Last night, Monday, was leg day.
And leg day, among other things, means squats.
In my first FIRE program, I did not attempt barbell squats under the advice of Pat and Hilal, and instead did box squats with a dumbbell. This program, however, I have had my first taste of barbell squats. Last week I did my first squat with just the bar (roughly 8kgs) and managed three sets of twelve reps.
I was ecstatic!
Unfortunately, due to technological difficulties, I wasn't able to post my video here, but I am in the process of attempting to recover it from Android Netherland. But never mind that; we're talking about yesterday's squats. Last week was all about technique, getting the bar in the right place, keeping my knees strong and maintaining my depth. This week we added a bit of weight, to push me a little further and ensure that I maintained technique. I know I've said it before, but it doesn't matter how heavy you lift, if you're technique's wrong all you're doing is putting stress in all the wrong places and injury will eventually catch up to you.
I squatted 13kgs for four sets of ten reps last night (reps go down as the weight goes up). The video below shows my first set of ten reps, also noting that this is my first set EVER with extra weight on the bar. Things to watch out for in this video are: the positioning of the bar across my upper trap, my knees, which (apart from a few wobbles) are almost consistently turned out - this is important in squats as well as deadlifts, because you need to be driving your feet firmly into the floor to ensure you're stable and that your centre of gravity doesn't shift as you lift. At the moment, I'm only squatting 13kgs, so I'm unlikely to injure myself too badly if I fell, however, as the weight goes up, I need to ensure I'm maintaining my stability in my legs, core and back to keep me centred so I don't over-balance. The last thing to note in this video is my depth. I'm currently using a bench to help me achieve the correct depth, but this will disappear as I progress and am able to maintain my centre of gravity as I come up and down.
One thing you don't see in that video is glute drive. The gluteus muscles - often shortened to glutes or glute - are the big muscles in the buttocks and are the primary drivers for a successful squat. Correct squat technique doesn't only involve the knees, the feet, and position of the bar, it involves lifting in a way that maximises your results and that engages the right muscles groups.
For a squat, that muscle group is the glutes.
This second video shows my third set of ten reps, this time with glute drive. You can hear my trainer Hilal reminding me to squeeze as I come up - effectively, this is what glute drive consists of: squeezing the glutes as you come up. However, it is a hard squeeze that is almost like a hip thrust. On a personal level I found this interesting, as a hip thrust is a common movement and essential warm-up in pole dancing, as it never fails to amaze me how simple movements, such as a hip thrust, can be utilised over so many different sports.
Notice the difference between the videos? I know I sure felt it.
To finish off my leg day post, here's another video of me, this time doing standing lunges. I HATE standing lunges, walking lunges, any kind of lunges, they're evil... but they're also good for me and good for my legs. This week I progressed from 5kg dumbbells to 7kg dumbbells in each hand, and did two sets. Ironically, I found the 7kg dumbbell easier to lunge with than the 5kg dumbbell, and I didn't overbalance at all with the 7kgs, where I was constantly battling to maintain my centre of gravity with the 5kgs.
That's all from my tonight. Be sure to check in later in the week for more weights, including Wednesday night's arms and deadlifts on Thursday.
You don't find the willpower - you create it.
Me With No Apologies.