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Bulgarian Lunges


If performing the classic lunges is not difficult for you any more, you can try to increase the intensity and load on muscles by using additional pillars of 30-40cm height. This will allow you to go down lower, which will help to stretch your hip and buttock muscles better, and work on them with bigger amplitude.
What muscles work: quadriceps, buttock muscles, rear hip muscles.
Performing the exercise: stand backwards to the pillar on 50-70cm distance. Put the rear side of one leg on the pillar, move the bodyweight on the front leg (photo 1). You can put your hands on waist or on base leg’s hip. Hold the body straight, start to go down by bending the base leg in knee and hip. At the moment when you touch the floor with your rear leg’s hip (photo 2), make one second pause and go back to the starting position. Repeat the exercise on the other leg.
Bulgarian lunges (starting position)Bulgarian lunges (final position)
Notice: use a stable stand or put it tightly to the wall to prevent slipper. Choose the distance to the pillar, so that in lower position your base leg’s knee was not out your toes level. It is not necessary to put the whole foot on the pillar, to hold on a little with fingers will be enough. The main part of bodyweight should be on base leg’s heel. If you hold your hands on the base leg’s hip, avoid the seduction to help yourself with hands at the lower point – this exercise is for leg muscles. Try not to lean forward, this will increase the load on the weaker knee joint and may lead to painful experience. Always start the exercise from the weaker leg, because even inactive leg gets the load, its muscles stretch, which weakens them. If you exercise barefoot – use a pillar with soft cover. It is preferably to put something soft under your rear leg’s knee (like bent towel), to prevent hitting the floor.
With time you will do easily even this quite difficult variation of lunges. If you are aiming to constant physical improvement and can easily do 20 bulgarian lunges with perfect technique – try to increase the load by putting both legs on pillar (photo 3). For the front leg use 20-30cm pillar, for the rear – under 50cm one. In this case you can go down way lower (photo 4), but increase the depth gradually, or you can’t prevent the hyperextension of muscles, which leads to painful experience (especially on the next morning). Main requirements to the exercise stay the same: back straight, main weight on front leg, going up and down slowly (about 2 seconds), at the lower point hold on for one second. Breathe on movement rhythm: go down – inhale, go up – exhale.
Bulgarian lunges on two pillars (starting position)Bulgarian lunges on two pillars (final position)
When mastered the technique of all the lunges, proposed here, include another leg exercises to your program – for example different kinds of squats.


Good books to read:

Bret Contreras. Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy – Human Kinetics, 2013 – 224 p.
Kavadlo Al. Pushing the Limits: Total Body Strenght with No Equipment – Dragon Door Publications, 2013 – 224 p.
BJ Gaddour. Your Body Is Your Barbell: No Gym. Just Gravity. Build a Leaner, Stronger, More Muscular You in 28 Days – Rodale, 2014 – 288 p.

