Category Archives for "Bodybuilding"

Getting Jacked with Brandon Warren – The Barbell Life 235

Brandon Warren is a local bodybuilder who is crushing it right now in men’s physique competitions.

In a large regional show, he recently took first place in his class. Then he went on to win the show overall.

It’s amazing to see where Brandon has come from. I met him when he was just a high school kid, and I helped him lay a foundation of proper strength.

Now he’s gone his own way and has concentrated on physique competitions. But – as Brandon will tell you – it’s been a bumpy road for him.

A World Class Coach's Guide to Building Muscle

Hypertrophy for Strength, Performance, and Aesthetics.

World champion and world-class coach Travis Mash has combined the latest research with his decades of practical experience to bring you an amazing resource on muscle hypertrophy.

LISTEN IN TO TODAY’S PODCAST AS WE TALK ABOUT:

  • The science behind partial reps
  • To deload or not?
  • His typical training week
  • Getting a crazy pump without lifting weights
  • Advice for CrossFitters and advice for newbies
  • and more…

Is the Safety Squat Bar a Missing Piece of the Puzzle?

If you’re tired of a crushed torso in the catch of a clean…
If your back rounds during the pull of a clean, snatch, or even a deadlift…
If you can’t support a big squat…
This is your article.

I believe the safety squat bar is one of the major pieces of equipment that allowed me to deadlift 804 pounds while squatting 805 pounds (raw number). If you need to get your core strong (especially when core is in reference to the spinal erectors), then the safety squat bar is your missing piece of equipment.

Back Strength

Every great strength athlete in history has had a massive back. I remember the issue of Flex Magazine where Ed Coan was compared to Dorian Yates. At the time, this was everything I was about. I loved bodybuilding, but I loved strength a bit more. I mean – what boy doesn’t want to look like a comic book character? Dorian was known for his massive back in the bodybuilding world. However, here was the powerlifter standing right beside him and not getting dwarfed. Ed’s back was massive. It’s no surprise that he deadlifted 903 pounds.

This goes for all the strength studs in all the sports (such as Lu Xiaojun, Pyrros Dimas, Mariusz Pudzianowski, and Bill Kazmaier). When it comes to the function of the different muscles of the back, it’s the spinal erectors we most need to focus on. I know right away that a coach is a fraud when they reference sit ups as a core exercise. If you want to strengthen the core in regards to maintaining a rigid torso while lifting or playing sport, you are going to need to pay attention to the spinal erectors. If you have a six-pack and a weak back, you are going to get crushed on the football field. Crushed!

The Importance of Spinal Erectors

When I say spinal erectors, I’m lumping several muscles into this one group because they have a similar function: the extension of the spine. These muscles are the longissimus, iliocostalis, spinalis, and erector spinae. These attach to the top of the pelvis, the ribs, and the spine. Each set of erectors only cross a few vertebrae, so each region needs to be addressed. A balanced set of erectors is a sign of massive strength.

If you ask any great strength athlete about the squat, they will tell you the real struggle is maintaining extension of the spine. I know right away if one of my athletes needs extra work in the spinal erectors. If you don’t know, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Does the athlete’s back round during the pull of the clean or snatch?
  • Does the athlete’s back round excessively during the deadlift – and does it continue to round more and more?
  • Does the athlete’s back round during the catch phase of a clean?
  • Does the athlete lose extension during the eccentric or concentric phase of a squat?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, you might want to use the safety squat bar.

Physics of Strengthening the Extensors

I went into this deeper in Squat Science, but here’s a brief version. One great way to increase the demands on the spinal erectors is to increase the spinal flexion moment. The spinal flexor moment depends on two factors: 1) the load on the bar and 2) the horizontal distance in the sagittal plan relative to the torso between the bar and any intervertebral joint. Increasing the spinal flexor moment could be accomplished by 1) increasing the load, 2) inclining the body more, and 3) moving the bar higher on the back or in front of the body.

So here’s the point I want to make – the safety squat bar moves the weight toward the front of the body. The part of the bar that holds the weight is bent toward the front of the body.

FORGET OPINIONS ON THE SQUAT. HERE'S THE SCIENCE.

TRAVIS MASH'S SQUAT SCIENCE

After combing through the research and interviewing the experts, the result is a guide that will refine your technique and boost your squat in a safe and effective manner.

