SQUATS AND POSTERIOR CHAIN
(GLUTES, HAMS AND LOWER BACK)/ABS
EXERCISE #1: SQUATS
Perform ¼ squats with as much weight as possible. Go until 1 or 2 reps shy of failure
Then right into..
FULL RANGE SQUATS
Perform as many parallel squats as possible in the 6 – 10 rep range, INSIDE a power rack or with a pair of competent spotters. Going a rep shy of failure and racking the weight is acceptable here.
My ideal is to perform these with the Ironmind SuperSquats hip belt and loading pin, which may be purchased here:
- Once you’re tapped out doing full range squats, step away from the rack and perform as many bodyweight jumps as possible, until your legs literally give out
- Finally, perform this stretch for as long as you can stand it after your squat jumps. If you need to take a breather, by all means do so. Really feel the stretch, it should be hurting (in a good way). Some athletes can tolerate the pain for up to a minute, which should be your goal.
- Total duration of time under tension with the weights should be around 70 seconds (not including transitions). You can hold the stretch for up to a minute after that, but no longer.
EXERCISE #2: GLUTE HAM BRIDGES
This is one movement that’s way under-utilized. Since most athletes don’t have access to a reverse hyper, this makes an excellent substitute. Really hammers the posterior chain and core, with no vertical compression of the spine
- Train to just 1 or 2 reps short of positive/concentric failure. Your rep range can be higher here, around 8-12 is ideal
- With that rep or 2 left in you, lift the bar to the point it’s at the top of the position, as you see in the pic.
- Now hold that weight as long as possible, until your static strength is exhausted. Now crawl out from underneath…
- Immediately grab a light weight, and hop up onto a bench or other high platform for a posterior chain weighted stretch (like a still legged deadlift), as long as you can stand it. He has a slight bend in the knees here, which is fine but I like using even a lighter weight and keeping my knees locked.
- IMPORTANT: Do NOT attempt to lift the weight back up. Drop or lower it to the floor. Here’s how to do it, feel free to use dumbbells or barbells.
- Total time under tension = 1 minute. If the stretches put you over that mark, don’t sweat it.
EXERCISE #3: WEIGHTED PLANKS, FOR THE ABS
Very few will be able to do the gold standard; hanging leg raises (legs together, straight) to parallel. 2 sets of 20. No worries, another best in class exercise for the abs is… planks!
You’ll see people holding these for a minute or more, but I’m a fan of the weighted variety. When you start, get on your elbows like this lady (the hands needn’t be clasped) and keep your ass in line with the body – not stuck up in the air. Build up to 1 minute with your own bodyweight, then buy yourself a poor man’s weighted vest:
Nothing fancy here, just make sure the biggest compartment can hold some plates. From there, it’s simply a matter of adding weight as you build up to your 30 second holds. It’s so amazingly simple, most people overlook it.
*As for stretch position movements, the bridge is your perfect solution
You may not be able to achieve this extreme position, but you get the picture. Properly performed, bridging works over 200 muscles! It also just so happens to stretch every muscle on the front of the body – especially the abs.
Holding this position is challenging, but your ideal is 30 seconds to complete the stretch. If these are too hard at first, simply slide an exercise ball underneath you!
But what if it’s too easy? You can hold that perfect bridge for 30 seconds – no problem. What’s the solution? Throw your backpack on the front of you, with a little weight. You’ll be surprised how much more difficult it is…
*Total time under tension for the ab series (including the stretches) is 40-70 seconds.