. converse or even bare feet).

Remember, we are only talking about your knees travelling VERY SLIGHTLY past your toes to make the movement more natural! DON’T make the movement dangerous by taking your knee’s or your back too far forward!

Do this and you’ll find your strength will SHOOT through the roof, you’ll see changes in your body and alleviate any lower back pain associated with squats! This is the number 1 tip you can take home if you want to know how to do squats correctly

MYTH NUMBER 2 – “Put All of Your Weight into Your Heels”

This one might surprise many of you but don’t misunderstand me – I’m not telling you to come up on your toes either, that’s asking for trouble and will likely be a result of your knee’s travelling too far forward or tight calf muscles.

What I am saying though is to push your weight evenly through the heel and the balls of your feet to ensure all of your muscles are firing properly and to maintain the technique I just recommended in Myth Number 1.

If you put all of your weight into your heels, your technique will most likely be back to where your knee’s don’t move past your toes and your back leans too far forward. This is another mistake nearly all personal trainers use to teach their clients how to do squats. The next time you squat, get a feel for how the pressure is distributed in your feet and keep it even.

MYTH NUMBER 3 – “Don’t Squat Deeper Than 90 Degree’s”

Another thing trainers teach incorrectly in my opinion is the depth of a squat – This advice goes hand-in-hand with MYTH NUMBER 1 – If your knee’s don’t travel slightly past your toes it becomes very hard to squat deeper than 90 degree’s..and if you can get deeper than 90 using that incorrect technique, I don’t even want to imagine what your lumbar spine is going through!

I don’t have a particular angle that you should aim for – It is all relative to your experience, flexibility, strength, current condition etc etc. There are too many variables for a one size fits all recommendation in this area.

I’ve seen people do squats “Ass-to-Grass” without a problem and I’ve seen some people who have unrelated knee injuries and are worried who stick to 90 degrees. I’ve also seen people “Squatting” (I put it in quotes because I don’t consider these fairy movements as “Squats”!) at about 45 degree’s. These people usually have an ego problem and stick lots of weight on to sacrifice the effectiveness of the movement and their form. You should be squatting deeper – end of! (unless you’re training for speed but that’s a different subject altogether)

I go slightly below a 90 degree angle but with increased flexibility in my calf’s I could squat deeper. Everybody will have their reasons as to why they squat the depth that they do but you should be squatting until you have at least a 90 degree angle in your knee’s or yo hamstrings are parallel to the floor if your goal is to build muscle or burn fat.

If you can’t achieve this with the technique I’ve explained then you may have tight or weak muscles in certain area’s. A common reason people can’t squat too deep is having tight calf’s. If you have tight calfs you’ll find that your heels come off of the ground as you go deeper into your squat. Be sure to stretch them out as often and for as long as you can. (this is a big problem in females who wear heels a lot as their calf’s are consistently in a contracted and shortened state – Be sure to have a nice, long calf stretch after a period of wearing heels)

There you have it – With these 3 myths busted, you should find your squat becoming stronger, safer and far more effective! Perform them incorrectly and squats can become your enemy – Perform the squat with correct technique and squats are the bestest friend you’ll ever have when you look at your new body staring back at you in the mirror!

 

Other Tips That Will Help With Proper Squat Technique

  •  Make sure that you are wearing flat footwear or bare feet (I prefer the ankle support of footwear)
  • Use a spotter if you are going heavy
  • Make sure that you knee’s travel in line with your toes
  • Your knee’s should not bow in or widen out when you squat. If they are, you need to strengthen/stretch the effected muscles.
  • Control and slowly lower yourself into the squat but explode up faster on the positive portion of the movement.
  • A belt is optional – I find them irritating and my core seems to be strong enough to handle the weights I’m moving at the moment.
  • Knee wraps are a neccesity in my opinion – Even if your knee’s don’t hurt, it’s better to have the wraps there and not need them, than to need them and not have them there. Squats should be an exercise where you lift the heaviest and challenge yourself (once form is correct) so the protection helps.
  • Have your toes pointing slightly out when you squat – Between 15 to 30 degrees out is a good angle. Make sure your knees follow the same line that your toes are pointing in.

