There is simply no other exercise, and certainly no machine, that produces the level of central nervous system activity, improved balance and coordination, skeletal loading and bone density enhancement, muscular stimulation and growth, connective tissue stress and strength, psychological demand and toughness, and overall systemic conditioning than the correctly performed full squat.
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Most of the problems with the bodies and minds of the folks occupying the current culture involve an unwillingness to do anything hard, or anything that they'd rather not do. I applaud your resolve, and I welcome you to the community of people who have decided that EASY will no longer suffice.
For young males that weigh between 150-200 lbs., deadlifts can move up 15-20 lbs. per workout, squats 10-15 lbs., with continued steady progress for 3-4 weeks before slowing down to half that rate. Bench presses, presses, and cleans can move up 5-10 lbs. per workout, with progress on these exercises slowing down to 2.5-5 lbs. per workout after only 2-3 weeks. Young women make progress on the squat and the deadlift at about the same rate, adjusted for bodyweight, but much slower on the press, the bench press, cleans, and assistance exercises.
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You do not need to do many different exercises to get strong - you need to get strong on a very few important exercises, movements that train the whole body as a system, not as a collection of separate body parts. The problem with the programs advocated by all the national exercise organizations is that they fail to recognize this basic principle: the body best adapts as a whole organism to stress applied to the whole organism. The more stress that can be applied to as much of the body at one time as possible, the more effective and productive the adaptation will be.
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Humans are built to move. We evolved under conditions that required daily intense physical activity, and even among individuals with lower physical potential, that hard-earned genotype is still ours today. The modern sedentary lifestyle leads to the inactivation of the genes related to physical performance, attributes that were once critical for survival and which are still critical for the correct, healthy expression of the genotype. The genes are still there, they just aren't doing anything because the body is not stressed enough to cause a physiological adaptation requiring their activation. The sedentary person's heart, lungs, muscles, bones, nerves and brain all operate far below the level at which they evolved to function, and at which they still function best.
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I am of the opinion that anyone who can squat 400 lb below parallel without a suit or press200 overhead has a strong core. I am of the opinion that when a person increases their squat, theyhave increased their core strength. I am also of the opinion that if a person wants to strengthentheir core, they must make something quantifiably stronger.
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The full squat is a perfectly natural position for the leg to occupy. That's why there is a joint in the middle of it, and why humans have been occupying this position, both unloaded and loaded, for millions of years. Much longer, in fact, than quasi-intellect ual morons have been telling us that it's 'bad' for the knees.
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Only people willing to work to the point of discomfort on a regular basis using effective means to produce that discomfort will actually look like they have been other-than-comf ortable most of the time. You can thank the muscle magazines for these persistent misconceptions, along with the natural tendency of all normal humans to seek reasons to avoid hard physical exertion.
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I was driving home the other night, listening to the radio, and the guy filling in for Art Bell on Coast to Coast AM was talking to some other guy about Nazis, UFOs, the Kennedy Assassination, time travel, and George Bush, and how it all relates to OneWorldGovernment. This, of course, made me think about barbell training.
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Strength is an excellent example of a physical characteristic that drives improvement in other athletic parameters. More strength means more power, more endurance, better coordination, and better everything else. This is why, all other things being equal, the stronger athlete is the better athlete.
The hang clean is unweighted and is of little use to watch, except that it shows a problem known as a Donkey Kick. As the jump occurs, the heels come up in the back and then stomp back down into place. This is a terrible waste of time and energy, and contributes nothing to making the bar go up. Stop doing this immediately or I will have you killed.
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On resting in between reps: It varies with the length of the set. 5s or fewer get a breath to reset. Longer sets might take 2 breaths. During the last few reps of a true 20RM squat, just do what Jesus tells you. Trust me, if you do an honest 20 rep program, at some point Jesus will talk to you. On the last day of the program, he asked if he could work in.
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