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Author Topic: GLUTE/LOWER BODY TRAINING  (Read 101524 times)
ripitupbaby
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« on: June 25, 2007, 01:51:19 PM »

As Promised, this thread is dedicated to GLUTE/LEG and LOWER BODY Training.

There are "many ways to skin a cat" and variety is always important to keep the body guessing and keep yourself interested in the workouts...so EVERYONE please feel free to post your training suggestions in this thread!

This thread is for Glute/Lower Body Q&A with anyone who is interested.  I bet we can all learn something from each other.

I'll start with some of my suggestions for lower body training, focusing on glute and backside development - for women who are in pursuit of the coveted "Apple Ass." 

I'm gonna break this down into three sections and three separate posts, and we'll go from there:

(1) General Tips and Cardio
(2) Specific Exercises
(3) Sample Workouts



(1) GENERAL TIPS AND CARDIO

LIFTING
---For lower body and glute workouts, I recommend relying primarily on large and/or compound exercises, which I will describe in Part 2 of this post. 
---Try to create workouts that include 4 or 5 exercises with 3-4 sets each.  I usually start with a compound exercise and do four sets, and then three sets of everything else in the workout.
---Whether bulking or cutting, I don't change too much about the exercises themselves, just the amount of weight I use and the number of reps.
Bulking - I prefer heavier weight that allows me to go about 8-10 reps on the lower body workouts.
Cutting - I prefer lighter weight that allows me to go about 15-20 reps on the lower body workouts. 
---Remember that you can make ANY weight feel heavy by slowing down the movements, squeezing and holding at the top/bottom, and/or slow negatives.  NEVER sacrifice your form for heavier weight - it is not worth it, and you risk injury.

For those of you who do not want to grow too much in the lower body and want to focus more on toning, I would stick with weights that put you at least in the 12-15 rep range per set.  You should be struggling and reaching failure towards the end of the sets, though - don't make it too easy for yourself!

CARDIO
Use your cardio to help develop your lower body, not just to burn calories!  Modify what you do for cardio to focus more on your butt.

---Try to split your cardio from your weight lifting if you can.  I try to do my cardio in the morning and lift in the evenings.  If this is not possible, try to do cardio after lifting so that you are strongest for the lifting.
---Nothing beats the stair climber in my opinion.  Make it your new best friend.  LOVE IT and it will love you back. 
---Walking on an incline is great for toning your backside as well.
---Sprints and track workouts are great, but I would avoid running long distances if you are trying to develop or add muscle mass to the lower body.
You will notice that there are not many long distance runners out there with big quad sweeps or large legs.  Long distance running burns size off your legs.  I have eliminated running from my workouts completely for this reason.  I do sprints and track workouts, however.  You'll also notice that there aren't many sprinters out there without awesome leg/quad separation...sprints are great for this purpose.  I recommend at least one sprint/track workout per week if you can swing it.
 
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« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2007, 01:51:48 PM »

(2) SPECIFIC EXERCISES

First, I will ID the three MUST-DO exercises, IMO, for glute and lower body development. 

---FREE SQUATS.  No Smith Machine.  Just you and the weighted barbell on your shoulders.  Keep your upper body upright when you squat (don't bend forward) and squat like you are going to sit down on a toilet, maybe a little deeper.  No need to go ass-to-ankles, as this is just a recipe for injury.  Make sure your ass and knees stay comfortably behind your ankles when you squat. 

Feet forward, shoulder width apart is a "normal" stance.  Feet pointed outward with a slightly wider stance will focus more on the inner thighs.

---WALKING LUNGES.  One of the BEST exercises in the world!!  I prefer a barbell on my shoulders, but you can also do these with dumbells in your hands.  These are best when they are done WALKING, not lunging in one place. 
The lunges should be pretty deep, but make sure that the knee on the leg you are lunging with stays behind the ankle (don't hyper-extend). 
Lunge up and down the gym, hitting about 12-15 lunges for each leg per set.  Use the track if your gym has one, but don't lunge around the corners. 
Take the barbell outside and lunch in the parking lot or down the street.  Hills can be used for walking lunges too. 