Кві 13

Back Lunges


When mastered front lunges, you can move on to more difficult back lunges. Since in this exercise you make an unusual for normal life big step back, for the first time it will be difficult to keep balance. In this case you can increase the size of step gradually, but remember: the wider the step – the more effective exercise.
What muscles work: quadriceps, buttock muscles, rear hip muscles.
Performing the exercise: take the starting position, as in classic lunges, but lean your body a little forward at start, and make a big step back (photo 1). Continue the movement, bending the front leg in knee until the back leg’s knee touches the floor (photo 2). After one second pause go back to the starting position.
Lunges (starting position) Lunges (final position)
Notice: rise from the lower position using only the muscles of your front leg, but if it’s difficult for you – help yourself by pushing with the rear leg a little. Do the exercise with 2-1-2-1 tempo (two seconds to go down, one second at the bottom, two seconds to rise and one second to prepare to the next rep). You can breathe arbitrary, but agreeing movement and breathe would be better (go down – inhale, go up – exhale).
When you fully master front and back lunges, try to combine them: when you have made the front lunge don’t go to the starting position, straighten, put your rear leg to the front one. Then do the back lunge and go back to the starting position, put your front leg to the rear. This will not only differ your trainings and give the additional load on muscles, but need more coordinated moves, training also your sense of balance.
Also you can increase load on muscles by putting your front leg on a small 15-20cm high pillar. Because of bigger amplitude (photo) you can not only regulate the load, but get better hip muscle stretch, which allows to perform leg exercises (like full squats) more effective.
When you reach high results in previous exercises (at least 20 lunges on each leg), you can try power kind of lunges with high pillar (50-60cm). Put one leg on full foot on the pillar, with the other one make a step back, like for lunges. For the best cross your arms by your back (photo 3). Without bending the rear leg, start going down by bending knee and hip of a base leg. At the final point the hip of a front leg should touch the calf with its rear part and the chest with front. If it is difficult for you to do the exercise with your rear leg straight – you can bend it in the knee a little (photo 4).
Power lunge (starting position) Power lunge (final position)
Though the exercise may seem quite easy – for the first time don’t do too much reps (20 on each leg will be enough), or you’ll not be able to tie your shoes next day. Have a good training!


Good books to read:

Bret Contreras. Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy – Human Kinetics, 2013 – 224 p.
Kavadlo Al. Pushing the Limits: Total Body Strenght with No Equipment – Dragon Door Publications, 2013 – 224 p.
BJ Gaddour. Your Body Is Your Barbell: No Gym. Just Gravity. Build a Leaner, Stronger, More Muscular You in 28 Days – Rodale, 2014 – 288 p.
Paul Wade. Convict Conditioning 2: Advanced Prison Training Tactics for Muscle Gain, Fat Loss and Bulletproof Joints – Dragon Door Publications, 2012 – 340 p.

Кві 13

Lunges


If for some reasons you don’t want (or can’t) do the classic squats, lunges will be great alternative. Though this exercise is preferred by women (it gives an ability to work better on buttock muscles), some complicated kinds of lunges can help even experienced athlete to work on hips and increase the stretch. Also lunges can be used to warm up before the squats, preparing knee joints to increased loads. Besides, don’t forget that in daily life we load our leg muscles alternately more often – lunges give exactly that natural load.

Front Lunges

What muscles work: quadriceps, buttock muscles, rear hip muscles.
Performing the exercise: stand straight, put your feet a little more narrow than your shoulder-width, hands on hips. Move your bodyweight to one leg, make a big step with the other one. In this position the knee of your front leg should be approximately on your toes level (calf almost perpendicular to the floor), your rear leg will be almost straight because of standing on your feet’s finger pads (photo 1). Without stopping try to go down by your knees, until your rear leg’s knee touches the floor (photo 2). By using your muscles and front leg push, go back to the starting position. Repeat the exercise on the other leg.
Lunges (starting position)Lunges (final position)
Notice: your back should be straight during the whole exercise. The movement should be continuous, but with slowing down (almost stop) in the lower position, and acceleration to go back. Do not let your body swing, go down strict vertically, most of the bodyweight on your front leg. When exercising on hard floor, put a towel under your rear leg’s knee to prevent injuries.
If it is difficult for you to do the full lunges – try to only do the middle part of the exercise, bending your knees without going to starting position or additionally strengthen your leg muscles by doing step ups (raises) on a pillar.
If you can do more than 20 front lunges with perfect technique – move on to the next level, doing back lunges, plate lunges and bulgarian lunges. Also you can increase the load on muscles by putting the front leg on a small, 15-20cm high, pillar (photo 3). By bigger movement amplitude, you can not only regulate the load, but achieve better hips stretch (photo 4), which allows to perform other legs exercises more effectively (for example, full squats).
Pillar bridge (starting position)Pillar bridge (final position)
 


Good books to read:

Bret Contreras. Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy – Human Kinetics, 2013 – 224 p.
Kavadlo Al. Pushing the Limits: Total Body Strenght with No Equipment – Dragon Door Publications, 2013 – 224 p.
BJ Gaddour. Your Body Is Your Barbell: No Gym. Just Gravity. Build a Leaner, Stronger, More Muscular You in 28 Days – Rodale, 2014 – 288 p.
Paul Wade. Convict Conditioning 2: Advanced Prison Training Tactics for Muscle Gain, Fat Loss and Bulletproof Joints – Dragon Door Publications, 2012 – 340 p.

