Thursday, January 29, 2009

More Great Content...This Time It's Men's Health

So this month, Men's Fitness gave us the box squat to help improve our squat by teaching us to activate our glutes and hamstrings.  Men's Health fires back by highlighting a single leg movement called the Wide Grip Overhead Split Squat.  The information for the article was provided by Alwyn Cosgrove.  This guy knows his stuff.  He is a top performance coach and is highly sought after as a speaker in the fitness industry.  He has also had articles published in just about every major fitness related magazine out there.  (As well as, oddly enough Soap Opera Digest.  What's with that?)

This is a fantastic movement.  For years, in the bodybuilding magazines, single leg lifts were relegated to the ladies side of the gym.  Big mistake, guys!  Exercises like the lunge and squat are a great way to develop the posterior chain, preventing many common sports injuries, including the infamous pulled hammy.  They essentially force you not to cheat, and make you include your glutes and hamstrings in the movement.

When you try this one, just make sure to secure the barbell in a position above the back of your head.  A cue I commonly use with people to make sure they have it in the right position is to tell them that if I am standing directly to their side, looking straight down the barbell, I should be able to see their ears in front of their arms.  The arms should not be obscuring the ears (unless you have 23" arms) and they should definitely NOT be in front of the ears.

By putting the bar overhead, you are also putting a strong emphasis on just about every muscle in the body.  Alwyn gets extra points for making sure to include the tip to perform the movement on both sides of the body.

Also this month in Men's Health, check out the bodyweight circuit included in the pull out section toward the back.  When you do a circuit like this with the rest periods (or lack thereof) prescribed, you'll be amazed at how effective your bodyweight can be as a conditioning tool.  The author, Jeff Csatari a contributing editor at the magazine, did a great job of describing each exercise in a clear, easy-to-understand manner.

Give the Wide Grip Overhead Split Squat a try and let me know what you think.  I'd love to hear you feedback.

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