Mode: Bike, Treadmill, or Elliptical. I wouldn’t suggest StairMaster due to demand on lower extremities. The goal is to increase blood flow, WITHOUT pre-fatiguing the muscles.
Intensity: 6/10 difficulty
Time: 5-10 minutes
Dynamic Movements: 1×10 reps each through full range of motion
- Dynamic Bretzel stretch
- Leg Swings (forward and laterally)
- Lunge with twist
Smith Machine Front Squat: 4 sets of 8-12 reps
- You will need access smith machine. Stand with feet shoulder width or just wider, feet angled outward about 7-10°.
- Your feet should be slightly in front of your body accommodate the strictly vertical nature of the smith machine.
- The bar can rest in one of two ways:
a. On your shoulders (clean grip) (picture A)
b. On shoulders (pretzel style) (picture B)
- Assume the starting position mention in the set-up
- Begin the squat by un-racking the hooks, starting with the hips followed by the knees. Descend until your knees reach 90° of lower. Make sure your torso stays upright by keeping your back extended and your chest visible.
- Drive through the force through your mid-foot, then quads, and finally glutes to return to the starting position and contract your muscles at the peak; Repeat.
- The front squat focuses more on the quadriceps by reducing hip involvement and shifting the weight forward (front or in front shoulders instead of behind).
- The smith machine reduces the core/trunk involvement required in a free weight front squat, allowing more leg focus.
- Front squats require more bend at the knees. Don’t be afraid to permit the knee to slightly pass the feet, assuming it creates no discomfort.
Deficit Reverse Lunge: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
Set up: You will need a 4-8″ step/box that is pretty stable, and a set of dumbbells or a barbell.
- Stand on the box with feet about shoulder width apart
- Slowly step back into a lunge starting the bend with your hips and then to your knees until you just contact the floor.
- Return back to the starting position by driving through your heels, initiating from quads and then the glutes.
- This movement takes balance and coordination. I would suggest practicing with reverse lunges from the floor first. Then, without weight before completely committing to this movement
- This movement allows a deeper lunge with greater hip involvement
Decline Bench Hamstring Curl: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps:
Set-up: You will need a either a bench that is flat or an adjustable decline bench that angles up to ~30°. You will also need a DB.
- Set the DB on it’s side so it looks like an “I” about 6-12″ away from the head of the decline bench. Lay on your stomach UP the decline bench (head higher than feet), and find something to grab for stability.
- This next part is tricky, unless you have a partner. Slide the bottoms of your shoes under the top bell of the DB, essentially splitting the handle until you feel your ankle touch the DB. At this point, squeeze the handle with your feet.
- Once secure, curl the DB up to your butt like you would with a machine hamstring curl.
- Curl the DB in the same fashion focusing on a good squeeze at each peak. Finish by releasing the DB from your feet at the BOTTOM of your final rep.
- To make sure the DB stays secure, maintain the “hugging” pressure on the handle with your feet. Also, by pointing your plantar flexing your ankle (gas peddle) at the bottom of the rep and dorsiflexing (ankle at 90°) at the peak
- This exercise requires a lot of focus, therefore, I would suggest grabbing weight you can handle with maximal control.
Seated Hamstring Curl 21s: 3 sets of 21 reps (7-7-7)
Set-up: You will need access you a seated hamstring curl machine at your gym.
There are 3 parts to this exercise. Complete all 3 in the same set.
- Curl your legs from full extension to the 1/2 way point of the range and return- 7 rep
- Then, curl your legs from that 1/2 way point to the end of the curl range, and back to the 1/2 way point.
- Finally, perform the last 7 repetitions through the full range of motion before concluding. There should have been 21 total reps
- Pick a weight around 50% of your one rep maximum. If you feel you are going to fail before completing, quickly stop and lower the weight to ensure completion
- This exercise serves as a burnout. Perform at the END of your workout.