Elevated Reverse Lunge
This is without a doubt one of my all time favorite lower body exercises for developing the glutes, hams and adductors. If you are familiar with a regular reverse lunge, the elevated lunge just brings it one step more advanced. If you are new to these, be careful on the volume you initially use because it is a bit more difficult than a traditional reverse lunge. I love this exercises because it provides not only a HUGE strengthening effect on the front leg, but it also provides a huge flexibility aspect to the rear leg and hip flexor. By elevating your foot on a bench in front, the rear leg is able to move through a much deeper range of motion, really hitting the glutes and hamstrings hard!
Goblet Walking Lunges
Since discovering the incredible power of the goblet grip, I decided to pair this grip with one of my all time favorite lower body exercises; the walking lunge. I love walking lunges and have tried DB walking lunges as well as barbell lunges. There are benefits to both of these, however the biggest problem I began noticing with myself and others performing walking lunges with DBs or the barbell is the tendency to lean forward, forcing unnecessary stress on the knees and also pressure on the back.
The benefit to goblet walking lunges is that the weight is more anteriorly (in front) placed which not only works your core like you wouldn’t believe, but it also helps to keep you in an upright position and really focus your energy on your legs.
When trying out a goblet walking lunge, keep in mind you may be using much less weight than you would normally by using a barbell or even DBs. The reason for this is the hand position with the goblet grip forces you to engage your upper body and core as well. Whenever you raise your center of gravity, this makes the exercise more difficult so you will use much less weight. This is a great way to ‘change up’ the traditional walking lunge you are used to and also to keep your body from hitting a plateau!
The goblet hold, forces you to stay upright thus causing less pressure and compression on the spine and more force where you want it; the quads and glutes! You want to work your core? Try these! Wow, my core never felt so worked!
The Goblet Squat
I was recently introduced to the goblet squat when I was being taught everything ‘kettlebell’ I immediately fell in love with this exercise and saw the amazing benefits immediately!
It is really simple to train the body in the way it is supposed to move and so many of us do not train this way. Let me explain. There is something so unnatural about an exercise such as a standing hamstring curl. This exercise just does not carry over to our daily lives; it is not functional. With that said, how many times do we have to squat to pick something up or walk up stairs or bend down to pick something up? We need to train our bodies to move the natural way they are supposed to. We tend to over think movements and this is when problems and injuries come into. The reason I love a goblet squat is because this is the most basic human movement and performed in a way that is natural for the body. If you think about when you were a baby, the way you picked objects off of the ground is to get in a squat position and pick it up. From day 1, the goblet squat position is natural. When preformed and executed correctly, I guarantee your body will feel better, more powerful and move in a more natural way that it is intended to.
Many attempt a barbell back squat without proper set up, warm up or form and the lack of ability to squat with depth is due to a major mobility issue. To test your own mobility, perform a body weight squat keeping toes pointing forward, shoulders back and chest up. See how far down you get. More likely than not, you will only be able to get about halfway with proper form before your knees start caving, upper back rounds and the weight gets transferred to your toes. Although this could be due to tight lats, hipflexors or ankles, this could also be due to a lack of stability.
Why I love the GOBLET Squat
When holding the KB (or DB) out in front of your body, you are automatically forced to engage your core which in turn helps to stabilize the body. From the very first time you perform a goblet squat, it can help you improve your form and you will be able to squat with more depth in no time! You will feel this in your legs, glutes, core and arms as well
The key to learning this movement is to let the body teach the body how to move properly. When performed properly, the goblet squat will properly balance the strength between your quads, and hamstrings. You will become more powerful, strong and increase mobility as well.
Bulgarian Split Squat
I actually always avoided this exercise because it was more on the hate side of the ‘love-hate relationship’ They were just….hard! We always tend to avoid things that bring us out of our comfort zones, and you know what? I have come to LOVE this exercise after learning it properly and getting over the fact that it was even challenging with just my body weight. No, I was not using any additional weight and Bulgarian split squats were damn right challenging! Learning proper body mechanics is about proper progression. Get over your ego’s, drop the weights and educate yourself
This single leg exercise improves strength, balance and hip mobility. With this exercise your feet do not move; so you focus on a FULL range of motion which really targets your front quads and glutes. I love this exercise because you really can safely go deep when performing them because this exercise works your glutes and hip flexors better than any type of squat.
When performing the Bulgarian squat, your body is in a position to maintain optimal posture that is when it is performed correctly. The biggest issue I notice when I see others doing this exercise improperly is that they are weighted way forward. You want to think about going straight up and down, NOT forward and backwards.
To set up this exercise, the trickiest part will be to figure out how far forward your front foot should be. To figure this out, when you squat down, your front leg should create a pretty square 90 degree ankle. You never want your front knee to go PAST your toes.
When performed correctly, most of the work is done with your front leg, forcing a great quad workout. When you squat down, as you push back up, squeeze the glutes while simultaneously pushing y our heel through the floor.
Band assisted Chin Ups
I already touched briefly upon the fact that I LOVE this exercise. You can watch my chin up video here. I have never been able to perform an unassisted pull up or chin up, yet it has always been a goal of mine. So I had this goal, yet was doing nothing to move forward to accomplishing it! Then I discovered and was taught about the assisted band chin up. The band provides assistance throughout the entire movement yet allows you to use your entire body . The hardest part of a chin or pull up is getting yourself up from the bottom position, and with the assistance of the band, it helps you where you are the weakest to allow you to get to the top.
Pulling up your body is not easy; it takes a lot of strength and to do it properly is even harder. This exercise works your entire body. If you want to be able to do an unassisted pull or chin up, stay away from those ‘assisted pull up machines’ This movement does not mimic the movement of using a band. Reason 1 being you are not using balance techniques. Because you are kneeling or standing on a bar, you are not forced to engage your core, or use balance to help you up and due to this factor, you can lose strength where you want to be building the most. Reason 2 When you know you are being assisted by weight, you know you are not working as hard as you potentially could, therefore not pushing yourself to activate the muscles which will help you get stronger.
Right away you will feel your entire body working when using the band, and you will notice it is much more of a challenging exercise!
So you want a chiseled upper body; triceps, biceps, back, shoulders? Try some chin ups and stop doing 1 arm triceps kickbacks. Get more bang for your buck!
What is a new to you favorite exercise?