Кві 13

Exercises for hips


Hips training – is one of the most contradictory components of training process. On one hand, everybody understands the need to do exercises for legs, as the strongest and biggest muscles in human body. On the other hand – men avoid it, and women make hip slimming one of the main targets. While not seeing the difference between tight muscle hips and hips, covered with fat (also know as “hip ears”). But by including hip exercises in your training program, you will not only replace the esthetically unattractive and dangerous for health excessive hip fat with a lot less in volume muscle fiber. You will create a base for harmonic development of the whole body.
Take a look into the gym (in fact, masked fitness center): most of its frequenters do chest and arms exercises for 90% of their time. That is why they look, at best, like a lightbulb – blubbery from pumping core on thin legs. Don’t repeat their mistakes – spend enough time on leg training (exactly – hips exercises) which they deserve. I propose to start from the easiest exercise, which you do everyday, without even thinking of it.

Step ups

What muscles work: quadriceps, buttock muscles, rear hip muscles.
Performing the exercise: stand tightly to the pillar. Put one leg on full foot on the pillar, connect your hand behind your back or put on waist (photo 1). Move the bodyweight on base leg and using its muscles step up the pillar. Without stopping and touching the pillar with rear leg, move it forward, with knee bent and risen maximum high (photo 2). Hold the top position for one second and slowly go back to the starting position. Repeat for required times and switch the leg.
Step ups (starting position) Step ups (final position)
Notice: the main job should be on a leg, that is on pillar. Do not push with rear leg, and do not lean forward too much (forehead line shouldn’t come out your base leg’s toes level). Put your leg on a pillar on full foot, main load should be on heel. Rear leg shouldn’t touch the pillar when moving forward or backward. Don’t swing, keep your back straight. Perform the exercise in 2-1-2-1 rhythm (two seconds to go up, one second pause in top position, two seconds to go back to the starting position, one second at the bottom). Synchronize your breath with movement: go up – exhale, go down – inhale. Always start the exercise series from the weaker leg, especially if you don’t alternate them in one set, doing several reps with one leg.
When you can do at least 20 reps on each leg, you should complicate the exercise by increasing the pillar height. But don’t try too hard, maximum height is when base leg’s knee in starting position is bent at right angle (photo 3). First you can help yourself in starting position, leaning at base leg’s hip with your hands. But as your training level rises, try to perform raise only with your base leg’s power (photo 4). Other rules are the same: keep your back straight, do not let yourself tilt front too much, do it slowly and under full control from the start to the finish, breathe rhythmic and synchronous with movement.
High pillar step ups (starting position) High pillar step ups (final position)
If those exercises come easy to you – try to differ your training by including other leg exercises: lunges and different kinds of squats.


Good books to read:

Bret Contreras. Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy – Human Kinetics, 2013 – 224 p.

Kavadlo Al. Pushing the Limits: Total Body Strenght with No Equipment – Dragon Door Publications, 2013 – 224 p.
BJ Gaddour. Your Body Is Your Barbell: No Gym. Just Gravity. Build a Leaner, Stronger, More Muscular You in 28 Days – Rodale, 2014 – 288 p.


Other articles about hips exercises:

Squats: high effective basic exercise, which if performed right, will help you to get slim, as well as build mass in shortest terms.
Lunges: famous exercise, which has a couple of performing variations for complete leg training and tendons flexibility increase.