Your step by step guide to perfect technique.

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Photo by Javier Santos Guzmán on Unsplash

The barbell back squat is often referred to as “The King of All Exercises”, and justifiably so.

Whether your goal is to run faster, jump higher, get stronger, or simply build a massive lower body — the squat is one of the most beneficial exercises you can perform in the weight room, and loading it up with a barbell on your back will allow you to perform the exercise with as much weight as possible.

Of course, this can be equally as risky as it is rewarding. Because of how the spine is loaded when performing back squats, a technical error could throw the exercise off to the point that it causes more harm to your body than good. …

And how to tell the good from the bad.

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Photo by Sabel Blanco from Pexels

When people want to better themselves, they’ll often seek out a professional to help them reach their goals. These professionals should be held to a high standard, but in the personal training world, that is sometimes not the case.

This is largely due the low barrier to entry; most gyms only require you to complete a weekend-long certification course, and voilà! You’re now entrusted with the physical well being of that gym’s clientele!

Make no mistake, there are a lot of good trainers out there, but it’s up to you to differentiate the good from the bad when you’re considering whether or not you should hire one. These are three telltale signs that will immediately let you know if you’re hiring a professional that cares about your progress, or a salesman that cares about your recurring payment. …

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Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash

Out of all of the different types of exercise, I believe that strength training is one of the most valuable — for a variety of reasons. Performed on a regular basis, it will:

  • Raise resting metabolic rate (More muscle = more calories burned 24/7)
  • Increase bone density (Especially important as we age)
  • Improve heart health
  • Potentially help to manage chronic disease

… Among many other benefits. But, one commonly overlooked aspect of strength training is the cumulative effect it can have on our joints over a long period of time.

Our joints are like tires — they only have so much tread. To prevent them from wearing out, it’s a good idea to occasionally incorporate some more joint friendly techniques into our training regimens. …

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Photo by Damir Spanic on Unsplash

A good strength training session will accomplish three things:

  • Build lean muscle
  • Improve strength
  • Improve power (Remember, power is the ability to display your strength quickly. See: Newton’s 2nd law.)

If you’re a busy person with work, family, or any number of other obligations, it may seem like finding the time to accomplish all of these things in a single workout is unrealistic.

However, I believe that you can get a great workout with a minimal time commitment; with as little as 30 minutes or less, in fact.

If you can find 30 minutes or less to commit to your health & fitness, you can maximize those minutes…

Small changes can yield big results.

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Photo by Deniz Altindas on Unsplash

Over the last several years, I’ve adopted three small, simple habits that have have helped me improve my posture, burn body fat, and wake up feeling refreshed.

As a personal trainer, I recommend the following three things to every client I have, and now I’m recommending them to you — because whether you’re a fitness fanatic or you’re simply looking to improve your health, I believe that making these habits a part of your daily routine can help you just as much as they’ve helped me.

Improve Your Posture With: Band Pull Aparts

I’ve spoken a lot about how modern life has put most of us in a chronically internally rotated position. Whether we’re commuting to work, typing at a desk, or checking our phone (again), most of the habits we’ve developed tend to encourage a poor, hunched over posture. …

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Photo by Pikx By Panther from Pexels

There’s a classic biceps exercise known simply as “21s”. The execution is simple enough: you perform 7 half-curls stopping halfway up, 7 half-curls stopping halfway down, and finally, 7 curls through a full range of motion — 21 total reps, using the same weight all the way through, with no rest in between.⁣ It’s an old classic that’s a great way to finish off your arms at the end of an upper body workout.

Clearly, 21s smoke your biceps — however, you’re only hitting them from one angle. …

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Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

When you’re first getting into working out, trying to figure out where to start can be overwhelming — I know it was for me.

I’ve put together a list of six practical, easy to understand tips that I wish I had when I first started out. If you’re new to the gym, this can serve as a great introduction to some of the biggest “dos” and “don’ts” of the fitness world; if you’re already an experienced lifter, this could be a useful refresher.

1. You don’t need to work out for 3 hours.

Make no mistake: training does have a point of diminishing returns. I used to think that if lifting weights for an hour was good, then going even longer must be great, right? …

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Photo by Mike Von on Unsplash

There are three common pieces of advice that I’ve heard passed around weight rooms, smoothie bars, and social media platforms for years now:

“You gotta eat big to get big!”

Fasted cardio in the morning is the most effective way to burn fat!

“Eat every two hours so you can keep your metabolism stoked!”

False, false, and false.

Don’t get me wrong; you do need to eat adequately to put on size, cardio can help you burn fat, and it’s not to wrong to eat every two hours. But that doesn’t give you carte blanche to eat everything in sight, nor does it mean doing cardio fasted is better than doing it after dinner, nor does it mean you have to time your meals with a stopwatch every two hours. …

Lessons to help you build a better life.

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Photo by Ian Stauffer on Unsplash

A lot of us aren’t where we’d like to be in life. We would like to change that, but we don’t know where to start, so we feel powerless. This was once the case for me — both physically and financially.

As an intimidated, 14-year old novice in the gym, I looked on in awe of the local bodybuilders and felt out of place. And as an angry, 16-year old fast food worker, I looked on with disdain at the “privileged” kids my age that were handed Mustangs and Corvettes as graduation presents.

Eventually, I heard a quote during an interview from the professional wrestler, Triple H. …

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Photo by The Lazy Artist Gallery from Pexels

I used to do the same exact thing at the gym, every single week — for years.

The same exercises, for the same number of sets. I would simply try to beat the amount of weight I did the week prior, which I would recall by memory. I absolutely didn’t bother to write anything down.

Technically, this is a form of progressive overload, and when you’re still a beginner, you can get away with that for a while. Because when you go from doing nothing at all to just about anything, progress will likely be made. …


Zack Harris

CPPS, NESTA Fitness Nutrition Coach. I write about improving yourself by developing good habits. IG: zackharris01

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