Although squats are one of the best size-building exercises, the deadlift can actually build more major muscle groups and create a stronger physique. One of the main reasons the deadlift is so beneficial is the core strength it builds as your core is a critical health component.
In almost every movement, the core supports the body and deadlifting is the best way to build your core.
Little Equipment Necessary
One of the benefits of deadlifts is that there is minimal equipment required to complete the exercise. You simply need a bar and weights to perform a deadlift. Although wraps are helpful, they are not necessary to perform the exercise.
Deadlifts also have real-life application. Lifting objects from the ground and various angles is something we do on a daily basis. By fine-tuning the deadlift, you will be able to lift heavy objects safely, decreasing the risk of injury from an improper lift.
As mentioned, the deadlift is one of the best exercises you can do to strengthen the core. It targets the major muscle groups designed for proper posture and strength. By using a proper deadlift technique, you are forced to hold your back straight and this can transfer to your everyday activities as well.
Maintaining a straight back is one of the best ways to promote core strength. In addition, deadlifting strengthens the surrounding muscles as well, helping to build the lower back, hips, waist and backside. Deadlifting actually works more muscles than the squat, almost working your entire body.
what muscles do deadlifts target
- Gluteus Maximus: (Butt)
- Quadriceps: (Upper Front legs)
- Adductor Magnus: (Inner Thigh)
- Soleus: (Smaller part of your calf muscle)
- Hamstrings: (Upper back of legs)
- Gastrocnemius: (bigger part of your calf muscle)
- Erector Spinae: (lower back)
- Trapezius, upper: (upper neck muscles)
- Trapezius, middle: (middle neck muscles)
- Levator Scapulae: (the muscle from your jaw to your shoulder)
- Rhomboids: ( upper inner back muscles right below your neck)
- Rectus Abdominis: (abs)
- Obliques: (side abs)
Safer, Healthier Option
Unlike the bench press or squat, you cannot get pinned under the lift, so it is safer to perform. When a deadlift is done correctly, there is no major stress on various joints which also makes it a safer option than squats.
Deadlifts also promote cardio vascular fitness if done with enough intensity. High density deadlifts can provide significant aerobic benefits.
Increased Grip Strength
If you choose to do deadlifts without wraps, you will see a significant increase in your gripping strength. This is due to the sheer weight of the bar and the tightness you need in your hands to keep the bar from slipping.
In fact, the deadlift may be the best example of true strength as it does not emphasize performance aids and employs more muscle groups.
The key to getting the most out of a deadlift is to perform the exercise properly. You need to have the right stance and posture before lifting the weight. To learn more about how to properly perform a deadlift or for more information about lifting and workouts, subscribe to my YouTube Channel.
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The joke of skipping leg day is an old mainstay within fitness communities, and this is largely the result of leg exercises being harder to adhere to in the past. With less motility than arms, finding the right regime of easily-performed exercises for various leg muscles, especially the hamstring, can be something of a nuisance.
Today, we’re going to look at the best exercise routine for strengthening your hamstrings. Before we begin, it goes without saying that you want to balance these evenly, and never be excessive with speed, routine length, or the like. Injuring your hamstring can be excruciatingly painful, and can temporarily (or in rare cases, permanently) reduce or take away your ability to stand or walk.
How do I Know My Hamstring is Underfit?
If you already have a decent regime of general leg exercises, you may be unsure if you need to alter any of your routines to provide a better workout for your hamstrings. There are symptoms that can easily be picked up on, though.
- Cramping, Spasms, Charlie Horses – Charlie horses are very painful, uncontrolled contractions of muscles that are essentially a form of acute cramp. The most common Charlie horse that happens within the leg is in the calf muscle, or along the sole of the foot, but they can also occur in the hamstring and other upper leg muscles, if they’re not properly fit. It’s worth noting that this can also be a symptom of potassium or vitamin deficiencies as well, though if that’s the case, such problems will occur in other parts of the body as well.
- Gluteal and Upper Leg Fatigue – If walking, standing, squatting and other leg-related activities result in significant fatigue across the back of the upper leg, or the base of the gluteal area, this can be a sign that your current routines aren’t sufficiently exercising your hamstring, causing it to fatigue much more quickly than other muscle groups.
