How to Front Squat – 2023 [includes – Zombie Front Squats, Front Squat Crossed arms]

Jiu-jitsu and MMA are sports that demand several qualities from every athlete participating – strength, mobility, durability, and strength endurance. Unfortunately, it’s common that these elements are lacking in many athletes, even when their skill level is high. It’s also true that many jiu-jitsu or MMA athletes are already spending most of their time training jiu-jitsu, not doing strength training in a gym. This means any athlete that supplements their skill training with strength training needs to choose exercises that accomplish a lot with less total time & effort..

If you had to build more muscular & more powerful legs for any athlete, build their range of motion & flexibility in the entire body, strengthen their knees, core & upper back for impact, while only choosing one exercise, there is a quick answer the best strength coaches will give you:

Use the front squat.

How to Front Squat

front squat

The strongest and most explosive athletes in the world have built their strength using a front squat for decades.

“why not just use a back squat instead?”

A barbell back squat is also a useful tool. However, the front squat provides some distinct positive advantages over other squat variations:

The front squat makes it easier to strengthen the legs & build mobility. In a front squat, the grip places weight in front of you instead of behind your shoulders. Because of this difference in weight distribution… the athlete’s torso remains upright and this allows them to work the legs more than the lower back. This is a positive feature that comes from the constraints a Front squat contains. The squat remains “honest” as you cannot tip forward and the legs must do the work over the back.

This position also allows you to sink into a deeper position without falling forward as easily which helps develop hip mobility and range of motion better. (See Olympic lifter’s mobility) In contrast, athletes often lean forward in a back squat while lifting the weight and this creates both strain and fatigues the low back instead of working the legs fully as intended. Again, this is a highlight of the “constraint” of a front squats frontal > backward loading strategy.

The front squat also allows the upper body to remain mobile providing us with the mobility needed to move through, apply, and escape positions on the mats while grappling.

So we understand that the front squat is a useful training tool to develop a strong lower body, that can build our mobility, and prevent overworking our lower back so we can shoot more powerful takedowns and positions on the mat explosively.

Let’s explain how you can begin to front squat.

How to Perform the Front Squat

Like with any compound lift, success is mastering the initial setup before the repetition begins.

Front Squat Bar Placement

One of the most distinct and variable aspects of a front squat is the placement of the bar and the grip used. There are several grips most commonly utilized by athletes.

Clean grip

clean grip

This is the most classic grip utilized due to its traditional nature during the execution of Olympic lifts – where front squats were popularized.

A clean grip both demands but also can generate mobility adaptations in the shoulders, wrists, and elbows.

The scapula is forced to protract forward & upward (arms reach forward and up) while the elbows and wrists are bent to nest the bar.

This position is the most classic and when done well feels very secure and lends itself well to all other exercises of an Olympic lifting nature.

This can build & maintain mobility + resiliency in the upper body in many cases – the only downside is there is still a baseline level of mobility required to comfortably begin using this position and many will need to use a different grip to start.

If using this grip – it is generally done with only a few fingers under the bar. Do not grab it with your full and do not rest or carry the weight on your hands/wrists.

Cross grip

The most traditional solution lifters have solved the aforementioned issue with the cross grip. This is the classic “bodybuilding grip“ that many non-Olympic lifting bodybuilder trainers have used which was not burdened by the mobility requirements in the upper back and arms.

This was sometimes necessary with very large armed bodybuilders who had grown to a point where proper access to a Clean grip position began to become difficult. However, for anyone except for the largest (and usually hormonally enhanced) bodybuilders, a cross-arm grip may not be necessary and in some cases can feel uneven due to one arm needing to fold over the other.

This can create some shoulder discomfort in many cases especially when heavier weights are used – however, you can experiment and if the script feels comfortable to you it is an option.

Clean grip with straps

One way some athletes frequently circumvent not having current access to the mobility required for a full clean grip is by using straps.

This simply lowers the elbow and wrist demand and many grapplers who may be working their wrists and elbows intensely at practice could use this as an option to prevent overstressing the lower arm.

It does require a pair of lifting straps that you loop under the bar and make sure and space them securely.

Note: While this takes away some of the mobility requirements for those that haven’t built it up –  depending on your structure – some people feel the bar is less secure and they can’t move as much weight. Experiment for yourself but if you are only using the straps method it may be worth experimenting with the other grips if you want to lift heavier.

Zombie grip

This grip is simply identical to a clean grip except your arms are extended fully forward “like a zombie”.

Removes while lightening the burden on the shoulders by consequence as well.

The zombie grip also places more total weight in front of you due to the weight of your lower arms and can make it easier to counterbalance and allow athletes to stay upright while squatting.

This is a highly underrated, low-demand, and easy-to-learn variation that not only makes it effective for training your legs but also helps athletes learn how to facilitate a squat pattern effectively.

This exaggerates the benefits a front squat already has even further and can help many people “learn to squat“ much faster than if they simply began with a back squat – which has fewer “constraints”.

Zercher grip

So some may not consider this a “front squat“ variation – including as a grip that loads squat in the front of the body and has a similar effect/advantages and also has some positive carryover to grappling athletes.

This will work the upper back at a different angle and provide the midsection with a stimulus for getting strong.

Zercher squats can make the squatting pattern easy for some body types or those who would rather hold the load in their elbows than on their shoulders. You can decide on what is most comfortable for you and searches can be made more comfortable on the elbows by using pads on the barbell.

How to Perform a Front Squat Technique Breakdown

Follow these steps and cues to help perform a proper front squat – and utilize the troubleshooting methods below if you are struggling.

(These steps will specifically apply to the majority of front squats while a Zercher squat might require some differences for those unsure of themselves)

  1. Set up a barbell at approximately upper chest height. The bar should be lower than your clavicles but higher than your sternum. It should require a shallow dip for you to get under the bar and un-rack it in the next step.
  • Regardless of the specific grip you are using (unless using a Zercher grip) grab the bar with your hands evenly spaced just outside of your shoulder width. This distance can be experimented with after the next couple of steps if you need adjustment.
  • While securely maintaining a position/distance between your hands, bend your knees and step under the bar, swing your elbows under the barbell and point them forward so the barbell is resting on top of your clavicles and anterior deltoids. You should be in what is roughly a quarter squat position with what is at least close to a “clean grip” with your feet shoulder width underneath the bar in a position you feel comfortable standing from – your torso should be upright and the weight of the bar should be lightly pressing into your clavicles and shoulders.

The barbell should be touching your neck.

