Connect with us

leg 7 1 1

Last month, I talked about how I’ve reincorporated weight machines into my strength-training workouts to good effect.

This year, we’ll be doing some articles on how to use various weight machines properly. One of the benefits of using machines is that they have a much easier learning curve than lifting barbells. But there are a few things you should know about using each in order to avoid pain and injury and use them most effectively for building size and strength.

First up in these tutorials is the leg extension machine, which targets your quadriceps and your quadriceps alone. 

There is some folklore out there that the leg machine can cause injuries and puts too much stress on the knees. But this isn’t borne out by research, which has found that leg extensions are safe, including for ACL rehabilitation

There’s also a myth that leg extensions aren’t functional. But quad strength translates to everything from walking to running, and particularly to explosive movements like jumping and cutting. Also, because people often use compensating muscles when doing other leg exercises (especially if they’re dealing with injuries), leg extensions, by isolating the quads, can help correct strength imbalances created by these compensating strategies. This is useful in preventing new injuries, as well as re-injuries, particularly a second ACL tear

Not only are leg extensions a safe strength-building exercise, they also help give you defined and meaty legs, so you can confidently wear your shorty shorts around town. And, since you’re only moving a single joint, they perform this function without requiring the kind of recovery you need after doing the squat or leg press. 

But since leg extensions, like all exercises, are only safe to do if you do them right, let’s get into how to perform them properly.

Setting Up the Machine

leg3

My home gym, plate-loaded leg machine doesn’t have as many adjustment options as one you’ll find in a commercial gym, so I couldn’t dial in my position as much as you might be able to, but this a generally good set-up position.

The leg extension itself is a simple movement. The big thing you have to pay attention to is setting up the machine before you start doing them.

There are several adjustments to make to the machine before you begin this exercise to ensure ergonomic comfort, maximization of strength-producing, hypertrophy-creating force, and the prevention of undue pain and strain on your joints: 

Weight stack/plates. There are different schools of thought on what weight you should use for leg extensions. One is that you should go with lower weight because you’re only using a single joint to move the weight, and you’re not able to exert that much force without form breaking down. To get the hypertrophic stimulus with lower weight, you’ll need to do high reps in the 15-20 range. If you’re going to go the high rep route with leg extensions, perform them at the end of your workout, so you don’t fatigue yourself for the main leg exercise like the squat.





The other school of thought is that as long as you can perform the reps with good form and without pain, you can stick to the traditional 8-12 rep range prescribed for hypertrophy and go heavier.





Experiment and find what works for you.

Seat back distance. The seat back can be adjusted forwards or backwards. Positioning it correctly will minimize undue strain on your knees and allow you to produce maximum force. You want to move the seat back so that when you sit down, your knees are not too far in front of the edge of the seat’s base, nor too far back. Your knees should align with the leg bar’s pivot point. The creases at the backs of the knees should sit against the edge of the butt pad. 

Leg pad height. The pad that will sit on top of your lower legs can sometimes be adjusted up or down. The pad should rest where the ankle flexes. Not up on your shins or down towards your toes.

Leg bar range of motion. The leg bar can be adjusted so that it sits more or less under the seat’s base. The further back it sits, the greater the range of motion that will be possible on your leg extensions. Adjust the leg bar to full depth to maximize the range of motion. 

There is sometimes also a pad that can be adjusted over the thighs to lock them down. As your butt/legs shouldn’t come up if you’re positioned correctly and do the exercise properly, this pad isn’t necessary. 

Once you’ve got all these adjustments in place, you may want to make a note somewhere of the numbered positions of each piece, so the next time you use the machine, you won’t have to spend time fiddling around and making the adjustments through trial and error.

Doing Leg Extensions

leg

Now that the machine is set up right, it’s time to do a proper leg extension: 

Slow and controlled. The big mistake people make with this exercise is bouncing/swinging the leg bar up, using momentum, and letting it drop back down. Instead, you want to lift the bar up and bring it down in a slow and controlled manner. Slow and controlled is the path to hypertrophy.

Lift the bar. As you raise the leg bar, you’re not lifting your butt and hips up. You’re not rocking back and forth; only your legs are moving, not the upper half of your body. Butt stays in contact with the seat’s base pad; back stays in contact with the seat’s back pad. Lean back a little. Grip the handles to keep your butt down.

Steadily bring the bar up until you reach full knee extension/peak contraction. Pause for a second during this top hold. Squeeze. Feel and relish the burn.

Lower the bar. Much of hypertrophy happens during the eccentric phase of a lift, so lower the bar in the same slow and controlled manner that you lifted it — its descent should take a full one to two seconds. 

