Workout of the Week 2.21.16-It’s All in The Hips

Intro

Let me begin by addressing a common debate. Does the flood of  booty-specific exercises help to build a solid pair of glutes? Or should you just squat, and stick to the basics? In my opinion, why one or the other? DO BOTH! Why must everything in the fitness industry be thought of as black and white? Why is everything an “or” statement? Sure, heavy compound lower body exercises should be the foundation of your approach, but if you want a solid seat cushion, you should implement hip-extension isolation exercises as well. I would suggest breaking your lower body into two different sessions. The first, a heavy compound day, where you focus on squats, dead-lifts, lunges, etc.. The second, an isolation, glute-focused day, where you implement the exercises in this weeks workout.

3 Important notes

 1. Stop trying to improve your butt during your cardio sessions, it has little-to-no impact on the development of the muscle. Plus, it will not only bring down the quality of the cardio session, but it will hinder your glute workouts as well. Therefore, you will fail at not one, but both of your objectives..

2. Do not over-emphasize the curve of your lower back to make your butt look bigger in everyday life or during your workout. Instead, keep a neutral spine. Your spine will thank you. (see image below)

3. “30 day squat challenges” are not going to cut it. Instead, go to the gym and weight train for a good bit of time. Want to build a butt? Try a “3o week challenge”.

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Neutral%20Spine_tcm75-488271

Picture 1= NO

Warm-up

Cardiovascular machine- 5min-10min: I would suggest an elliptical or incline treadmill on a moderate resistance. Do not go overboard, because you do not want to hinder your lifting performance (aka, stairmaster)

Dynamic/mobility routine- 5-10 minutes: This routine should consist of multi-joint, large muscle group movements that favor/mimic that of the workout below. You should work on passive motions in the joints to a range of motion close to functional limits. Remember, this should be moderately intense, do not go overboard. Examples of this warm up can be found at the bottom of the page.

Light warm-up sets- 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps with very moderate weight. This will familiarize the movement, and bring blood to the lower body.

Working Sets

1. Dumbbell or barbell split squat: 4×15 each leg; 90s rest.

Set-up: You will need a set of dumbbells or a barbell, a bench/platform, and some coordination. Begin by standing about 2 feet out from the side of the bench, facing outward. Now, with confidence, reach back with one leg, and place your foot on the bench/platform behind you. If your distance and balance feel good, you are ready to begin. If not, do a few extremely small hops to re-position, or take your foot down,and repeat the

Bulgarian-DB-Split-Squat
Dumbbell version

set-up from a better position.

 

Execution: You will begin the movement by moving your hips backwards and bending your knee. I typically tell my clients’ to “sit back towards the bench behind you”. With the weight almost completely distributed into the lead leg, lower until you reach parallel or lower. Then, pressing from your mid-foot, extend the hips, and rise to just before lockout of the knee; repeat.

bulgarian_split_squat.jpg
Barbell version

Tips: I personally prefer using a barbell when doing this exercise, because I feel the shoulder placement emphasizes glute activation. However, for beginners and/or those less coordinated, dumbbells are the better and safer option.  To help keep balance, I typically insist on constant movement. Much like a bike, pausing will make you wobble. Lastly, if you feel a burn in the leg placed on the bench, find a shorter platform to fix it.

 

2a. Barbell hip-thrust: 3×10-20; no rest, super-set with next exercise.

Set-up: You will need a bench, a box, or a piece of equipment specifically designed for these (I-1). You will also need a barbell and a pad (for hips).  Begin by placing the very top of your back on

hip thruster
I-1

the bench, and sit on the floor. Then, roll the barbell over your legs until just above your hips. At this point, make sure and adjust your legs for an even stance.

 

Execution: Raise your hips slowly, until tight against the barbell. Grab and hold the barbell firmly to the spot that was once the crease of your bent hips. At this point, you should take a moment and place some tension into your heals, and make sure your back is at a neutral bend (see top of page). Then, thrust your hips upward until you reach a tight contraction in your glutes and hamstrings. Briefly pause and emphasize to contraction. Then, lower your hips (without bending your back!) downward until just before the starting position; repeat.

hip thrust
Barbell hip thrust

Tips: I would HIGHLY recommend introducing this exercise with no weight. This is so you can familiarize the correct mechanics, before adding the load and concentration that comes with barbell inclusion. You may also add a band to the hips and/or the knees to increase the intensity!