I remember working with my trainer once, and he had me doing walking lunges with the Olympic bar uphill in town, right in the middle of the street.  RIght when I was DYING, I remember him saying "come on, only about 60 yards left!"   Cheesy


---STRAIGHT LEG DEADLIFTS.  Another great exercise and one of the guy's favorites!   Grin
Again, I prefer the weighted barbell, but dumbells work too.

Stand with your legs straight and slightly apart, in a "comfortable" position.  Bend forward sliding the weight down your legs and keeping your back straight.  You should be pivoting 100% at the hips and keeping the weight over your heels.  Check your form in the mirror....do them with a mirror next to you so that you can watch how you bend.

Only go down to about mid-shin with the weight - no need to go down to your toes, as the lower range will engage your lower back more than your hams and glutes.
When coming back up, focus on squeezing the glutes and keeping your weight over your heels.


In addition to the three MUST-DO exercises, I like to incorporate the following into my lower body workouts:

---Leg Extensions.  Squeeze and hold at the top.  Adjust foot positioning to vary the exercise.

---Butt Blaster/Donkey Kick machine

---Lying Hamstring Curls.  I like to do these one leg at a time.

---Seated Hamstring Curls.  This machine is great for working the sartorius muscle, which is the longest muscle in the body.

---Leg Press.  Good for the quads, and again you can adjust your foot position to focus on the outer/inner thigh.

---Calf Raise Machines.  I use both the seated and standing machines, but if you have a Donkey Calf Raise machine, that is even better because it engages the glutes and hams too.

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« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2007, 01:52:10 PM »


(3) SAMPLE WORKOUTS

Again, there are many ways to construct good workouts for the lower body, and variety is always a good thing for your body AND your mind. 

When I really want to focus on lower body development, I tend to work my lower body twice a week, with one workout more focused on the glutes/quads, and the other more focused on hams/calves.

DAY 1 - GLUTES/QUADS
---Free Squats 4 sets
---Walking Lunges 3 sets
---Leg Press 3 sets
---Leg Extensions 3 sets
---Butt Blaster 3 sets


DAY 2 - HAMS/CALVES
---Walking Lunges 4 sets
---Straight Leg Deadlifts 3 sets
---Seated or Lying Hammy Curls 3 sets of one exercise, or two sets of each
---Standing Calf Raises 3 sets
---Seated Calf Raises 3 sets

ANOTHER OPTION FOR ONCE/WEEK
IF you are limited with time or only want to hit the lower body once per week, I would recommend making your workout consist of the three MUST-DO exercises (squats, lunges, deads), plus one calf exercise, plus one other machine of your choice (leg extensions, presses, hammy curls, etc.)  Change the machine of your choice weekly when you do the lower body workout.

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« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2007, 01:54:45 PM »

I used to do the walking lunges, they are a tough fuckers to do, really get you breathing.
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« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2007, 04:39:28 PM »

Thank you for this thread Rip  Smiley

Do you have an opinion on using the stairmaster backward?
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« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2007, 06:01:59 PM »

Thank you for this thread Rip  Smiley

Do you have an opinion on using the stairmaster backward?


DANGEROUS.... Cheesy

Actually, it may work the glutes well....I was going to suggest an exercise that involves walking backwards up a set of stairs in a squat position, so I imagine that using the stairclimber is equally as beneficial.  However, you're gonna have to slow it down quite a bit so that you don't wipe out, in which case you may not get as much of a benefit from the calorie burning perspective.

Personally, I would keep using the stairclimber forwards for maximum calorie burn, and incorporate some backwards squats up stairs as a modified squatting exercise or an additional exercise if you are so inclined.

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« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2007, 01:21:22 PM »

RE. the inner/outer thighs (adductors and abductors)....I would not spend time in the gym doing those thigh-master machines, as they focus only on these muscles, and these are very small muscles in the lower body.  There are more efficient ways to hit these muscles while training your lower body.

