Safety Squat (Yoke) Bar

Safety Squat (Yoke) Bar         hbs

 

The safety squat bar can be a good tool to use. Unfortunately I have seen many people in the gym use the bar incorrectly or just not know what it is for. I am hoping that this post will help you gain a better understanding on how you can start using this bar today.

First off, if you are new to lifting and squatting then I would not recommend the safety squat bar to start off with. The main reason for this is because that when you get underneath this bar compared to a normal olympic bar you will notice a couple differences.

  1. A safety squat bar tends to be about 60-70 lbs as where a standard olympic bar is 45lb.
  2. The safety squat bar will load up your anterior chain where a normal back squat will load more of your posterior chain.

Lets talk about some of the benefits that the Yoke bar can give you, shall we?

 

Increases deadlift

On the other hand, if you have some experience then I would throw this into the mix. This can be a good tool if your deadlift is lagging and you need to bring it up. The reasoning for this is because of how this bar front loads your body. The posterior chain will have to really work to help stabilize everything. This will help build the leg strength transferring into the ground as well as increase the strength of the back because your back is trying to hold up the load as you descend into the squat. As most of us may know, a strong posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, back) will really skyrocket your deadlift.

 

Great for athletes & powerlifters

If you are a powerlifter or athlete then this is right up your alley, with it being a good tool to add strength. Of course if you are not one of these and just are a gym goer that is looking to switch it up then have at it! Athletes need to have a strong core, hamstrings, glutes and back to be a more powerful athlete. When you are a more powerful athlete then you have a better chance of having the upper hand on your opponent.

 

Fights around injuries

One point that I have not yet mentioned but is a very solid point about this bar is that it can work around injuries! What I mean by this is that you can still squat if you have an upper body injury depending on what the injury may be. As an athlete plays through the season, injuries are always possible during season and even off season. With this bar, you can fit underneath the pad and still perform a squat. This can be extremely beneficial because you can still strength train to a certain degree (always check with your athletic trainer). If you have tight deltoids and pectoralis muscles then getting underneath a straight bar to take some squats can be stressful on those muscles and joints. This bar has the handles that you can hold on to during your squat which in turn will take the excess stress off of the shoulders.

 

Quad dominate

As I have mentioned in some of the article above, this will front load your body. This means that this will increase activation of the anterior chain like the quadriceps. The quads will really be working hard in this movement due to the stress placed upon them. Branch Warren, a pro bodybuilder says that this bar is one of the greatest tools he’s ever used to develop his thighs.

 

Numerous exercises you can do with this bar

A unique thing about this bar is that it has a spot to place your head and neck into the pad. On the sides of the pad, there are handles so you can hold onto the bar and keep it stable. With the handles being there, this opens up this bar to more exercises than just a safety bar squat. There are more things you can use the bar for like the list of the following:

  • Lunges
  • Back extensions
  • Split Squat
  • Box squats
  • Good mornings
  • Use suspended chains on this bar a lot easier

ssb lunge

This is why a powerlifter would love this bar. These are some of the more common uses of this bar as a powerlifter.

 

In conclusion

This bar is a useful tool for any gym. Although it stands out for athletes and powerlifters, anyone can try it out and I definitely recommend it! It is always fun to try something new in the gym, this bar may help you in more ways than I posted in this article. With  that being said, I hope you enjoyed this article and find this helpful. If you use the safety squat bar for anything else or know other benefits of this bar then comment below and let me know!   

 

 

Resources:

http://primalstrengthcamp.com/why-you-should-be-squatting-with-a-safety-squat-bar/

http://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/leg-exercises/safety-bar-squats-jacked-quads

http://www.stack.com/a/why-every-gym-should-have-a-safety-squat-bar

Pictures: lunges

3 Tips for Vacation Workouts

Getting ready for a vacation or little get away? There is always a way to fit your workout in during a vacation! Here are 3 of my tips for you when going to workout on a vacation.

