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Is it important to incorporate a big mass builder for hamstrings, like romanian deadlifts into my workout, or are leg curls enough?


I think it is a good idea to add one of those mass builders in there. For one, with the romanian deadlift the hamstrings get worked from the hips, not the knees. This means you are working them completely in a different manner than with leg curl movements, even though both target the hamstrings. It helps with shaping the hamstrings and your glute-ham tie-in as well. I don’t think RDLs add too much mass to the bodypart it gives the illusion, which is important in bodybuilding. Sometimes the tape measure does not matter. It is all about the appearance.

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Barbell Hack Squat


Barbell Hack Squat

Targets:
Quads, hamstrings, glutes primarily. Back secondarily.

Best in Workout:
Perform the barbell squat early in your workout. As it is a full-body move, it is best done with heavy weight,. Also it is tough on the lower back, so you want to be fresh as possible on each set.

Sets & Reps:
Performs 3-4 sets with 6-12 reps.

Stance:
Space your feet shoulder-width apart and firmly plant them on the floor, then drop into a squat position. You need a firm foundation and it starts with your feet. If you are new to this move, or deadlift-type exercises in general, you might notice that your heels tend to rise off the floor at the start. Work to keep your feet flat, this will get easier as you warm-up and become more accustomed to the move.

Arms:
With your arms fully extended, grasp the bar using a pronated grip just outside your legs, locking your thumbs around the bar. This position should resemble the start of a deadlift, only with the bar behind you. Many people make the mistake of trying to use their arms to pull the bar up. If you bend your arms in an attempt to raise the bar, you won’t be as nearly as strong as you could be. Your arms should act as hooks, attaching yourself to the bar.

Breathe:
Inhale deeply, holding your breath as you begin the move. You want to hold your breath at the start of the move. Not only are you stronger when you do so, but it will also increase your intra-abdominal pressure and stabilise your spine while protecting you from injury. As you begin the descent towards the start (bottom) of the move you will also naturally and necessarily hold your breath.

Legs:
Drive through your heels, extending your hips and knees simultaneously until you are standing erect with the bar, exhaling at the top of the motion. At this point, the bar should be just under your glutes. The barbell hack squat is very similar to the deadlift, in that it is a pressing move for the legs. Again, if you try and pull the weight up with your upper body without concentrating on the legs, you will defeat the purpose of this exercise, not to mention risk injury. Remember to squeeze the quads, hams and glutes at the top as you catch your breath. Use pulling straps, since the amount of weight you can press with your legs will probably exceed how much weight you can hold in your hands.


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One-Sided Gains


Here are four exercises which will help you to reap the benefits of unilateral training.

Chest: One-Arm Dumbbell Press
You have to balance yourself, so the press becomes more challenging. It requires a lot of concentration and may be slower, depending on the weight you are using.

Back: Single-Arm Lat Pulldown
Grasp the handle with an underhand grip and bring it straight down in front of your face. The movement is effective because you get a great stretch on the lats at the top. It is better than a two-handed pulldown.

Shoulders: Single-Arm Machine Press
You are going over your head in what is usually an unstable movement, so you will lift significantly more weight with the added control the machine offers. Doing this exercise with one hand will give you a really good burn.

Legs: Smith-Machine Bulgarian Squat
With one foot on a flat bench behind you, squat on one leg. This technique gives a deep stretch to the glutes of the working leg and grows your legs in a way dual-leg training can’t.


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Rounding Your Back On Romanian Deadlifts


It is not always wise to try and get a longer range of motion.
Keep you back flat for spinal safety.

The Blunder
There is really only one exercise that would allow you to round your lower back in a bent-over position, and that is during the stiff-legged deadlift (SDL), but that is primarily a lower-back, not a hamstring or a glute exercise. The trouble is that the SDL and the romanian Deadlifts (RDL) are closely related at first glance. Knowing how the two exercises differ and when to attempt them is critical. Our focus is to correct the romanian-style deadlift, for which there is never any rounding of the lower back, period. The RDL is a glutes and hams specialty move done with a flat back. If you round your back, you not only remove emphasis from the hamstrings and glutes, but you could also risk injury.

The Fix
The best way to correct an improper RDL is to go through a series of steps as you get into position. First, begin the RDL from a standing position. You can adjust your knees (unlocked to slightly bent), low back (flat and tight) and chest (up/big) all at once. Then as you bend over, you need to keep thinking “chest up, back flat, knees bent”. Along with a flat back and bent knees, the path of the bar is different during the RDL and the SDL. During the RDL, you need to keep the bar very close to your legs throughout the move. Conversely during the SDL, you actually allow the bar to drift away from your body. So as you can see, even though both are bent-over barbell moves, ther are dramatically different in technique and target muscles.

