My Quad Finisher

August 26, 2013 by danny · Leave a Comment 

I’m a couple weeks into my current  block and thought I’d share what my quad finisher looks like.  For this training block I’m using a full body program, lifting 3-4 times per week.  At the end of day 2, I finish with the below “finisher” …

10 Barbell Jump Squats

10 Barbell Reverse Lunges

10 Barbell Squats

I do that with the same weight on my back, and then rest 45 seconds and repeat.  Only this time, after my last rep of squats, I pick up a dumbbell and perform a dumbbell squat iso-hold for as long as possible. To see what it looks like in action, here you go…

Bring The Pain!

Not. Easy!  Especially if you try to beat your time from the previous week.  And as you can see in the video, I added 5 seconds to my squat hold.  My quads were on absolute fire.  Trying to beat 35 seconds on the hold next week should be real “fun!”

Anyway, give it a try.  I dare you! ;)

How I feel after this quad finisher!

Training Videos From This Past: Lower Body…

December 26, 2012 by danny · 3 Comments 

I hope everyone had a great Christmas!  The entire McLarty clan had a great time… grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, sons, daughters all gathered at my parent’s house.  As the family grows, each year it’s getting louder and crazier!  Fun times though.  And I can’t wait ’til next year when my little twins start to get the whole Santa Claus thing!  It was especially nice to be all settled in our new home for the holidays…

Our new house "put together" just in time for Christmas!

On to a few training videos from the week that was.

Me performing Anderson Squats from a higher pin setting, 1-Leg Hip Thrusts, and Dragon Flys for the abs…

And below you’ll see Anderson Squats from a deeper position.  I generally recommend that a trainee squats as deep as possible while maintaining proper lifting form.  For the Anderson Squats above, I went down to a few inches above parallel just for a little change.  But below is the depth I usually hit (or even a bit lower).  It ended up being about 4 inches lower and is MUCH more difficult the first version!

Notice how I DRIVE up and FINISH off each rep.  That’s the way you should lift so that you get the absolute most out of each and every rep.

Above you saw 3 great exercises for the “posterior chain” (backside of your body).  Want to improve the way your glutes and hamstrings look and perform?

Well developed glutes!

Then be sure to incorporate kettlebell swings, hip thrusts, and glute-ham raises (if you have access to a glute-ham raise at your gym).

So there you have it, a quick peek into me and some of my clients working our lower bodies this past week at the gym.

2012 is about to wrap up, and I’ll have some of my thoughts on the year that was.  Make sure to pop back in to get this always fun end-of-the-year recap.  See you soon…

First Time Front Squatters and Squat Progressions

August 1, 2012 by danny · 8 Comments 

If you want to improve your strength, power, and performance for a sport, squats are great!  If you want to lose fat or gain muscle to help make you look sexier, squats are great.  If you want to improve your mobility and stability, squats are great.  The problem is, most people don’t take the time to learn how to perform them correctly.

My progressions with newer lifters usually look like this…

#1) Learn the goblet box squat
#2) Learn to goblet squat without the box to sit on (if that is “not working” go to #3, then come back and master #2).
#3) Learn to barbell box squat with the bar on your back
#4) Learn to front squat
#5) Learn to back squat

Goblet Squats

These phases are not set in stone and some people may never get to back squatting while others may be ready to back squat pretty much from the get-go.

This past week I had a few of my athletes (all basketball players) learn the front squat (and one is now just learning how to goblet box squat).  It may take weeks or even months before going to the next step.  The key is NOT to rush things.  You’ll have plenty of time to get more advanced and add load.  But MAKE SURE to learn how to squat the right way FIRST… then worry about adding load later.

The first video is of Liz and Michael…

Liz is preparing for her freshman year of basketball at Lehigh.  We actually did barbell box squats today for the first time.  Although she still has a little work to make them better, for her first time, she did very well.  By the time she leaves for school in a few weeks, we’ll have barbell back squats down and I’m sure her Strength Coach at Lehigh will be pleased (as back squats are in their training program).