I love using the front squat to strengthen the spinal erectors. However, the front squat is limited because the bar will fall off of the shoulders. The safety squat bar is a little more forgiving. Therefore, you can apply more of a load to the spinal erectors.

My absolute favorite exercise to build the spinal erectors is the safety squat bar goodmorning. Not only is the weight in front of the body, but now you are also inclining the body more – which just further increases the demands on the spinal erectors. Now each section of your back is working harder than ever to maintain extension.

Using the Safety Squat Bar

The safety squat bar goodmorning has multiple variations like:

  • Chain suspended safety squat bar goodmornings: as far as specificity to the pull this one is my favorite because it starts with a concentric contraction.
  • Seated safety squat bar goodmornings: this takes the hips out of things and puts all the stress in the back. This is a great way of targeting the back.
  • Using pauses and tempo: I like pauses because you can use isometrics to target the weak spots of your pull or squat.

The safety squat bar has unlimited uses. If you are saving for a piece of equipment, I recommend the safety squat bar being the first additional piece. Here are a few other uses:

  • Injury squats: if an athlete hurts either one of his or her arms, you can still squat. Let’s face it – the squat is pretty much essential for all strength and power sports.
  • Safety squat bar front squats: my friend and mentor Coach Joe Kenn has made this movement popular. You simply turn the safety squat bar around and position it to simulate a front squat.
  • Saftety squat bar box squats: I like these to emphasize strengthening the back during the drive phase into the bar.
  • Safety squat bar walking lunges: I love the safety squat bar for lunges because it is stabilized on the back.
  • Safety squat bar isometric walks: I love doing isometric front rack walks, but breathing can be quite the chore. With the safety squat bar, you will receive similar demands to the spinal erectors without the issue being lungs.

I’ll leave you with this bit of anecdotal evidence. When I was on the way up in powerlifting, I was stuck around the 625-pound marker. I knew instinctively that I was lacking in my ability to maintain spinal extension. I have a bit longer torso comparatively to the rest of my body, so strengthening the spinal erectors was even more important to my success in the strength world.

As you already know, I am a big fan of Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell. I read an article he had written about the safety squat bar. I immediately ordered one. The first exercise I added was the safety squat bar goodmorning. I remember feeling so weak on day one. If I remember correctly, 135 pounds for 3 x 5 felt really hard. (Now I want to add that the bar weighed quite a bit more than the typical standard bar, but to keep things easy I always count every bar as 20 kilograms / 45 pounds.)

To make a long story short – over the next 12 weeks I increased my safety squat bar goodmorning to 3 x 5 at 405 pounds. This had a direct impact on my raw squat because over the next six weeks I was able to push my raw squat to over 700 pounds. If you are following along, that was a 75-pound increase in 18 weeks. Obviously I had an extreme weakness in my spinal extensors. This is an example of what can happen if one continues to seek out and strengthen all of their weaknesses.

WESTSIDE BARBELL METHODS IN WEIGHTLIFTING?

COACH TRAVIS MASH GETS INSIDE THE MIND OF LOUIE SIMMONS

World champion and world-class coach Travis Mash takes a look at Louie Simmons's Westside Barbell strength principles and applies them tom the world of Olympic weightlifting.

 

Sample Program: BLOCK ONE

I love giving you guys as much as I possibly can. If you were having trouble maintaining a vertical torso in the clean, your back rounds when you squat, or your back turns into a horseshow when you deadlift – then this would be a solid accessory plan to check out.

I kept things really simple, but you will easily be able to see all the uses of the safety squat bar.

Block 1
Week 1
Day 1

Tempo Safety Squat Bar Back Squat (5 sec eccent, 2 sec pause bottom, 4 sec concentric) – 5RM (8 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
Chain Suspended Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings – 5RM (8 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
Safety Squat Bar Heavy Walks – 3 x 40 yd

Day 2: OFF
Day 3

Safety Squat Bar Front Squat – 10 x 3 at 80%
Safety Squat Bar Hyperextensions – 3 x 10

Day 4: OFF
Day 5

Safety Squat Bar Back Squat with Belt – 10RM (8 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 10
Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings (stay at a 7-8RPE) – start with 25% of Squat for 3 x 8

Week 2
Day 1

Tempo Safety Squat Bar Back Squat (5 sec eccent, 2 sec pause bottom, 4 sec concentric) – 5RM (9 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
Chain Suspended Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings – 5RM (9 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
Safety Squat Bar Heavy Walks – 3 x 40 yd

