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If you’ve seen me promoting NFP Gear lately. It’s because they I admire what the two individuals running it are doing. I’m absolutely impressed with their ability to offer quality products as well as how well they’ve put themselves on the map in such a short time. Here’s an awesome article they just came out with:


A guide to proper squat form

The Squat: one of the most fundamental exercises; critical for a well rounded training regimen.  Squats support the body’s mobility, foundation, posture, and serve to strengthen and maintain the body’s biggest muscle groups. Unfortunately, the squat is an exercise that is often performed incorrectly.

Improving your squat form can decrease the potential for injury as well as allow you to get maximum results from this productive compound exercise.

There are several variations of the squat and they can be performed using your own body weight (recommended for beginners) or with weights and equipment.  It is crucial to perfect your form using little or no weight. Rushing your progress by loading the bar before you have practiced your form is a recipe for injury.

Regardless of the variation you prefer, your squat can be improved using some universal principles. This article will focus on one of the most commonly known forms: the rear loaded squat.  We have provided a step-by-step guide to properly executing the rear-loaded squat.

  1. Begin with a body weight squat in order to perfect your form prior to adding weight.
  2. When you are ready for the bar, position it in the rack at about arm-pit  level.
  3. Set up beneath the bar, being sure it is centered with your body and your hands are spaced evenly. Rest the bar on your shoulders positioned just above your traps, do not rest the bar at the base of your neck, this could lead to spinal injury.
  4. Pull your hands in toward your shoulders until you feel tension in your upper back, keeping your elbows pointed toward the ground.
  5. Check your starting position.
    • ?Stance:Stand with feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. The wider the stance, the more the exercise will work the back of the legs and glutes. The more narrow your stance, the more your quadriceps will be emphasized.
    • ?Feet: Your feet should be firmly planted and slightly turned out to allow for proper knee position throughout the exercise.
    • Chest and Back: It is critical that your spine is in proper alignment as you execute the squat.  Your back should never be rounded. Be sure your lower back has a slight arch, following the neutral curve of your spine, by keeping your shoulders back, pressing your chest out and your hips back. You are ready to squat.
  6. Inhale deeply, contract your core, lift the bar off the rack, and take one step back on each foot, maintaining your starting position.
  7. Begin the descent, bending your knees while pressing back with your hips and leaning forward at the waist. It should feel as if you are sitting in a small chair. All of the weight should be on your heels. 
  8.  During your entire range of motion, your head should be facing straight forward with chin slightly raised and your knees remain behind your toes. Try to keep your shins perpendicular to the floor.  Focusing on this will help keep the weight on your heels while maintaining the correct back position.
  9. Maintain a long and contracted torso while hinging your hips back and pushing your knees apart as you pull down with your hips. Your glutes should be moving backward during the downward motion of the squat.  At no time should your knees bow inward, this is usually an indication that the weight or bar is too heavy or your spine is out of alignment.
  10. Continue the downward motion until your hamstrings are parallel to the floor. However, your initial squat depth is dependent on your flexibility. Focus on keeping all of the pressure on your heels; this will help you attain proper depth. Because of their body’s structure some people are only able to descend to slightly above parallel, try to go as low as possible without pain in the knees.
  11. Once you have reached the target depth, reverse the movement. Lead with your chest, and drive upward through the hips while continuing to bear the weight on your heels. Press through the glutes to raise yourself into the top position then straighten your legs and tilt your hips slightly forward while squeezing your glutes. You have now completed one full repetition.
  12. Repeat the motion to complete your set. Make sure to deeply inhale during your decent and exhale as you drive upward.

Tip: Proper form takes practice. To help perfect your squat form.  Have a personal trainer or an experienced lifter evaluate your form. Or, take a video of yourself doing the exercise in order to isolate any flaws.

Remember, the most productive exercises will cause your muscles to burn.  If you are performing the squat correctly, it should be uncomfortable.  Learn to embrace the burn and you will see results.  Now that you are armed with the fundamentals on form and technique, you have no excuses.  Show your new found power and kick your training into high gear!

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(Source: slambarskillprs, via thekilejohnson)

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This sounds cheesy but watching people set their eyes on a goal and chase after it makes me happy

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Price of the Platform

Exacerbated but the idea holds true. The higher you make it in a sport, the more sacrifices you will have to make

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Is it bad that I seriously have to refrain from openly laughing at some people working out at my gym?