2b. Lateral band walks: 3×15 each direction; 90s rest.

Set-up: You will need a flat and wide, full-circled resistance band (I-2). I do not suggest a thin band, because it will wind up and/or move too easily. I do not suggest tying a band into a circle, because it will more than likely come apart (sketchy). You should also find an

res band
I-2

open area at your gym.

This is the tricky part. You must find a band that  will allow your feet to be as close as possible, with a tension level that doesn’t make it too hard to fully open your hips.

Execution: Begin by holding your arms in front of your body, as this will allow you to squat down without falling backwards. Then, bend at your hips until at a comfortable depth.Your back should be neutral, and your chest should be up. While keeping your knees pushed outward, step laterally in lateral band walkseither direction with one leg. Then, follow with the other leg. Repeat in the same direction until the reps are completed, and then reverse the direction in the same manner. You should maintain a constant depth for the entire duration.

Tips: This movement does not have to be your best squat depth, in fact, I would discourage that. Instead, go to a maintainable depth, which is usually just above parallel. You may do this exercise alternating from side-to-side if you have no adequate room, I just typically prefer the method mentioned earlier.

3a. Cable donkey kick: 3×15 each leg; superset with next exercise.

Set-up: You will need a low cable pulley, an ankle attachment, and a small platform for elevation (optional). Begin by placing one ankle in the strap, and standing on the platform with the other leg. Then, bend at your hips slightly, and grab something for stability purposes.

Execution: While keeping your body still, swing your leg backward and slightly outward (south east direction) During this motion,

donkey kick.jpg
Donkey kickback

your knee should be slightly bent, and your hips should remain facing forward. The movement should continue until you feel a solid squeeze in your glutes and hamstrings. Then return back to just before the starting position; repeat.

Tips: Most people over-do the range of motion. There is no need to twist your hips, rotate your leg, bend all the way over, etc. The benefits of these extra add-on movements are targeted efficiently in the other exercises. Stick to hyper extension of the hip

3b. Lumbar extension: 3×12-20 reps; 90s rest.

Set-up: You will need the equipment shown (I-3), or be creative (partner, bosu ball,ext.). Start by setting the pad to the top of your

lumbar ext.jpg
I-3

thigh/crease of your hip. Feet should be tight to the platform and flat.

Execution: Begin by forming a neutral spine, and bracing your core. Then, slowly lean forward with all of the movement coming from your hips. Not your back, your hips. The depth of this movement  varies from person-to-person (see tips). Then, with force created by your legs (not your back), raise your body back to that starting position and conract your glutes/hamstrings. DO NOT hyper extend your back (I-4). Repeat.

Tips: An easy way to determine your proper depth, is to have someone watch you from the side.

lumbar-extension1
Glute-ham raise

Tell them to cue you when your hips stop their movement and the back begins rolls inward. You may also hold a weight while doing this exercise.

lumbar no no.jpg
I-4

This concludes the workout. Glute-focused days are great to pair with hamstring, calves, and quads.

STRETCH

  • Do 1-2 stretch variations for each major body part
  • 3-5 repetitions per stretch
  • 10-20s second hold each
Legs, Groin & Hips Stretches 001
Click to enlarge

FOAM ROLL

Use a dense foam roller/ softball to loosen and release tension that may have resulted from the high volume above.

DYNAMIC WARM-UP

dywrmup-eng

 

PRAY

You had another healthy workout.

 

Kyle Blair, BS Exercise Physiology, CPT

Workout of The Week 2.15.16- Treasure Your Chest

WARM-UP

Cardiovascular machine- 5min

 

Arm circles- 4 sets of 15 seconds each way, alternating between small and large circles. (yes, just like in gym class).

Internal rotation- using thera-bands or a cable handle attachment, do 3×15 reps of internal rotation (see I-1)

(I-1)
                         (I-1)

Light warm up sets- Before starting your working sets, make sure to do 2-3  very light sets to familiarize the movement and bring blood to the chest.

Additional warm-up options- Push-ups, Front raises, light triceps extension.