  • If you are planning on using any grip besides a clean grip – at this time adjust the position of your hands and arms as needed to re-secure the bar with your chosen grip without losing the positioning of your shoulders, torso, and legs under the bar. Doing this at this time ensures that you are centered on the barbell and do not stand up holding the weight asymmetrically. If you are using a clean you could just secure that grip with your elbows high and skip this step.
  • With your torso upright legs slightly bent the barbell secure against your neck and shoulders and your preferred grip in place, drive your elbows up so that they are slightly above parallel to the ground (elbows pointed in front of you and slightly up). Stand up with the barbell to un-rack it from the squat rack.
  • Once you are standing up, keeping your elbows high, and feeling secure holding the weight, take a step back with one leg, ensure you are balanced and secure, and take another step back with the other leg. You can repeat this process once more if you need slightly more space from the rack but mind your surroundings.
  • Use a mirror in front of you, or practice finding positioning with a lightweight, widen the stance of your feet so they are approximately shoulder width apart with your toes pointed slightly out between 10 and 45°. (This can vary between individuals and will be covered more below)
  • Now that your upper body and lower body are in secure positions bearing the weight, you can begin to initiate a repetition by bending at the knees slightly. While bending at the knees your body will naturally want to counterbalance by hinging at the hips very slightly as well. Think about keeping your torso somewhat upright while bending your knees so they come forward. Your hips will naturally accommodate to balance. Your feet should be bearing the weight in this movement evenly through the ball, heel & side of the foot the entire time. (See figure A)
  • KEEP YOUR ELBOWS UP while you lower yourself until you reach desired depth – which at a minimum should be so that the crease of your hips is even with the height of your knees. However, as long as your torso can remain fairly upright and you are comfortable squatting lower might be desired. The bar should never be rolling down your arms and shoulders and should remain secure in the position it started with the entire time. You should not be falling forward in this movement at all. Your knees should remain over your toes and not collapse inward between your legs.
  1. Once you reach the bottom position, immediately reverse course by standing up by driving your legs into the ground to straighten them and keep your chest and elbows up high. Stand up with the bar until you reach the starting position again.

When the desired number of reps is completed you can take one step forward at a time to place the barbell back into the rack. Make sure you set both ends of the barbell very securely onto the rack before setting it down and do not step out from under the barbell until you feel the rack fully and securely bearing its weight. Be cautious here and do not rush re-racking the bar.

Most Common Mistakes of the Front Squat

Poor Set Up

Notice that the majority of the steps to perform a front squat began with a conscious and deliberate setup before any repetitions even began. Most problems in many exercises are not form that should be best remedied during a repetition but arise due to recklessly and impulsively beginning the movement.

Utilizing the steps written above that may seem more “boring“ regarding a proper setup are crucial so that the actual squatting pattern and force can be produced through the legs properly.

If you are having any problems at all the first step should be to review your grip, torso, and foot positioning.

Stiff Hips

Working in close connection to the above – some individuals cannot sit their butt down between their legs because they do not widen the position of their thighs enough.

Their femur and hips/stomach/rib cage collide into one another and the backgrounds forward to artificially lower the bar.

Make sure your thighs come out wide enough that your body has the mobility in space to lower itself between your heels. This can be accomplished through a combination of, pointing your toes out more, and making sure your knees are pushed outward just enough that they align with where your toes are pointing throughout the majority of the squat (sometimes they pull in a bit at the reversal stage of a squat and this is fine for a moment).

Tipping Forward

One of the most common struggles individuals have with the front spot is falling forward and struggling to hold the weight on their shoulders as they attempt to lift heavy.

This is not a drawback of a front squat but actually a feature.

While many individuals interpret this as a problem because they cannot lift as heavy of weight in comparison to a deadlift or back spot – what they are unknowingly noticing is that their legs (specifically the quadriceps and knees) are usually not strong enough to bear the weight they are asking of it.

In back squats and deadlifts, you can lift more weight because the body can tip forward at the hips and use the back and hamstrings/posterior chain to lift the weight. As we mentioned earlier in this post this is precisely what we use a front squat to avoid.

A front squat punishing your tendency to tip forward and hope to lift the barbell with your back is what forces you to challenge the legs themselves.

Individuals tipping forward on a front squat are not bending at the knees and pushing their knees forward, and are not strong enough to lift the weight with their legs on the way up – thus they instead shoot their hips up tall to get into a deadlift position where they are stronger to lift the weight.

When this is done the quads are not being challenged and your front squat has already failed.

The simplest solution to this problem is understanding that you have reached failure when you need to tip forward to complete a repetition as a front squat can’t be done that way or lower the weight being used so that you can squat with an upright enough torso that the bar does not lose position on your shoulders.

The key here is to UNDERSTAND that we want the knees extending to be the primary joint that lifts the weight and not the hips standing up. “Falling forward” is just compensation for the quads failing and thus the set is “complete”.

Ensure you are driving your legs into the floor with weight evenly pressed through the heel and the entire front of the foot (ball of the foot to the outside edge of the foot).

Wrapping Up

The front squat is one of the most valued and powerful tools for gaining strength in any athlete. It is used by many renowned strength coaches and athletes to build raw power for contact sports.

By taking the time to develop your ability to front squat – you can make a strong investment into gaining the leg strength that will allow you to prevent more injuries, finish takedowns, escape positions, dominance scrambles, and ultimately win more matches on the mat.

Review this post over again if needed as it can be a lot of information to digest at once.

As always, train sensibly and enjoy front squatting.

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A Complete Guide to the Back Squat 2023 (covers back pain when squatting, technique, plus more!)

If you have lower back pain when squatting, or if you’re looking to build up your max squat, whether you do martial arts or not, keep reading!

Jiu-jitsu and grappling sports are not dominated by weak bodies. It is an art about maximizing efficiency, yes – But the ceiling for optimizing a strong and healthy body is much higher than a weaker and more fragile one.

Building a minimum threshold of strength is crucial to maximizing your success in jiu-jitsu and grappling competition– and there is no program that would be complete without some form of a squat.

The ability to squat down low, and produce force with the legs and hips, while bracing through the midsection our qualities every grappler will mean win finishing takedowns & escaping bad positions or winning scrambles.

More broadly, almost every human activity will depend on strong and healthy legs that don’t break easily for both performance and general health. With this in mind, it is easy to see why the barbell back squat is considered the king of exercises.

Utilizing and developing your back squat is likely a wise investment for dedicated MMA fighters or jiu-jitsu athletes who wants to win more frequently and get injured less.

A Complete Guide to the Back Squat

How to Increase Back Squat Numbers?

To develop your back squat – several factors need to be considered. Though this article will not cover a specific program to develop squatting strength, we will provide some principles and guidelines that may prove useful in your own training.

Squat frequently and consistently (but not too frequently)

The number one factor that prevents people from improving their swipe is simply not consistently putting in a quality training session. Those summer squad programs for beginners will have you squatting three times a week, this would be excessive for an athlete also.

In order to account for the additional training stress of sports practice and being considerate tonight so frequently that it interferes with skill development, squatting once a week is advisable

However, the quality of that squat session will be impactful.