A great program that utilises big movements like squats, deadlifts etc to build insane amounts of muscle is Jason Ferrugia’s Muscle Building Secrets below :
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Be sure to leave your comments below! and don’t forget to check out my FREE Transformation Workout Program HERE if you haven’t downloaded it already.

Homemade Weight Gainer – 4 Issues About Conventional Weight Gainers and How to Make Your Own

The inspiration for my post today about how to make a homemade weight gainer is the fact that over the past few years of being in the fitness industry, I’ve had clients and trainee’s comment to me on multiple occasions “I’m thinking of taking Weight Gainer X, Y or Z because my friend took it 3 times a day and he BLEW UP!”.

I just had somebody tell me this again a couple of weeks ago which reminded me again of some issues I have with a statement like that!

Issue Number 1 – “He Blew Up!”

Sure, I bet your friend blew up after taking a big brand-name weight gainer 3 times a day! Have you seen the amount of calories in those things??

Most weight gainers commonly contain 500 – 1500 poor quality calories per serving…now multiply that amount by 3 and you have anywhere from 1500 – 4500 extra calories a day! Not including your food.

I don’t care who you are, having that many extra calories per day you’ll certainly blow up – but if you think it’s all going to be quality weight you’re gonna be disappointed! You’re almost sure to put on a lot of unnecessary fat mass along with your muscle gains which you’ll have to spend extra time cutting off of your physique at a later date! Not fun.

 

Issue Number 2 – There is no such Weight Gainer that is Suitable For Different Times of the Day.

Another reason you’ll probably gain a lot of unnecessary fat from the weight gainers at the supplement store is that there is no such weight gainer out that is suitable for your nutritional requirements at different times of the day. So taking them 3 times a day is a terrible idea!

You’ll probably know that for breakfast it’s good practice to get a shake that contains whey protein and slow-release carbs (such as porridge oats) to start your day off with some steady energy.

After a workout, you’ll need a shake with fast-release carbs and fast acting whey protein to spike your insulin levels to quickly shuttle those nutrients to your damaged muscles and have them recovering pronto!

Just before hitting the sack, you’ll want a nice slow-releasing protein such as Casein to nourish your muscles with protein as you sleep for 7-8 hours (hopefully!) – To delay the protein further I even add a few essential fatty acids such as omega seeds (hemp, linseeds, pumpkin seeds etc) or even olive oil. (Yeah, I’m hardcore like that!)

As you can see, the ingredients needed for your shakes at different times of the day are TOTALLY different. It’s not a simple case of “taking a weight gainer 3 times a day”

Most weight gainers are only suitable for 1 time of the day – it’s impossible for them to be suitable for all times of the day.

Issue Number 3 – Quality of Ingredients in Weight Gainers

Most weight gainers are full to the brim with cheap sugars which aren’t necessarily a bad thing to consume post-workout, but taking these sugars in at different times of the day is asking for trouble if you want to stay fairly lean. Don’t be fooled by any weird trademarked names in the ingredients either like “Super Multivariable Nutriplexocollosus complex” which are sometimes used to mask a group of crappy ingredients..or make a bunch of standard ingredients seem better than they are.

Issue Number 4 – Cost of Weight Gainers

Weight Gainers are probably the lowest value for money supplements you can get and this ties in directly to what we mentioned above – The cheap ingredients. Not to mention, can you imagine how many tubs you would go through if you used the “3 times a day” protocol?? Those tubs commonly have a miniscule 10 servings or so because of the amount of calories per serving! That’ll get expensive reaaal fast..

If you bought these ingredients on their own the benefits would be two-fold – Firstly, you get to use the optimal ingredients for the time of day. Secondly, you get to save a ton of your hard-earned money! Building muscle is a pretty expensive game in the first place..don’t make it more so by wasting money on useless supplements!

The Solution – Homemade Weight Gainer

Obviously, your boy Altug is here with the hook-up to make sure you get the right ingredients down you at the right time…and save you some serious dough!