Rather than slamming back down, the weight should just gently touch the weight stack as it returns. Once you hear it lightly clang, lift the bar up again and do another rep.

Toe position makes little difference. Keeping your toes straight ahead versus angling them a little inwards or outwards can create small differences in which parts of the quads get worked. But unless you’re an elite bodybuilder, this isn’t something you need to worry about. Keeping your toes straight or tilted slightly in is fine. Do whatever feels most comfortable for you, as this will help you produce maximum force. 

Go for full range of motion. Go all the way up and all the way down with each rep. If you can only lift the leg bar halfway up, the weight is too heavy.

Go hard. Don’t just mindlessly crank out leg extensions, tacking them on to the end of your workout without giving them much effort. Just going through the motions won’t build muscle. You should be doing sets that bring you within one to two reps of failure.

Sure it hurts, but it hurts so good, baby. 

Leg extensions can be done using just a single leg at a time, which can be useful for addressing strength imbalances.

Because leg extensions only work the quads, they should be done in a program that includes other leg exercises like squats, leg presses, and lunges. 

Help support independent publishing. Make a donation to The Art of Manliness! Thanks for the support!

Read More

——————–

By: Brett & Kate McKay
Title: The Right Way to Do Leg Extensions for Strong and Meaty Quads
Sourced From: www.artofmanliness.com/health-fitness/fitness/how-to-do-leg-extensions/
Published Date: Tue, 02 Apr 2024 14:13:02 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://mansbrand.com/the-hidden-time-bomb-that-will-destroy-your-marriage-and-the-secret-for-defusing-it/

Continue Reading

Mens Health

Homecoming: An Evolutionary Approach for Healing Depression and Preventing Suicide

Captura de pantalla 2024 07 13 a las 17.40.10

Captura de pantalla 2024 07 13 a las 17.40.10 1
Photo by: Andreea Popa / Unsplash.com

Part 1

Depression and suicide have been my companions as far back as I can remember. I was five years old when my mid-life father took an overdose of sleeping pills. Though he didn’t die our lives were never the same. I grew up wondering what happened to my father, when it would happen to me, and what I could do to prevent it from happening to other families.

In an article, “Being Bipolar: Living and Loving in a World of Fire and Ice,” I described my own mental health challenges and healing journey. In my book, The Irritable Male Syndrome: Understanding and Managing the 4 Key Causes of Depression and Aggression, I shared my research and clinical experience that convinced me that men and women are different in ways they deal with depression and aggression in their lives and in other ways as well.

Depression and suicide are not just problems for men, but there is something about being male that increases our risk of dying by suicide. According to recent statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health, the suicide rate among males is, on average, 4 times higher (22.8 per 100,000) than among females (5.7 per 100,000) and at every age the rate is higher among males than females:

Captura de pantalla 2024 07 13 a las 17.34.49

Even during our youth where suicide rates are relatively low, males are still more likely to die by suicide than are females. It is also clear to me as my wife and I move into our 80s, we face many challenges as we age, but it is older males who more often end their lives by suicide with rates 8 to 17 times higher than for females.

In my book, My Distant Dad: Healing the Family Father Wound, I describe my father’s slide into depression and the despair that increased when he couldn’t find work. As a writer, he wrote regular entries in his journals. I still feel the pain as I re-read them and feel his increasing shame when he couldn’t support his family:

            July 3rd:

“Oh, Christ, if I can only give my son a decent education—a college decree with a love for books, a love for people, good, solid knowledge. No guidance was given to me. I slogged and slobbered and blundered through two-thirds of my life.”

            July 24th:

“Edie dear, Johnny dear, I love you so much, but how do I get the bread to support you? The seed of despair is part of my heritage. It lies sterile for months and then it gnaws until its bitter fruit chokes my throat and swells in me like a large goiter blacking out room for hopes, dreams, joy, and life itself.”

            August 8th:

“Sunday morning, my humanness has fled, my sense of comedy has gone down the drain. I’m tired, hopelessly tired, surrounded by an immense brick wall, a blood-spattered brick world, splattered with my blood, with the blood of my head where I senselessly banged to find an opening, to find one loose brick, so I could feel the cool breeze and could stick out my hand and pluck a handful of wheat, but this brick wall is impregnable, not an ounce of mortar loosens, not a brick gives.”

            September 8th:

“Your flesh crawls, your scalp wrinkles when you look around and see good writers, established writers, writers with credits a block long, unable to sell, unable to find work, Yes, it’s enough to make anyone, blanch, turn pale and sicken.”