Please your squat session on a lower body strength training gait and ideally placed this training day between two training days or rest days during the week. you want to avoid your legs already being too fatigued to execute quality squats and also want to avoid a high effort interfering with your more intense sports practices.

Using a Back Squat for Jiu-Jitsu and MMA Strength

Jiu-jitsu and grappling sports are not dominated by weak bodies. It is an art about maximizing efficiency, yes – But the ceiling for optimizing a strong and healthy body is much higher than a weaker or more fragile one.

Building a minimum threshold of strength is crucial to maximizing your success in jujitsu and grappling competition– and there is no program that would be complete without some form of a squat.

The ability to squat down low and produce force with the legs and hips, while bracing through the midsection our qualities every grappler will mean win finishing takedowns & escaping bad positions or winning scrambles.

More broadly, almost every human activity will depend on strong and healthy legs that don’t break easily for both performance and general health. With this in mind, it is easy to see why the barbell back squat is considered the king of exercises.

Utilizing and developing your back squat is likely a wise investment for a dedicated martial artist who wants to win more frequently and get injured less.

How to Back Squat

Though many variations of squats can be performed, this post will focus on how to perform a high bar back squat.

If you are learning to perform a back squat, follow these precise steps and review them multiple times as you practice.

  • Set up a barbell on a squat rack at upper chest height. It should be lower than your shoulders but higher than your sternum.
  • Grasp the bar with your hands evenly spaced and centered on the barbell slightly further than shoulder-width apart.
  • Dip under the barbell and place the bar on top of your trapezius muscles. The bar should not be resting on any of your neck muscles at all. It should fit neatly over your shoulders – for those with less upper back muscle using a cushion pad on the barbell might be useful.
  • You should be underneath the barbell and in a quarter squat position with a slight knee bend squeezing the barbell tightly with your hands, pushing your chest slightly out, looking at the floor 4 feet in front of you, and pulling your elbows to your side slightly.
  • With your feet about shoulder width apart stand up with the barbell and unrack it from the stand. You should now be standing with the bar on your upper back, with your feet shoulder-width apart, squeezing the bar slightly with your hands and gently pulling your elbows down to your ribs.
  • Take one step backward with one leg, ensure you are secure and balanced, and take another step back. Then adjust your feet to approximately shoulder width apart with your toes 10 to 45° pointed outward. (Stance and foot position can vary noticeably between individuals. You can experiment with this on your own but some guidelines will be given below.)
  • Once you are in the proper position with your feet, stack your pelvis under your rib cage (details below) and take a deep breath into your abdomen. You will likely want to have a very very slight bend in the hips while standing fairly tall before you begin a repetition.
  • Begin a repetition by bending at the knees while looking at the floor 4 feet in front of you. Stay tall and sit your butt down between your legs. Knees should be maintained by being pressed gently out so they stay in line with where the toes are pointing throughout most of the movement.
  • You will complete the descent when you reach your desired depth. Add a minimum depth should be where the crease of your hips is parallel to the height of your knee – your thigh should be parallel to the floor. At most depth could be when your knee can no longer bend any deeper (full knee flexion). Your maximum depth should be determined by how deeply you can squat before your chest collapses forward.
  • Once depth is reached, reverse the motion and stand up with the weight by driving your legs into the ground and trying to stand up while keeping your torso as upright as possible.
  • Once the desired reps are complete – step one foot safely toward the rack and push the barbell FULLY onto the pins to secure the bar. Do not let go or drop the bar until you are certain it has been fully and safely held by the rack.

Notice above the lifter maintains a fairly upright posture.

Many will have slight differences in their squat depth, squat stance, and cues they use to execute the movement effectively. However, the following steps above are the basic foundational model for executing a back squat effectively.

Back Squat Benefits

The barbell back squat truthfully works – to various degrees – almost the entire body from your ankles to your upper back.

Done properly, the dominant working musculature and benefits of a back squat are for the quadriceps & glutes. However, other territories of the body gain benefits as well.

Benefits of Back Squats for the Ankles

The ankles bend deeply at the bottom and while the calves are not worked muscularly, they are stretched and lengthened which can be beneficial for those with immobile ankles.

Benefits of Back Squats for the Low Back and Core

The lower back/core is also called upon to stabilize you as you lift the weight, and your upper back contributes to this as well.

Benefits of Back Squats for the Adductors

Depending on your squat stance and personal anthropometry, the adductors on the inside of your thighs/groin also contribute massively to the squatting pattern. This is an underrated aspect of squatting which directly benefits lateral movement & grappling positions where the legs must squeeze and control opponents.

Benefits of Back Squats for the Overall Strength of Knee & Hips.

When squats are performed through a full range of motion, the heavyweights and powerful stimuli are effective at building up the connective tissue throughout the body as well. Squats do an amazing job of slowly building up passive tissues in the body from head to toe to become more resilient and able to withstand impact. This is an extremely underrated part of strength training that Grafling athletes benefit tremendously from. The ability to train longer and harder without breaking down or becoming injured is invaluable to the developing jiu-jitsu athlete. Back squats provide this throughout the legs and hips as well as the midsection.

Strength & Power

High Bar back squats have also been shown to help athletes develop power very effectively simply because they allow the body to be loaded up heavy and forced to contract a large amount of muscular force to overcome heavy resistance. This – along with its muscular and connective tissue benefits – is beneficial in speed and power athletes that want to run faster and hit harder in all sports.

A back squat developed to approximately 1.8 to 2x body weight can be a major game changer in the injury resilience and power potential of a grappler.

Heavy strength movements, like a back squat, force the entire body to learn to contract large muscle groups together and operate under strain – this will be necessary for most contact sports and especially grappling to complete or escape maneuvers where high force outputs that require several seconds of sustained effort are necessary.

While many muscular actions in sports occur in less than one second, The ability to continue to apply explosive force under high resistance for 1 to 3 full seconds at a time Will be tested during crucial make-or-break moments in a match.

In addition to the fact that a higher ceiling for absolute strength makes opponents feel lighter, developing strength as a back squat is a no-brainer for any contact or grappling athlete.

How to Increase Back Squat Numbers?

To develop your back squat – several factors need to be considered. Though this article will not cover a specific program to develop squatting strength, we will provide some principles and guidelines that may prove useful in your training.

Squat Frequently and Consistently (but not too frequently)

The number one factor that prevents people from improving their squat is simply not consistently putting in a quality training session. Most squat programs for beginners will have you squatting three times a week. While this may work for a pure lifter, this would be excessive for a grappling athlete with an active schedule.

To account for the additional training stress of sports practice and being considerate tonight so frequently that it interferes with skill development, squatting once a week is advisable

However, the quality of that squat session will be impactful.

Place your squat session on a lower body strength training day and ideally placed this day between two training days of rest days during the week. You want to avoid your legs already being too fatigued to execute quality squats and also want to avoid a high-effort squat routine interfering with your more intense sports practices.

