We have all experienced gains in strength and size that come from implementing a program that utilizes the best variety of exercises and rep and set scheme... when you look at the program on paper and your new self in the mirror your muscles scream growth that comes mainly due to proper periodization and diet.
Another essential ingredient to piling on muscle mass and setting new PRs is a strong ass lifting partner. Not betty sue who is going to stand off to the side and smile at you (see below), not the guy
that wastes your time with all of his problems, not the guy who never knows what he lifts on any exercise, not the worthless piece of squishy flesh that actually tries to talk you into not working out, not the guy who doesn't pay attention while you are being crushed by the bar, not the guy in the gym that has to have a conversation with every one they know AND every one that they haven't met yet.... you get my point.
You want somebody that pushes you after they knock out their set of however many reps. You want some one that hits his sets and then looks at you like he could have done six more... and if he doesn't look at you like that, then he is pissed. Some one that screams at you, can push your buttons with a couple words (bet ya can't ... didn't i warm up with that... you are weak sauce... come on son... baby weight...), somebody that makes you get your last couple extra reps after you would have stopped.
Progressively through your program your gains will be better with a partner that is consistent and knows how to push you and spot you correctly. I looked across the gym the other day and saw these two guys.... the lifter got 5 and a half reps, hit the wall for about 5 seconds, and then slowly came down with the weight on incline. His partner was screaming for him to push when obviously he had no push left. Find a person that knows how to spot, knows how to push you and even piss you off a little, and make sure they don't look forward to days off... they need to look forward to trianing days.
This exercise is necessary in your program, regardless if you are going for strength, hypertrohpy, or *cough* endurance *cough*. Box Squats ensure that you are getting adeque depth and when done right can give you gains in strength, size, and stamina. I added two 20lb chains for kicks, but I believe they are just as effective as bands.
I was doing some random searches on research engines through UK's library today and I came across some pretty useful information comparing front squat and back squat. (Pictures from http://www.stadion.com/)
Both are very useful in building knee and hip extensor muscles (quadriceps and glutes) as well as strengthening your core muscles. However, "performing back squat results in a higher amount compressive forces on the spine and knee extensor movements" according to Gullet et al in this study.
A higher amount of compressive forces could possibly be harmful in the long run, with a higher probability of spine or disc problems in someone with incorrect form. Gullet et al (2009) found no substantial difference in the amount of shear forces generated in either variation of the squat. Shearing force is physical stress that is perpendicular to the horizontal surface of an object where compressive force is the amount of force running down through an object.
Gullet et al found that "front squat was as effective as the back squat in terms of overall muscle recruitment, with significantly less compressive forces and knee extensor moments... the results suggest that front squats may be advantageous compared with back squats for individuals with knee problems such as meniscus tears, and for long-term joint health."
However, in a study by Yetter and Moir (2008) that examined front and back squat's ability to improve 10 through 40m sprint times they found that the heavy back squat group not only had significant increases in speed time found when compared to the control group for the 10 and 20m distances... BUT the heavy back squat group also had significantly better sprint speeds times than heavy front squat at the 40m distance. Nonetheless, I would have liked to have seen a higher number of subjects than 10. Yetter and Moir's study.
For functional ability as far as strengthening your knee and hip extensor muscles as well as your core I would prescribe a person to participate in both front and back squats, as long as their form is correct. For any one with meniscus tears, bad form that has yet to be corrected, or previous back problems, I would recommend front squat. For an athlete I would throw into their program some front squat early in the off-season to continue to confused their muscles and give their backs a different type of force to deal with while still training the same muscles. Once the pre-season approached I would transition the athlete back to back squat.
Gullett, J., Tillman, M., Gutierrez, G., & Chow, J. (2009). A Biomechanical Comparison of Back and Front Squats in Healthy Trained Individuals. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 23(1), 284-292.
Yetter, M., & Moir, G. (2008). The Acute Effects of Heavy Back and Front Squats on Speed during Forty-Meter Sprint Trials. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 22(1), 159-165.
There is a list of websites that I view daily, so being out of town AND away from a computer all last week meant having a ton of info to catch up on. Most of my reading list can be seen if you click on the link to the left to see my complete profile, but some of my favorites are:
So a while back I asked you all in a poll about some exercises that you all wanted to see... I also noticed that a standing stability ball rollout isn't really on youtube.... so I have a some progression for stability ball rollout exercises.
Apologies for the lack of posts and useful or random info... me and the wife just got back from our honeymoon... that's right, there is a mrs. meathead. We actually talked about changing our last name to Diesel, and the fact that I can have conversations like that with her is part of the reason why i snatched her off the market.
while in Jamaica we were asked to buy all kinds of drugs from people like the guy below
All the people were friendly, if you bought something from them. I'm back in a great country and will get some core exercises for you tomorrow on here.