STRENGTH TRAINING EXERCISES USING WEIGHTS
Barbell Back Squat- Position the bar on the squat racks at a height of approximately 3 to
5 inches lower than your shoulders. Preferably using spotters, position your hands evenly on the bar and, with your feet squarely under the bar lift the bar from the rack with the legs. Step back just enough to avoid bumping the rack during the exercise, and position your feet at a comfortable width – this is called the “athletic stance,” where your force output capability is at its maximum – usually a bit more than shoulder width. Your
weight should remain centered over the back half of your feet throughout the descent and ascent not on your toes. Descend by first pushing your hips back and then following through by bending your knees. Descend with control into a position where the tops of your thighs are at parallel or a bit below, keeping your torso and back erect so that your hips remain under the bar at all times. Do not allow your knees to drift inward or your torso to incline forward. Vigorously rise out of the squat position following the same path that you descended – the torso and back remain erect and the hips remain under the bar throughout the exercise.
Jump Squat- Assuming the squat stance and position using a weight from 10-30% of your maximum squat descend down into a ¼ squat position and jump up as high as
possible. When landing immediately bend the knees and jump again- Repeat for the desired # of repetitions. The exercise should be executed smoothly and in a rhythmic fashion.
Iso-ballistic jump squat- This is another version of the jump squat – the only difference is rather then being executed rhythmically in non-stop fashion the iso-ballistic squat is executed with a pause (from 3-10 seconds) just above the parallel position before each jump.
Reactive Squat- Using 20-50% of your max squat and starting from an athletic “jumping” stance with your hands pulling the bar tightly across your shoulders, from a standing position drop quickly down into a deep squat position and quickly reverse direction, reverse the downward momentum and explosively drive the weight back up. The emphasis here is on rebounding out of the bottom of the hole, not necessarily jumping up.
Deadlift- Maintain a flat back, bend your knees and grip the bar at shoulder width, one hand is palm-forward and the other hand is palm-facing back (so the bar won’t roll from your grip – called a mixed grip) Push directly into the ground with your leg muscles while stabilizing with your back muscles – do not pull with your back initially use the power of your legs and butt to drive the bar off the ground. When the bar is just about knee height, begin pulling with your back to finish the movement, stand erect – do not lean backward at the finish of the movement. To lower the bar look up while pushing your hips back and let the bar to the ground at a fairly quick pace.
Leg curls- Lying face down on a leg curl machine, curl the padded lever upward using your hamstrings. Make an effort to point dorsi-flex your ankles while doing the curl by pointing your toes up towards your knee. This movement can and should be substituted with a glute-ham raise if you have access to one.
Glute Ham raise
Barbell or Dumbell Lunge- Begin with your feet hip-width apart, torso erect -take a slow controlled step either forward (dynamic) or backward. From this position, lower your hips so that your forward thigh drops below parallel with the floor. At the fullest stretch, your forward knee will be positioned slightly ahead of your ankle, with your foot pointing straight ahead or slightly in. Allow your trailing knee to drop to a point just before it touches the floor. Continue the exercise by pushing off your front foot until your knee is straight, then step back to the start. Execute all the repetitions for one leg before performing the reps for the other leg.
Barbell or dumbell split squat- Also known as the Bulgarian squat. Performed exactly like the lunge described above, but this time you elevate your back leg on a block or
bench anywhere from 6-18 inches high. This allows for greater range of motion and thus greater activation of all muscle groups.
Romanian Deadlift- also known as semi-stiff legged deadlift – this exercise stresses the hamstrings and gluteals and sues the lower back in a supporting role. With bar in hands and keeping the back tight and arched bend the knees slightly and maintain this bend the entire movement. Bend forward and attempt to push your hips back behind you while slowly lower the bar to just below your knees. You should feel a slight stretch in the hamstrings and glutes as you descend. Make sure to keep the back arched the entire time. When rising concentrate on pushing your feet down and back, like a bull pawing at the ground. Your feet won’t actually move but if you concentrate on that it makes the exercise much more effective.
Calf raise- Using a special calf machine stand on block with the balls of your feet and keep your knees locked. Raise up on your toes as high as possible, hold position momentarily, then return to starting positing letting the heels descend down until you feel a good stretch in the calf.
One-legged weighted calf raises- Standing on a block and holding a dumbell in one hand and holding onto something else with the other hand for support keep the knee locked and descend down until you feel a good stretch. Rise up on your toes as high as possible, hold position momentarily, then return to starting position. Repeat with other leg.
One-legged squat- Although the one-legged squat is usually not done with weights I decided to put it here as it is included in many of the programs including weights. To perform it you start by placing your non-working hand on an object for balance. Extend your non-working leg in front of you and VERY slowly bend your working leg as far as comfortable into a full squat and then return to the start. I’ve found it helpful to start using something to sit back on like a low chair or steps. As this become easier, you can make the exercise more challenging by not holding onto an object for balance, and by using dumbbells.
BODYWEIGHT STRENGTH TRAINING EXERCISES
Ski-Squat- This exercise gets its name because it’s a favorite of competitive skiers who use it to develop awesome quadriceps strength and endurance. Place your feet shoulder- width apart, about two feet out from the wall, and lean your back against the wall. Bend your knees to a half-squat position. This is position one. After a specified time of 10-20 seconds lower down to position two, about two inches lower. After the specified time, lower another two inches down to position three. You should be about thigh parallel by now. Use another two lower positions, with position five being about as far as you can bend at the knees. The five positions should be done with no rest between them. That's one set. It can also be done with one leg at a time.
