Sometimes you can do everything right and still get it wrong—and we’re not just talking about your relationships with women. If you’re an experienced gym guy who keeps track of his nutrition and works consistently at building a better body, you’ve no doubt made a lot of progress already, but we’ll bet you also can’t shake the feeling that you could be doing better. Here, we’ve laid out five ways you can take what you’re already doing and elevate it to the next level. They require minimal extra effort or time but may be the solutions you’ve been waiting for.
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Good Habit No. 1:
The conventional barbell back squat is arguably the greatest exercise ever. It builds muscle, athleticism, and bone density, and even boosts flexibility and testosterone levels. But if your form isn’t spot on, you’ll cheat yourself out of these benefits and can potentially hurt yourself badly. Perfecting your technique can be as simple as squatting onto a box. Place a box or other platform behind you so that when you squat down to your normal depth (hopefully to where the crease of your hips is below your knees) you’re sitting on the center of the box. Pause for a moment but don’t relax—keep your entire body tight, just as you would if squatting normally. Then explode back up.
“The box teaches you to sit back more when squatting,” says Jason Ferruggia, a strength coach in Los Angeles. This guarantees that you involve the glutes and hamstrings in the lift the way you’re supposed to. If your knees go well past your toes when you squat, the box will correct it. “Sitting back like this takes pressure off the knee joints,” says Ferruggia, so it can alleviate pain you may already be experiencing from improper squatting.