Yesterday I was surfing around on YouTube and couldn’t believe how many great training videos of bodybuilders were online. Pro bodybuilders tend to have a particular way in which they train. You’ll see a lot of specialized techniques. For example, you’ll see partials focusing on the bottom ROM to keep constant tension, you’ll see heavy partials at the top ROM for overload, you’ll see squeezing with lighter weights, and you’ll see cheat reps. Each bodybuilder seems to have his own style when it comes to training. I’m a big fan of watching all the different types of athletes train, especially bodybuilders, powerlifters, Olympic weightlifters, and strongmen.
Bilateral leg training gets all the glory. Most of us lifters love our squats, deadlifts, hip thrusts, leg presses, good mornings, and back extensions. But if you’ve never taken the time to develop your single leg strength, then you are missing out! Once upon a time, I could perform:
- 20 steps of walking lunges (10 steps each for leg) with a 225 pound barbell on my back
- 5 reps of single leg RDLs with a 275 pound barbell
- 3 reps of Bulgarian split squats with a 205 pound barbell on my back, and
- 5 reps of single leg 45 degree hypers with a 100 pound dumbbell
I believe that taking the time to develop this single leg strength helped improve my form on bilateral lifts and allowed me to grow some additional leg muscle. Make no mistake, single leg training is brutal, which quite frankly is why I tend to avoid it these days. However, I’ve paid my dues, having spent years training single leg lifts very hard, and so should you (assuming you haven’t already). If you’re a mostly squats, deadlifts, and hip thrusts type of lifter, I think it’s a good idea to switch your training focus from bilateral to unilateral for a few weeks twice per year and then flip back. As to what exercises you should perform…
Every few weeks, someone will tag me in a Facebook thread where people are arguing about the negative effects of sit-ups or crunches on posture. Typically, someone will claim that people are already sitting all day long and then question why would we dare put them into flexed postures during their training. They’ll also claim that performing sit-ups or crunches leads to negative postural adaptations such as kyphosis and forward head posture.
Trust me, I understand the sentiments. On weekends, when I don’t train myself or any clients, I tend to sit for much of the day trying to catch up on reading and writing. I can certainly feel the effects of such sitting on my body. Do this day in and day out, and I’m certain that it will have a negative impact on posture and function.
Today’s post is from Derrick Blanton, a regular contributor to my blog. Derrick is constantly pondering biomechanical topics and thinking up effective cues. Here he describes what he feels is a better way to achieve proper knee position in a squat – focusing on loading the lateral heels.
My two assistants and I experimented with this and found that it is indeed highly difficult if not impossible (Andrew was barely able to, but Joey and I could not) to achieve medial knee displacement (inward knee caving) at the bottom of a squat while loading up the lateral edge of the heel, as long as our feet weren’t pointed inward. I’m assuming that this applies to the vast majority of lifters. We were able to cave inwards while still loading the lateral heal half-way up in the squat, but not at the bottom.