You should be able to hit your inner and outer thighs adequately using the compound MUST-DO exercises like squats and walking lunges.  My inner thighs always get hit hard by these two exercises.

You can adjust your foot position on squats, leg presses, and leg extensions to focus more on these muscles as well. 

Angling your feet outward will hit more inner thigh, and angling your feet inward will hit more outer thigh. 

Maximize your workouts and minimize your time in the gym!     Smiley

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« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2007, 03:27:35 PM »

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« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2007, 07:16:25 PM »

The majority of average Nat training Guys would be better off following your template than the crap they try to copy out of Flex or M&F.
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« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2007, 01:48:56 PM »

The majority of average Nat training Guys would be better off following your template than the crap they try to copy out of Flex or M&F.

Thanks.  I like to keep my training pretty basic, no need to get all fancy-schmancy.   Smiley

One thing I did want to emphasize is the importance of STRETCHING when it comes to lower body training and development.

The glutes and hamstrings in particular will NOT grow if they are not flexible and well-stretched.   If you can't bend over and touch your toes - or better yet the floor - with your legs straight, then you cannot expect to grow your hammies.

I recommend stretching the hams and glutes for maximum flexibility as much as possible, when you are WARM.  Do not stretch cold.
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« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2007, 02:45:36 AM »



---FREE SQUATS.  No Smith Machine.  Just you and the weighted barbell on your shoulders.  Keep your upper body upright when you squat (don't bend forward) and squat like you are going to sit down on a toilet, maybe a little deeper.  No need to go ass-to-ankles, as this is just a recipe for injury.  Make sure your ass and knees stay comfortably behind your ankles when you squat. 

Feet forward, shoulder width apart is a "normal" stance.  Feet pointed outward with a slightly wider stance will focus more on the inner thighs.


Rip, could you please talk about which muscles are engaged w/wide, normal and narrow stances while doing Free Squats and Hack Squats.




---Leg Extensions.  Squeeze and hold at the top.  Adjust foot positioning to vary the exercise.



---Lying Hamstring Curls.  I like to do these one leg at a time.


Re: adjusting foot positioning, are you talking about "flat-foot" to "pointed toes?"  If so, do you suggest adjusting w/the lying hamstring curls also?

Thanks Rip Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2007, 09:13:07 AM »

Rip, could you please talk about which muscles are engaged w/wide, normal and narrow stances while doing Free Squats and Hack Squats.

Unless you are a powerlifter, "normal" stance for a free squat is generally shoulder width apart, with the feet facing forwards or pointed just slightly outwards.  I find that this engages the most muscles in the lower body, but slight variations on this stance can make different muscles work a little more.
 
---A closer stance will lessen the workload for the hips and butt, and will put more emphasis on the quads and thighs.  A closer stance will also put more pressure on your back and abs, which is OK as long as you remember that there is not a need to go too heavy.
---A wider stance does the opposite - decreases the work for the thighs and puts more emphasis on the hips and butt.

Stance selection depends, in part, on what is most comfortable for you.  Shorter people have an easier time with a closer stance, I think, than taller people.  A wider stance gives you better ability to balance and engages the abs, back, and core muscles less.  I would start shoulder width apart and adjust your stance according to what is comfortable for you to go deep enough and maintain balance.


Re: adjusting foot positioning, are you talking about "flat-foot" to "pointed toes?"  If so, do you suggest adjusting w/the lying hamstring curls also?

Thanks Rip Smiley


More so than pointing/flexing the feet, I was referring to the toe position/angling or which way the feet are directed, which can be modified during squats, leg presses, and leg extensions, among other exercises.

You can position your feet straight ahead (maybe slightly outward), or you can turn them outward (like a plie in ballet), or you can turn them inward so that the toes on your feet are pointing towards each other.

---Positioning your toes outward (like a ballet plie) in squats and leg presses will emphasize inner thigh work. 
I found this cute little picture (below) to illustrate what I am talking about. 

