Stronger Legs, Better Squats
Leg training can be one of the most demanding parts of lifting. It requires determination, consistency and a lot of cool-down exercises to minimise those pesky post leg day aches.
In this article, we will talk about some crucial exercises to include in your weekly leg-day routine and some hints and tips to make sure every rep counts.
ASS-TO-GRASS (aka the Deep Squat)
Not the most fun exercise, but deep squats have been proven to be more effective at building the glutes and inner thigh muscles than your standard squat, leaving you with increased strength. Not only this, but the deep squat, executed properly, helps to develop your mobility, stability and motor control.
Grab a GORUCK Sandbag for practice and load up to a light and comfortable weight. Or if you’re confident, load up a barbell on your BEAVERFIT Garage Rack, being sure to use your J-Pegs and Safety Squat Arms.
Begin by squatting down as if you’re sitting into a chair. Your ankles, knees, and hips will bend, while your spine stays straight. As you begin to squat, your knees will move forward over your toes, while your hips will travel backwards to keep your centre of gravity over your feet.
Your feet should remain flat on the ground during the entire movement. Your torso and pelvis will stay neutral and aligned as you bend at your hips. At the lowest depth, your pelvis will be in relative alignment with your shins.
Your knees will stay in alignment with your feet when viewed from the front.
Finally, push through your feet with your weight centred just in front of your ankles and return to the starting position.
Many people lack the flexibility to squat properly and couldn’t do a single perfect rep even if they wanted to.
This is especially true for people that have been squatting incorrectly for long periods of time because it can reduce flexibility and range of motion and otherwise instil poor movement patterns that are hard to change. There are several small muscles involved in hip flexion, and if they can’t move through a full range of motion, you are going to have a lot of trouble squatting correctly.
Here are a few exercises to help you to improve our hip and ankle flexibility & mobility:
SIDE BOX STEP-OFFS
Using your Plyo Box or similar, stand up tall with one leg off the side of the box - make sure you start with hips locked out.
Lower yourself like you are going into a squat and lightly touch the ground with the outside heel.
- Maintain control throughout the whole range of motion.
- Stack your knees so that they don't go in front of your toe line.
- Keep your heel down and chest up.
- Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps on each leg
BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUATS
Using your Plyo Box again, keep your back foot elevated and two dumbbells in your hand- proceed to drop into a lunge:
- When executing the Bulgarian split squat - be sure to keep you knee tracking in line with your toes.
- Allow your knee to come towards the end of your toe line to mimic more of a single leg squat.
- Executing this movement will help you work on knee tracking for your two-legged squats.
- For this exercise, complete 3 sets of 6-8 reps.
PROWLER SLED IMPORTANCE
Becoming increasingly popular, the Prowler Sled is the perfect addition to improve both strength and cardiovascular fitness simultaneously.
The prowler push engages your quads, glutes, abdominals and upper-body to stay rigid and contracted for prolonged periods of time. This rigidity helps increase the time your muscles are under tension. Studies suggest that increasing the 'time under tension' can help increase muscle hypertrophy more than conventional resistance training. Since the prowler push helps to challenge your entire body, it’s a great way to build muscle all over, while a stronger core is a key factor in improving balance – perfect for improving your squats!
When performed at lower intensities, prowler pushes and sled training can increase blood flow to active tissues for recovery purposes. The prowler push involves concentric muscle contraction and doesn’t induce eccentric strain on the muscles. It is a perfect way to help kick the post leg-day aches and hasten recovery, making your training more effective.
Incorporate these workout tips on your next leg day
Whether you are preparing for a marathon, wanting to improve your overall fitness or just become your strongest self, it’s important to take a dedicated and focused approach when it comes to your health and fitness journey.
Knowing what to prioritise during your workouts can help you reduce your risk of injury and get the most out of your training.
What goals are you this year? Let us know on our Instagram @getbeaverfit