The ingredients you need to buy are :-

 

  • A sack or tub of Maltodextrin or Dextrose (fast-release carbs)
  • A sack of Instant Porridge Oats (Oats ground down to a fine powder – Perfect for shakes!)
  • A sack of Whey Protein (isolate or concentrate is fine)
  • A tub or sack of Casein
  • A few packets of Omega Seeds or oils (Mix of Linseeds, Hemp seeds, Pumpkin etc)

If you buy these ingredients in bulk, they’re extremely cheap! Especially if you stay away from the big brands who have a big marketing budget to sucker you in..without necessarily having better ingredients! I personally buy my stuff from MyProtein.co.uk but I’m from the U.K so for my U.S. readers I’d recommend checking out Bodybuilding.com or N101.com for this stuff – These ingredients will last you for a very long time!

Different Homemade Weight Gainer for Different Times of the Day

You can play with some of the measurements of the ingredients depending on your lean weight :

Homemade Weight Gainer for Breakfast

  • 60 grams of Instant Porridge Oats
  • 35 grams of Whey Protein
  • Water
  • (optional) Semi-Skimmed/Skimmed Milk
  • (optional) Omega Seeds crushed or sprinkled in
  • (optional) Tablespoon of All-Natural Peanut Butter
  • (optional) Banana/other fruits

Notes : The goal here is to get a quality blend of protein and carbs first thing in the morning to get your energy levels up (but keep them steady) and some protein to your muscles after you’ve been fasting for 7-8 hours. Some quality fats can be added too if you need the extra calories.

 

Homemade Weight Gainer for Post-Workout

  • 40 Grams of Whey Protein
  • 50-70 Grams of Dextrose/Maltodextrin
  • (optional) 10 grams of BCAA’s
  • (optional) 5-10 grams of Creatine

Notes : The simple goal here = Recovery! Your body is in a musle breakdown state and you want to switch it into a muscle building state asap! You do this by getting in some fast-acting sugars and protein – That’ll flip the muscle building switch in no time.

 

Before-Bed HomeMade Weight Gainer

  • 30 Grams of Casein Protein
  • (optional) Teaspoon of Olive oil/Omega Seeds

 

Notes : You want a slow-release protein like Casein here as you wind down and get ready for bed. Your muscles will not be fed for at least 7-8 hours so it’s about doing the best you can while you’re asleep. The optional fat slows absorption even further.

So there you have it. Stop wasting your money on poor quality branded weight gainers and make them yourself at home. Your wallet and your physique will benefit for it!

Leave your comments below – What are your favourite ingredients to stick in a shake?

Altug

 

Doggcrapp Training – A New Way to Build Muscle With Rest-Pause Training

Before publishing this post, I want to first credit the person from whom I first read about this strangely named Doggcrapp Training method many years ago. I’m not sure if it is his real name or an online moniker that he uses but he is a bodybuilder that goes by the name of Dante.

Although I’ve modified the program to suit my needs it was still his original theory that got my wheels turning about this method of training so I want to give credit where credit is due.

Ok, now on to the method with perhaps the most outlandish name .

What Have I Personally Achieved With the Doggcrapp Method?

10 week muscle building transformation finalIf you’ve seen my 11 week transformation, I used the doggcrapp training method in the last 5-6 weeks of my training. The first week, against my better judgement I experimented with an extreme 6 day volume training method which was very similar to Arnold Schwarzeneggers workout. I would NOT recommend a beginner to do that..Only go for it if you’re advanced in your weight lifting career but even then I feel that you may be being inefficient with your time.

I had the time on my hands being in Cyprus with nothing to do but see family, train and keep up with my online endeavours so that is why I gave the 6 day volume protocol a shot.

I quickly plateau’d and realised real fast that I was overtraining when I went to stay with my cousins in their village with no gym for the weekend – Over this weekend I started growing and looking fuller. So after week 5-6, after seeing some results with the volume training I went back to what has worked well for me in the past (and still what I personally believe to be one of the best ways to train for people who aren’t genetically gifted and don’t have the time to be in the gym 6 days a week for 2 hours at a time) and that is a form of H.I.T training. (High Intensity Training) called the Doggcrapp method.