In some cases with constrained schedules, it is also acceptable to place a squat training session earlier in the day before a jujitsu/grappling training session. With 4 to 6 hours of rest in between sessions they should not deeply interfere with one another and by performing your squat session 1st you will ensure the strength training is of adequate quality if developing strength is a priority in your training at the moment.

Rep Ranges

Most commonly – many squat programs may have you perform sets of 5-8 reps across.

Such as a 5×5 format.

This is fine in a pure lifting context with a beginner. As they need to keep practicing repetitions to learn the skill as well as prevent things from becoming too complicated for them as they are initially learning.

However, this may not be ideal for a grappling-focused trainee or someone with basic control of the movement already developed. At this point, beginner jiujitsu athletes would benefit from 3-4 sets across instead as they learn to squat. Once the movement has been comfortably developed – they can move on to exploring superior approaches.

One common approach with sets of “5” is they are designed to “build strength”. As mentioned previously the most effective way to get stronger is to build both muscle size AND muscle recruitment ability.

The issue many fall into is that muscle recruitment is best built with lower reps below 6 and muscle mass is often best built with rep ranges 8 and above. This often leads to many spinning their wheels and getting nowhere in either direction as athletes focused on performance try to chase both goals poorly.

There is a simple and very effective method for achieving both of these goals and training qualities that can be performed near the beginning of any strength session with any compound movement.

Squats in particular work very well here.

You essentially lift one set that is in a lower rep range (1-5) and then utilize a certain percentage of that weight for another 1-3 sets for higher reps (6-12)

You can read a detailed breakdown of EXACTLY how to do this here.

Check Technique & Setup

For many athletes, a back squat will need to be somewhat individualized. This means altered stances and perhaps novelty bars or other modifications as well as a refined improvement to your technique which almost everyone needs at some point.

We will cover a few of these briefly below – including other variations you can utilize if a back squat is unavailable or not ideal for you.


This can vary between individuals of different shapes and sizes as our anthropometry & hip structure can make how we ideally squat similar to our own “fingerprint”.

However, most can use the following insight to improve their squad by altering their foot position:

To find your ideal foot position during a front spot, on the rack and an empty barbell (or a smaller/lighter barbell if necessary for you) so that the resistance is extremely light. Follow the steps as if the bar was loaded heavy.

Initiate a single squat repetition as deep as you can and squat back up. Try spacing your feet 1 to 2 inches wider with your toes facing the same angle and repeat. Assess the depth of your squat and how easy it was to remain upright while getting your knees forward and hips down.

Repeat the same process by instead experimenting with turning your toes out another 10° or in another 10°. Assess how comfortable and smooth that movement felt once more.

The goal is to find a position where you can squat to your minimum depth while keeping your chest tall so the barbell is not at all tempted to roll forward. Your butt should essentially be sinking between your heels.

Begin to experiment with the toe angle and distance between your feet as you add small increments of weight to the bar.

For most people (especially men) your most comfortable distance will be around shoulder width with your toes pointed 20 to 45° outward.

Stacking the Ribcage & Pelvis

It is important to properly call position over the pelvis beginning a squat. If the pelvis is tipped forward too far this will cause you to lose proper drive and movement quality as you descend. Frequently, individuals think “buttwink” (spinal flexion at the bottom of a squat) is due to poor mobility but often it is simply because they began the squat from a position where the spine was bent too far backward. Then at the bottom position, it simply bends forward to the ideal position.

You should be posteriorly tucking your pelvis so that you maintain a slight curve in the back of the spine and you can feel the front of your lower abdominals slightly engaged.

However, there should not be so much “tuck” that you lose the “S” curve in your spine. Ribs should be stacked right “on top” of the hips without the ribs sticking forward.

Common Errors of Squatting

Sitting “back” and not “down”

Commonly, those who lack mobility or strength to lift a weight in a back squat will compensate for this by lifting their hips back much more to lift the weight with their back and hips.

We want to avoid this.

One option is to focus on sitting down rather than back. Your stance should allow you to sit your butt mostly between the back of your heels and remain fairly upright thought out the movement.

Consider that your torso will tip forward a few degrees during the moment. It may be useful to begin the squat *already* tipped slightly forward (only slightly. You shouldn’t feel a major strain from hinging at the hips while standing) and maintain that angle of your torso to the ground during the entire squat movement.

Allow yourself to focus entirely on bending your knees and standing up using your quadriceps.

If this is still challenging and you have made attempts to adjust your stance a bit – another option is to try another squat variation that makes it easier to squat upright.

Front squats are a common choice.

Not bringing hips “forward” enough at the bottom OR keeping them under you while standing up

Some individuals need to be encouraged to bring their hips forward. As addressed prior they shoot their hips too far back instead of dropping their pelvis between their legs.

Some movement backward is natural however we do not want the horizontal movement of the pelvis to become more dominant over the vertical movement of the pelvis.

It can help some individuals to consciously try to push their knees forward and push their knees slightly out while bringing the pelvis underneath them. As long as this is done with the torso remaining fairly straight & neutral this will benefit your squatting effect for your legs.

Pushing reps past the point of clean technical failure

Once the legs begin to give out in terms of strength many athletes try to lean forward to allow their back and hips to lift the weight. They turn the squat into a “deadlift” motion with a bar on their back. The telltale sign of this is when the bar is being stood up with and the athlete’s hips shoot up tall before the bar lifts with it.

This results in a squat where you are much more greatly bent over than when you began. (Remember we want to maintain torso angle with the floor)

Besides any other accommodations we make – it can be wise for athletes to understand that their muscles have already “failed” the squat at that point and it may be time to rack the bar. Quality reps are more important than grinding out reps you bend over with your butt in the sky on.

Heel Elevation

One of the most common remedies for those who struggle with deep and clean squat techniques is to elevate the heels on a wedge, plate, or slant board. This makes a squat easier as it removes any ankle and many hip mobility restrictions from the movement.

Anyone using heel elevation will squat more upright automatically.

You can do this by placing 2.5 to 25lb plates underneath your heels when you squat or use a wedge/slant board you may have at a gym or could purchase online.

Olympic weightlifting squat shoes also do this for you as well so consider your favorite option.

Should You Back Squat with Knee/Back Pain?

It’s important to note for those that may have nagging issues from jiu-jitsu – you should only do exercises you are comfortable doing and not exacerbate existing problems. If you cannot back squat comfortably or it is exaggerating an orthopedic issue it is wise to do 2 things:

  1. See a clinician if the issue is serious or debilitating
  2. Hire a qualified coach to problem-solve for you and adjust your programming & technique

You shouldn’t be taking strength training decisions into your own hands as an inexperienced strength trainee.

When performed and programmed correctly an athlete should benefit from squatting and back or knee pain should be lessened – but if your pain is greater than usual it is a sign something else needs to be done first or you need direct help.