TIP #1

My biggest thing to start off with would be to find out if your vacation spot has a gym or any training equipment! Look it up on their website or call in and see if they have anything. I like to gather all that information before I leave so I know if I need to pack anything extra. When you can have something such as your workout planned out in advance then you will have a better chance of actually doing it.

TIP #2

This one may be super simple but overlooked as well. This tip is to disinfect any weights you use before & after you use them. Think about it, lets say you go to a resort and want to use their fitness facility. Think about how many people use these weights and never think about cleaning any of it. It could be people from all over the world depending on where you go. I like to put this as a tip for you because I believe it is very important to pay attention to your health and wellness. I count this as also keeping track of your immune system and keeping yourself as healthy as possible. The healthier you are, the better you feel and more time you can spend on a fun vacation without a sore throat and being sick.

TIP #3

Don’t be afraid to bang out a 15 minute workout at the hotel room with just bodyweight. It may seem like you won’t have a good workout because you have no free weights. There is a lot of different things you can do in a hotel room to get your workout in. Some easy bodyweight exercises can be :

  • Push ups
  • Air squats
  • Crunches and planks
  • Glute ham raises
  • Box jumps
  • Squat jumps
  • Wall sits
  • Calf raises
  • Bench dips

Here is my workout I did while I was at my resort:

Warm up – hiked for about an hour which was more of a cardio session.

SUPERSET- warm up of 25 reps each then 4×10 each 
-Dumbbell twist curls
-Rope cable extensions


-Incline dumbbell curl –

2 sets of 10 each arm then 1 giant set. do 3-4 drop sets back to back. example 35s, 25s, 15s without a break.


SUPERSET- 4×10 each
-Bent over dumbbell iso curls
-Bent over dumbbell tricep kickbacks

 

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS:

-NO VLOG THIS WEEK

-GET A COSTAFITNESS SUMMER PROGRAM AND GET YOUR BODY READY!

Thank you all for the support and for everyone getting your summer programs. I love helping you all through your journey so keep sending me any questions you may have! Have a great week!

-Alex Costa-

 

 

15 Reasons You Should Go to The Gym

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Having trouble getting motivated about working out today? I’m going to give you 15 reasons you should grab the keys and head to the gym!

#1)

You will build more confidence about yourself

#2)

Boost your metabolism for the day

 

#3)

You will get swole and chicks dig swole dudes

#4)

Chicks, you will build a booty and guys love the booty

#5)

You set goals and meet those goals which is such a great feeling

#6)

You are strengthening not only your muscles but building bone mass so you have strong bones

#7)

Helps to keeps your heart healthy and young

#8)

Exercising can help lower blood pressure for anyone that is hypertensive

#9)

Working out helps lower your chances for being weak…duh

#10)

Working out also helps lower chances of certain kinds of cancer and diabetes

#11)

It can boost your mood and help fight depression

#12)

It helps decrease the amount of money spent for health care and keeps your immune system strong so you miss fewer days of work.

#13)

It can act as a stress reliever

#14)

It sets a great example for your family and friends. It’s a great habit to spread

#15)

It is fun! There is endless things you can do to stay active if you can’t make it to the gym. Go on a walk or play sports outside. Take a friend and do something active outside if you can’t make the gym today.

 

I hope this gives you some quick reasons on why you should be going to the gym. Grab your family members and friends and start a healthy habit that can change others lives. Thank you for reading this article, I hope everyone is doing well and is having a good week!

-Alex Costa-

 

 

Stay Away From Gym Viruses With These Tips

It’s that time of the year again.. The flu is hitting us in full force. In this article, I am going to show you what you can do to steer clear of germs in the gym, where the germ hot spots are and how to decrease the chances of getting sick!