Peterson step-up- Stand on the edge of a low block or bench (1/3 to 1/2 the height of normal bench height). Have the weak leg on the box and the strong leg off the edge of the box. With your hands on your hips, bend at the knee of the weak side, lowering down (two to three seconds) until the sole of your feet almost brushes the floor. Keep the foot parallel to the ground. Pause for one second and return to full extension in about one to
two seconds. If possible, don't hold onto anything during the set—the challenge of having to balance yourself will add to the fatigue. However, you may wish to do this near a wall or squat stand, just in case. Repeat with the other leg.
Split squat- also known as the “bulgarian squat” Face away from a normal height bench and place your rear leg up on the bench. You can check your distance by ensuring that you keep a relatively vertical shin throughout the movement. Keep your chest and trunk vertical throughout. Lower the body down by bending the knee of the lead leg until the knee of the back leg is almost on the ground. Use a slow speed of execution – something like 5 seconds down, pause for 2 seconds, and 3 seconds up. Keep the knee aligned over
the foot during the entire movement. After you've exhausted the weak leg, repeat with the other leg.
One legged-deadlift- Stand on one leg. Keep the other foot off the ground but roughly parallel with the leg doing the supporting. Bend the knee of the leg supporting your weight slightly, but remember not to change that knee angle during the exercise (get a partner to watch for this, as it will be tempting!). Now, bend at the waist while allowing the back to round and reach slowly toward the floor. If your range allows, touch the floor with the fingertips and return to the starting position. Use a speed of three seconds down,
pause for one second at the top and bottom, and three seconds up. You may struggle with balance, but persist—you'll also be developing the muscles in the foot! The first time you do this, you may find that you're touching down with the non-supporting foot regularly to avoid falling over. That's okay, but try to minimize this in later workouts.
One-legged good morning- This is exactly the same as the one-legged deadlift, except you start with a broomstick or other object on your shoulders as you would while doing a conventional good morning exercise. Hold onto the broomstick/bar with your hands in
the normal fashion standing on one leg. Now bend forward and down as if you were going to touch your toes only you won’t be touching your toes because your hands will be holding onto the broomstick. Don't panic if five reps is your starting situation, and do the weak-side first.
King Deadlift- This exercise gets its name from its inventor – Australian strength coach Ian King. Stand on one leg (starting with the weak side) and bend the other leg up until the lower leg is parallel to the ground. Place your hands on the hips or by your side. The aim is to bend the knee of the supporting leg until the knee of the non-supporting leg is brushing the ground. In reality, you may have to settle for a shorter range (you'll understand why as soon as you do this workout). If the aforementioned is the case—and I expect that it will be—look to increase the range from workout to workout. You're allowed to flex (bend) forward at the waist as much as you want, and doing so will increase the gluteal involvement. Keep the working knee aligned neutrally throughout the movement. Take three seconds to lower, a one-second pause at each end, and two
seconds to lift.
Cross Body off box lunge- With a slightly narrower than shoulder-width stance, stand on top of a 12 to 18 inch step or block. Make sure there's extra floor space on the sides. With one leg, step down and behind you and across the body to the floor. Next, push with the elevated foot so that the "crossed-under" foot can return to shoulder-width position on the step.
Scissor hip extension- Lie on your back with your feet elevated on either a high bench or pressed firmly against a wall. The legs should be slightly bent. Perform two movements at the same time. First, bring the non-working leg towards your chest (hip flexion and knee flexion). Second, lift your hips off the ground by concentrating on driving the working leg down. Both movements must be executed as fast as possible.
Natural glute-ham raise- Kneel down and lock your feet under something solid and heavy (a partner can do just fine, but he must be able to hold you down). The trunk is upright and the arms are alongside the body. Find a pad or something to rest your knees on. A towel will work just fine for most. Without rounding your back Lower yourself towards the ground as slowly as possible. To do so you must produce a powerful hamstring contraction or else you'll find yourself embedded in the floor! If you're able to bring yourself back up on your own, do so, but most guys will need a little push-off with the arms to get moving.
Slow tempo lunge- Standing with your feet hip width apart take a large step forward with one leg and descend down very slowly until your front knee is well over your toes
and the back knee is just shy of the ground. Pause for 2-3 seconds and slowly rise back up but don’t move your feet. Stay in that position and complete all the reps for that leg before moving onto the other leg.
Standing hip abduction- This exercises strengthens the outer hips and glutes. Find something to lean against and take the opposite leg and slowly raise it as high as possible and try to hold that position for 3-5 seconds. The finished position would appear as if you’re kicking something. Bring the leg back down slowly and repeat.
Jump in place + land in deep lunge- With your feet shoulder width apart and standing erect take a moderate jump in the air and land in a deep lunge position. Attempt to “stick” the landing without any bouncing or unnecessary movement. Try to absorb the impact with both legs so that your lead knee doesn’t absorb all the stress. This places the majority of the stress on the hamstrings and glutes. From the landing position stand up and repeat.