Be sensible and seek it out as a good strength coach, especially one that understands the needs and demands of grappling will make all the difference in your training results.

Wrapping Up

The barbell back squat is a staple and often the main strength exercise in elite athletes’ strength routines. It is the foundational builder for strength and power as well as keeps the body durable and mobile when down properly. Whether you are training to stay in shape or for your next fight, this guide will help you master the back squat.

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Calisthenic Back Exercises – With & Without Equipment [2022]

Callisthenics is an excellent exercise format when it comes to building functional strength. It’s also a lot more affordable to build muscle with bodyweight exercises such as those within the Calisthenics system, than it is to buy a range of bodybuilding weights & machines.

In this article we’ll look at which exercises you can do within the Calisthenic ‘system’, to develop back muscles.

Calisthenic Back Exercises Without Equipment

To be 100% honest, I think it’s quite difficult to build an impressive volume of upper back muscle, without using a chin-up bar or any weights.

However, you can certainly strengthen your back muscles and maintain muscle mass when no weights or bars are available.

Back Widow

Possibly the best no-equipment exercise for upper back development, the Back Widow involves lying on the ground, on your back, with your feet flat on the floor.

  • Bend your arms and push your elbows into the floor (use a mat or carpet to protect your elbows)
  • Elevate your upper body by squeezing your shoulder blades together
  • Don’t push through your feet
  • Squeeze your back muscles and hold the top position for 1 second

Sliding Pulls/Slides

As an alternative to pull ups or chin ups, you can use some floor sliders, or trousers/pants that don’t create much friction and carry out some “floor pulls” or “sliding pull downs”.

The chap in the video is using laminated paper on his knees.

Dorsal Raises

Be careful with this one if you have any lower back pain or injuries. It can help to rehab your lower back but it could also aggravate any pre-existing problems.

  • lie on your front
  • Carefully move your upper body away from the floor using your glutes and squeezing your shoulder blades together

Make sure the raises are slow and controlled – squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement and hold for 1 second

Calisthenic Back Exercises With Equipment

Front Lever Raise

This is a pretty advanced exercise.

Progression 1 – hanging knee raises

Hang off a bar and literally lift your knees up to your chest.

If you can’t do hanging knee raises, you’ll struggle to do front lever raises.

Tips for the Front Lever Raise

  • Keep your shoulder blades squeezed together and pull downwards to create stability around the shoulder

Tuck Front Lever

  • Hands are facing away from you
  • Get thighs in contact with your stomach if possible
  • A great exercise to create a foundation of stability and strength

Advanced Tuck Front Lever

  • This is very similar to the standard tuck front lever but you move your knees forwards
  • This change flattens the back and makes the exercise harder
  • Keep your hips in line with your shoulders if possible

The more the hips are flexed, the easier the exercise is. The more extended your legs and hips are, the harder it is.

Frog Front Lever

A progression that people don’t seem to know about, the frog front lever strengthens the hip flexors.

The Frog Front Lever is similar to the Advanced Tuck Front Lever, however, once you’ve adopted the Advanced Tuck Front Lever position, you open your legs, keeping your heels together.

Piked Full Front Lever

The next progression is to straighten out your legs.

Your toes should point to the left and right at around 45 degrees.

Feet should be above the head – as in the gif above^

Chin Ups and Pull Ups

Quite a tricky exercise for beginners.

You can start with eccentric chin ups, whereby you jump up and lower yourself down under control

or you can try using a resistance band to help

You can also place a chair in front or behind you and place 1 or 2 feet on it (or 3 if you have 3).

Always do this with supervision at first though

Chin ups are done with your palms facing towards you

Pull ups are done with your palms facing away from you

Grab the bar

Draw your belly button in to activate your core

Squeeze your shoulder blades together slightly

Pull up!

Lower yourself down under control. Try and take 2 to 3 seconds to descend down to the starting position.

Rope Climb

If you can’t climb a rope by grabbing it and pulling yourself up, you can try grabbing it and leaning back.

From there move up and down the rope, moving your upper body whilst your feet remain in the floor.

Please consider subscribing to these YouTube channels:

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Build your Arm muscle: Best Kettlebell Arm Exercise you should try

Photo from Club16 Trevor Linden Fitness

When it comes to building arm muscles, there are several workouts you can try out to increase the size. You can try weight lifting and other exercises, but when you have limited access to gym equipment or prefer to work out at home, there are other options you can try. It’s possible to employ kettlebell workouts for the arms, but it’s crucial to realize that they don’t work the arms the same way as traditional bodybuilding exercises. Instead of targeting specific muscles, kettlebell training should concentrate on movement patterns. 

If you prefer to do your workouts at home and are looking for the best solutions for your home gym, you might need to consider getting kettlebells. The kettlebells are an alternative instrument that can be used in place of heavyweights. Leanness and strength go hand in hand in building great arms. In other words, your workouts should be geared toward burning body fat, not just in your arms, through intense conditioning and developing real strength with the right exercises. 

Some kettlebell exercises focus on the arm more than other body parts. Here are some of the best ones you should try. 

  1. The kettlebell push press

To do this exercise, 

  • stand with the kettlebell held at 90°, 
  • Press the kettlebell overhead in a fluid motion, making sure your palm is not facing you
  • Repeat this exercise over again. 
  1. The kettlebell half-kneeling press 

To do this exercise, 

  • Start by half-kneeling and bringing your right knee to rest directly beneath your right hip. Your left foot ought to be parallel to your left knee.
  • In a racked position, hold a kettlebell in your right hand. Your forearm’s exterior should be pressed up against the cannonball.
  • When your arm is completely extended, quickly press the dumbbell overhead.
  • Return to the starting position gradually.
  1. The kettlebell bent over row

To do this exercise, 

  • Start by taking a straight posture with your shoulders back.
  • With a neutral grip, hold a kettlebell on your left side.
  • Your torso can be lowered until it’s virtually parallel to the floor by bending your knees slightly and hinging at the hips.
  • In the starting posture, your left hand should be squarely beneath your left shoulder.
  • Contract your biceps and lats as you gradually bring the kettlebell closer to your upper abdomen.
  • While moving the weight toward your body, watch out for torso rotation.
  • Go back to the beginning place.
  1. The kettlebell Gorilla Row

To do this exercise, 

  • Put your feet shoulder-width apart when you’re standing.
  • With a neutral grip, take a kettlebell in your right hand.
  • Your torso can be lowered until it’s parallel to the floor by bending your knees slightly and hinging at the hips.
  • In the starting position, the kettlebell should be positioned on the floor with your right hand directly beneath your right shoulder.
  • Pull the kettlebell towards your upper abdomen while tightening your biceps and lats without shifting your back.
  • Slowly and carefully reposition yourself to the beginning position.
  • Before switching sides, repeat for the advised number of reps.