            October 24th:

“Faster, faster, faster, I walk. I plug away looking for work, anything to support my family. I try, try, try, try, try. I always try and never stop.”

            November 12th:

“A hundred failures, an endless number of failures, until now, my confidence, my hope, my belief in myself, has run completely out. Middle aged, I stand and gaze ahead, numb, confused, and desperately worried. All around me I see the young in spirit, the young in heart, with ten times my confidence, twice my youth, ten times my fervor, twice my education. I see them all, a whole army of them, battering at the same doors I’m battering, trying in the same field I’m trying. Yes, on a Sunday morning in November, my hope and my life stream are both running desperately low, so low, so stagnant, that I hold my breath in fear, believing that the dark, blank curtain is about to descend.”

Four days later, he took an overdose of sleeping pills and spent seven years in a mental hospital receiving “treatment” until the day he escaped. The book has a happy ending, but it took a long time to get there.

            I share what I have learned over the years in an on-line course, “Healing the Family Father Wound.”  I recently read a chapter in the book, The Palgrave Handbook of Male Psychology and Mental Health edited by J.A. Barry, et al., by Martin Seager, titled “From Stereotypes to Archetypes: An Evolutionary Perspective on Male Help-Seeking and Suicide,” that adds some important pieces to the puzzle and added to my understanding of male depression and suicide and how we can more effectively help men and their families.

An Evolutionary Understanding of Male Psychology

            “In our current age it is unfashionable to think of human gender as connected with our biology and evolution,”

says Dr. Seager.

“Gender is currently thought of primarily as a social construct, a theory that carries assumptions that gender can be fluid, molded by education or even chosen as a part of a lifestyle. Gender is increasingly seen as a collection of disposable social stereotypes, separate from and unrelated to biological sex.”

            Dr. Seager goes on to say,

“This hypothesis is bad science and even worse philosophy…When held up against the anthropological and cross-cultural evidence, a social constructionist theory of gender cannot explain clearly observable and universal patterns of male and female behavior.”

            I agree with Dr. Seager and have long held that we cannot understand or help men, or women, without recognizing our biological roots in the animal kingdom. In my book, 12 Rules For Good Men, Rule #4 is “Embrace Your Billion Year History of Maleness.” I introduce the chapter with a quote from cultural historian Thomas Berry.

“The natural world is the largest sacred community to which we belong. To be alienated from this community is to become destitute in all that makes us human.”

            I also say in the book that all humans are also mammals and we cannot understand men without recognizing that fact. Dr. Seager agrees.

“Human beings are evolved mammals and they have never stopped being so,”

says Seager.

“Whatever social, cultural and political structures are placed upon us as humans, these cannot erase our mammalian heritage and indeed are constructed upon and shaped by that heritage, though not determined or defined by it.”

            Dr. Seager goes on to say,

“Globally, across all human tribes or societies and throughout all known history and pre-history, allowing for inevitable variation across a spectrum, there are universal patterns of male and female behavior in the human species.”

Based on the most massive study of human mating ever undertaken, encompassing more than 10,000 people of all ages from thirty-seven cultures worldwide, evolutionary psychologist Dr. David Buss found that there are two human natures, one male and one female. In his book, The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating, Dr. David Buss explains the evolutionary roots of what men and women want and explains why their desires differ so radically.

            “Within human beings perhaps the most obvious universal patterns of sexual differences are: Female: (1) Beauty, attraction and glamour (Including body adornment) and (2) Bearing and nurturance of new-born infants and young children. Male: (1) Physical protection (strength) and (2) Risk-taking,”

says Dr. Seager.

            Dr. Seager goes on to say,

“In all human cultures throughout history and prehistory there is consistent and incontestable evidence of males taking high levels of risk to protect and provide for their family, tribe, and community or nation either collectively as bands of hunters and warriors or as individuals.”

Some view male risk-taking as foolhardy, immature, self-destructive, and harmful to women and children as well as men themselves. But both Dr. Seager and I recognize that protecting women and children and risk-taking behavior are archetypal, instinctual, positive, and evolutionarily important for survival strategies.

In the second part of this series, we will continue our exploration of ways we can improve our understanding of male depression and suicide and how we can be more effective in helping men and their families.

You can learn more about the work of Martin Seager at the Centre For Male Psychology.

We need more programs for men that are evolutionary-archetypally informed. You can learn more at MenAlive.com and MoonshotForMankind.org. If you like articles like these, I invite you to become a subscriber.