Start:
Stand upright holding a barbell in front of your upper thighs with a pronated (overhand) grip. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in your knees, with your chest up, abs tight and the natural arch locked in your lower back.

Action:
Keeping your back flat, lean forward from your hips, pushing them rearward until your torso is roughly parallel to the floor. As you lean forward, keep your arms straight and slide the bar down your thighs towards the floor until the bar reaches your shins. At the bottom, keep your back flat, head neutral with the bar very close to your legs. Flex your hamstrings and glutes to raise back up while pushing your hips forward until you bring the bar back to the start position.

Leg Remedy: Romanian Deadlift
There are very few exercises that have as much going on as the romanain deadlift, which is why going through a mental checklist is your best bet to secure good habits. Besides form, many athletes try and take the bar so far down to the ground in an effort to increase the range of motion (ROM) that they are either forced to round their backs, or if they do keep their backs straight, they actually touch the floor with the plates. (In fact, some people do a hybrid of an SDL and an RDL, in which they try and bounce the bar off the floor at the bottom, which can wreak havoc on your joints and is not recommended.) If you are doing an SDL, allow the weight to settle on the ground, hence the “dead” part (but that move is not specifically for legs, so we will not discuss it here). Second, during a correct RDL, the bar never touches the ground. So, go through your checklist, stay strict and smooth for the best RDL possible.

https://veefitness.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/leg-blunders/

https://veefitness.wordpress.com/2013/10/02/lifitng-your-hips-off-the-pad-during-leg-presses/

https://veefitness.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/pointing-your-toes-excessively-inward-during-the-hack-squat-or-other-closed-chain-movement/

https://veefitness.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/letting-your-knees-travel-too-far-forward-during-lung-type-movements/

https://veefitness.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/lifting-you-hips-off-the-pad-during-the-lying-leg-curl/


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Lifting Your Hips Off The Pad During The Lying Leg Curl


Leg curls

Keep tension on the hamstrings by keeping your hips down as you lift the weight up.

The Blunder
If there is one exercise you are strong on, chances are it is the leg curl. Lie down on any leg-curl machine and for some reason, you can just pull the heck out of it, right? Well, that is good, but it can also be bad if you allow yourself to get sloppy. Hamstrings in general are pretty powerful. You can pull a lot with your hamstrings, but when it comes to the leg curl, you have to remember that it is an isolation exercise. Many athletes/bodybuilders try to turn it into a compound, multi-joint exercise, by raising their hips off the bench as they curl the weight even though it is only supposed to be an isolation move. Even though you might be able to curl more weight or do a few extra reps with that kind of hip action, you are actually making the exercise easier because you are removing the work form the hamstrings.

The Fix
The key is to imagine that you have glued your hips to the bench throughout the set. Although you may need to lower the weight in order to achieve proper form, your hamstrings will still bear most of the burden, which is what you really want anyway. In fact, if you want another way to burn the hams and glutes without cheating the lift, then after you have curled the weight up and your heels nearly touch your glutes, try raising your quads an inch or so off the bench. That small movement will help burn your upper hams and glutes even more without sacrificing form.

Start:
Lie facedown on a leg-curl machine and position your Achilles¬ tendons below the padded leverwith your knees just off the edge of the bench. Grasp the bench or the handles for stability. Make sure your knees are slightly bent to protect them from over-extension.

Action:
Contract your hamstrings to raise your feet towards your glutes in a strong but deliberate motion, squeezing the muscles at the top, and then lowering under control back to the start position. Do not allow the weight stack to touch down between reps. S

Leg Remedy: Lying Leg Curl Corrected
As mentioned previously with the hack squat exercise you can also turn your toes in and out for a different stimulus on the leg curl (an open-chain move). Turn your toes in to target the inner hamstrings, and out for the outer hamstrings. Squeezing your hamstrings at the top when your hips are pressed into the bench will further ignite the muscle fibres or the back of the leg. But be careful not to raise your hips, or you will lose much of that tension.

https://veefitness.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/leg-blunders/

https://veefitness.wordpress.com/2013/10/02/lifitng-your-hips-off-the-pad-during-leg-presses/

https://veefitness.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/pointing-your-toes-excessively-inward-during-the-hack-squat-or-other-closed-chain-movement/

https://veefitness.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/letting-your-knees-travel-too-far-forward-during-lung-type-movements/