 

IMPORTANT : Something I always see most people failing to do is change their training protocol as often as every 4-6 weeks as the body adapts to training stimulus REAL fast. Do you ever notice people doing the same thing for months and even years? Do they look much different? Nah!

What is The Theory Behind the Doggcrapp Training Method?

Ultimately, if I had to explain the doggcrapp method to you in one line it would be this – To achieve as many growth periods as possible for your muscles.

This method achieves this by splitting your training into two days :-

DAY 1 : for chest, shoulders, triceps, back width and back thickness. Then a 2nd day for Quads, hamstrings, calves, biceps, forearms and abs.

DAY 2 : for Quads, hamstrings, calves, biceps, forearms and abs.

You will be doing only ONE all-out working set for each bodypart with a “rest-pause” at the end of the set for the majority of exercises.

REST-PAUSE : After your working set is over (10-15 reps) you will put the weight back, take 15 deep breaths and then attempt a further 2-4 reps of the exercise. This is your first “rest pause” set.

When you’ve done this, repeat the 15 deep breaths and attempt another 1 or 2 reps of the exercise. This is your 2nd “rest-pause” set. Your working set is complete!

You then perform an extreme stretch on the muscle worked to stretch the fascia surrounding the muscle to allow for more muscle growth. (I talk about this kind of stretching in my post about Extreme Fascia Stretching)

The theory is that every week you will keep getting stronger either by adding an extra rep or adding some extra weight and hitting the same number of reps for each exercise

You will have 3 different versions of each of the 2 workout days – (6 workouts in total). While the bodyparts you train will remain the same, the exercises will change.

For example : On Day 1, your chest exercise will be Bench Press. When you do the Day 1 workout next time round, the chest exercise will be Incline Dumbell Press. Same for every bodypart. Create yourself 3 different versions of both days.

You rotate the two workout days 3 to 5x a week. For example here’s a 10-day schedule that might make more sense :-

 

Monday – Workout Day 1a

Tuesday – Workout Day 2a

Wednesday – Rest

Thursday – Workout Day 1b

Friday – Workout Day 2b

Saturday – Rest

Sunday – Workout Day 1c

Monday – Workout Day 2c

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday – Back to workout Day 1a (where you should be stronger on each exercise)

Which means you train each bodypart twice in 4-5 days..This also means 2 growth periods for your muscles in 4-5 days. You’ll see the advantage of this when I explain volume training below.

It’s pretty damn intense when you get back round to the same workout you did the week before because with Doggcrapp training, if you performed the same weight and the same amount of reps or less than the last time you did this exercise, you MUST change the exercise for next time! It’s very do or die, which I love..YOU MUST PROGRESS!

Example : If you’ve done a 200lbs bench press for 10 reps over two consecutive workouts, you MUST change the bench press to a different chest exercise the next time you do this workout. (because you’ve stopped progressing – You should have got 11 reps this week!).

 

Doggcrapp Training vs Volume Training – The Advantage

Most people who use the traditional volume training method usually split their bodyparts up into one or two parts at a time. Then they absolutely flatten their muscles with as many sets and exercises as possible for that one bodypart.

This has never sat well with me ever since I picked up my first set of weights. I could never achieve the same intensity set after set after set..I had one, maybe two intense sets in me at best! Then I’d get considerably weaker on that bodypart.

NOTE : I’m not saying volume training is invalid! The only thing that is invalid is thinking that there is only one way to train. The correct way to train is to change your workouts regularly so that your body doesn’t adapt. Somebody who says that they know the BEST way to train are LYING! I’ve used both of these methods with success.

 

It takes about 7 days normally for volume training advocates to get back to the same bodypart again. Even if their muscle has recovered sooner than the 7th day, it usually doesn’t matter because volume trainee’s usually have a 4 or 5 day bodypart split! So just as an example of what a typical volume trainers week might look like if they trained Legs on Monday :

 

Monday : Legs

Tuesday : Chest

Wednesday : Off

Thursday : Back

Friday : Shoulders

Saturday Off

Sunday : Bi’s and Tri’s

 

By the time they get back to training any bodypart, a week has gone by…Meaning only ONE growth period a week

Now, what Doggcrapp training advocates is that you want AS MANY GROWTH PERIODS AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE to grow muscle at the fastest rate possible.