This was Michael’s very first set of front squats, and I thought he did very well.  He is mobile/stable enough to get a couple inches lower (as I’ve seen him get that depth with goblet squats), but I didn’t want to force the range of motion on his very first set of front squats.  Soon, he’ll be adding weight to the bar and be a stud!

Next up, Paige and Paityn…

Paige has already goblet squatted, back squatted and front squatted.  She’s a pretty “natural” squatter.  I took a little longer with Paityn because she has had a tendency to let her knees cave.  So I didn’t want her front squatting and performing any more difficult squatting variations until she started to “nail” goblet squats and box squats.  Well, she has gotten good at those variations, and for a first time front squatter, she also did very well.  Like Michael, she has a couple inches of depth in her, and we’ll get to that next week.

Once you are ready (if ever) to deep back squat, John Alvino has a very good video with all the tips/cues necessary to become a good squatter…

There are so many benefits to squatting, but make sure to take your time progressing.

If this post has been beneficial to you, please hit the “like” and “tweet” buttons.  Thank you!

Exercise of the Week – Anderson Front Squats

August 1, 2011 by danny · Leave a Comment 

This exercise is a killer… Anderson Front Squats.  ”Anderson Squats” are usually done with the bar on your back.  But in this version, you rack the back across your shoulders, as you would in a traditional front squat.

You can set the pins as low as you want.  The lower the harder, but make sure to set them at a depth that allows you to keep form (abs tight, weight on your heels, chest tall, etc).  In traditional squats, as you descend, the tendons will store energy and assist the muscles on the concentric portion (the way up) of the lift.  By unloading the bar on the pins for a second, this “stretch-shortening cycle” is reduced (or eliminated if you rest the bar on the pins long enough) making it so the muscles will have to do more work.  It is kind of like a deadlift in this sense – you let the bar rest on the ground for a second before going into the next rep.  The big different here is that Anderson Squats are more quad dominant, whereas deadlifts are more hip dominant (unless you purposely lean forward with Anderson Squats to bring the glutes/hams into play more).

When first trying these, start off light as they can be humbling!  But they are great for your quads, your core, and will help with your posture.  Did I say they are great for your quads? :)

Give them a try, and um, “enjoy,” as they are oh-so-fun!

My Leg & Ab Training Session from Yesterday…

May 19, 2011 by danny · Leave a Comment 

I thought I’d share with you my leg and ab workout from yesterday.  If you read my blogpost from last week, you’ll recall that I am generally not a big fan of random workouts.  But due to the fact that our babies are due any day now, and I never thought we’d make it this far (today is exactly 37 weeks, which means full term!), I didn’t get into a new training block as I figured it would get cut off 1/2 way in.  I thought I’d be in the hospital for daysssss by now.  So, here yesterday’s “random” leg/ab workout…

A) Hip Thrusts – 3 X 8-10

B) Walking Lunges – 3 X 10-12/leg

C1) 1-Leg RDLs – 3 X 10/leg

C2) Foam Roller Supine Torso Holds – 2 X 30 seconds & Dragon Flys – 1 X 10

D) Jump Circuit consisting of 10 Jump Lunges (total – 5/leg), 10 Jump Squats, 10 Reverse Lunges (total), and 30 squats … quads were ON FIRE!

Overall, the volume is pretty low.  I have kept it this way because of the increased chances of extreme soreness when you do random workouts (again, a big reason I’m not a fan of random workouts).  For the last 5-6 lower body (or full body) workouts I have done a squat (usually back squats) and/or a deadlift variation (usually trap bar deadlifts).  So I thought I’d take a little break from those on this day.  I captured one of each of the above exercises on film (except for the dragon fly), so here you go…


… and today my ass and hamstrings are killing me!  Damn it! :)