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    • If you have a longer than normal femur (thigh bone) and/or don’t have great flexibility in hips, hamstrings or ankles, perhaps elevate heels between 1/2 an inch to 2 inches during the movement. Evaluate

      RULES WITH EXAMPLES (common to all similar exercises types)

       

      SQUATTING MOVEMENTS

1. BARBELL BACK SQUATS:

- keep knees directly over the heels/toes


2. WIDE STANCE SQUATS

- place feet 18” or so apart and externally rotate the toes to about 45º / heels in
- simply let knees fall outwards during the movement


3. BARBELL FRONT SQUATS:

- How to hold the bar: with a bar in the squat rack slightly below shoulder level, walk right up so that the center of the bar touches the base of the neck; raise arms up and straight out in front.
Notice a small area where the bar can sit/balance against the base the neck (be aware that it may feel a little uncomfortable at first). Keeping arms/elbows up, bring hands across the body (towards opposite shoulders) and position them against the bar so that it does not roll forward during the exercise. Step back, and begin.
- Come down as low as possible while maintaining a vertical plane.


4. HACK SQUATS (machine):

- place feet a little higher on the pad
- aim to go as deep as possible
- push with the heels while using downward heel intention
- do not allow butt to ‘wink’ at the bottom, keep the lower back shoved back into the pad


5. DUMBBELL SQUATS:

- For quad emphasis: hold dumbbells beside hips & maintain torso vertical throughout
- For glute emphasis: lean forward at the hips holding dumbbells in front of knees. Avoid any rounding of the spine/keep chest up. Do not apply inward/outward intention during this particular variation


LUNGES

(INC. STEP-UPS & BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUATS)

- head up, chest up
- keep hips, knees, and ankles in a line; no internal/external rotation of hips
- if a balance is an issue, pick a focal point to help assist
- bring back knee lightly to (as close to) the floor aiming for a good stretch of the hip
- ideally, front knee should end directly above the ankle at the bottom (at maximum inline with toes); stay in complete control throughout
- try just lightly to touch the back foot to the floor and don't initiate off it to ascend
- contract glutes and quads & focus on pushing the ground away not trying to lift up
- contract through front leg only (everything evenly distributed), aim to push with the whole foot, a little extra force from the toes is acceptable though


DUMBBELL / BARBELL LUNGES:

- (step forwards or backward unless one is explicitly stated; stepping backward should help to avoid any migration of knees over toes)
* If advanced: when alternating legs, when pressing the front leg into the ground to come up, also keep shoving it back hard until the other foot then becomes the front foot and is planted on the ground ready for the negative (to keep constant tension)

For quad emphasis:

hold dumbbells beside hips & keep torso vertical throughout (be aware that the larger the stride, the more the glutes will activate)

For glute emphasis:

- the aim is to increase the range of motion at the hip joint
- lean forward at the hips during the eccentric, though avoid rounding the spine (chest up)
- hold the dumbbells in front of the knees (the further in front the better)
- Imagine you are about to lunge forward at the bottom; ideally, front knee should end directly above the ankle at the bottom (maximum inline with toes) with glutes fully lengthened, extended at the front
- take relatively short steps, bring back knee lightly to the floor (or as close as possible)
- push straight upwards on the concentric standing tall at the top


STEP UPS:

(use platform that allows for a good stretch at the bottom, typically a standard bench should be appropriate, plus hold something for support if necessary)
- bodyweight over front leg/quad
- while keeping chest up, aim for maximum hip extension ( a stretch of the back leg); aim for a knee angle of greater than 90º and certainly don't stand too close to the bench
- stand straight up and lock out / extend hip at the top, the body should go straight up and down, not back and forth or rotating; only use the power and force of the front leg to come up if possible (no push from back leg/hip unless necessary)
- barely touch the ground on the way down before coming back up
- when using low cable resistance, ensure the cable keeps constant tension throughout


LEG PRESSES

- keep a seat at 45º or a little bit less, not parallel to the foot pad
- keep your back flush against the seat (no arching) & butt down (pull on the handles and drive hips into the pad throughout); head back against the pad at all times
- pull down with the hamstrings bringing the thighs/knees back just prior to the point at which the hips begin to roll / back arches (keep in mind that the higher the feet, the greater the range of motion will be and vice versa); don't just let the weight "fall."
- ensure constant movement and come up just prior to knee lock-out (no resting unless specifically instructed)
- For quad focus, add "intention" either by shoving the heels inwards towards each other, outwards, or even up (though NOT down)
- For hamstring focus (typically with feet high and wide): apply downward heel "intention throughout (an inward heel intention is also a great option from a feet wide position). Shove heels down hard when initiating every rep everything down the back of the legs should contract); (advanced) once you have mastered this and no sooner (when you are certain that the emphasis is on the hamstrings at all times) progress by also shoving the knees downwards as opposed to pushing the weight "away."
* if performing the one-legged variation, keep the resting foot on the ground ideally

For feet low variation: be aware that the range will be a little smaller but this position will shorten the quads most effectively

Feet wide variation: feet outside of shoulder joint. Keep toes at 90º (unless specifically directed otherwise), ankle joint outside of knees & knees outside of hips ("V" legs outwards). Bend knees slightly & allow them to simply fall outwards on the negative 'shove' heels inwards towards each other throughout (intention)

