Athletes who train to improve their sports performance rely on the squat. They typically alternate a half-squat or power squat with a front squat. Some use a lunge walk with dumbbells, with a few key lifts rounding out the strength program: power cleans, power snatches, bench presses, push presses or jerks from the rack and either hyperextensions, glute/ham raises or Romanian deadlifts. Those athletes don’t have the time or energy to incorporate training tools like chains, bands and changes of weight during one rep or boxes of various heights. Unlike powerlifters, who compete in the squat, bench press and deadlift, or Olympic lifters, who compete in the snatch and clean and jerk, athletes in other sports use weight work as just one component of their training. They also have speed programs, speed-endurance training, agility training, explosive and plyometrics training and, of course, practice and competition in the sport itself. That limits the amount of strength training they can do. They cannot spend time trying to improve just one lift, such as the squat, with other supplemental lifts.
The bottom line is that you cannot overlook the unique, innate qualities of the individual when designing resistance-training programs. Some will respond better to frequent changes in exercises—e.g., every one to two weeks—while others will respond better to changes made less frequently, like every five to eight weeks.
As a rule of thumb, I would say that the musculature grows best when both high-volume phases, known as accumulation phases, are alternated with high-intensity phases, known as intensification phases. The respective length of each phase will be affected by a variety of factors, such as nutrient intake, serotonin and dopamine ratios, hormonal makeup and fiber-type makeup.
Bodybuilders who have a good structure for squats tend to have legs and thighs of average or shorter-than-average length relative to their height. Those who have back or knee limitations will find the squat only marginally effective, if helpful at all. It may even be a harmful exercise for them. Seek safer, more effective alternatives.
It takes discipline to keep your upper arm stable while you slowly curl and flex the biceps at the top of the movement. The only part of your arm that should move is your forearm. Once you get the movement down, you’ll really notice a difference in the peak of your biceps. Watch the movie “Pumping Iron” and note how Arnold does concentration curls.
Performing negative-accentuated sets—lifting in one second and lowering in six—creates microtrauma, which sets off a fat-to-muscle effect, and also acts as a density stimulator to hit the important type 2A muscle fibers.
When you can do incline curls with a pair of dumbbells in your hands that approach more than 30 percent of your bodyweight, you’ve got one power-packed set of guns. For a 200-pound bodybuilder that would be a 60-plus-pounder in each hand.
To check for glycation levels, ask your doctor to measure the concentration of glycated hemoglobin in your blood. In England a study revealed that it is one of the best measures of predicting mortality, far better than cholesterol, blood pressure and body mass index.