Welcome back, ladies and gentleman, to the latest installment of ‘Hamstring and Glute Month’s’ training tips. For those of you who have spent the past week living under a rock, get up to speed here - http://www.benpakulski.com/the-official-launch-of-hamstring-and-glute-month
As for the rest of you, let’s take the next step (no pun intended) towards that perfect backside.
Anyone who knows me, knows that my name is almost always coupled with squatting. Squatting has been tied to my name since before many of you had ever stepped foot in a weight room. Despite my favorable bias towards squats, I can truthfully say there may be no leg exercise more iconic than the walking lunge. We can all reminisce back to the days when a certain man named Ronnie spent endless hours in the blistering Texas sun walking along the parking lot, lunging with brute determination. That guy also had some pretty wicked glute and hamstring development. Coincidence? I think not.
Be certain, of course, there is an optimal way to go about this self-inflicted torcher. No sense in walking aimlessly through all that pain if you’re uncertain of EXACTLY what tweaks and form changes illicit responses from what specific muscle groups. In fact, dare I say that lunges can be OVERRATED if not executed properly?
The first thing we’ll need to consider before even thinking about doing lunges concerns whether or not our bodies are adequately prepared to perform the movement efficiently. Let me tell you; it takes a lot more than simple balance and some leg strength. We need to look at elements such as ankle mobility (which can be increased through several different dynamic and static movements) and hip strength (that’s right, guys, those hip abduction machines aren’t just for the ladies!). Personally, I prefer to use single leg abductions with a short range of motion. All my Hypertrophy Max enthusiasts out there know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. It’s important to keep these sorts of things reoccurring in your training routine. Remember; you’re only as strong as your weakest link. If you have strength and mobility deficiencies in smaller muscle groups/joints, you’re not going to be able to target the intended muscle group adequately.
The second item to consider is how to effectively target specific muscle groups. In order to have a maximal stimulus on our glutes and hams, we’re going to need to perform lunges with much larger steps, increasing the amount of ground we cover with each rep. Furthermore, a constant and slight bend forward (still maintaining that balance) will even further emphasize glute involvement. A great way to start is using dumbbells, as it allows for more upper body mobility and you can really but emphasis on that forward bend.
We all know how unbearable the lactic acid and fatigue toxins can seem during a set of these bad boys. That said, it’s extremely important to note that the number one way to take emphasis off of the quads and place it primarily on the posterior chain is to stop forward progression before lowering. Once you’re stopped, SLOWLY drive the hips back (like you’re doing a normal squat) and place the weight on your heels. This shifts a great deal of the load from the knee extensors to the hip extensors.
There you have it. If you’re looking to shape the rear end of a goddess or a stallion, look no further than making some minor (but important) changes to your walking lunges.