Day 2: OFF
Day 3

Safety Squat Bar Front Squat – 10 x 4 at 80%
Safety Squat Bar Hyperextensions – 3 x 10

Day 4: OFF
Day 5

Safety Squat Bar Back Squat with Belt – 10RM (9 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 10
Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings (stay at a 7-8RPE) – add 5-10 kg from last week for 3 x 8

Week 3
Day 1

Tempo Safety Squat Bar Back Squat (5 sec eccent, 2 sec pause bottom, 4 sec concentric) – Take 90% of last week and do 3 x 5
Chain Suspended Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings – Take 90% of last week and do 3 x 5
Safety Squat Bar Heavy Walks – 3 x 50 yd

Day 2: OFF
Day 3

Safety Squat Bar Front Squat – 10 x 3 at 80%
Safety Squat Bar Hyperextensions – 3 x 10

Day 4: OFF
Day 5

Safety Squat Bar Back Squat with Belt – Take 90% of last week and do 3 x 10
Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings (stay at a 7-8RPE) – Take original weight for 3 x 8

Week 4
Day 1

Tempo Safety Squat Bar Back Squat (5 sec eccent, 2 sec pause bottom, 4 sec concentric) – 5RM, then -10% for 5+ stop one set before potential miss
Chain Suspended Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings – 5RM, then -10% for 5
Safety Squat Bar Heavy Walks – 3 x 50 yd

Day 2: OFF
Day 3

Safety Squat Bar Front Squat – 10 x 5 at 80%
Safety Squat Bar Hyperextensions – 3 x 10

Day 4: OFF
Day 5

Safety Squat Bar Back Squat with Belt – 10RM (9 RPE), then -15% for 10+ (stop one set before potential miss)
Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings (stay at a 7-8RPE) – add 5kg to top set in week 2 for 3 x 8

Program Explanation

This is a plan that I will use when my hip heals. This workout will bulletproof your torso. To start with I am using tempo safety squat bar squats to strengthen all positions of the squat. Spinal extension is normally a capacity thing. That makes tempo the perfect prescription when the goal is improving torso strength.

I definitely used safety squat bar chain suspended goodmornings to strengthen my spinal erectors, specifically for the pull. This is spinal extension and hip extension in its weakest position and without any eccentric loading. Of course after the first repetition, you will be able to take advantage of eccentric contractions. I recommend resting the bar in the chains during every repetition for the sake of specificity.

Safety squat bar isometric walks are one of my favorites for strengthening the core in a way that emphasizes spinal extension. Loaded walks also stabilize the hips as weight is transferred back and forth during the walks. Loaded walks are great for strength athletes. If you are a sport athlete (like football, soccer, or basketball players), that unilateral hip stability will still come in handy when making cuts side to side.

Safety squat bar front squats are great for teaching athletes to maintain a vertical torso during the front squat. You will still feel the bar on the upper chest near the anterior throat. However, the weight will be displaced toward the rear of the body this time. The weight won’t be a disadvantage this time – it will actually be to your advantage. You will get better because your body is learning the proper movement versus strengthening the spinal extensors. The other advantage is of course the strengthening of your quads.

Safety squat bar hyperextensions are amazing for strengthening the spinal erectors, glutes, and hamstrings. Remember again the three ways to increase the spinal flexor moment: 1) moving the bar higher on the back or in front of the body, 2) increasing the load, and 3) inclining the body more. When you add a little weight to the bar in this exercise, you will maximize all three. One advantage of hyperextensions is that they are a little easier to recover from versus goodmornings. Goodmornings stretch the muscles under maximal load versus hyperextensions maximize loading during the concentric contraction. That’s why I put these in the middle of the week, so the athlete is ready to go hard again at the end of the week.

If you follow me at all, you know that I save my highest volume squats for the end of the week. Here we are throwing in some 10-repetition maximum safety squat bar squats. You’re welcome! We’re adding some muscle all over the entire torso, hips, and lower body with an obvious focus on the spinal extensors. We are also using straight safety squat bar goodmornings to once again maximize the strengthening of the spinal erectors. Just like chain suspended, this movement will help strengthen the spinal erectors and hip extensors for pulls, squats, and all athletic movements. However, this movement is more eccentric minded, so safety squat bar goodmornings will benefit squat movements a bit more specifically.

