Squats and Deadlifts Won’t Make Your Waist Blocky

Preface: Because this topic is highly controversial in various fitness circles, I decided to back up my writing with anecdotal evidence in the form of photographs. I’m not just some geeky arm chair expert, I’m an actual personal trainer (Instagram page HERE) with 18 years of professional experience. Therefore, throughout this article, you will see pictures of clients I’ve actually trained in person, each of whom performed squat and deadlift variations throughout the course of their preparation. 

For the past couple of decades, bodybuilders have been cautioning fellow bodybuilders, advising them to avoid squatting and deadlifting on the premise that they add mass to the midsection and create a blocky appearance. This advice is especially doled out to female competitors, since it is of even greater importance for them to maintain their curvy, feminine appearance.

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Impressive Strength Levels

2013 Open workout descriptions with Julie Foucher

People who lift weights like having targets to shoot for in their training. Several different websites have created strength standards for men and women of different weight classes, mainly for the squat, deadlift, bench press, and military press. However, I have never seen a comprehensive list of strength feats pertaining to a wide variety of exercises. Last year, I wrote a guest article for my friend Ben Bruno where I listed some feats of strength that I find to be impressive in the gym. I recently sat down and updated the list and added more exercises.

Obviously, this is very difficult to do. Ideally, I’d have all sorts of data to analyze, but I don’t. This is a subjective list based on my experiences as a personal trainer. Some of the exercises I had to take a wild stab at simply because I don’t prescribe it often to my clients or see it often at the gyms at which I train, for example the barbell step up to thigh-parallel height. In my gym, we do high step ups involving much greater degrees of hip flexion while holding onto dumbbells. Moreover, I don’t have a ton of experience with prescribing Olympic lifts to clients. I’m certain that as I pay closer attention over the next year, I will realize that some of my numbers listed below are too high or too low and in need of adjustments. Therefore, I’m going to update and refine this list over time to be more valid and reflective of realistic but still impressive strength feats. Nevertheless, the advanced lifters always find these list to be too easy while the novice lifters find the same list to be very daunting, that’s just the way it goes.

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Eight Considerations for Weight Room Training

The following is an excellent guest article by physical therapist and strength coach Rob Panariello. 

Eight Considerations for Weight Room Training

Robert A. Panariello MS, PT, ATC, CSCS
Professional Physical Therapy
Professional Athletic Performance Center
New York, New York

Throughout my 35 year career in the related professional fields of Sports Rehabilitation and Strength and Conditioning (S&C) I have been witness to hundreds of presentations, have read thousands of books/research articles/blogs and had an abundant number of conversations with regard to weight room training and program design. Although all of this information has been enlightening, the lessons from my friends and mentors Hall of Fame S&C Coaches Al Vermeil, Johnny Parker, Al Miller, Don Chu, elite coaches Charlie Francis, Derek Hansen, former Olympic Weightlifter and Weightlifting Coach Gregorio Goldstein, and former Olympic Weightlifter and present day Olympic Weightlifting Coach Stan Bailey have all provided me with instruction, lessons and information that in my opinion, is second to none. It should be noted that this dialog is based on the application of weight room principles and training to enhance the physical qualities that are necessary to improve their athleticism for optimal athletic performance. The S&C program design should not intend to create weightlifters, powerlifters or bodybuilders of the athlete unless they partake in these specific competitive sports.

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12 Observations From Training Women

Five years ago, I wrote an article that contained 10 observations from training women HERE, and six months ago I jotted down 10 tips HERE. Today, I’m providing 12 more observations that I’ve gleaned from training mostly women. Keep in mind that many of my female clientele are bikini competitors or newbies; as of yet I haven’t sought advanced powerlifters or athletes for long-term clients. If I did, my experiences would surely be different, but nevertheless my clientele have provided me with interesting and unique anecdotal experiences. There are many things little nuances associated with personal training that you won’t find in textbooks or certification courses, so these types of blogposts are valuable and important.

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