Kettlebell Bicep Curls

Kettlebell Tricep Extensions

The Bottom Line 

Many kettlebell exercises can help you get that muscular arm, but before you get it, you must be ready to do the exercises correctly and repeat them to see results. 

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Air Bike Vs Rowing Machine – Which is the best? [2022]

Both the air bike and the rowing machine are fantastic pieces of gym kit. Great for getting in shape, and maintaining (not really building) muscle mass in both the upper and lower body. They are also both pretty versatile in terms of the types of workouts you can do – from Long Slow Distance (LSD), to Hight Intensity Intermittent Training (HIIT), including 4-minute Tabatas.

Image source

If you have got the money and the space available, then I’d recommend buying both an air bike and a rowing machine. If you don’t have the space or money, and you go to a commercial or work-based gym, think about what you already have access to. If you go to a commercial gym that has a rowing machine, but not an air bike for example, then you’ll probably want to buy an air bike for your home gym. Unless you’re looking to compete as a rower or something.

Do you enjoy using the air bike or the rowing machine the most?

If you enjoy using the air bike, more than the rowing machine, for example, then you’ll probably want to buy an air bike, as you’re more likely to use it. Unless you’re a David Goggins fan and you’re looking to do what you hate to do, to find greatness etc.

Tight Hips from a Desk Job?

If you’re like me and you sit on your bum all day at work, then you’ll probably have tight hip flexors. For this reason, I don’t use an air bike if I can use a rower or a ski machine, as forcefully pedalling in a seated position with bent legs, seems to make my hips feel even tighter after I use it. The affect is small, but if I was using the bike each morning and evening for 10 minutes, it’ll probably make my hip flexors tighter and my back stiffer.

Storing an Air Bike Vs Rower

If you’re struggling for space, rowing machines tend to fold up to make them easier to store. Air bikes, generally don’t fold up or stack or anything, so they’ll use more space when not in use

There are a lot of crap Rowing Machines on the Market

From what I’ve used, and what I’ve been told, air bikes are quite similar in terms of their build, performance etc across different brands. Rowing machines can vary in price, but you’ll want to opt for a Concept 2 or a METIS Fury model whenever possible. The fact that there’s only a handful of rowing machines touted as high-quality, may mean it’s much more difficult to find a good deal or a rowing machine at a knock-down price.

Rowing Requires More Technique

To be efficient and effective on a rowing machine, you do need to learn a bit of technique. This isn’t to say that you can’t get fit and lose weight on a rowing machine – even if your technique is terrible and really inefficient, you’ll still be burning calories.

However, the main thing to be aware of, is that you don’t lock your knees out – at least not at speed, as you’ll likely injure them over time. In addition, there’s a “catch phase” to the rowing movement. You want to push off with your feet, extend your legs (not fully as you don’t want to lock those knees out), and then, pull with your arms and extend your back slightly.

The Air Bike Doesn’t Let You Rest!

One fundamental difference between an air bike and a rowing machine, is that you can coast a little bit on a rower. On a rowing machine your drive with your legs, pull with your arms, extend your back and then kind of glide back to the starting position.

For this reason, I prefer the air bike for short, intense workouts, like HIIT and tabata intervals. If I use the rowing machine, I prefer to do longer workouts, or stints on it, that are at least 10 minutes long. I know, 10 minutes isn’t exactly rowing the Atlantic, but you can get a good, high intensity workout from using an air bike for 4 minutes, if you adhere to a Tabata protocol – 20 secs max effort, 10 secs rest x 8. I like to do this once, sometimes twice or three times per day. I’ll often throw a “warm up” 1 or 2 minutes of steady state cycling before I go for it with the Tabata.

What burns more calories the air bike or rower?

Because you get zero rest on an air bike, it will tend to burn more calories per minute, or hiur, than a rower. On a rower, to some extent, your body has a rest when you finish the pulling face and glide back to the starting position. On an air bike you also have to use your upper and lower body, at high intensity, simultaneously, whereas on a rower, you push off with your legs, then pull with your arms and back. So the air bike again, tends to burn more calories. Personal preference and fitness levels will also be a factor, not many people will use an air bike for durations of 30mins plus, its just too hard!

Bad Back – Rowing Machines Might Help or Hinder

If you have a bad back, you’ll at least want to give the rowing machine a go before investing in one. For some back conditions, the stretching and strengthening will probably help (I guess, I’m not a physio), whilst it might aggravate other injuries, such as disc problems.

If you have a bad back, the air bike is possibly the better option – but I’d say have a go of each machine first if possible and speak to your physio.


Both rowers and assault bikes are great, low impact cardio machines. You can’t really go wrong with either. I’d look around for some bargains and knock down prices. I’d also advise you to try each at the gym or in a shop showroom, to see if it “feels good” – especially if you have pre-existing injuries like a bad back or dodgy knees.

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Best Punching Bag Gloves for Beginners [2022]

Whether you are training for a fight, or you just want to get in fighting shape, a high-quality pair of punch bag gloves are a must to keep your hands and knuckles protected. I’d recommend using a pair of 14oz gloves for hitting a heavy bag. If you have a lighter bag, or a Bob style punching dummy, you can probably get away with using 10 or 12oz gloves.

What weight should punching bag gloves be?

Ah, a controversial one to get started. If you search for punching bag glove size guides online, most of them will state that people of different sizes, should use gloves that are different weights.

This is not correct in my experience. Boxing gloves, tend to be like caps or hats – one size fits all. The different weights are used for different purposes.

Boxing Glove Size Chart

8-12ozPads or competing in regulated matches
12ozPads, bag, or light sparring. Used in some amateur fights
12oz-16ozSparring or heavy bag (12oz for light sparring only)

You can use 10 or 12oz gloves on a heavy bag, but you’ll probably want to use hand wraps, unless you are looking to condition/toughen your hands.

I’d personally opt for 14oz gloves for use on a punch bag, or 12oz gloves with hand-wraps. 16oz gloves are a little bulky and can throw your range/distancing off slightly.

Can you hit a punching bag without gloves?

Yes, you can hit a punch bag without gloves, but you’re likely to scuff and cut your hands. You can also damage the bones in your hand or your wrist if you punch awkwardly at any point. If you want to hit a bag without gloves, you should look to build up to it, by conditioning your fists. You can do this with knuckle or fist press-ups, hitting a bucket with sand and hitting pads.

If you don’t want to wear gloves, wraps are always a good idea to prevent cuts and damage to the wrists.

Are MMA Gloves Good for Punching Bags?

Not, not really! Unless you use hand wraps and some type of wrist support, you’re likely to injure your hands. If you are going to compete in MMA, then there is some merit to doing pad work wearing MMA gloves, so that you get the right range and feel for punching in the gloves you’ll be fighting in.

MMA gloves, without wraps, don’t give your knuckles or wrists much protection. There are some MMA gloves available with wrist wraps and a “shock absorbing bar” in the palm (the old-school Harbinger gloves had these), but standard MMA gloves are not advised for bag work.