Sample Program: BLOCK TWO

Block 2
Week 5
Day 1

Safety Squat Bar Back Squat – 3RM (first rep paused 3 sec)(8 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 3 (no pauses)
Wide Leg Chain Suspended Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings – 3RM (8 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 3
Safety Squat Bar Heavy Walking Lunges – 3 x 40 yd

Day 2: OFF
Day 3

Safety Squat Bar Front Squat – 1RM (paused 5 sec in bottom)(8 RPE), then -15% for 2 x 5 (no pauses)
Safety Squat Bar Hyperextensions – stay at a moderate 8 RPE while progressing, 4 x 6

Day 4: OFF
Day 5

Back Squat with Belt – 5RM (8 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings (stay at a 7-8RPE) – add 5kg to heaviest set from week 4 for 3 x 6

Week 6
Day 1

Safety Squat Bar Back Squat – 3RM (first rep paused 3 sec)(9 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 3 (no pauses)
Wide Leg Chain Suspended Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings – 3RM (9 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 3
Safety Squat Bar Heavy Walking Lunges – 3 x 40 yd

Day 2: OFF
Day 3

Safety Squat Bar Front Squat – 1RM (paused 5 sec in bottom)(9 RPE), then -15% for 2 x 5 (no pauses)
Safety Squat Bar Hyperextensions – stay at a moderate 8 RPE while progressing, 4 x 5

Day 4: OFF
Day 5

Back Squat with Belt – 5RM (9 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings (stay at a 7-8RPE) – add 5-10kg for 4 x 5

Week 7
Day 1

Safety Squat Bar Back Squat – Take 90% of last week and do 3 x 3
Wide Leg Chain Suspended Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings – Take 90% of last week and do 3 x 3
Safety Squat Bar Heavy Walking Lunges – 3 x 50 yd

Day 2: OFF
Day 3

Safety Squat Bar Front Squat – 1RM (paused 5 sec in bottom)(9 RPE)
Safety Squat Bar Hyperextensions – stay at a moderate 8 RPE while progressing, 3 x 5

Day 4: OFF
Day 5

Back Squat with Belt – Take 90% of last week and do 3 x 5
Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings (stay at a 7-8RPE) – take original weight from week 1 for 3 x 8

Week 8
Day 1

Safety Squat Bar Back Squat – 3RM, then -15% for 3+ (stop one set before potential miss0
Wide Leg Chain Suspended Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings – 3RM, then -10% for 3
Safety Squat Bar Heavy Walking Lunges – 3 x 50 yd

Day 2: OFF
Day 3

Safety Squat Bar Front Squat – 1RM (paused 3 sec in bottom), then -15% for 5+ (no pauses, no misses)
Safety Squat Bar Hyperextensions – stay at a moderate 8 RPE while progressing, 3 x 5

Day 4: OFF
Day 5

Back Squat with Belt – 5RM, then -15% for 5+ (stop one set before potential miss)
Safety Squat Bar Goodmornings (stay at a 7-8RPE) – add 5kg to top set in week 6 for 3 x 5

As you can see, most of the movements are similar to the first block. There are a few variations to avoid the law of accommodation. You will notice a few (+) sets, which are AMRAP sets (as many repetitions as possible). You will also notice that in most cases I don’t want any misses. Here’s the thing about hypertrophy. The number one way to increase muscle size is mechanical loading or increasing loads, and lifting these loads to near failure. Going to failure will lead to hypertrophy, but it will beat you down – leaving you overtrained or under recovered (whatever you want to call it). To maximize hypertrophy the goal is to go to near failure as often as possible.

It doesn’t really matter if you’re talking about low repetitions or high repetitions. When you are hitting repetition maximums (whether it’s threes or fives), you are maximizing hypertrophy because you are going to near maximum. When you are hitting plus sets of six or more, you are still creating bigger muscles. If you want to get stronger, eventually you need to create bigger muscles.

Here's the key to unlocking even more gains in 2019...

Become a member of the Mash Mafia.

* Fully Customized Programming

* Unlimited Technique Analysis

* The Best Coaching in the World

I hope this article and workout helps all of you build the strongest backs on the planet. If you aren’t using a safety squat bar now, hopefully this article will convince you to buy one. I’m not selling safety squat bars, so this article is from the heart. You can buy from whomever you want to. As always I love hearing about your improvements, so comment here or hit me up on Instagram.