This is just ridiculous Im convinced they have no idea what they’re doing

We all started somewhere. I used to quarter squat in the smith machine. It’s okay, with time we learn.

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2014 USAPL Raw Nationals Recap

I’m back in MD after 5 days in Colorado. This trip was definitely a learning experience and gave me my first dose of REAL competition. This isn’t to say that the other state meets I’ve done aren’t competitive, but I went from that big fish in a little pond feel to “HOLY SHIT EVERYONE HERE DEFINITELY LIFTS, WHY AM I SO WEAK?!?!” It was eye opening, and I don’t think I would be half as motivated if I didn’t get my ass out there and sort of embarass myself/ fail way too many lifts. 

Squat: I opened with 270.1 lbs. Easy. Not as fast as it should have been, but a solid lift nonetheless. 2nd attempt was 286.6 lbs. Got caught right out of the hole and failed the lift. 3rd attempt I grinded out the 286 like a boss. BUT for some stupid reason I stepped forward before the rack command and the lift wasn’t good. I think this was probably the point at which I sort of “lost it”. 270 was my PR from a year ago. I was pretty pissed I couldn’t put any more on the board. Regardless, at least I know I’m capable of squatting 286.

Bench: I opened with 132 which was easy but 2 judges red lighted me on lifting my butt. This is why I have build a bigger booty. 2nd attempt I hit the 132 again with 2 white lights. One judge red lighted me for not keeping my feet flat on the floor. The same thing happened with 143, but I’m cool with 2 white lights and an 11 lb PR.

Deadlift: I opened with 303. Goes up, again, not as fast as it should have. 2nd attempt I jumped to 314 and it barely leaves the ground. It’s at this point that I realize I REALLY fucked up my attempt choices. I should have started lighter with everything and made smaller jumps. So I try 314 again on the 3rd attempt and it didn’t even leave the platform. I basically forgot how to deadlift at that point and fucked up my set up like no other. I KNOW I’m capable of picking up that weight, so i was super pissed by the end of the meet. 

So yeah, 4/9 lifts. Pretty much the worst I’ve done in any meet thusfar. While I made a PR Total, the Wilks was about 10 points lower than my last meet since I’ve gone from 129 lbs to 137. 

What’s next? Well, like the moron I am I accepted the invite to the SSPT meet August 3rd. Yeah, that’s in 3 weeks but at least I’ll be able to practice making better attempt choices and get more time to talk to Sioux-z about training. Basically, I’ll do what I SHOULD HAVE done at nationals. Open with lower #’s, make smarter jumps, take time on my set ups. It’s a low pressure, very small “novice” meet, it’ll just be fun. 

In the long term, I’m going to cut back down to 130ish. This is only 7 lbs away, and if done slowly and deliberately I shouldn’t see any losses in strength. As for lifts, my squat setup is the one I’m most confident about. My form is legit and I own that setup, doing it exactly the same every damn time. I need to work on my bench setup, particularly how the fuck to keep my feet down while still extending my hips and keeping my arch high. It might even just be a matter of different shoes because my toes and heels are staying put, it’s just that the outside of my foot lifts a bit. I’ll have to establish my own deadlift setup. With the training Tom had me doing up to the meet, I BARELY deadlifted. I rack pulled and I deficit pulled but I didn’t DL normally, I feel this effected my performance at nationals quite a bit. 

In general, I know that the way Tom is training me is making me stronger, but I still have to work on all the techinical stuff that USAPL/IPF requires. It’s funny because everyone at Exile hates USAPL/IPF and keeps telling me to lift in USPA or any other fed that would have let everything that fucked me @ Nationals slide. The thing is I’m still pretty set on qualifying for the Arnold. Had I not fucked up my last squat, I would have hit the qualifying total!!! Sucks, but there’s always next year. Plus as far as raw records go, the IPF is the most competitive, if I were to start competing in another fed now it would just be a cop out. Geared is another story, for another time, maybe when I have money…

Anyway, the whole experience was awesome. Especially meeting the beautiful missdeejers, jevanses, and dicy132 !!! Also, finally seeing Sioux-z lift in a meet was priceless. Jennifer Thompson is seriously the classiest person ever. And Kimberly Walford IS JUST THE BEST EVER LIKE WTF. She failed 514 on her last deadlift but it was basically up there, I dunno what the judges were doing with that one. Saw some youngins lift ridiculous amounts of weight. Saw people go ape shit for Layne Norton. Good times.


Thanks to everyone who has supported me through this, yall are awesome!

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