In order to make progress with bodybuilding then you need to train hard. As Shaun Stafford WBFF Pro champion bodybuilder says, ‘It still amazes me how few people train hard. You have to force your body to change, and the only way to do that is to beat it into submission!’
Intensity is the name of the game but you also need to train well to avoid injury and be progressive too. It’s no good just smashing through the same workouts week after week, or flitting between ‘shortcut’ workout fads, and expecting continued growth, says Lou Schuler author of The New Rules Of Lifting Supercharged. ‘You won’t ever know how strong or muscular you can get unless you focus on your goals for long periods, making steady improvements in skill, strength, muscularity and overall fitness.’
This means lifting heavier over time, while remaining injury free for long enough to achieve consistent progress. And the only way to do that is with perfect exercise form.
It’s worth studying the art of lifting in order to master movements. Not only will this unlock the door to lifting heavier, it will also make sure that you build muscle over the whole range of motion and avoid hard-to-unpick imbalances.
And if there’s one exercise that it pays to master early, it’s the squat - this classic whole-body move is king for triggering a muscle-building release of testosterone, and Stafford often uses it to open his workouts. But there’s a problem: ‘The worst performed movement I seen in commercial gyms must be the squat,’ says Justin Maguire, personal trainer at UpFitness. So, here’s his guide to doing it right:
Avoid Doing This…
1. Flaring elbows causing 'chicken neck’ sand eventual spinal flexion
2. Hyperextended neck at top of movement
3. Pushing off toes going forward not up (diagonal vs vertical projection)
4. Forward lean to initiate movement
5. Losing control during hip flexion causing a drop into the squat.
1. Focus on having little tension in the neck but maximal tension in the rhomboids, lats and abdominals
2. Pull down into the hips not behind them
3. Bend the knees, do not flex the spine
4. Draw in your abs for the 'vacuum' to ensure balanced lumbar extensor and lower abdominal work
5. Pull the bar into the back to engage the lats.
Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care or recommendations. Please check with your GP before embarking on exercise or nutrition regimes for the first time.