I personally use 12oz Reebok gloves for pad work, and 16oz for the heavy bag. I wear no gloves or MMA gloves for using the “top and bottom” or “floor to ceiling” ball.

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Football (soccer) Fitness .pdf [2022]

Football is a demanding sport that requires endurance, power and agility.

Ideally a conditioning or fitness program (“programme” is the correct UK spelling by the way), should be periodised and the volume and intensity should be significantly different during the off or pre season compared to during the football season.

Each exercise program should be specific to a position and player. A midfielder for example, needs more endurance than a goalkeeper.

The program shown here, will be a general fitness program. It can be adapted to suit your own schedule, as well as strengths and weaknesses.

  • You should look to build a “base of fitness” – with longer, slower distance runs to build your VO2Max in the off-season before doing specific sprinting exercises etc.

Warm Up

Always warm up – fore example, do 5-10 minutes of steady state cardio and some dynamic stretches.

Cool down afterwards with a light jog or walk and more stretches, including static stretches.

Tabata Intervals

One of the quickest and most effective ways to increase your overall football fitness, is to include several Tabata intervals into your weekly routine.

Tabata intervals can be done as sprints, or on an exercise bike (preferably an air bike).

Sprints 100% effort20108
Rest for 2 minutes and repeat

Gym Workouts

Day 1

Barbell Bench Press*10-152
Plyometric Press Ups63
Medicine Ball Overhead Throws63
Medicine Ball Slams62
Chin Ups10 (or max)2
Multi-directional Lunges12 (total)2
Rotating Plyo Jumps62
Band resisted backwards walks20m3

*If you have any shoulder issues, consider replacing the standard barbell bench press with a floor press either with a barbell, dumbbell or kettlebell.

Day 3

Barbell Front Squat84
Depth Jumps62
Barbell Glute Bridges82
One arm Row10 per arm2
Cable wood chops10 per side2
Hanging Leg RaisesMax2
Plank hold1 minute
Tib Raises102
Band Assisted Lunges*10 (total)2
Band resisted sideways walks15 seconds each direction3

Day 5

Hex Bar Jumps63
Pallof Press63
High Pulls63
Medicine Ball Slams122
Medicine Ball Oblique throws8 a side2
Lateral Bounds – Speed Skaters6 a side2
Nordic Hamstring CurlsMax2
Single leg calf raises122
Dorsal raises122
Cable hip flexion**10 per leg2

Download the pdf here:

*Band assisted lunges – these are great for improving your ability to decelerate and change direction. You will want to anchor the resistance band in front of you and the band should pull you forwards. You then need to control the descent and power back up to the starting position.

Tib raises also help with decleratoin and protect your knees.

** resisted hip flexion – done at speed, is great for running. You can do this with an ankle weight or foot in a kettlebell handle (at your own risk though!).

Tib Raises:

Backwards Walks

Football Pitch/Field Based Fitness Training

Equipment required:

Cones, speed ladder, small speed hurdles, resistance band

Perform the exercises in a circuit with 30 seconds to 1 minute of rest in between each station

Perform each exercise for 1 minute.

  1. 20m backward sprint, turn and spring 10m forwards
  2. Lunges
  3. Zig zag sprints in between cones
  4. 10m sprint and 3 jumps over speed hurdles
  5. Press ups
  6. Speed skaters*
  7. Vertical jumps
  8. Resistance band push-press**
  9. Hindu squats
  10. Bear crawls

This circuit will create a lot of lactic acid and muscle soreness the first time you do it. If you are doing the circuit for the first time, repeat the circuit once. Repeat up to 3 times when your fitness builds up.

*Speed Skaters

**Resistance Band Push Press

Bear Crawls

Some more ideas about fitness training for football here:

Remember, the best way to get fit for football, is to play football! Small sided games for example, are a great way to develop speed and football-specific fitness.

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Hex Bar / Trap Bar – A Complete Guide [2022]

Rather confusingly, known by two names:

  • Hex Bar
  • Trap Bar

The erm, hex/trap bar is a controversial bit of kit.

Pros of the Hex Bar

  • Easier to learn key exercises like the deadlift
  • Better for beginners
  • Less compression on the discs in the lower back/spine
  • Hex bar deadlift often resembles more of a squat with less lower back recruitment
  • Beginners can progress quicker
  • Beginners can lift more weight which motivates them (good for PTs etc)
  • The neutral grip is easier for most & puts less stress on the wrists
  • Hex bar deadlifts are better for those with lower back pain
  • Greater peak power & velocity (see 2011 study here)
  • No banging your shins on the bar
  • May develop quads more effectively than barbell deadlifts

Cons of the Hex Bar

  • Shorter range of motion
  • Less bicep and back muscles activation/used
  • Less core engagement
  • Less functional – you normally pick up objects etc in front of you
  • Less posterior chain engagement – less development of glutes, hamstrings and back
  • Limited back angle – harder to train with a more horizontal back angle
  • Difficult to reproduce the exact same technique on different training days*

*more info in the video below:

How much do trap bars weigh?

Unlike Olympic barbells, trap bars vary in weight according to the manufacturer. Trap bars weigh between20kg and 30kg (44lbs – 66lbs.

How much does a hex bar weigh kg?

Trap bars generally weigh between 20kg and 30kg.

Hex Bar Exercises

Hex bars are pretty versatile. Below are some of the more popular exercises that you can perform with a hex/trap bar.

Exercise at your own risk

Hex Bar Deadlift

Hex Bar Deadlift Form

  • Stand directly in the centre of the hex bar/trap bar (or whatever you want to call it!)
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Keep your shoulders above your hips and neck & head in a neutral position looking forwards

  • Keep looking forwards/ahead and bend your knees
  • Grip the handles
  • Pre-tense your shoulders, hips and especially your core with a large inhale of air
  • “Take the weight off the bar” by lifting taking “some of the weight off the bar” by extending your legs very slightly whilst maintaining a straight back and looking ahead
  • Keep a neutral spine and lift the bar by extending your legs (keep your arms straight at all times)
  • Extend your legs (don’t lock your knees fully, or at speed) and squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement
  • Lower the bar under control by bending your legs and “hinging” at your hips – keep looking ahead

Split Stance Trap Bar Deadlift

Providing some of the uni-lateral loading benefits of single-leg RDLs, the split stance deadlift is popular with athletes.

  • Place one foot in front of the other
  • Load the front foot with your body weight by standing on the ball of your foot with the rear foot:

Trap Bar RDL (Romanian Deadlifts)

  • Similar to a standard deadlift but the knees only bend 10 – 15 degrees
  • Emphasis is put on the downward, eccentric phase
  • Focus is on the hip/hinge pattern of movement

Image Source

Banded Trap Bar Deadlift

Great for ascending strength and power development (or if you just don’t have enough weight plates), trap bar deadlifts with bands are popular with athletes.