WORKING SETS

Neutral grip dumbbell press: 4×8;120-180s

Set-up: You will need a flat bench and a pair of dumbbells. You’re naturally weaker with your hands turned in, so make sure you go a tad lighter than a normal dumbbell press.

Execution: Execute the lift much like a DB bench press, except turn the dumbbells so that your palm’s are facing each other. Press the dumbbells upward until they are 1-2inches apart, and your elbows are just short of lockout. Then, descend in a slow and controlled

Hammer-Grip-Decline-Bench-Press
 

Neutral grip dumbbell press

 

manner- repeat.

Tips: It helps some people to imagine this lift as a chest fly with bent elbows. Also, make sure to emphasize the squeeze of your chest at the peak- this is what makes this lift special.

Incline dumbbell fly: 3×12; 120s rest.

Set-up: You will need an incline bench and a pair off dumbbells. If you only have an adjustable bench, set it on the lowest incline setting possible.

Execution: Start with the dumbbells at the tops of motion, not out at your sides (notice direction of arrows in picture). Begin by opening your arms in a controlled fashion until you reach a deep

incline chest fly
 

incline DB fly (notice arm bend)

 

stretch of your chest. Your arms should be slightly bent as if you were hugging a wide tree. Then, bring your arms back together until you reach a solid contraction- repeat.

Tips: It’s common for people to go too heavy with this exercise. If you notice the muscle action feel primarily coming the shoulders, or your arm’s excessively bending, the weight is probably too heavy.

Smith machine incline press: 3×12; super-set, no rest.

Set-up: You will need an adjustable bench. Set it fairly steep. Now, the hard part, adjust the bench so the bar will evenly lower to the top 3rd of your chest. It may take a couple re-adjustments. Your hand grip should be slightly narrower than a normal bench press, since it has been shown to recruit more muscle fibers for the upper chest.

Execution: Start by unlocking the bar and lowering it to your chest. Make sure you

incline smith press
 

Incline Smith Press (go steeper)

 

exaggerate the stretch in your pecs as you lower. Once the bar touches your chest, or gets 1-2 inches away ( for this less flexible), press it back up until just before lockout- repeat.

Tips: I mentioned that the bench should be steep. By this, I mean 1-2 clicks steeper than your average incline angle. I typically use this exercise as a go-to for my upper chest-shoulder tie-in.

Decline cable crossover: 3×12- 120s rest.

Set-up: You will need two cable pulleys. Set them at the highest adjustment. Grab each handle, and step forward with one leg. Your body should be slightly leaned forward.

cablecrossover618__landscape.jpg
 

Decline cable crossover

 

Execution: Pull your arms inward until your forearms cross, and you feel a strong pectoral contraction. Then, return to the starting position. When you perform the following rep, alternate which arm crosses above/below. Repeat this pattern throughout the entire set.

Tips: This is a pump/squeeze exercise, not the type to load up the weight. Focus on clean, strong, contractions with good form. Try your best to target the squeeze in your lower chest.

Push-up drill: 1×20-100 reps; 10s rests as needed.

Set-up: You will need a stop-watch and perfect push-up handles. You don’t NEED the handles, but I prefer them for wrist health.

Execution: This is a burnout drill. Pick a number between 20 and 100. If you’re good at push-ups, pick a higher number. If you aren’t good at push-ups, pick a lower

woman perfect pushup
 

Modified perfect push-up

 

number. The goal is to complete the total number of push-ups you have selected with the fewest breaks possible. You will only get 10 seconds with each break, so don’t get comfortable.

Perfect-Pushup.jpg
Perfect pushup

Tips: Write down the number of rests it takes to finish, and try to beat it each time. When you finally complete the entire set with no rests- raise the number. Try not to go to failure during your first bout, this will burn you out too soon. Instead, stop 1-2 reps short, and conserve some energy.

 

This concludes the chest workout. This workout will be great to pair with a push day (chest, triceps, shoulders), or simply paired with any one of the push muscles. I also pair chest with biceps from time-to-time.

STRETCH

Do 2-3 reps of each stretch for 10-20 seconds. Focus on breathing to allow a deeper stretch range of motion.

Click to enlarge.

 

PRAY

God gave you another day, and another healthy workout.

Kyle Blair

Email: kblair_fitness@aol.com

For coaching.

 

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