EDIT: the pic shows the correct foot position to focus on the inner thighs, but for squats, your stance should be wider and your knees should remain behind your heels.  Not quite the same as a plie.

 
If you turn your feet outward about 45 degrees and squat in this position, you will definitely put more focus on your inner thighs, as well as your butt.  I use this as a variation for my squats once in a while, or I sometimes add a couple of sets of these in after I do my squats with a straighter foot position.

---Positioning your toes inward will emphasize outer thigh work.  However, I do NOT recommend this position for free squats or even Smith machine squats, as I think that it is very difficult to maintain balance and is a recipe for knee trouble, even with light weight.  I would only position the toes inwards to focus more on the outer thigh when doing leg extensions, and maybe leg presses with relatively light weight.

---For leg extensions in particular, having the toes rotated slightly outward will target the inner sweep of the quads more.  Working with the toes rotated slightly inward will target the outer teardrop of the quads more.


Pointed toes versus going flat-footed on hammy curls is another interesting question, and not one that I am too sure about in terms of the benefits of one versus the other. 
I have had people recommend both ways to me for hammy curls, as well as leg extensions. 
I'm not too sure what the effects of pointing the toes versus flexing them is when doing hammy curls...I usually try to keep my feet flexed, as I feel more of a stretch through the hamstring this way.
For leg extensions, I have found that foot flexion when the foot is pointed (downward), the lower quads work more, and when the foot is flexed upward, the upper part of the quads work more.


In general, I see all of these modifications as good ways to put some variety into your exercises from time to time, but with the exception of the inner thigh focus from plies, I'm not so sure that there is REALLY a great benefit or impact to doing much more than the standard or "normal" stances and foot positions.


* WidePlie1.gif (7.16 KB, 240x555 - viewed 9768 times.)
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« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2007, 10:08:02 PM »

You have to demonstrate that you practice what you preach by posting a few rear nudes of yourself. For evaluation purposes.
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« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2007, 03:04:31 PM »

You have to demonstrate that you practice what you preach by posting a few rear nudes of yourself. For evaluation purposes.


Sorry, but I didn't work out nude today.   Tongue

I DID do a lower body workout though.  I only trained lower body once this week, so I tried to hit everything. 

I am currently in a "maintenance" mode, not really trying to put on size or lose weight.  Here's what I did, generally, to give you an idea of what kind of weights/reps:

---Walking Lunges - 4 sets with 45 pound bar, about 12-15 each leg
---Free Squats - 1 set 95 pounds x 20, 2 sets 115 pounds x 15
---Straight Leg Deadlifts - 1 set 85 pounds x 18, 2 sets 95 pounds x 15
---Seated Calf Raises - 2 sets with 45 pound plate on, as many as I could do till it hurt too much
---Leg Extensions - 3 sets on machine (can't remember weight 50 or 65) x 15
---Seated Hammy Curl - 2 sets on machine (can't remember weight) x 15
---Lying Hammy Curl - 2 light sets (50 pounds?) x 15

I fully expect to walk funny for the next two days.   Undecided

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« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2007, 10:29:21 AM »




---Walking Lunges - 4 sets with 45 pound bar, about 12-15 each leg
---Free Squats - 1 set 95 pounds x 20, 2 sets 115 pounds x 15
---Straight Leg Deadlifts - 1 set 85 pounds x 18, 2 sets 95 pounds x 15
---Seated Calf Raises - 2 sets with 45 pound plate on, as many as I could do till it hurt too much
---Leg Extensions - 3 sets on machine (can't remember weight 50 or 65) x 15
---Seated Hammy Curl - 2 sets on machine (can't remember weight) x 15
---Lying Hammy Curl - 2 light sets (50 pounds?) x 15




Thanks, we're going to do this workout Tuesday  Smiley
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« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2007, 10:40:46 AM »

Thanks, we're going to do this workout Tuesday  Smiley


LOL, have fun!  I can hardly walk today... Cheesy

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« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2007, 12:55:08 PM »

Good thread...a lot of good points. However, there is one thing in particular I noticed that I do disagree with...weight and reps during bulking vs. cutting.

