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Beach Bummed


Competitive bodybuilders usually train for symmetry and proportion in an effort to build an aesthetically pleasing physique. There are many individuals who go to the gym to build up their beach muscles, disregarding symmetry and proportion in designing their training programs. Instead of training opposing muscle groups equally, they sometimes ignore the muscles they cannot see (back, hamstrings, calves, quads) and focus on the muscles they admire in the mirror everyday (chest, biceps, shoulders and abs). Although training specific muscle groups more than others can create an unbalanced-looking physique, disregarding a muscle group over time can potentially lead to other problems that may subject the body to injury.

One common mistake with regard to balanced training is performing an unbalanced training program between the chest and back muscles. The amount of time, energy, effort, volume and frequency between the agonist chest muscles and the antagonists back muscles may not be equal, or even close. A simple example would be an athlete who performs 4 sets os four exercises for the chest (for a total number of 16 sets) and does only 3 sets of three exercises for the back (for a total number of 9 working sets). Following this unbalanced training regime over time will result in back muscles much weaker than the chest muscles. This imbalance may lead to a slightly kyphotic posture (forward/rounded shoulders) that can potentially cause shoulder problems because of the faulty posture. In addition to the stronger chest muscles (compared to the back muscles) pullong the shoulders forward, inadequate stretching of the chest musculature can further contribute to this problem.

For some people, training legs consists of quads and that is it. The disregard their hamstrings while training only the quadriceps. Exercises such as the leg extensions, hack squats and front squats place a large amount of emphasis on the quads. Although these exercises are great you need to do an equal amount of hamstring work with leg curls and romanian deadlifts to stress both muscle groups. Distributing attention evenly to both muscle groups can give you healthier knees and lower back, as well as fewer hamstring strains because of an unbalanced hamstring-to-quad strength ration.

A less obvious training error woth regard to balanced training concerns the shoulders. Overhead shoulder press, incline bench press, flat bench press and other chest and shoulder pressing movements are critical for maximal muscle development. However, these exercises focus on the major muscle groups such as the deltoids, pectoralis major, pectoralis minor and other muscles known as prime movers. Often ignored in a training regime is the training or isolation of the smaller muscle groups in the shoulder known as the rotator cuff (the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis) that are critical in keeping the upper arm in the socket of the shoulder. Failure to train these smaller muscles groups, two of which are not even visible can create an imbalance between the large prime movers and small stabilisers. This lack of imbalance in strength may result in bursts of bursitis, tendinitis or even rotator cuff tears in the shoulder joint.


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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/


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Pointing Your Toes Excessively Inward During The Hack Squat (Or Other Closed-Chain Movement)


Hack Squat

Save the rotation of your feet for open-chain moves like the leg extension, lying leg curl or single-joint calf exercises.

Behind the Blunder
Turing your toes in or out on exercises such as the leg extension, helps target the outer or inner quads, respectively. The same goes for the inner and outer part of the outer hamstrings, where you can shift the emphasis to different parts of the back of the leg when doing leg curls. However, those exercises are called open-chain movements, which means your feet are not pressed against a stable object. Never attempt to turn your feet inward of exercises where your feet are fixed, as in squats, leg presses or hack squats.

The Fix
The key is to find a comfortable, balanced position where you can easily allow your feet to remain flat on the platform at all times, while letting yourself press through the heels and the balls of your feet for maximal power and strength. For most athletes, the foot position most comfortable is a toes-slightly outward stance.

Start:
Step inside a hack squat machine and place your shoulders and back against the pads. Place your feet narrow and low on the platform with your toes pointed out slightly, keeping your feet flat throughout the exercise. Maintain good posture, with your chest up and abs pulled in tight.

Action:
Unhook the safety bars and slowly yourself into the bottom position, stopping when your thighs are just beyond parallel to the foot platform. Pause, and then forcefully press yourself up to the start position, keeping your knees unlocked in the top position. Squeeze your legs and go right into the next rep.

Leg Remedy: Hack Squat Corrected
Keep your feet about hip-to-shoulder-width apart on the platform. Lower them slightly on the platform to shift more focus to the quads, specifically the vastus lateralis (outer quads). When you point your toes out slightly, you keep your knees, hips and ankles in a comfortable, safe and strong position from which to push.

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/


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Leg Blunders


Without question, your legs are the strongest and most powerful parts of your body, and if you give them the attention they deserve, you will also reap the benefits in all other areas of training. With dedication comes the risk of overlooking the details that support long-term success and safety.

If you ignore the seemingly minor blunders than can occur on leg day, eventually, you will end up flipping the switch and shutting down all that power.

Over the next week or so, I will go over some of the common mistakes that gym-goers can and do make on leg day. Most of these specific errors only require a few minor adjustments to approach or form, and if your tackle them swiftly, they will pay dividends in size, strength and safety. So brush up on your leg-training knowledge with the best leg blunder remedies.


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Bodyweight Moves in a Leg Routine


Here is an example of how you might include bodyweight moves to boost the intensity your leg workout. Start with leg extension to pre-exhaust the quadriceps.

Here is an example of how you might include bodyweight moves to boost the intensity your leg workout. Start with leg extension to pre-exhaust the quadriceps.

Leg extension – 3 sets, 10-12 reps

Smith Machine Squat – 3 sets, 10-15 reps
Superset with
Plyo jump squat – 3 sets, to failure

Leg press – 3 sets, 8-10 reps
Superset with
Wall squat – 3 sets, to failure

Lying leg curl – 3 sets, 15 reps
Superset with
Split-jump squat – 3 reps, to failure