Tag Archives: glutes

Build Stronger Legs with the Romanian Deadlift

7 Aug

If you’re like some of the exercisers I see at local gyms and recreation facilities, your leg workout consist primarily of the leg extension (bad exercise) and leg press (better).  If you’re doing squats… good for you.  That’s a step in the right direction.

If you want to strengthen your legs the smart way, work the oft-neglected muscles of the posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings) by adding the Romanian deadlift (RDL, a.k.a., straight-leg deadlift) to your workout.

A study at the University of Memphis suggests that the straight-leg deadlift is more effective than the leg curl machine (another bad exercise).  “The exercise activated the most muscle in the lowering phase,” according to lead researcher Brian Schilling.

Try these variations:

Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions, allowing 4 seconds to lower the weight.  Push your hips back to start the lowering motion, and drive hips forward to resume standing position.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Strengthen Your Glutes to Avoid Injury

25 Nov

brewkendall_fullsize_story2[2]Here’s one for the baseball and softball players, quarterbacks, and shot put and discus throwers (and any other “throwing” athletes).  According to researchers at Auburn University, stronger glute muscles may help you ward off throwing injuries.

Athletes activate their glutes when throwing, stabilizing their core and reducing their risk of shoulder injury.  When you generate power from your lower-body, you reduce stress on the small, injury-prone muscles of the shoulder.

Ironically, these findings aren’t necessarily new.  There have been several studies showing that throwing and “hitting” athletes (baseball and softball players, hockey and lacrosse players, etc.) who are capable of generating large amounts of lower-body force can reduce the stress caused by upper-body rotational torque.

Strengthening your glutes has broad application, and can benefit athletes in everything from running and jumping to throwing to lifting.  Try exercises like deadlifts, hip extensions, and lunges.

Please see related articles:

Strengthen Your Glutes With Hip Raises

Strengthen Your Hips and Glutes with the Mini-Band Lateral Shuffle

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Improve Speed and Power with Posterior Chain Exercises

14 Nov

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Glute-Ham Raise, with Spotter

Improvements in athletic performance begin with lower-body strength and power development.  Hip/quad exercises, like squats and leg presses, are great but, if you’re not working the muscles of your posterior chain, you’re only doing half the job.  (please refer to, Don’t Neglect Your Glutes and Hamstrings)

Your posterior chain includes the muscles of the glutes and hamstrings.  Your glutes are responsible for hip extension, while knee flexion is a function of the hamstrings.

Why is it so important for athletes to perform exercises that focus on the glutes and hamstrings? Here’s the deal: The glutes are a primary muscle group involved in virtually every sports movement — including sprinting, jumping, throwing, kicking, and swinging. The hamstrings are important for eccentric muscle movements, like decelerating when you slow down, stop, or change direction; or land after jumping.

Glute-ham exercises should be incorporated into your training regimen, every time you workout.  Working these two important muscle groups can help athletes improve speed and power; enhance balance and stability; and reduce the risk of injury.

Two of our favorite glute-hamstring exercises are the Glute-Ham Raise and Romanian Deadlift (RDL).  We like our athletes to perform them as an agonist-antagonist paired set (superset), combining them with a hip/quad focused exercise like a squat or deadlift.

A typical superset might look something like this:

  • Barbell Back Squat, 6 reps at about 80% 1RM
  • Body-weight squat jump, 6 reps (more advanced athletes can hold dumbbells at their sides when doing this exercise)
  • Body-weight Glute-Ham Raise, 6 reps (focus on lowering movement; lower body to a 4-second count; assist to upright position; this exercise can also be weighted, for more proficient athletes)

All three exercises should be performed consecutively, with little or no rest between them.  Rest for 10-15 seconds between sets (after Glute-Ham raise).  Perform 3-4 sets.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Build Stronger Legs with the Romanian Deadlift

21 Mar

Romanian-Deadlift[1]If you’re like some of the exercisers I see at local gyms and recreation facilities, your leg workout consist primarily of the leg extension (bad exercise) and leg press (better).  If you’re doing squats… good for you.  That’s a step in the right direction.

If you want to strengthen your legs the smart way, work the oft-neglected muscles of the posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings) by adding the Romanian deadlift (RDL, a.k.a., straight-leg deadlift) to your workout.