The post Homecoming: An Evolutionary Approach for Healing Depression and Preventing Suicide appeared first on MenAlive.

Read More

——————–

By: Jed Diamond
Title: Homecoming: An Evolutionary Approach for Healing Depression and Preventing Suicide
Sourced From: menalive.com/homecoming-an-evolutionary-approach-for-healing-depression-and-preventing-suicide/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=homecoming-an-evolutionary-approach-for-healing-depression-and-preventing-suicide
Published Date: Sat, 13 Jul 2024 23:40:56 +0000

Continue Reading

Mens Health

My New Favorite Squat

hatfield 5

a man lifting weights in a gym

I’ve done the traditional barbell squat my whole life. It’s a great exercise for overall lower-body strength. I’ve also experimented with other squat variations: the front squat, the goblet squat, the belt squat.

This year I’ve been doing a squat that’s become my favorite ever: the Hatfield squat.

I love this exercise. I originally switched to it because long-standing problems with cranky shoulders and knee pain were making the traditional barbell squat uncomfortable. The Hatfield squat has made squatting fun and productive again after years of frustration trying to make the barbell squat work for me. What’s also great about the Hatfield Squat is that it’s an excellent movement for quad hypertrophy, which lines up nicely with my new fitness goal of getting more ripped. It’s been a game-changer in my training.

If you’ve had trouble with barbell squatting or are looking for a different squat variation to mix into your programming, here’s everything you need to know about the Hatfield squat.

What Is the Hatfield Squat and What Are Its Benefits?

The Hatfield squat, named after powerlifting legend Dr. Fred Hatfield, aka Dr. Squat, is a back squat variation that requires a safety squat bar, which is a type of barbell that looks sort of like an ox yoke.

When you do the Hatfield squat, you place the safety squat bar on your back. Then, instead of holding on to the safety squat bar with your hands, you rest your hands on an additional barbell or a set of handles that have been placed at navel level on the barbell rack. As you descend into the squat, you keep your hands on the support in front of you, using it to maintain your balance and an upright torso.

This increases the stability of the exercise, allowing the Hatfield squat to offer some unique benefits:

Great for quad hypertrophy. If you’re looking to grow legs as big as tree trunks, the Hatfield squat can be a helpful tool. Its increased stability allows you to overload your quads more than a traditional squat. Instead of focusing on keeping your balance during the squat, you can just focus on the movement, which means you can be a bit more aggressive in adding reps or weight.

Great for squatting around injuries. The most significant benefit that the Hatfield squat has given me is that it has allowed me to squat heavy again despite the niggling physical issues I’ve had on and off for years.

Because I have shoulder tendonitis due to bench pressing and struggle with shoulder flexibility (despite the amount of time I’ve worked on developing this capacity), the bar position on the traditional low-bar squat just exacerbated my shoulder pain. Because you use a safety bar with the Hatfield squat, you don’t have to use your hands to hold the bar on your back. It completely removes the stress on your shoulders.

The Hatfield squat has also allowed me to work around some pain I’ve had behind my knee since 2020. The pain only happens during the descent part of a traditional barbell squat. I still don’t know what the source of the pain is despite talking to an orthopedic surgeon and getting an MRI done. I reckon it’s some sort of overuse injury on a tendon back there. But at any rate, the increased stability of the Hatfield squat allows me to squat heavy and below parallel without any pain behind my knee.

People with lower back issues have also found the Hatfield squat helpful for squatting without exacerbating their injury.

Due to the Hatfield squat’s pain reduction ability, I’ve also been calling them “Midlife Man Squats.”

It is a great accessory lift for the barbell squat. You don’t have to replace the traditional barbell squat completely with the Hatfield squat. Instead, you can use the Hatfield squat as an accessory lift in your barbell programming. On deadlift day, you could do the Hatfield squat for 3 sets of 8-12 reps for hypertrophy and increased work capacity.

Or you could use the Hatfield squat for overload training to build strength and confidence in hoisting heavier weights, doing 3 sets of 3 reps with weight that is heavier than you typically lift on the traditional barbell squat.

Here’s a hypothetical barbell program that would incorporate the Hatfield squat:

Lower Body Day A

  • Squat 3 x 5 (squat is the main lower body lift)
  • Rack pulls 3 x 5 (rack pulls are the accessory lift for the deadlift)
  • Good mornings 3 x 10

Lower Body Day B

  • Deadlift 1 x 5 (deadlift is the main lower body lift)
  • Hatfield squat 3 x 8-12 (Hatfield squat is the accessory lift for the squat)
  • Lunges 3 x 12

How to Perform the Hatfield Squat

The Hatfield squat is pretty dang easy to perform. You just need to get the right set-up.