Coach Travis Answers Your Questions – The Barbell Life 226

I always love these podcasts!

On this one, we get to questions that you guys have asked us. We always try to make these podcasts as valuable as possible for you guys – but when we’re answering questions that we have been asked, we know that this will be worth a listen.

We focus in this podcast on lots of questions about programming. It’s something we’ve discussed a lot lately because we just dropped our newest guide, the Mash Files. This one is 300 pages full of programs and content teaching you all about how you can customize your programming. Like I always say – make the program fit the athlete instead of forcing the athlete to fit the program.
 

LEARN HOW TO FIT A PROGRAM TO THE ATHLETE

Principles and Real-Life Case Studies on How a Master Programmer Customizes a Program to the Individual

Peek inside Travis's brain... and learn how to individualize your own programs to fit an athlete's strengths, weaknesses, age, gender, sport demands, and unique response to training.

 

LISTEN IN TO TODAY’S PODCAST AS WE TALK ABOUT:

  • How do you figure out if you’re doing enough in the gym… or if you’re doing too much?
  • Preventing plateaus
  • Why the optimal frequency for squatting is so different from the deadlift
  • Using the Mash Method for meets
  • Moving on from 5/3/1
  • and more…

Mass Gaining Protocols with Dr. Pat Davidson – The Barbell Life 214

Dr. Pat Davidson is an exercise physiologist, a trainer of trainers, an author, a former Strongman competitor, and an expert at getting you jacked.

I had never talked with him before, but he came highly recommended as a podcast guest. Now I can see why. I was blown away and took pages of notes.

His approach is so simple, yet it can give coaches so much to work with. You can see there is a lot of thought behind the way he varies his programming day to day. I really loved his concept of stress bombs and his insane 20/40 workout (you’ll have to listen to hear that beast explained).

Not to mention as an exercise physiologist he also knows a ton about movement – and don’t worry, we get to that too.

A World Class Coach's Guide to Building Muscle

Hypertrophy for Strength, Performance, and Aesthetics.

World champion and world-class coach Travis Mash has combined the latest research with his decades of practical experience to bring you an amazing resource on muscle hypertrophy.

 

LISTEN IN TO TODAY’S PODCAST AS WE TALK ABOUT:

  • An exercise that works like a steroid shot at the beginning of the week?
  • Why lots of movement gurus drive him insane
  • The only business model that works for him in New York
  • Changing the program by changing the way your approach reps
  • The power of 20/40 (This is insane!)
  • and more…

Fixing Butt Wink in the Squat

I have learned so much about the squat in the last several months as I researched for Squat Science. It’s hard to imagine still learning more about a movement I once held the world record in. Most people would believe holding a world record would make someone an expert. They would absolutely be wrong. Some people are born great at certain movements and sports, and that certainly doesn’t make them experts.

FORGET OPINIONS ON THE SQUAT. HERE'S THE SCIENCE.

TRAVIS MASH'S SQUAT SCIENCE

After combing through the research and interviewing the experts, the result is a guide that will refine your technique and boost your squat in a safe and effective manner.

 

You become an expert by spending your life learning all there is to learn about a topic. In this article, I want to look into the squat by addressing a common mistake: The Dreaded Butt Wink.
 

What Is Butt Wink?

If you’re curious about what butt wink is – or if it’s a problem – here one of our YouTube videos that should fill you in before we dive deeper.

So if you or one of your athletes do have an undesirable amount of butt wink, here’s how I would go about diagnosing and addressing the situation.
 

Assessing the Problem

Let’s look at the butt wink. The first thing to do is find out if the problem is:

  1. Are you starting with the lumbar spine hyperextended?
  2. Is the problem just motor control?
  3. Is it mobility?
  4. Or is it a combination?

A lot of weightlifters and powerlifters have been told their whole lives to keep a tight back. Some coaches will cue their lifters to arch their backs. Personally, I never use the word arch your back. I prefer the words “pack your lats,” which means to simply take the shoulders down towards your hips. This will keep the back tight in a more neutral position.

Here are a few cues that promote core stiffness without over-arching:

  1. Eyes forwards – looking up tends to cause excessive over-arching, so maintaining a neutral focal point is first.
  2. Shoulders back and down – this movement will engage the rhomboids and hold the scapula in place, but emphasize the engagement of the lats with taking the shoulders down towards the hips.
  3. Bend the bar – with your elbows directly underneath the barbell, I want you to pull down on the barbell. This will ensure that your lats are engaged in a way that keeps the spine neutral.