Personally, I am a fan of lower volume style training, not HIT per say, but not extreme high volume. For example, as many warm-up sets as it takes to get to the point of 1-2 hard working sets. After that, multiple exercises 2-3 sets. In regards to lower body training, it might look something like this:

Squats: warm-up sets (which does involve incrementing up in weight) followed by 2 working sets
Hacks: 2 working sets (maybe 1 warm up set to get used to the movement)
Lying leg curl: same as hacks
Single leg ext: same as hacks and curls

Warm-up sets are done in the 10-15 rep range, working sets in the 6-8 with the occasional 4 or 5 rep set.

Now, the point of all this and the reason for my disagreement of the above statement about reps and weight during differant phases. For men or women I am a firm believer that in regards to weight training, the same exact principles should applie. For starters, to build muscle or to maintain muscle on a diet, what works for a man will work for a woman. 2nd if you've built a base of muscle using heavy weights and moderate reps, changing this scheme is not the best way to preserve your muscle IMO. The same should be done be it during a diet or a bulk...it was the heavy weight that promoted the muscle gain and it's that same heavy weight that will preserve it. You have to keep the fast-twitch fibers activated during a diet if they are going to maintain their size...and only heavy weight will activate your fast-twitch muscle fibers.

Final note, like everyone says, there are a dozen ways to skin a cat, but that does not mean there isn't an easier more efficient way to do so...just my 2c.
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« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2007, 02:26:37 PM »

AJ, you sound along the lines Yates. That's best for me too.

Have to go by feel though. I wanted heavy benches this morn, but I had a wierd tweak deep in my outer
peck I couldnt work away. Time to shift gears.

Ive found heavier weight builds more lasting mass. Stuff that hangs with you thru a layoff and sick.
Pumpy light stuff can fluff up muscle (esp w/ drugs) but it dont have the integrity.
"Heavy" is relative to the person though.
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« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2007, 05:04:46 PM »

AJ, you sound along the lines Yates. That's best for me too.
No, not quite Yates, it is more volume then he ever did...it's just not Arnold or Lee Priest style insanity volume.

Have to go by feel though. I wanted heavy benches this morn, but I had a wierd tweak deep in my outer
peck I couldnt work away. Time to shift gears.

Ive found heavier weight builds more lasting mass. Stuff that hangs with you thru a layoff and sick.
Pumpy light stuff can fluff up muscle (esp w/ drugs) but it dont have the integrity.
"Heavy" is relative to the person though.
I go by feel as well...if I'm feeling weaker for some reason, I'll do what I can to make the weight feel heavier, i.e. supper sets, drops, etc. And you're right, "heavy' is a very relative term.
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« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2007, 05:59:14 PM »

Good thread...a lot of good points. However, there is one thing in particular I noticed that I do disagree with...weight and reps during bulking vs. cutting.

Personally, I am a fan of lower volume style training, not HIT per say, but not extreme high volume. For example, as many warm-up sets as it takes to get to the point of 1-2 hard working sets. After that, multiple exercises 2-3 sets. In regards to lower body training, it might look something like this:

Squats: warm-up sets (which does involve incrementing up in weight) followed by 2 working sets
Hacks: 2 working sets (maybe 1 warm up set to get used to the movement)
Lying leg curl: same as hacks
Single leg ext: same as hacks and curls

Warm-up sets are done in the 10-15 rep range, working sets in the 6-8 with the occasional 4 or 5 rep set.

Now, the point of all this and the reason for my disagreement of the above statement about reps and weight during differant phases. For men or women I am a firm believer that in regards to weight training, the same exact principles should applie. For starters, to build muscle or to maintain muscle on a diet, what works for a man will work for a woman. 2nd if you've built a base of muscle using heavy weights and moderate reps, changing this scheme is not the best way to preserve your muscle IMO. The same should be done be it during a diet or a bulk...it was the heavy weight that promoted the muscle gain and it's that same heavy weight that will preserve it. You have to keep the fast-twitch fibers activated during a diet if they are going to maintain their size...and only heavy weight will activate your fast-twitch muscle fibers.