A study at the University of Memphis suggests that the straight-leg deadlift is more effective than the leg curl machine (another bad exercise).  “The exercise activated the most muscle in the lowering phase,” according to lead researcher Brian Schilling.

Try these variations:

Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions, allowing 4 seconds to lower the weight.  Push your hips back to start the lowering motion, and drive hips forward to resume standing position.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Strengthen Your Glutes

23 Aug

brewkendall_fullsize_story2[2]Here’s one for the baseball and softball players, quarterbacks, and shot put and discus throwers (and any other “throwing” athletes).  According to researchers at Auburn University, stronger glute muscles may help you ward off throwing injuries.

Athletes activate their glutes when throwing, stabilizing their core and reducing their risk of shoulder injury.  When you generate power from your lower-body, you reduce stress on the small, injury-prone muscles of the shoulder.

Ironically, these findings aren’t necessarily new.  There have been several studies showing that throwing and “hitting” athletes (baseball and softball players, hockey and lacrosse players, etc.) who are capable of generating large amounts of lower-body force can reduce the stress caused by upper-body rotational torque.

Strengthening your glutes has broad application, and can benefit athletes in everything from running and jumping to throwing to lifting.  Try exercises like deadlifts, hip extensions, and lunges.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Don’t Neglect Your Glutes and Hamstrings

16 Nov

Everybody does quadricep-dominant exercises like the squat and leg press.  And, with good reason.  These large, fast-twitch muscles, located on the fronts of your thighs, are responsible for generating lower-body strength and power, important for sport-specific movements like linear speed and vertical jump.  But, if you’re not also doing posterior chain exercises – those that focus on your glutes and hamstrings – you’re only doing half the job.

Your hamstrings are the large muscles that run down the back of each of your thighs.  They are opposing muscles to your quadriceps, and provide balance and stability to the knee joint.  These muscles are prone to injury if you do not work to keep them strong and loose, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Glute-Hamstring Exercises

Exercises like the back extensionglute-ham raise (pictured), and Romanian deadlift (RDL) are great complements to your quad-dominant exercises.  For every set of quad exercises, perform one set of glute-ham exercises.  Aim for 4-6 repetitions, per set, with perfect technique.

Benefits of Glute and Hamstring Strength and Flexibility

  • Prevents lower back pain – your hamstring muscles will better support your back and pelvis while you move if the muscles are strong and flexible.
  • Reduces injuries – strong and flexible hamstring muscles can support your body during exercise and help prevent injury, especially during running.
  • Improves athletic performance – having strong and flexible hamstring muscles can improve your performance in various sports.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Develop Your Core to Improve Athletic Performance

29 Oct

It’s important to incorporate core (multi-joint) exercises into your Strength and Conditioning plan.  When some people hear core, they think abs.  Your core actually includes shoulders, chest, back, hips, glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings.  These are your body’s largest and strongest muscles; the muscles that initiate and generate strength and power for virtually every sport.  It won’t matter how strong muscles like your biceps, triceps, and calves are if you don’t have a strong core.

Train Movements, Not Muscles

All athletic movements incorporate the core in some way.   Very few muscle groups are isolated; the whole body works as a unit.  Core strength training should reflect the movement patterns of the athlete’s sport(s).  Benefits of core strength training include:

  • Greater efficiency of (functional) movement
  • Improved balance and stability
  • Increased strength and power output from both the core musculature and peripheral muscles such as the shoulders, arms, and legs
  • Reduced risk of injury
  • Improved athletic performance

Resistance Training Exercises

There are lots of exercises athletes can do to strengthen the muscles of the core.  Some of the most effective are exercises like the Deadlift, Romanian Deadlift (RDL), Squat, Bench Press, and Row.  Unilateral variations of these exercises (single-arm, single-leg) are also beneficial because of the way they incorporate balance and stability, making them very functional.

Do It Right

Proper technique can make every exercise more effective and reduce the risk of injury.  If you’re just starting, it’s wise to enlist the help of an experienced, qualified Strength and Conditioning professional.  Even if you’re not a strength training novice, working with a professional can focus your efforts and help you be more efficient and productive en route to reaching and exceeding your athletic performance goals.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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