The QH Complete
Summer Body Guide
Words by Ray Buckton, Personal Trainer
Photography by Calum Donoghue, taken at Gym Box Farringdon
What man wouldn’t want to emulate Daniel Craig’s scene in Casino Royale, emerging from the sea like some sort of Greek God. Broad shoulders, buff chest, rippling abdominals and burly legs all constitute to the complete physique.
There are four exercises that, if mastered, are the key to a complete physique. Squats, Dips, Pull-Ups and Deadlifts are four compound exercises which will not only build muscle, but will also stimulate your metabolism to have you burning body fat at the same time.
A compound exercise utilises more than one muscle group, meaning you will trigger more muscle fibres to contract. When more muscle fibre is broken down, the body will secrete more muscle building testosterone. In addition, when more muscle fibres are being recruited to complete an exercise, your body will be exerting itself at a higher capacity, burning more calories and heightening your training intensity. This in turn is the perfect stimulus for your body to burn into your fat stores, getting you shredded for your swim shorts.
These four exercises alone will recruit almost every muscle in your body, so here is how to make yourself proficient at them.
The king of exercises, Squats will have your quads looking incredible in your short-shorts this summer; there is nothing impressive about a buff upper body with chicken legs. There are variations of the squat that you can do depending on your training ability and what equipment you have access to.
Bodyweight squats are perfect for beginners or those who have no equipment.
Start with your chest up, butt sticking back and feet in a position whereby you can drop deep. A crude analogy you can use to ensure your feet are in the optimal position is to imagine going to the toilet on the floor, whatever position your feet naturally go into, stick with that. That will enable you to get as low as possible. The deeper you squat, the more muscle fibre you will break down. Once in position, point your hands up to encourage your chest to stay high, bend your knees and push your bum back at the same time, distributing your weight onto your heels. Lower yourself as far as possible, and once at the bottom drive yourself back up through your feet and thrust your hips forward.
Back-Squats are a little more advanced and will require you to use a Barbell for extra resistance.
Address the bar firstly with your hands evenly on the bar. Once you have your hands in position, put your head under the bar between them and take the bar across your trapezius muscles on your shoulders. Using the same cues as the bodyweight squat; chest up, butt back and feet in your optimal position, lower yourself as per before. As you will have weight on your back this time, it is imperative that you maintain a strong, straight back to prevent any injuries. If you feel like the weight is preventing you from keeping your chest up, then lower it. Again squat as deep as possible to get all those muscle fibres burning up, and drive through your feet back to the start position and thrust your hips to complete the rep.
Big round shoulders, popping triceps and a balanced chest are all achieved by doing Dips. Doing these will make you the envy of every man on the poolside.
Find yourself some parallel bars and grip a hand on each side bringing your body between the two. Take the tension into your arms and begin to lower yourself with your chest moving forward. Lower yourself to ninety degrees at the elbow, and drive through your arms, shoulders and chest to return to the initial position whilst locking your arms out and squeezing your triceps at the top. Leaning forward on the exercise will ensure you stimulate the pectorals, and it is important not to drop too deep into your shoulder girdle, especially if you are a beginner, to prevent any shoulder injuries. Beginners can use an Assisted Dip machine, or if you have limited equipment at your disposal, do these dips between two chairs at home with your feet out in front of you.
These are possibly the most difficult of the four exercises that I advise you to master. The Deadlift is the most effective exercise you can do for building overall body strength and power. There is nothing more functional than picking heavy stuff up from the floor. Using nearly every muscle in your body, the deadlift will have your physique looking more athletic, trimmer and stronger whilst sipping your sangria.
Address a barbell firstly by putting your shins on it with your feet shoulder width apart. Grip the outside of your knees and sit down, with your bum low and your chest high keeping your back braised and straight. Push your bum backwards distributing your weight onto your heels. Drive through your legs, whilst trying to keep your chest up, back straight and bar close to your body. Once the bar is above your knee, drive your hips forward whilst squeezing your glutes. To lower the weight, push your bum backwards and slide the weight back down your body toward the floor whilst keeping your chest high and back straight. This is not a beginner exercise, I suggest mastering your squat first before attempting this to improve your posterior chain strength.
The mirror muscles are all well and good, but everyone is seeing what is going on behind you whether you realise it or not. Your back makes up the other 50% of muscles you cant see, so if a complete, balanced physique is what you’re looking for these cannot be neglected. Pull-ups will help to create that oh-so desired V-shape, as well as having your arms looking toned and strong. Doing these will create a silhouette of admiration to onlookers as you take a stroll along the shore.
Grip your hands over the bar outside of your shoulder width and hang from the bar with your weight below you. Whilst trying to arch your back and keeping your chest up, pull through your arms to raise your chest toward the bar at the top. Pull your elbows toward your side and rise until your chin is over the bar, squeezing your biceps and pulling your shoulders blades together. Lower yourself slowly whilst trying to maintain tension through your arms until they are straight and you return to the bottom position. If you are a beginner, you can use an Assisted Pull-Up machine, and if you are a beginner with limited equipment, go to a park and do negative Pull-ups. These are completed by jumping to the top position with your chin over the bar, and working on the eccentric (lowering portion) of the exercise.
Complete these exercises with intensity. This means opt for high reps, low rest and moderate weight (4 sets of 12 reps with 60 seconds rest would be a good place to start) where necessary. This will ensure your heart rate remains elevated and that a lot of muscle fibre is utilised and broken down for an optimal fat burning and muscle building effect.
It would be naïve to think that, just by completing these exercises, you are going to look like an Adonis on your holidays. Training is merely the stimulus for your body to change; it is what you put inside your body that will make the biggest difference to how you look on the outside. To drop your body fat and get that rippling six-pack, you need to control your carbohydrate intake. Abolish all sugary and starchy carbohydrate foods and drinks from your diet, except from immediately before and after your workouts. Drink A LOT of water, eat tonnes of vegetables, take in plenty of good fats and eat protein at every meal, especially in the morning for breakfast. This will heighten your metabolism and initiate your body to start desiccating stored fats. By bookending your workouts with more simple carbohydrates, you will ensure that any excess glucose (sugar) in your system is transported to your muscles cells as oppose to fat cells, ensuring you have good energy to train as well as aiding recovery and preventing more fat from being harvested.
So there you have it. Be consistent, be patient and your holiday photos will be looking better than ever. All you will need is a good tan to top it all off!
with thanks to www.GymBox.com