7. BUILD A STRONG BACK
Bill Kazmaier, one of the strongest men of all-time, said that, “A strong back equals a strong man.” Along the same lines, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Multitudes of gym rats and bodybuilders have the thigh strength to squat 500 to 600 pounds but don’t have the back strength to squat 405. This is a weak link in the chain that compromises your total potential gains in size and strength.
Some ways to strength your lower back are deadlift hyperextensions, which are a hybrid a 45-degree back extension and a deadlift. To do it, set up the bar on the floor, take a wide grip on it and do a back raise while holding the bar. Also, good mornings are an effective squat-specific exercise to bring up the strength and stability of the lower back. Finally, upper back strength is very important and is most effectively built with pull-up and rowing variations.
Josh Bryant, MFS, CSCS, PES, is the owner of JoshStrength.com and co-author (with Adam benShea) of the Amazon No. 1 seller Jailhouse Strong. He is a strength coach at Metroflex Gym in Arlington, Texas, and holds 12 world records in powerlifting. You can connect with him on Twitter and Facebook or visit his website at www.joshstrength.com.
Raise the bar (literally) on your squat sessions with the aid of these potent, strength-building supps
Whey protein 20 grams 30-60 minutes pre-workout; 40-60 grams immediately post-workout
Caffeine 200-400 mg 1-2 hours before workouts
Creatine 3-5 grams with pre- and postworkout shakes; on rest days take 3-5 grams with breakfast
Beta-alanine 1-1.5 grams with pre- and postworkout shakes; on rest days take 1-1.5 grams with breakfast
Ribose 5-10 grams with pre- and postworkout shakes; on rest days take 5-10 grams with breakfast
Taurine 1-3 grams with pre- and postworkout shakes
Tribulus terrestris 250-750 mg with breakfast and one hour before workouts; do not take it on rest days
Fish oil 4-6 grams in 2-3 divided doses with meals