For many people, the squat rack is a piece of apparatus bigger people use. It can be an intimidating piece of fitness equipment, not least because the squat itself can be a difficult move to execute, and execute well. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The folks at Implexus gym, Leeds, who consist of duo Mitch Atchurch and Ian Kirke, both with links to Leeds Rhinos rugby league team, believe you can use the squat rack for an effective method of training your whole body. If you read last month’s issue, you will have seen the duo’s functional fitness workout. This month’s session, like last month’s, will push you to the limit, but the end results will be well worth it… Do all 5 exercises on the squat rack and repeat for a total of 5 sets.
“Using the classic 5×5 rep scheme, the deadlift hits a great deal of muscle groups. The advantage of the rack is the pins. Not only do they allow those not overly accomplished at hinging from the hip to reduce the range of movement, it also allows more experienced lifters to overload the top half of the motion. The hang helps to decompress the back after the deadlifts and aids mobilising the shoulders for the next exercise.”
Pin press can be set at the sticking point of your bench press to help overcome it. It can also be used to overload the classic pressing movement due to a reduced range of movement. For beginners, it is a safe learning tool – there’s no chance of being crushed under the weight and it’s possible to focus solely on perfecting the concentric phase.
To increase metabolic demand and round off the session, we add a giant set using the jammer attachment. If your rack doesn’t have one of these, the barbell can be used instead.
The jammer takes a little of the stability requirement away from the squat to press, so you can concentrate on working hard. Hold the head of the barbell at chest height, squat down in a goblet squat fashion before standing back up. In a smooth movement during the standing phase, press the barbell overhead and forwards.
After you’ve done your 8 repetitions, choose a side to half kneel on. Press the barbell from the shoulder to an overhead position, it’ll naturally travel in front of you. This is ideal for anyone lacking in shoulder range or suffering from fatigue after the squat to press!
Having swapped sides for the half kneeling press, regain your feet to perform the side –to-side landmine. This will tax the core and make you control your breathing under fatigue, as well as maintaining the high heart rate from the previous exercises. Rest for 1 minute, then start the whole giant set again.
There are many times we have used the squat rack on BESTFIT TV’s ‘Train with…’ feature. Athletes use it on a regular basis and that is another reason why you should try to master the squat rack. Here is some more fitness inspiration for you: Stevie Ward, Aimee Fuller and many more on our Youtube channel.