{TIPS TO STAY CLEAR OF GERMS} 

As you could probably guess, the gym can be home to many kinds of germs and viruses. Now just because there are a large amount in gyms does not mean you can’t fight them off. Here are some of my top tips for staying clear from those pesky flu germs:

  • Use the sanitizer bottles around the gym to spray off the gym equipment BEFORE and AFTER use
  • Don’t touch your face around the mouth and eyes during sets
  • Try carrying a mini bottle of hand sanitizer in your gym bag and use it throughout your workout
  • Wash your hands after your workout
  • Cover ANY open wounds or sores on your body especially if they are to come in contact with a piece of gym equipment
  • Try to keep dirty clothes you just worked out in, in a different gym bag or in a couple plastic bags

{GERM HOT SPOTS IN THE GYM}

There are a ridiculous amount of germ hot spots in a gym, who would have figured… I am going to give you some of the top HOT SPOTS to keep in mind!

  • LOCKER ROOM- The locker room can be home to almost as many germs as in the actual gym section itself. With the steam from the showers and the dampness of the room sometimes, this can be a hot spot for staph, strep, and MRSA. Sitting naked on the bench can be a bad idea as well. In the article “Germs at a Gym” by  Maridel Reyes, there is a study that found “traces of vaginal yeast there, which can put you at risk for an infection.” So always wear a towel before sitting naked on the bench in the locker room.
  • FREE WEIGHTS- This is a no-brainer here. Hundreds of hands full of who knows what germs grabbing the dumbbells, barbells and weights EVERYDAY. These can easily lead to viruses like the common cold and other infections so again if you have even a paper cut, bandage it before entering the weight room! A study that was in the article “How Going to the Gym Can be Bad for Your Health” by Lisa Ryan stats a fact that may shock you! It says the “average set of free weights has 362 times more germs than a toilet seat” This is why you carry germ sanitizer and spray your machines and weights before and after.
  • EXERCISE MATS- The mats in the gym can be a huge hot spot that carries great amounts of germs. This goes back to cleaning your equipment before and after. This decreases the chance for these germs significantly. Exercise mats are more commonly used now than before. They are used for yoga, fitness classes and a lot of ab workouts I see are done on the exercise mats. This can lead up to anywhere around %50 of the members in your gym using them. This can lead to viruses like skin infections, athlete’s foot, colds and hepatitis A.

{HOW TO DECREASE THE CHANCES OF GETTING SICK}

Well I think you get the point by now but just incase you don’t here are my favorite tips to staying healthy and decreasing your chances of getting sick:

  • WASH YOUR HANDS
  • CLEAN THE EQUIPMENT USED
  • CLEAN AND DISINFECT YOUR GYM BAG
  • BRING A NEW TOWEL DAILY WHEN USING IT
  • COVER UP ANY OPEN WOUNDS
  • TAKE VITAMINS
  • EAT HEALTHY

Alright so lets wrap this up. On this closing note I also want to say that if you are a person that is interested and wants to make sure they pick the cleanest gym they can then try doing some research on the gyms of your choice. I also recommend going and taking a tour of the gym you are looking into, this will be a good chance to see if the gym is clean enough for you and if its what you’re looking for. Also try seeing if they have cleaning stations and if so, how many. This is a common indicator to see if they take the cleaning and gym sanitizing seriously.

I hope you enjoyed this article and learn something new! Try staying away from those viruses and diseases with these tips! Have a great Monday and enjoy your week!!

-Alex Costa-

Photosource: Scooby 

What is a Superset?

When you enter any gym in the world, I guarantee someone there will be performing a superset. A superset is a training method widely used by bodybuilders but is also used in almost all different training goals for multiple reasons. In this video I will discuss those reasons, benefits and give you an example so you can take this muscle shocking training method into the gym for your next workout!

 

 

Some other good examples you can use this with would be:

-Bench and Rows

-Leg extensions and Leg curls

-Squats and Stiff leg deadlifts

 

Just because the most common way to use a superset is with the main muscle and the opposite does not mean you can’t utilize it on the same muscle group with exercises like:

-Bench and Flys

-Barbell curls and Hammer curls

 

This is a game changing training method that I would recommend to EVERYONE! Try it out and see how you like it.