- Restless Legs – True restless leg syndrome is not what we’re talking about – that’s something that a physician should address immediately due to it being a symptom of much more severe problems than your workout routine. However, mild restlessness, which leg workouts should usually help to abate, can indicate some muscles not being properly worked, and your hamstring is a prime candidate for this.
Let’s take a moment to talk about how important leg exercises are as a whole. On a cosmetic level, if you focus only on your upper body, you will look patently ridiculous. We’ve all seen those guys who spend all day lifting and bench pressing, but neglect their legs entirely. They look like cartoon characters!
But, on top of this, you also greatly increase your risk of knee and hamstring injuries, and these can have lasting or permanent ramifications, leaving you permanently walking with a limp, or experiencing significant pain.
It also makes squats much harder to do, as well as any practical lifting to carry or move heavier things.
Gender Doesn’t Matter
Something else we need to point out right now, is that this is just as important for women as it is for men. The same danger of leg injuries can happen if a woman’s hamstrings aren’t properly trained and well-exercised.
Equally, let’s all be honest. What kind of legs do most men prefer on a woman? Scrawny, neglected beanpoles? Or, is a woman with shapely, toned legs usually preferred? And, ladies, which would you prefer? Healthy, toned legs, or skinny, weak ones? It really matters for both sexes, equally.
You Don’t Need Crazy Equipment!
One last thing to point out, before we look at the six most effective exercises is, while having some decent equipment at your disposal does help, but you don’t need ridiculous, expensive and overwrought equipment to get a solid hamstring workout.
We live in a time that’s unrivaled historically in both fitness and nutrition sciences, as well as the elaborate equipment we can produce. This equipment is all well and good, but you really only need a few simple things, to get a full workout, including hamstring-targeting routines.
There are two routines we’ll look at that need some fitness equipment usually, but you can makeshift these if need be.
#1 – Romanian Deaflift
The Romanian deadlift is one of the simplest routines you can do. Simply hold a weighted barbell at shin level, arms straight, bending horizontally at the waist, and partially at the knee. Lift upward until your legs, waist, and arms are straight, the barbell at just below your pelvis. Hold, tightening your legs slightly, and lower back down in a controlled descent.
#2 – Barbell Back Squat
This is another simple exercise. Hold the barbell across the back of your shoulders, just at the base of the neck, elbows bent, palms outward. Have your legs apart so your feet are just past your shoulders.
Bend at the knees, outward, producing a spread-legged squat. Hold, and lift back up slowly. Remember proper squat form with this one.
#3 – Bulgarian Split Squat
This one should not be attempted by people with hip or knee trouble. Start with one leg bent at the knee, behind you on a bench. Hold weighted dumbbells at either side of your body. Bend your other leg at the knee and hip until it’s at a near sitting position, your leg on the bench at a J-like bend as a result.
Use some tension in the benched leg when returning to a standing position. Alternate between legs, evenly.
#4 – Glute-Ham Raise
This one is best served with leg press equipment. Lie face down, legs braced, cushion under your upper legs. Cross your arms across your chest, and lift yourself to a vertical position at the knees. Hold, and lower yourself back after a couple seconds. This is one of the most powerful (and fatiguing) hamstring exercises.
#5 – Leg Curl
This is the other exercise best suited with a weighted leg press. Lie face down, bracing the weighted lift just above your heels. Bend at the knee, as far as your leg and the weight will permit. Hold for about one second, and lower it back under muscle control.
#6 – Kettlebell Swing
This exercise is usually a “cooling down” or “finishing” routine, and is one of the higher kinetic impact exercises. This also works as a partial cardio exercise, so if your doctor has warned against excessive cardio, be wary of this one. Using ball weights, start bent horizontal at the waste (similar to the Romanain deadlift), the weights held back, between your legs. Bend up at the waist and the knee, swinging the weights in a parabola until your arms are almost level in front of you.
Swing back into the start position under control (don’t let inertia do it for you). Be extra careful on resuming the start position, that you don’t allow inertia to bring your arms at high speed into your groin – it doesn’t matter what your gender, that will hurt.
To learn more about hamstring exercises and other difficult group targeting routines, subscribe to my YouTube channel today. I have so many awesome things to show you!Post Views: 2,049
What’s a winning physique? It’s surely not a dude with bulging shoulders and pecs strutting around on chicken legs. Look, a lot of guys avoid leg day, but you’re doing yourself a disservice. Stop running away. Smash your goals.