  • Wrap the ends of the band around the barbell collars at each end
  • Stand on the band with the middle of your feet/sole of your feet

Trap Bar Overhead Press

The overhead press, is a great exercise for shoulder development and core strength. Using a trap bar to perform the overhead press enables you to perform the exercise with a neutral grip (generally better for your wrists).

Set the trap bar up in a rack, just below shoulder height.

Stand underneath the bar

Make sure to grip the bar in the centre – not too far back or too far forwards or the bar will be tricky to balance

Brace your core and lift the bar up and into position to perform presses.

Try and keep your elbows in, rather than flaring them outwards when pressing

Be mindful of the balance of the bar – it can tilt forwards or backwards very easily and fall.

Trap Bar Jumps

A great exercise for building explosive power, trap bar jumps are essentially a deadlift with a jump.

Trap bar jumps, are much easier to learn than other Olympic-style lifts such as cleans and snatches.

Start with a light weight, do sets of two or three, to begin with, focussing on technique.

Do the exercise with speed – you don’t want to be fatigued or tired, as the technique will fail and you’ll be training endurance, not power.

Keep the weight below 50% of your max hex bar deadlift.

Press through your heels, lift the weight up a few inches, and then explode up into a jump.

Trap Bar Shrugs

Stand in the middle of the bar

Grip the handles and ‘deadlift’ the bar up into the starting/ standing position for shrugs

Keep your arms straight and in a controlled movement, move your shoulders upwards as much as possible

Squeeze your traps for a second or two at the top of the movement, then lower it back down by lowering your shoulders

Other Hex Bar FAQS

What’s with the 20 rep trap bar deadlift?

20 reps deadlifts and squats have been used by bodybuilders for years to build muscle and really tax the body (and the CNS) with a compound movement for high reps. 20 rep trap bar deadlifts have become a challenge on Reddit. Great for all-round fitness and strength, be careful in terms of technique and overtraining. If your technique begins to fail, you could well injure your back.

What’s a half hex bar?

Half hex bars are open-ended trap/hex bars. With a half hex bar you can also perform exercises such as lunges.

What muscles do hex bar deadlifts work?

What muscles don’t hex bar deadlifts work!?

The main muscles used when performing a hex bar deadlift include:

  • Traps
  • Lats
  • Spinal erectors
  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • Quads

Further info

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Full Body Dumbbell Workout Routine at Home (.pdf)[2022]

If you are looking to exercise and build muscle at home then some high-quality dumbbells are a great investment. Whether you select to purchase multiple fixed-weight dumbbells or an adjustable set, this workout routine will help you to develop muscle.

Exercise at your own risk

Where rep ranges are hyphenated – this denotes a rep range. For example, for dumbbell floor press, you want to complete 10 to 15 reps with perfect technique. Stop the exercise when your technique/form begins to falter.

Day 1

Dumbell chest floor press10-153
Dumbell chest flys (from the floor)102
Lying tricep extensions6-122
Skull crushers6-122
Seated dumbbell tricep extensions10-152
CrunchesMax (with good form)2
Dorsal raisesMax2
Dumbbell wood chops8 a side3

Day 3

Dumbell one-arm row8-12 per side3
Dumbell rear delt flys6-122
Single leg Glute Bridges8-122
Lat pullovers10-152
Renegade Row10 per side2
Dumbbell bicep curls6-10 per arm2
Plank hold1 minute
Tib Raises102
Lunges20 (total)2
Floor Leg RaisesMax3

Day 5

Dumbell squats8-153
Dumbbell jumps63
Dumbbell seated shoulder press6-123
Dumbbell shrugs122
Dumbbell lateral raises8-152
Nordic curls (assisted to begin)102
Single-leg hip raises10 a side2
Single leg calf raises10-20 per leg2

If you have limited space, and/or budget, adding a resistance band can add some great variety to your training. You want a thin band, without handles if you wish to combine it/them with a dumbbell.

In addition, a relatively light kettlebell can be used to perform a huge variety of exercises and can be easy to combine with a resistance band for variable resistance. You’ll need to create an anchor point to attach the resistance band too, or just stand on it/them.

Some of the exercises in the routine above are demonstrated in these videos:

Floor Dumbbell Chest Press

Floor Chest Fly

Lying Tricep Extensions

Dumbbell Lat Pullovers

Download the pdf workout programme here:

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Cricket Gym Training Programme · .pdf · [2022]

Ideally, each cricket player should undergo a number of fitness tests and also have bloodwork taken to determine their baseline level of fitness, current stress & inflammation levels and to identify strengths and weaknesses.

The following programme is a generalised workout routine for cricket strength and conditioning. Ideally a routine should be personalised, specific to each position/playing style and periodised, with the volume of training reduced during the season.

Make sure you warm up with 5-10 minutes of steady state cardio and dynamic stretching.

Perform 2 or 3 light “warm up sets” before each exercise, before performing your working sets.

Day 1

Single Leg Hip Bridges10 (each side)2
Barbell Bench Press*102
Plyometric/Depth Press Ups63
Medicine Ball Overhead Throws63
Medicine Ball Slams62
Chin Ups10 (or max)2
Multi-directional Lunges12 (total)2
Rotating Plyo Jumps62
Band resisted backwards walks20 seconds3

*If you have any shoulder injuries or issues, you can replace the barbell bench press with a floor press either with a barbell, dumbbell or kettlebell. Using less weight with a chain or band can also help alleviate any issues with shoulders and to a certain extent elbows.

Day 3

Barbell Front Squat84
Hex Bar Jumps*62
Barbell Glute Bridges82
One arm Row10 per arm2
Cable wood chops10 per side2
Hanging Leg RaisesMax2
Plank hold1 minute
Tib Raises102
Band Assisted Lunges10 (total)2
Band resisted sideways walks15 seconds each direction3

*Avoid this exercise if you have any lower back or knee issues. Always seek professional guidance.

Day 5

Barbell Front Squat83
Pallof Press63
High Pulls63
Medicine Side Ball Slams122
Medicine Ball Oblique throws8 a side2
Lateral Bounds102
Nordic Hamstring CurlsMax2

Rotator Cuff Exercises

With all the strain on the shoulders with throwing and bowling a cricket ball, it’s important to reducethe risk of injury, with appropriate rest, stretching and rotator cuff exercises:


Ideally, any athlete should stretch every day. use a combination of light, long duration stretches and dynamic stretches.

Relax into Stretch is a great book about stretching. Ensure that you are warm and relaxed when stretching, and use slow & deep breaths to relax the body.

The World’s Greatest Stretch is a great overall body stretch that can be done each day.

Some Exercises Included in the Programme

Single Leg Hip Bridge

Nordic Curls

Lateral Bounds

Tibialis Raises

Download the Training Programme .pdf below:

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