Are you sick and tired of doing the same repetitive workouts in the gym, week in and week out, and not seeing any real improvements or progress?
If so, then it’s probably time for a change.
If your progress has stalled and you’ve reached a natural plateau, something in your training needs to change.
You could change the volume, the frequency in which you train, the routine you follow, or you could try incorporating new exercises into your routine.
They say that a change is as good as a rest and by incorporating new exercises into your routine, you can potentially make some impressive gains in a short period of time.
As you probably know, leg training is the most brutal form of training out there, and when we think of training legs there is one exercises in particular that instantly springs to mind.
That exercise is the humble squat, and it is very effective.
This compound movement targets multiple muscle groups at once and is one of the most anabolic exercises currently in existence.
If you perform regular barbell squats week in and week out, however, eventually your body will stop responding to the stimuli you are placing it under, and not only that, but you’ll also get bored.
If you’re looking for an awesome new exercise as a replacement for standard squats, why not try the Jefferson squat?
Jefferson squats are brutal, but if done right, boy are they effective.
Here’s the ultimate guide to Jefferson squats.
What exactly are Jefferson squats?
If you’re wondering why they’re called Jefferson squats then don’t worry, all will soon become clear.
Once upon a time, Jefferson squats were as popular in gyms as bench presses and bicep curls.
As time went by, however, fewer and fewer people performed the standard Jefferson squat and looked for newer, more sophisticated exercises to work their legs and lower bodies instead.
Jefferson squats are, as the name implies, a variation of squats, though with a very big difference.
The exercise itself goes back over one century.
It is named after a man named Charles Jefferson.
Now, Charles Jefferson wasn’t an ordinary person, he was a freak.
No really, he was a circus freak as he was part of a traveling circus where he traveled from city to city displaying his incredible feats of strength.
Remember, back then in the late 1800s, bodybuilding, powerlifting, and strongman wasn’t mainstream at all.
It was literally considered for freaks, which is why Jefferson was so popular.
Each week he would break chains with his bare hands and display incredible feats of strength with various barbells, dumbbells, and weights.
One exercise he was famous for was the one known as the Jefferson squat.
Well, actually he was famous for two exercises because he also created the Jefferson deadlift, which is almost identical to the Jefferson squat (more on that later).
The exercise is great for building leg strength, for stimulating muscular hypertrophy, and for building anti-symmetrical strength and anti-rotational strength.
Bodybuilders, powerlifters (for example Brad Castleberry), strongmen, and athletes alike, all utilize this exercise and enjoy fantastic results from it.
How to perform a Jefferson squat
You probably know how to perform a barbell squat, but Jefferson squats are very different.
Here’s what to do:
- Begin with a barbell with a fairly light set of weight plates on either end.
- Straddle the bar with both feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Now, place your right foot parallel to the barbell and is at a 90-degree angle.
- Keeping your chest proud and your back straight, slowly squat down and grasp the bar with an overhand grip with your right hand, and an underhand grip with your left hand, a little wider than shoulder-width.
- Now, slowly stand up with the bar keeping shoulders level and arms straight so that you lift with your legs.
- Push through with your legs until you feel a deep stretch in the quads for a second, and slowly lower the weight back down to the starting position.
- Don’t bounce the bar, leave it to settle for a second and then repeat the motion for your chosen desired amount of reps.
Somebody once told me that Jefferson deadlifts are the same as Jefferson squats?
This is a very common misconception associated with these two exercises, and it is not true.
The Jefferson deadlift is very, very, very similar to the Jefferson squat, and sometimes people even interchange the two without even realizing.
However, there is a major difference (other than the name).
You see, when you perform the squat, you should do so with much more of a vertical spine.
Your hips should drop in a downward motion and your knees will need to bend more than deadlifting, to place more stress and pressure on the quadriceps muscle.
Deadlifts require less bending of the knees which places more stress on the hamstrings and lower back. Clear now?
Great, let’s move on.
What are the benefits of Jefferson squats?
There are a number of benefits of Jefferson squats over conventional barbell squats, and these include the following:
Bigger quads and glutes
We know that squats in general build muscle in your legs, but after a while progress will grind to a halt.
When this happens, it’s time to call in the big guns which means that it’s time to turn to the Jefferson squat.
Jefferson squats, due to how they are performed, place a great deal of stress and pressure on the glutes and quads.
This is mainly due to the fact that your torso is vertical, and you get good knee flexion.
This allows for greater stimuli to be placed on the target muscle groups, resulting in greater levels of muscular hypertrophy.
A fun variant of the squat
If you’re sick and tired of squatting with barbells every week, it’s time for a change.
Training should be fun and exciting, not boring and monotonous.
When barbell squats have lost their appeal, or when they simply are no longer effective, it’s a good idea to try something new, such as the Jefferson squat.
This will almost certainly be a new exercise for you to master but once you have got your technique perfected, you’ll wish you’d learned it sooner.
Jefferson squats are tough, but very rewarding and they provide a fun and enjoyable alternative to standard barbell squats( rathet than injection any kind of bodybuilding oil, or synthol, to looks bigger but freaky).
Great for asymmetrical strength and size
Most of us have one side that is bigger and stronger than the other.
If you’re right handed, your righthand side is probably bigger and stronger than your left.
This is where exercises that build asymmetrical strength prove so useful, because they allow you to work on weaker muscle groups and weaker sides of your body.
With the Jefferson squat, depending on your grip, you can place a greater emphasis on whichever side of your body you choose, so you can bring up lagging muscle groups.
If your left quad is smaller than your right quad, by using a stance and hand placement that emphasizes the left side of your body, you can help build this side up so that it matches the right.
It also helps you to build asymmetrical strength.
Great for the core
When training, a strong core is vital for a number of reasons.
In fact, a strong core is important for life in general, as a strong core means greater levels of functional strength.
Because the barbell is placed at such an odd angle, and due to the nature of how the exercise is performed, when performing a Jefferson squat, your core gets one heck of a workout as well as your lower body.
As you bring it up and down, the barbell will naturally try to spin, and to rectify this, your abs and core need to be contracted and nice and tight.
Over time, you will notice your core strength improving, not to mention the fact that your abs and obliques will also become more visible.