Equipment Needed:

  • Safety squat bar (SSB)
  • Barbell or handles

Place the handles or barbell on the squat rack at about belly height.

Get under the safety squat bar and unrack it.

a man standing in a gym performing hatfield squat

Keep your hands lightly on the handles or bar in front of you. You’re not using the handles/auxiliary barbell to assist in pulling yourself up. You’re just using them to maintain your stability throughout the lift. a man squatting in a gym

Squat with an upright torso. The Hatfield squat should be done with an upright torso. You don’t need to bend over like you do on a low-bar squat.

Lower yourself until slightly below parallel and then rise back up. Remember, just use the handles for stability. Do not use the handles to pull yourself up.

Like I said at the beginning, the Hatfield squat has been a game-changer for me. It’s allowed me to keep squatting without any pain. If you’ve struggled with incorporating the barbell squat into your workout due to pain, try the Hatfield squat. I think you’ll probably like it as much as I do.

Help support independent publishing. Make a donation to The Art of Manliness! Thanks for the support!

Read More

——————–

By: Brett & Kate McKay
Title: My New Favorite Squat
Sourced From: www.artofmanliness.com/health-fitness/fitness/how-to-hatfield-squat/
Published Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2024 14:16:11 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://mansbrand.com/the-japanese-3×3-interval-walking-workout-3/

Continue Reading

Mens Health

The Japanese 3X3 Interval Walking Workout

Japanese Interval Walking 3

Japanese Interval Walking 3 1

The overarching principle of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is that the harder you do an exercise, the more physiological benefits you accrue; thus, by incorporating intervals of higher intensity efforts in your workouts, you can get more fitness bang for your buck in less time. 

When we think about HIIT, we tend to think about going absolutely nuts on a fan bike or doing all-out sprints.

But as Dr. Martin Gibala explained on the AoM podcast, while high-intensity training rises above the level of the moderate, it doesn’t require a complete max out of your heart rate, nor is it limited to certain exercise modalities.

You can do interval training by pedaling like a madman on a bike, but you can also do it with a less strenuous approach. 

Enter Interval Walking Training (IWT), which originated in Japan.

This 3X3 walking workout is simple: you do 3 minutes of low-intensity walking (40% of peak aerobic capacity for walking — a little faster than a stroll), followed by 3 minutes of high-intensity walking (70%+ of peak aerobic capacity for walking). You repeat these interval sets at least 5 times, and do this 30-minute workout 4 times a week.

Your heart rate during the high-intensity intervals will vary according to your fitness level and age. One 68-year-old who participated in an IWT-based study had his heart rate go up to about 130 beats per minute during the fast intervals, so you’re moving at a good clip.

Even though IWT is highly accessible, studies that have been done on it show that it produces significant health benefits. People who did Interval Walking Training 4X a week for 3 months experienced significantly more improvement in their blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, leg strength, and aerobic capacity than those who did continuous, moderate-intensity walking. 

Hiroshi Nose, who developed Interval Walking Training, reports that among those who do IWT, “Physical fitness — maximal aerobic power and thigh muscle strength — increased by about 20 percent which is sure to make you feel about 10 years younger than before training, [and] symptoms of lifestyle-related diseases (hypertension, hyperglycemia, and obesity) decreased by about 20 percent.” IWT walkers enjoyed mental health benefits as well: depression scores dropped by half.

Walking in general is already one of the very best forms of exercise you can do, and IWT just helps you take its benefits up a notch. Hiroshi has used Interval Walking Training to get thousands of elderly Japanese citizens into shape, and it’s a great form of exercise if you’re in the older decades of life. But it’s also good if you’re just beginning your fitness journey and looking to get off the couch and start doing more physical activity. Even if you’re already a regular exerciser who’s in good shape, IWT is a nice way to mix up your usual neighborhood strolls while enhancing your health even further. 

For more HIIT protocols, from the accessible to the challenging, listen to this episode of the AoM podcast:

Help support independent publishing. Make a donation to The Art of Manliness! Thanks for the support!

Read More

——————–

By: Brett & Kate McKay
Title: The Japanese 3X3 Interval Walking Workout
Sourced From: www.artofmanliness.com/health-fitness/fitness/the-japanese-3×3-interval-walking-workout/
Published Date: Tue, 09 Apr 2024 17:35:28 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://mansbrand.com/navigating-career-goals-with-a-life-coach-2/

Continue Reading

Trending