Here’s exercises that are proven to help you get massive gains that are also safe and smart. Let’s check them out.
How To Work The Legs
Before we get into the exercises, though, let’s get a general understanding of working the lower body. You need proper form. Work on proper form first, and you will have better results from the beginning. Lastly, don’t focus too much on higher repetitions. Work within the 80-85% 1RM range for the most growth.
Recommended Leg Exercises For Growth
With some basic information out of the way, it’s time to introduce the exercises.
Barbell Back Squat
Note: Best performed inside a rack for safety.
3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
Rest: 3 minutes
How to do:
Start with your feet under the bar, hands in position. Get under the bar. Adjust your grip if you need to. Keep the chest up and the elbows down. Squat up to unrack the bar and keep your core engaged, back long. As you continue to perform a rep, keep your heels under your shoulders with the toes out on a slight diagonal. Get your backside as low to the ground as comfortable for your joints. To get up from the squat, drive through glute and hamstring muscles, squeezing and pressing.
Barbell Front Squat
3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
Rest: 3 minutes
How to do: Bring your arms up under the bar. Keep the elbows high, upper arms parallel to the floor. The bar should rest atop the deltoids when your arms are crossed. From there, lift the bar from the rack by pushing with your legs up and keeping the torso straight.
Step away from the rack and take a squat position—feet under shoulders, toes pointed outward. This is the starting position.
Lower down slowly. Maintain a straight posture as the knees bend. Eventually, the thighs should be below parallel with the floor. As you start to lift from the bottom position, exhale and push the floor through the middle of the foot while engaging the quads.
3-4 sets x 8-10 reps on both sides
Rest: 3 minutes
How to do: Once you have unracked the bar, step forward with either your right or left leg. Maintain balance and squat down. Think about lowering the hips, not bending the knees in order to keep your form. The torso remains straight. Knees bend to 90-degrees. Don’t allow the front knee to go beyond the toes. Once you reach the lowest point, power back up through the feet. Repeat this movement 9 more times on one leg then switch.
Leg Press Machine
3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
Rest: 3 minutes
How to do: Start by sitting at the machine with your back firm against the seat. Your feet are flat on the foot plate, slightly wider than hip-width apart. Grab the handles on either side of the seat. From there, push the plate away by extending through the knees and hips. Turn the locking safety handle so you can move freely. Then, keep pushing through the feet until you’re extended. Bring the plate back slowly. Never fully lock the knees as your work. Repeat the motion.
Leg Curl Machine
3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
Rest: 3 minutes
How to do: Once you’ve readied the machine for use, place the back of the lower leg on the padded lever. Second the lap pad against your quads, above the knees. Grasp the side handles. Make sure you start with the legs fully straight out behind you. Now, exhale, pulling the machine lever back as you bend the knees and lift your heels towards your back. Hold the contraction for a second. Slowly lower back to starting position. Repeat.
Standing Calf Raise
3 sets x 8-10 reps
Rest: 3 minutes
How to do: [Use dumbbells or the machine] On a workout step or platform, stand with your feet under your shoulders. The balls of your feet are on the top half of the platform/step, and the heels are hanging off. Push up, extend the knees, and keep the torso erect. Never lock the knees as you rise. Continue raising the heels as you breathe then lower slowly to starting position, feeling the calf release and stretch. Repeat.
3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
Rest: 3 minutes
How to do: Hold a bar at hip level with palms facing down. Shoulders are back, the back is arched, and the knees are slightly bent. This is where you start. From there, lower the bar down by moving the butt back. Keep the bar close to the body as you move. When done correctly, the maximum range is just below the knee. At the bottom position, squeeze through the back body and drive the hips forward to return to standing. Repeat.
That’s it! You don’t need anything else—just consistency and determination.
You can’t spell legendary without “leg day.” With these exercises, you can grow your legs and get that bodybuilding physique and strength you’ve been working hard to achieve.
Enjoyed this article? For more tips and tricks and information on how to train effectively, check out my YouTube channel and hit that subscribe button.Post Views: 1,796
So, you want a sculpted, muscular physique? First, ask yourself what your prime motivation for this is, because if it’s solely for aesthetic purposes, this could be mentally unhealthy – body image is a complicated thing, as is the social pressure on it.
