Squat Depth: How Deep Should You Squat?

Deep barbell squat

Key Points: Deep squats (120–140° knee flexion) lead to greater muscle growth in the quads, glutes, and adductors than shallow or half squats (60–90°). You improve your strength the most at the depth you train at. Deep squats, however, have greater carryover to shallow squats than vice versa. The required squat depth in powerlifting is … Read more

Strength in Different Positions of the Bench Press

Bench press sticking point

Key Points: Twelve resistance-trained men were tested in 1RM and in isometric (static) contractions in bench press in 12 different positions: from chest level to extended arms. The weakest point was at a height of 4 cm off the chest. This was true both in a 1RM bench press and in isometric contractions. In a … Read more

Do Squats Work Your Hamstrings?

Squats hamstring muscles

Key Points: Hamstring muscle activity in the squat is low compared to exercises like good mornings, stiff-legged deadlifts, and leg curls. Squat training twice a week for 10 weeks yielded no muscle growth in the hamstrings (~0.6%), while the muscle volume of the quads, glutes, and adductors all increased by 5–7%. From a biomechanical standpoint, … Read more

Wide vs Close-Grip Bench Press Ratio & Muscles Worked

Close-grip bench press strength

Key Points: In general, people are about 5–6% stronger in a wide grip bench press than a close-grip bench press. The close-grip bench press results in higher velocity and power, while the wide grip bench press results in a higher force. In a wide-grip bench press, your chest and shoulders contribute 78% of the force necessary … Read more

The Five Best and Worst Supplements For Your Gains

The Five Best and Worst Supplements

Do you need dietary supplements to build muscle and strength and to stay healthy? No, you don’t. As long as you eat a reasonably balanced diet, you’ll get results from your efforts in the gym. With a bit of planning, you can also get the nutrients you need to keep your body healthy through regular … Read more

How Much Does Triceps Contribute to Your Bench Press?

Bench press triceps powerlifting

Key Points: In a wide-grip bench press, your chest and shoulders contribute 78% of the force necessary to lift the bar, while your triceps contribute 22%. In the medium grip bench press, the same numbers are 74% vs. 26%. In the close-grip bench press, the same numbers are 63% vs. 37%. How much can you … Read more

Is Cardio Bad for Your Strength Training?

cardio strength training

Key Points: A recent meta-analysis investigated if cardio training affected strength gains in the squat and leg press. Based on 27 studies, combining cardio and strength training did not negatively affect strength gains in untrained participants. In trained participants, combining cardio and strength training resulted in slightly smaller strength gains. However, this effect was only … Read more

Are Supersets Good for Muscle Growth and Strength?

Superset dumbbell curl

A few days ago, we received a question about supersets from a reader named Agneta: “Could you talk about the good vs. bad when it comes to supersets? I find that they are time-savers, but I don’t really see many people talking about them.” You are absolutely right, Agneta: supersets are time-savers! But are supersets … Read more

How Many Reps to Build Muscle vs. Strength?

How many reps for strength and muscle

How many reps should you do to build muscle vs. strength? The number of reps you do greatly influences your training results in terms of hypertrophy or strength gains. Here’s a summary of our recommendations: Number of Reps to Build Muscle: Anything between about 5–40 reps per set (between about 40–85% of 1RM) has been … Read more