There is one more thing I would do to make sure you aren’t starting in a hyperextended position, and that’s use a mirror. I know that using a mirror is taboo in a lot of gyms, but that’s silly. A lot of Asian weightlifters are known to use mirrors for the instant visual feedback. Some people simply can’t feel what you’re trying to tell them, but they can see it. A mirror can sometimes be the only thing you need to fix the problem.

Once you’ve figured out if you’re starting hyperextended or not, the next thing to do is figure out if you’re struggling with motor control or from a mobility issue. Most of the time it’s motor control, but not always. However as you will find out, the best way to fix mobility issues is with frequency and motor control exercises.

First, let’s figure out what the problem really is. My friend Dr. Zach Long made this cool video that shows you an exercise you can use to determine if you have a motor control issue or a mobility issue. Check it out:

If you can perform this movement without a butt wink, then you have a motor control problem. If you have the mobility to perform this quadruped rock, you are essentially performing a squat without any load. I love the fact that Zach is adding a PVC pipe because it begins the teaching process and allows the athlete to start gaining control of the pelvis. I use a PVC pipe in this manner a lot to teach my athletes where their glutes are in relation to their shoulders and back.
 

Fixing a Motor Control Problem

So what do you do if it’s a motor control issue? I like to start at the very beginning, an air squat. This is where I start everyone. If you or your athlete can’t perform an air squat, there is no point in loading. When you load dysfunction, you are simply adding more dysfunction.

STEP 1
I would start with an air squat in the mirror. Sometimes an athlete can fix things by simply getting a visual. If they can’t, then use a bench or ball going as low as you can without the butt wink. I would then squat 3-5 times per week in this manner slowly working to a lower position.

STEP 2
Then load by holding a plate or dumbbell at arms length straight out in front of the body. One thing you will find is that it is easier to brace while anteriorly loaded. When Dr. McGill visited my gym a few months ago, he showed me this movement. I was squatting on a Westside Barbell Athletic Training Platform, explaining to him that the machine alleviates my hip pain. When he had me hold a plate in front of my body, I instantly found that I had much better motor control over my pelvis. I have all the mobility issues with a hip that needs to be replaced – but when holding that plate, I was able to squat with a perfectly neutral spine.

The same progressions are true for this movement. If you can’t squat with a full range of motion without using a butt wink, then set up a box or ball to a height that you can maintain a good posture. I suggest a frequency of 3-5 times per week while slowly lowering the height over time. When you can squat to a full range of motion without a butt wink, you can progress to the next step.

STEP 3
Next, progress to the kettlebell goblet squat. Once again, you can use a box or ball to progress your depth. Once you’re able to squat with a full range of motion, the next step is to increase the load until you physically can’t hold the kettlebell. At that point, it should be safe to move on to front squat, which is also easier to brace since it is still anteriorly loaded. Then you can move into a high bar back squat, and then a low bar back squat (if you low bar back squat).

Here’s a great way to use the Goblet Squat:

Here are a couple of more tips to master the squat and to get rid of the butt wink.

  1. Perform the McGill 3 (Bird Dogs, Side Planks, and Curl-Ups) – it’s amazing the amount of postural control you will notice after performing this three movements. You will notice that bracing becomes easier than ever.
  2. Frequency is the answer to just about anything movement related. You will notice that a slight increase in frequency will lead to better motor control and mobility. It’s simple if you think about it. Your body becomes more efficient with movements that you practice more often.
  3. Westside Barbell Athletic Training Platform – I realize that a lot of you don’t have one, but if you do, it’s the best warm up in the world. The belt holds your pelvis at neutral while forcing your glutes to activate. This prepares your body for perfect motor control and bracing. If you don’t have one and are looking for a new piece of equipment, I would suggest an ATP over anything.

 

Fixing A Mobility Issue

The first thing to do is decide what part or parts of the body are immobile. You will need to check out the following joints:

• Hips (Internal Rotation, External Rotation, and flexion)
• Ankles
• Hamstrings

Dr. Zach Long has written a great article with some ways to assess your mobility, and some ideas to fix it.