Shouldn’t this be any muscle builders mission?

But Haven’t Bodybuilders Been Using Volume Training For Generations?

Maybe but you need to ask yourself a few questions.

Do professional bodybuilders take steroids which greatly enhances their recovery ability? Yes

Do professional bodybuilders all have insane genetics whereby WHATEVER program they’re likely to do they’ll see results? Yes

Do the magazines where you see these insane volume training programs have a million pages of supplement adverts? Yes

Have all the great bodybuilders that ever lived trained with volume? NO!

Mike Mentzer used HIT training and he was huge..also one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time, Dorian Yates was a strong H.I.T training advocate.

Recently, number one fitness and muscle model Rob Riches has also mentioned how he uses Rest-Pause training with great results.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, although trained with volume, was actually on the right track. He trained with maximum growth periods in mind. He trained each bodypart 3 times a week but with the most insane of volume. His sessions had to have lasted at least 2 hours which is what we don’t want. Bare in mind again that professional bodybuilders are all on steroids which means their recovery ability is FAR greater than yours.

Another great bodybuilder to look at also is recent 8 time Mr Olympia Ronnie Coleman. Watch his training DVD’s and you’ll see that although his training method appears to be volume training, he only actually does ONE WORKING SET at his heaviest weight. (Pyramid Training)

I brought up bodybuilding magazines because they sometimes make out that the bodybuilders routines in there are far more volumous than they actually are. This is for 2 reasons.

 

1) To make the bodybuilder larger than life and have that “superhuman” like status

2) So that YOU copy that same workout and when it doesn’t work they just sell you the supplements they advertise as a fix! When really it’s their insane routine that is to blame. Criminal but true!

 

Bottom line – Do not copy bodybuilders magazine workouts. You are NOT a bodybuilder so you shouldn’t train like them. (and most do not even train like that anyway).

Well, I took the DC method and tweaked it very slightly to my needs. Here is my doggcrapp workout for the last 5 weeks that I was in Cyprus! Enjoy.

Before you start, you should ALWAYS have a spotter around if you’re utilising the DC method. During your 2nd and 3rd rest pause you’ll be very fatigued and it wouldn’t be completely safe for you to bench press, for example, on your own at this point.

If you’re new to muscle building DO NOT TRY THIS WORKOUT YET. You don’t fully understand what the correct intensity feels like yet and you’ll likely injure yourself following this method.

  • Always use 2-4 Warm-up sets before your 1 working set to avoid injury
  • For your working set, use a weight that is around 80% of your 1 rep max. Or in simple terms, choose a weight that you can perform 10-12 reps with before your muscles fail to lift the weight for another rep.
  • The Aim : To progress every single week on every exercise. Example – If you did the bench press at 100lbs for 10 reps on Week 1, on Week 2 you must get at least 11 reps on the same weight. When you can get over 12 reps on an exercise, you can add a small amount of weight the next week. (Those little 2.5lbs doughnuts are your friends!)

Here’s a 10 day example schedule which might illustrate my point better :

Monday – Workout Day 1a

Tuesday – Workout Day 2a

Wednesday – Rest

Thursday – Workout Day 1b

Friday – Workout Day 2b

Saturday – Rest

Sunday – Workout Day 1c

Monday – Workout Day 2c

Tuesday – Rest

You can download my FULL Transformation Workout including diet and theory by popping your email in the box below this post and I’ll send you the 39 page report for FREE! I hope you enjoyed this post and my report get’s you closer to your goal!

Altug

My Transformations and How I Achieved Them

On this page, you’ll see all of my muscle building and fat loss transformations as well as how I achieved them so that you can transform yourself too! You’ll see that it’s not exactly the rocket science that so-called “guru’s of fitness” make it out to be.

I don’t intend to do many more of these transformations as from now onwards I fully intend to stay in shape all year round and I recommend that you do the same once you have transformed your body!

10 WEEK MUSCLE BUILDING TRANSFORMATION

8 WEEK FAT LOSS TRANSFORMATION