Tag Archives: barbell squat

Improve Strength, Stability with Unstable Loads

18 Nov

synrings6[1]The next time you perform the barbell squat exercise, try it with an unstable load — weights suspended from the bar by elastic bands or SYN Rings — instead of loading plates directly on the bar.

This exercise is more challenging than you think — you’ll want to cut your usual squat weight by about 50%, to start.

Squatting with an unstable load will increase activation of the stabilizing (core and lower body) musculature, and produce significant ground reaction force (GRF) — important for tasks such as sprinting and jumping.

You can perform other exercises with an unstable load, most notably the barbell bench press, which will engage the stabilizing muscles of your torso, in addition to your upper core.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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Boost Strength, Speed, and Agility with This Move

13 Nov
Bulgarian Split Squat

Bulgarian Split Squat

The barbell squat is considered the gold standard of lower-body strength exercises, and deservedly so.

But, if you’re looking for some variety (and, even if you’re not), U.K. researchers found the the Bulgarian (rear-foot-elevated) Split Squat to be just as effective for increasing strength, speed, and agility.

This exercise can be performed as a body-weight movement, or weighted with dumbbells (pictured), kettlebells, a barbell, or a weight plate.

The Bulgarian Split Squat is a great exercise for anyone — regardless of strength training experience and proficiency — because it’s less technical and requires less mobility (than the barbell squat), making it safer.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Stand tall holding two dumbbells next to your sides
  • Place the top of your right foot on a bench behind you
  • Brace your core
  • Slowly lower your body as far as you can
  • Pause, and then quickly push back up to the starting position
  • Repeat for desired number of repetitions
  • Switch legs

Choose weight and repetitions according to your training goals.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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Resistance Band Warmup Can Improve Lower-Body Power

10 Apr

0809_posterA1_200x200[1]Pre-workout warmup with an elastic resistance band (band squat) is just as effective as the barbell box squat, in augmenting acute jump power, according to research from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.  Both modes of warmup were superior to static stretching.

Power output significantly decreased from pre-warmup to post-warmup for the static stretch protocol.  The static stretch was detrimental to jump performance.  There is a consensus in the scientific literature to suggest a negative relationship between static stretching and acute power performance (sprinting, jumping, etc.).

The barbell box squat protocol involved 3 sets of 3RM; the band squat protocol involved 3 sets of 3 repetitions using highest resistance elastic bands; and the static stretch protocol used two 30-second stretches of muscles of the lower limbs.

Since elastic resistance bands are relatively inexpensive, portable, and accessible (compared to less transportable equipment like squat racks and free weights), strength and conditioning professionals may consider them for athletes training at various competition levels.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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