That said, if healthy and self-confidence is your main motivation, what’s wrong with looking good while living a healthy lifestyle? The thing is, people oversimplify the human body when they consider the effects and implications of exercise. Well, that’s not really surprising, the “why and how” of this is only guaranteed knowledge if you’re either a fitness professional, a medical professional, or a biologist.
Unfortunately, to get the most out of your exercise and diet regimen, and most efficiently achieve that swole look, you kind of need to understand it. Specifically in this case, you need to understand anaerobic respiration, basic metabolism, and the concept of hypertrophy.
While it may sound like a bonus prize better than first place, hypertrophy is a biological/medical phenomenon wherein muscles are stressed in various way (and to an extent, damaged), thus increasing the density and cross section of muscle present.
Proper exercise intended for body building and muscle gain, induces hypertrophy. Here’s the thing though, hypertrophy, and the things that induce it, will hurt. You will experience fatigue, soreness, cramps and just general aches and pains from it.
Well, the old saying goes, no pain no gain, right? We’ll talk in a minute about how this is induced, but let’s talk about the two scientific phenomena taking place during hypertrophy, and how it results in increased muscle volume and density.
Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is an increase in what’s known as sarcoplasm. This is a fluid volume inside muscles, that gives it that kind of “jelly” fluidic nature while relaxed. This creates muscular bulk, but being noncontractile, sarcoplasmic hypertrophy doesn’t increase strength per se. It is however necessary for the function and tensile power of your muscular tissue.
Myofibrillar hypertrophy is the increase of myofibrils, which are the thread-like contractile components which actually do the mechanical work. The increase of these is the increase in actual physical strength.
It is important to achieve the proper balance of myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic hypertrophies, though generally, the body manages that on its own. However, if you see increasing muscle mass, but the expected strength increase intended to come along with it isn’t present, you may need to see a dietitian or even a physician, because something may be wrong.
Before we go over the ways to stimulate this, I want to again emphasize that some of this can be dangerous if you don’t do it properly. Consult your physician, and use your best judgment with this. Seriously, stressing your body can be dangerous!
Progressive Tension Overload
This sounds fancy and complex, but in all reality, it’s just what any good lifting regimen does – increase what you can and do lift over time, stressing your muscles and causing them to grow. Some of the best are curls, deadlifts, squats, military presses and bench presses. While the more dramatic increase in reps and lifts you can do will be logarithmically proportional to the resulting hypertrophy, this is where the being careful I talked about comes into play.
It’s commonly said that you have to break muscles to make muscles. This is actually completely true. This is also why constructive exercise is painful – you’re breaking the myofibrils and losing some of your sarcoplasm by overexerting your muscles.
When the body takes damage, it will reactively begin building more tissue to replace what was lost, or to bridge gaps formed by strain. While some tissues don’t heal gracefully (hence scarred skin, and misshapen bones that weren’t set right), muscle is very good at healing itself in an effective and constructive way.
On top of tension stress/breakage, there’s also metabolic stress. This is where anaerobic versus aerobic respiration comes into play. Anaerobic respiration involves little to no exercise (where aerobic is very oxygen-heavy). Most lifts and similar exercises are anaerobic, and since anaerobic respiration is less efficient and more stressful, muscles are strained by it, causing them to “double up” to better handle the stress of it all.
On a side note, anaerobic respiration produces lactic acid, which causes that really sore feeling you get from an effective work out, where a burning sensation comes from broken muscle.
You can make induction of hypertrophy safer by reducing the physical extremeness of it with supplements that let muscles rebuild faster, and stimulate muscle growth naturally.
You may have heard some bad things about creatine, but seriously, it’s all bunk. Creatine has been clinically proven to be harmless, and effective. Creatine will help boost sarcoplasmic hypertrophy as well as stimulate more effective respiration all around. It also abates the soreness of lactic acid production, which quite nice.
Muscle has to have raw materials to build with, and that means protein. Protein powders are an excellent way to deliver this rich nutrient to your body, while eliminating fats and other undesired things that come from animal protein.
To learn more about hypertrophy, and the science behind supplements and exercises, subscribe to my YouTube channel today!Post Views: 1,547