Feet wide variation: feet outside of shoulder joint. Keep toes at 90º (unless specifically directed otherwise), ankle joint outside of knees & knees outside of hips ("V" legs outwards). Bend knees slightly & allow them to simply fall  outwards on the negative 'shove' heels inwards towards each other throughout (intention)

Feet high variation: use angle of back pad closest to the floor for greater range of motion place feet "comfortably" high, not excessively high

Feet narrow variation: touch feet and knees together


LEG CURLS

Lying Leg Curls, Body extended:
(the default choice unless specified)

- (prop-up upper body into a position that keeps the hips (not the spine) in full extension, the back flat and the glutes fully contracted (this should result in the body forming a horizontal straight line), maintain this.)
- force the pelvis/hips down & drive them into the pad (no letting butt come up); almost allow knees to come up off the pad with hips locked-down and forward
- thrust butt forward and contract glutes
- aim to get heels as close to butt as possible (while keeping hips down)
- no internal or external rotation (keep hips, knees, and ankles in straight lines)
- contract quads at the bottom
- typically, keep feet and toes neutral, though if / when prompted:
- Toes in: point toes inwards and touch together, overlapping even
- Toes out: externally rotate about 45º (harder to keep hips down plus range will be smaller)
- to extend the set if necessary, transition into the "body flexed" position (next exercise) for the remaining few reps


Lying Leg Curls, Body Flexed:

- execute as above, though lean over (to lengthen hamstrings) and bring butt up slightly


SEATED LEG CURL:

Same principles as above, though:
- sit tall (abs tight, torso at 90º, head looking straight ahead), no leaning back
- hold the body in position with the hands (don’t move or shift around, stay vertical)
- flex quads at the top
* to extend the set if necessary, sit/lean back and continue
* as an intensifier, place a ball, Pilates block or bottle, etc. between the thighs and squeeze it throughout the movement.


STIFF-LEG MOVEMENTS

STIFF-LEG DEADLIFTS / STIFF-LEG
GOOD MORNINGS:

- keep chest up, back flat (spinal column straight) and head neutral (no looking up/down)
- hips, knees, and ankles in a straight line
- keep legs ridged but soften/bend knees "slightly" throughout (don't lock them out)
- don't think about bending over, think about shoving the butt/hips backward
- once butt is back as far as possible, begin to lower the weight
- don't allow the torso to "fall" forward, keep knees behind toes throughout
- aim for a max stretch at the bottom (no rounding of the lower back, maintain posture)
- from the bottom, squeeze the glutes and hams hard and contract up while shoving the heels into the ground; focus on simply "driving" / extending the hips/butt forward
- stop short of reaching a vertical plane at the top & reset quickly at the bottom (avoid rest to ensure continuous tension)
* applying "Intention" is encouraged, either:
1. shove heels straight down into the ground (forcefully contracting hams and glutes)
2. shove feet down and "out"
3. shove feet down and "in"
4. if elevating feet, think about pulling the toes upwards (can combine with the above); keep
weight back on the heels.


SINGLE-LEG DEADLIFTS:
(bodyweight / weighted)

(place an end point (low racked bar, dumbbell etc.) approx. 18 to 24” in front of foot
(dependent on height); be able just about to touch it at the bottom of the movement requiring a good stretch to do so)
- bend front leg slightly depending on the glute recruitment desired; more bend, more glute
Perform three tasks simultaneously on the descent while always keeping the chest up:
1. lift back leg up towards the ceiling (keeping it straight)
2. reach forward with the hand on the opposite side for the support
3. if performing weighted, reach for the floor with a dumbbell in the remaining hand and
briefly, bring it into to the floor; if performing bodyweight only, hold the arm straight out to
the side for balance
- at the bottom, drive the heel into the ground and contract the glutes to come up
- at the top, try to avoid touching the foot of the ascending/descending leg to the ground
- pick a focal point for balance


LEG EXTENSIONS, GLUTE-HAM
RAISES, GLUTE BRIDGES

LEG EXTENSIONS:

(Optional: place a Pilates block or bottle for example in between the thighs and attempt to squeeze it throughout)
(to shorten the quads from both ends) sit proudly with chest up / a slightly arched lower back (no leaning back against the pad); hold this position throughout and keep arms in place, so butt does not elevate
- keep hips, knees, and ankles in a straight line and the patella (knee-cap) pointing towards the ceiling throughout
- perform the exercise under complete control (zero explosive movements) and come to complete lock-out at the top aiming for a peak contraction
- to apply intention, shove the quads upwards throughout
* to extend the set if necessary, lean back


BARBELL GLUTE BRIDGES:

(lay across a flat bench with only shoulders / upper trap in contact, hold the barbell across the hips)
- feet shoulder-width apart with knees directly above ankles
- come all the way down and stretch
- from the bottom, "drive" up and squeeze the glutes at the top hard while simultaneously thrusting the hips towards the ceiling as much as possible (when you think you have gone up high enough, go 2 inches further!)
- try to pull the heels/hamstrings in towards the butt throughout, especially on the way up

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