Here are my ideas to rid you of the dreaded butt wink:

  • Warm up with a 10 minute walk
  • McGill Big 3
  • Start with glute marches on the ATP 3 x 30 seconds
  • Then Squats on the ATP 3 x 10 with a light load on the machine and a plate held straight out in front
  • I take 2-3 mobility exercises specific to me that I superset with the ATP work. For me that is half kneeling psoas stretches and quadruped rocks with banded traction
  • All of this is followed by a proper barbell only warm up

In most cases, the butt wink is a hyperextended lumbar spine finding neutral, or a lack of motor control. The key is learning proper technique from the very beginning, and then practicing those mechanics often. The warm up above will encourage proper movement and stability. It will also lower the risk of injury, and it will keep all the muscles firing that stabilize the pelvis and spine promoting optimal core stability. I hope this article sheds a little light on the butt wink. The goal is that you walk away understanding:

  • What a butt wink is
  • How to assess to find out if the issue is mobility or motor control
  • And how to correct

Squatting is an exercise that allows a lot of us to lift the most weight possible. It’s fun, and it gets the results that we all want. Squats will help you run faster and jump higher. Not to mention squats make you jacked. I want you to be able to do it for a long time without injury. It’s not always about squatting heavy. The person that can squat the longest without injury is the person that normally ends up winning the squat race.
 

Here's the key to unlocking even more gains in 2019...

Become a member of the Mash Mafia.

* Fully Customized Programming

* Unlimited Technique Analysis

* The Best Coaching in the World

Start With The Bar By Matt Shiver

A big pet peeve of mine is when I see someone walk into the gym, go straight for the barbell, and then they load their first working set on there with no warm-up. Come on! You are never too strong for the barbell. Why not get a few excellent reps with a barbell before loading the movement pattern?

This is one of my favorite lessons that I learned from Chris Moore in his podcasts. The man could squat over 900 pounds and he would always start with the barbell for the first few sets. More PERFECT practice reps are always going to give you better returns.

The barbell may be less than 10% of your first working set, but that doesn’t mean you should not do it. You need to practice the movement pattern first before loading it. If your form looks like garbage without weight and then it magically becomes better with weight, there is so compromise going on somewhere in the body. You are relying of the external load to create stability for your system, instead of being able to generate it naturally.

FORGET OPINIONS ON THE SQUAT. HERE'S THE SCIENCE.

TRAVIS MASH'S SQUAT SCIENCE

After combing through the research and interviewing the experts, the result is a guide that will refine your technique and boost your squat in a safe and effective manner.

It is even more important to start with the bar if you are doing weightlifting movements. These movements are so fast and explosive, you want to be able to move fast with a barbell before adding weight. If you walk into a back room at a national weightlifting event, you will see almost every lifter begin with the barbell. They spend some time with an empty barbell at the end ranges of motion of the snatch and clean and jerk. You will see some tempo work being done with the barbell. All off this is before a kilo has been loaded to the barbell.

So, don’t think that you are better than these lifters who are putting up national and world records. Take a lesson from them and warm-up with the barbell.

Your warm-up should consist of a few minutes to get the heart rate up, some movement prep based on your limitations, and then bar work. Don’t skip bar work!

I typically do 2-3 sets with the barbell to warm up the shoulders and hips for my weightlifting movements. If I am squatting I will do 1 set. Here is how I attack my bar work for each movement:

Squat Bar Warmup

Done at a slow and controlled tempo, no bouncing
3-5 reps with normal stance
3-5 reps with wide stance
3-5 reps with narrow stance
3-5 reps with one foot in front of another (uneven)
3-5 reps the other foot in front
*I also will change my toeing out as I warm up if I notice my hips are feeling tight

Snatch Bar Warmup

Snatch
Set 1
3-5 RDLs
3-5 Muscle Snatches
3-5 Power Snatches
3-5 Overhead squats

Set 2
3-5 Full Snatches

Set 3 – Optional based on how the first 2 sets are feeling
3-5 Full Snatches

Clean and Jerk Bar Warmup

3-5 RDLs
3-5 Power Cleans
3-5 Front Squat
3-5 Strict Press
3-5 Split Jerk

Deadlift Bar Warmup

Deadlift
5-10 RDLs with barbell only

Bench Press Bar Warmup

1 set of 10 with focus on staying tight in the pause

If you don’t normally warm up with the bar, give this a try! Let me know how it goes!

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