Have a great Monday, don’t miss another chance to go get better today. Use all the time you can chasing after what you want and put forth the maximum effort into your goals!

-Alex Costa-

How to use knee wraps-VIDEO

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HOW TO USE KNEE WRAPS-VIDEO

In this video I demonstrate how to put knee wraps on, as well as why people use them. I personally love knee wraps and their effect. I use them a lot when power lifting mainly.

*A key point that I forgot to mention in this video is to keep your legs straight when wrapping them, this is because you will get more bounce out of the hole of a squat this way. The way I look at it is, it is the biggest bang for your buck.

In other news, I am getting a big GIVE-A-WAY ready! It could be next week so stay tuned for that!!

3 foods that lower blood pressure

WHAT IS BLOOD PRESSURE?
There is energy and oxygen pumped through your blood around your body as your heart beats. As your blood flows through the body it pushes against the sides of the blood vessels. Blood pressure is the strength in which it is pushing against the blood vessels. In other words, blood pressure is the measurement of the force of blood exerting on the walls of the blood vessels through your body.

WHAT IS HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE? (Hypertension)
High blood pressure is becoming quite common and can become dangerous. This can increase the chances of heart disease and even stroke “the 2 leading causes of death in U.S” (www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/) When one has high blood pressure, this means that the blood pressure in your body’s blood vessels is at a higher rate than where it should be at normally. If blood pressure gets too high it can put too much extra stress on your arteries as well as the heart. When this happens at a higher rate for a substantial amount of time, then this is when you can become more prone to those two health conditions. Just because you have a high blood pressure, does not mean you cannot do anything to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke that have the chance of occurring. In this article I will show you some ways to help lower the numbers!

HOW COMMON IS IT?
A study has shown that about one of three US adults are diagnosed with high blood pressure aka hypertension. In math terms that is about 75 million people with high blood pressure which is a very large amount. Just in 2013, it had contributed to “more than 360,000 U.S. deaths according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Globally, the World Health Organization estimates it causes 7.5 million deaths.” (More Aggressive Treatment of High Blood Pressure Saves Lives in Study. By the American Heart Association News.)

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
If you’re trying to look for some symptoms that you may have a high blood pressure, you will probably not have very much luck in being able to find out. This is because high blood pressure has a scary nickname called the “silent killer”. It has received this powerful nickname because it is said that there is no warning signs or symptoms to even know if you are at risk of having high blood pressure. Although I have talked to some with high blood pressure and have been told that they may notice redness of the ears, as well as headaches when blood pressure is rising. Not all the time will this be the signs and therefore it is still very crucial that you get regular check ups on your blood pressure readings.

HOW TO FIND OUT IF YOU HAVE HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE-
The first thing I would recommend is to just simply get a check up when you go to the doctors on blood pressure. But if you have a blood pressure cuff at your house, you can also do a reading there. When you put on the blood pressure cuff put it right above your elbow onto your bottom bicep muscle. Put your arm in a relaxed position sitting about even with your chest like on a table next to you. There are usually directions on the cuff machine that will walk you through this, but there will be a reading after it’s done. One will be a systolic (the cardiac muscles and ventricle contracting during a heart beat) and the other will be a diastolic (cardiac muscle relaxation). It Will read systolic over diastolic. A good blood pressure would be 120/80. A bad or high blood pressure would be 140/90.
Only ONE of the numbers on the reading has to be high to be considered hypertensive. So if your number is 142/85, you may want to get it checked.

A SOLUTION TO TRY AND LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE-
There are quite a few different ways out there to help lower hypertension, but I will be covering mainly the diet part you could fix. I will also give you some food list that may help lower your blood pressure as well as the bottom of this article.

