BESTFIT Issue 16 – Ask the Experts
Dane Mitchell sheds light on the importance of the squat, and reveals five killer kettlebell moves
Squats are the best glute-building exercise
Squats should be in any glute-building programme, but they certainly aren’t the be all and end all when it comes to developing great glutes. In fact, for some people, they stimulate very little glute growth and, instead, develop the thigh musculature to a greater degree.
Your limb length, squatting mechanics and intermuscular co-ordination will dictate this. If you have the requisite mobility you can change your technique to address this slightly. Taking a wider stance pushing the hips further backwards, keeping a more upright shin angle and going to a decent depth may increase glute activation a little, but there’s so much more you could be doing to guarantee a better sculpted peach.
You may feel that split-stance exercises like lunges, split squats and Bulgarian split-squats hit your glutes more.
For these movements, make sure you adopt a long stance and push through the heel of your front foot for greater glute and hamstring activation. Glute bridges, barbell hip thrusts and back extensions are also a must in any glute-building programme.
Five ways to include kettlebell swings in your workouts
Kettlebell swings are an all-star full-body exercise that can be used for developing explosive power or high levels of conditioning. They’re a great fat loss tool, too. Below are five great ways to include them into your workouts:
Simple but effective, the full-body nature of the swing means that it will really fire up your metabolic rate and burn a lot of calories. One of my favourite ways to finish a workout is using tabata-style intervals, so 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest and repeated eight times (four minutes).
Another great way to do kettlebell swing intervals is performing 15-20 swings every minute on the minute, resting however long you have remaining in the minute. Doing this for 5-15 minutes is a great finisher. Set a certain number to do each day or per session. Split them up into as many sets as you want but make sure you’ve completed them all by the end of the day/session
In a circuit
The swing is the perfect circuit training exercise. Pair it with other full-body exercises like burpees, sled drags/pushes, goblet or air squats, medicine ball slams, skipping rope, shuttle runs, bear crawls, farmers walks and you’ve got an awesome, full body, fattorching circuit!
In a kettlebell complex
Include the swing in a non-stop kettlebell combination for a very time-efficient workout. Flow between exercises such as goblet squats, high pulls, lunges, thrusters, single arm rows and push presses. Try 5-20 reps each with 1-2 minutes rest between rounds will make for a great metabolic conditioning session
As a contrast
Pair the kettlebell swing with a lower body hip dominant heavy strength training exercise for a time-efficient way to develop devastating strength and power at the same time. Start with a strength exercise such as a deadlift variation, hip thrusts, or glute ham raise variation for two-six reps then within 15-30 seconds of finishing that exercise perform six kettlebell swings, aiming to be as explosive as possible.
Last month ben coomber looked at the growing trend of vegetarianism. this month: veganism…
While a vegetarian can look to eggs, milk and other dairy items to make sure their intake is on point, a vegan in the strictest sense consumes nothing animal based whatsoever, often including even honey.
While it IS possible to get everything a vegan needs from wholefoods alone, a vegan will need to get more creative with their food choices and food combining to ensure they get all the nutrition their body needs. It’s important to be aware of your diet and the needs of your body to prevent falling short of giving your body what it needs to thrive.
Pea and Hemp Protein Powder
Pea and Hemp protein powders are the perfect balance between affordable and palette able (two things which vegan powders often have going against them) as well as boasting a great amino acid profile.
Vitamin B12 is an essential micronutrient for human function. Without it, we suffer anaemia, low energy levels and general fatigue – and prolonged abstinence can even lead to mania, psychosis and permanent neural damage. This is important, because Vitamin B12 is found exclusively in animal products…and Marmite. Marmite is more or les the only vegan-friendly source of vitamin B12 and by eating a small amount per day a vegan athlete will be able to avoid all of the negative effects associated with deficiency.
Fortified Milk Substitutes
Milk substitutes such as soya milk, coconut milk and almond milk do more than make your morning oats taste great. They are almost always fortified with a highly bioavailable form of calcium (often at a higher dose than is found in ‘real’ milk). There are loads to choose from, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find one that fits your taste.
Beans are probably going to be THE staple food for any vegan looking to optimise body composition. They are an awesome source of complex carbs and fibre but also very high in protein. Coupled with a grain, bean protein becomes ‘complete’, meaning that a dish of rice and beans can very easily replace a meat-based dish. One important thing to mention here, however, is that though beans contain a high dose of Iron, this iron is poorly absorbed due to something in the beans (as well as the grains we are combining them with) known as phytates, so it’s worth supplementing with a mineral complex.
Linda McCartney Vegan Sausages
These have to be on the list. They have over 8g of protein each and are absolutely delicious. Enough said!