If you’re reading this, I’m willing to bet there is a good chance that you:
A) Have a desk job
B) You’re probably busy as fuck
C) You exercise but need to figure out how to get the most bang for your buck, aka burn the most calories in the least amount of time
Glad you’re here 😃
It’s also worth noting that you might exercise, but for someone like you, it’s better to focus on movements. Hence, the title of this article. I’m also not that much of a sarcastic prick who is a know it all – but I do know a thing or two about fitness and eating right for those 9 to 5’ers 😉
Anyway, moving right is the best way to ensure that you’re not only getting the most out of your workouts, but also making sure that after your workout you still feel good. No aches, pains, soreness, and most importantly, NO INJURIES. The most important part of working out is consistency, and you can’t workout consistently if you’re getting hurt all the time.
I’m a big believer that being lean, moving well, helps to not only be stronger and look better, but also to be more productive in your career. Being fit will take you places in your career so you should take the time to invest in it, like you do in your retirement or your whatever it is you make an income off of. So invest in your body, since it helps you make an income!
In any and every case, simple is always more effective. And the exercises we’re going to go over the next few weeks will accomplish three things for you in an effective and efficient manner:
- Spend less time in the Gym
- Look Sexy as Hell
- Get you Functionally Fit
“The human body functions as a complete system – it works that way, and it likes to be trained that way. It doesn’t like to be separated into its constituent components and then have those components exercised separately, since the strength obtained from training will not be utilized in this way.”
So instead of going bat shit crazy with an insane new workout routine, I’m about to break down 5 simple and effective movements that you can use ASAP. Plus, they’ll give you a killer workout and bod.
Here’s what we’re getting into today:
- The Benefits of Compound Movements
- The Squat
- A Squat Workout
The Benefits of Compound Movements
First and foremost . . . what the hell is a compound movement?
It’s a movement that involves multiple joints to complete. Think about squats vs. leg curls. On a leg curl all you’re using is your knee joint to complete the exercise. In a squat, you’re incorporating not only your knee joint but also your hip joint.
Because you’re using multiple joints, you’re also recruiting large muscle groups and creating greater overall stress on the body. This means more work for your body to do and . . .
This means 3 things for you:
- You won’t have to spend that much time in the gym.
- You’ll put on more muscle faster.
- You’ll burn more fat faster.
Boom. Now, let’s get into the compound movements that you should incorporate into your routine.
Are you really surprised here?
I’m obsessed with the squat and you should be too.
Its benefits include none other than:
- Better functional mobility
- Greater bone mineral density
- Stronger Core musculature
- Prevents lower back pain
- Develops Stronger Abs
It’s basically fucking awesome and if there is one exercise I’d recommend anyone to do for their bod it’s this one. It’ll get you results fast. So let’s get into how to get this shit done:
1. Step under and grip the bar as close to your back as possible, with a thumbless grip. Your back should be supporting the bar.
5. Make sure your shoulders, chest, back, and butt are tight while you descend into the bottom of the squat. Your thighs should at least be parallel to the floor, if not lower the weight. Your ultimate goal should be getting your butt to the floor as seen in the pictures below.
6. As you raise yourself out of the bottom of the squat – your butt and shoulders should be being pushed upward at the same time. Maintain tightness in your lower back and torso, and exhale towards the top of the repetition to ensure that you remain tight.
There is going to be novices and intermediate lifters who can take advantage of this exercise. And undoubtedly you’ll run into the problems I list below. If you don’t great. If you do, I’ve provided some recommendations on how to fix them so that you’re squatting properly.
Not flexible enough to get parallel or below parallel
This is something that is quite common in individuals who either don’t know how to squat properly or have just learned to squat. The reality is that this isn’t a flexibility issue, it’s actually a foot placement issue.
Concentrate on keeping your feet pointed at a minimum 30-degree angle, more so if you need to. The only way for the squat to be effective is to break the 90-degree plane and get fucking low.
Another quick and easy fix is simply placing a box underneath your butt. Sit down with the bar and as soon as your butt touches the seat, pop back up. Make sure that the box is at least parallel and continue to work on getting lower until you no longer need the box.
Even better use this stretch to loosen up your hamstrings and widen your stance below. If you get fatigued, stand up and go back down after a couple of seconds of rest. Rinse and repeat until you’re comfortable with that position.
Many people I observe squatting will typically lead forward with their chest and go down into the squat.
Try it. You’ll notice that you probably can’t get parallel, and if you do get below parallel you’ll be leaning forward on your feet, along with your knees being well over your toes. This will put way too much stress on the knees.
Concentrate on pushing the butt back, almost as if you are using your butt to open a door. Only focus on pushing the imaginary door with your butt, you’ll get lower and the rest of your body will follow. This will also ensure that you place all of your weight on the heels of your feet.
Another quick and easy fix for this problem is to stick a block of wood right by your knees. While you’re standing, push your butt back into the squat position. If your knee hits the block of wood – you’re leaning forward on your toes. You can also use a PVC pipe aligned vertically by your knee. It’s a great visual to help you understand where your body should be during the squat.
Just as you push your butt back to descend into the squat position, you should be pushing your hips up to ascend out of it. A lot of people will lead with their chest, initially using this to begin ascending out of the squat.
It’s a no-no and asking for injury. it won’t allow you to get any power coming out of the squat position as there will be no power coming from your hips.
An easy way fix this is to concentrate on lifting your lower back first coming out of the squat. Obviously much easier said than done – here’s a quick and effective exercise you can implement in order to correct this:
Lift just your knees and quads of the ground using your lower back. Focus on this muscle while you are getting out of the squat, once you start to use it, you’ll understand how to leverage it in the squat.
Where Your Eyes Are
An undoubtedly easier error to fix in the squat however an important one to note. Considering that your neck is part of your spine – where you’re looking interrupts the angle of your back coming up and our of the squat.
You’ll notice how I look up – is much different to when I’m looking at an object 4 or 5 feet ahead of me.
Make sure to concentrate on that object 4 to 5 feet ahead of you – put something there if you have to.
A Squat Workout
This routine isn’t hard, and workout program won’t get you sore. It’s a page out of Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength, which by now you can probably tell that I’m a big fan of. It will get you stronger, add more muscle, and will burn fat provided you’re eating correctly. It’s super simple but don’t mistake that for being easy.
It goes as follows:
- Warm up with an empty bar, and progress up to your working sets (3).
- Your working sets should be difficult enough where by rep 4 or 5, it’s hard but not impossible to get the bar up.
- Do this 2 to 3 times a week.
- Each week, progress the weight by 2.5 lbs if you’ve successfully completed 3 sets of 5 reps succesfully.
*It might be worth hiring a trainer to ensure proper form here, or just going to the gym and asking a trainer.
No Squat Bar?
If you don’t have access to a gym or quite simply don’t want to, then just don’t use a bar! Instead, try doing bodyweight squats. The only difference in the positioning of your hands is that they’ll be behind your head, ensuring you keep tight shoulders are you come down.
Do 3 sets of 25 and work your way up to 50 every other morning. It probably won’t garner as much strength if you’ve already done above or are an intermediate lifter. However, it will still keep you moving well and give you a decent workout.
No Weight on Your Back?
No problem. Do a leg press instead and apply the same programming as above.
Any questions? Hit me up. If you like the article – please share! And if this is your first time here sign up for my email list below to get a free course on how to eat right with a desk job, along with access to content on a bi-weekly basis.
Thanks for reading and talk soon,