Diet choices can have a big effect on if you have a high blood pressure or a normal blood pressure. There has been studies shown that hypertension can be prevented and lowered by taking the right steps with your diet. Some of these steps include:
•less salt/sodium
•less alcohol, if heavily consumed
•less fast food
•less butter

Something’s you CAN add that will help LOWER high blood pressure would be:
•more potassium
•more fiber
•more omega 3 fatty acids
•more calcium
•more magnesium

#1- (BEETROOT) Beetroot can be one of the best things to include into your diet if you suffer from hypertension. Beetroot contains high levels of dietary nitrate (NO3), which the body converts into biologically active nitrite (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO). In the human body, NO relaxes and dilates blood vessels. (“Does Beetroot Juice Lower Blood Pressure?” Written by Catharine Paddok.) A lot of studies have been done about a beetroot juice supplementation. “A 2013 review looked at the results of 16 clinical trials on the topic, and found that beetroot juice intake reduces blood pressure by 4-10 mmHg in just a few hours.”( Siervo, M., Lara, J., Ogbonmwan, I., & Mathers, J. C. (2013). Inorganic nitrate and beetroot juice supplementation reduces blood pressure in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Journal of Nutrition, 143(6), 818-826.) “A reduction of at least 5 mmHg in blood pressure reduces your risk of a fatal stroke by 14 percent and cardiovascular disease by 9 percent.” (Chobanian, A. V., Bakris, G. L., Black, H. R., Cushman, W. C., Green, L. A., Izzo, J. L., … & Roccella, E. J. (2003). Seventh report of the joint national committee on prevention, detection, evaluation, and treatment of high blood pressure. Hypertension, 42(6), 1206-1252.) This information above was used in an article written by Joe Leech.

#2- (BANANA) bananas are rich in potassium which is one of the nutrients that can help lower high blood pressure. “One study in particular said just 2 bananas a day can reduceyour blood pressure by 10 percent!” (“7 Foods Science Proves Will Help Lower Your Blood Pressure” by Yahana Shah, Huff/Post 50. While bananas have many health benefits, this could be one that will be more efficient and quicker to grab through a busy day.

#3- (FLAX SEED) Flax seed is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, protein and lignans.
A study done with a group given flax seed daily for a year had some impressive results. The results show that “after 6 months systolic blood pressure was ~10 mm Hg lower and diastolic ~7 mm Hg lower in the flax seed group (P=0.04 for SBP and P=0.004 for DBP). Flax group participants who started with elevated blood pressure (>140 mm Hg) had more pronounced decreases in blood pressure—15 mm Hg in systolic and 7 mm Hg in diastolic.” (“Flax seed Reduces High Blood Pressure” by Jacob Schor) The main author had said that “This reduction of SBP and DBP after administration of dietary flax seed is the largest decrease in BP ever shown by any dietary intervention.” By reading this article, I learned that flax seed is one of the best things to use to lower blood pressure numbers.

Other healthy options that will help you are veggies, cashews, green tea, olive oil. These fall under the nutritional categories I have explained in this article.

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Above you will see my blood pressure. Mine was 119/69mmHg which is normal. I stopped at my local Kroger and got my mine done for free. I challenge you to stop at the doctors, local store that has free blood pressure readings or stop out and buy a blood pressure cuff to do it all at home.

I really hope this helps a lot of people with high blood pressure, I have the resources in the article so you can read more on this topic. If you have any questions, feel free to ask and I will answer to the best of my abilities. I am not a doctor so I will not know everything on this, like they would.

Picking food for after weigh ins-VIDEO

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SHOPPING FOR FOOD AFTER MEET VIDEO

My buddy Wes and I made a trip to a local grocery store and put together a video of what I bought to eat after I weigh in Friday morning. I briefly explain why I get some of the things  I do. I made this for the first power meet experience, I will bring you guys with me the rest of the week for weigh ins, the meet and meet recap!

Oh and by the way, that is 11,820 calories-1,767 carbohydrates-236 grams of protein just in what I bought!