Final note, like everyone says, there are a dozen ways to skin a cat, but that does not mean there isn't an easier more efficient way to do so...just my 2c.


Yeah, I would totally agree with you when it comes to my upper body, I train it more that way.  I would do a chest or back workout in a manner very similar to what you laid out, and I usually keep my upper body workouts the same whether cutting or bulking.

But my lower body tends to grow really fast...I easily put on more than enough size in my lower body, and need to focus my training more on improving definition.  I find that this approach works better for my lower body.



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« Reply #20 on: July 08, 2007, 07:38:30 PM »


Yeah, I would totally agree with you when it comes to my upper body, I train it more that way.  I would do a chest or back workout in a manner very similar to what you laid out, and I usually keep my upper body workouts the same whether cutting or bulking.

But my lower body tends to grow really fast...I easily put on more than enough size in my lower body, and need to focus my training more on improving definition.  I find that this approach works better for my lower body.



 Smiley

Hey if it works for you it works for you...no reason to change it.
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« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2007, 07:50:32 PM »

It's like the guy tells me.. "Yates should of done more sets...!"
What? Then He'd of won the Olympia or sumfin!? Roll Eyes Please.

Ditto Mike metzner. Im sure he tried EVERYTING thru the yrs. HIs way was prolly best for him.

Im leaning toward plenty of light stretchy nontaxing warm up stuff for all muscle involved, then quick jumps up to
about 3-4 Max hard sets culninating in somting I can only move 2-5 reps.(Legs higher)
I explore plenty singles for form in the 85%+ 1rm zone too. No more often then every 10th day on nasty
1 rm's.

It makes the other stuff feel light. Im liking the Fat Bar I made to. Regular bar feel like a toothpick now.

Just for a example here. Mixing it up is important IMO.
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« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2007, 11:58:33 PM »

I'll throw in my 2 cents worth on cardio training...I have found (pre contest) that interval training works best for fat depletion. I do it for 35 minutes at a time on the Stairstepper...You start out with a 5 minute warm-up
Then the next step is to move to 55% of max heart rate for another 5 minutes. The move it up to 85% of max heart rate for 5 minutes. Then drop it back down to 55%. You continue this cycle for 3 cycles...then cool down. To get your Predicted Max Heart Rate....220-your age X .55 = 55% of predicted max
Do the same calculation for the 85%...There are other formulas, this one is just the easiest...at 55% you should be able to carry on a conversation easily, at 85% you should not be able to...Just remember this is "Predicted Max"...everyone is different, so you may have to adjust for your own fitness level. Good Luck!
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« Reply #23 on: July 12, 2007, 06:44:12 AM »

Sounds like I've done. You can keep going longer if you hit some bursts and back off,
heart rate stays elevated anyway for awhile, then blast again.
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« Reply #24 on: July 12, 2007, 07:20:29 AM »

Personally, I have had to work very hard to bring my lower body in line with my upper body.  My last 3 years as a college gymnast I had a few knee surgeries and was mainly an uneven bar specialist, so when I began training for fitness I had a big upper body and little chicken legs, LOL.
All the way up until about 4 weeks out from this show I would start with some kind of heavy squatting (6-15 rep range).  Also, throughout my contest prep, I would focus on some of the more "shaping" type exercises, including variations of lunges, step-ups, wide stance squats, stiff leg deadlifs, etc-.  I utilized a lot of superset training to keep the pace of my workout up, as I am a fitness competitor, so building endurance is a factor in my training. I also added in a second leg day at the end of the week to specifically focus on hamstrings and glutes.

I have found that a great exercise to bring up the glutes is doing the hack squat, but facing the reverse direction.  i.e.- face inward.  I would usually use a wider stance and really try to focus on pushing from my glutes, if that makes sense.  I also found that doing front squats on the Smith machine helped with my leg development (squatting all the way down).

Oh, and stepmill is definitely the way to go, especially skipping steps  Smiley
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