Lower Body Stretching Routine

Today I am going to show you some of my go-to stretches for my lower body. I used to do these during football and track season. These will increase flexability in the hip flexors, glutes,hamstrings, lower back and more! Hope everyone is having a great Monday. I will see you guys tomorrow with another video!

    -Alex Costa-

 

My Favorite Quad Exercise

Everyone enjoys having a nice set of quads wether you are a guy looking to have a complete physique or a girl trying to have a nice set of legs. I want to show you all one of my absolute favorite quad exercises. I will also dig into some history of this exercise as well as some anatomy. With no further ado, lets jump into todays article!

I’m sure you have all heard of the exercise called a sissy squat. When you hear this name and don’t know what the exercise is then you may overlook this due to its name. However I want to show you why you should be incorporating this exercise into your training!

Lets start with a basic anatomy session of the quadriceps.
The quads are made up of 4 main muscles (quad = 4). These muscles are the rectus femoris, which is the top, front muscle. It is hard to isolate, this muscle is more visible through less body fat. Then we have the vastus intermedius which is deeper underneath the quad muscles, directly below the rectus femoris. The vastus lateralis is the quad muscle that is located on the outside of the quad. Building this can add that wide look to the front leg. Lastly, we have the vastus medialis which is the inside tear drop looking muscle. The function of these muscles is to extend the knee.

 

quads

We, as humans, are more quad dominate based off of how live life. We spend a lot of time walking and not always working hamstrings and other posterior chain muscle group. With that being said, it does not mean you have to work hamstrings all day. Though I try to split up leg training evenly such as hitting quads and hamstrings about the same when it comes to sets, reps and days worked. If you have a muscle imbalance, then the easiest solution usually tends to be targeting the antagonist muscle group. I’ll save that for a different day.

For anyone not familiar with Tom Platz, his leg development was just spectacular. He was a old school bodybuilder around the 80’s.

tom platz This is Tom Platz and his ginormous quads.

This man was brutal with his leg training and tried many different things. One exercise he came across was the sissy squat. He would make different variations of the sissy squat like doing the bottom of that movement during a hack squat like the image below.

hack squat

One of the main people I follow that made me want to do this exercise was Julian Smith. He is a modern day bodybuilder that has some amazing total leg development as well.

julian smith

This exercise gets soooooooo much hate. I can see why some think this UNTIL I tried it! Now listen, if you have knee issues or are prone to knee injuries then play it smart and skip this for now. On the other hand, if you have healthy knees and think you can handle it then I most definitely recommend trying this exercise for a few weeks. The reason I say a few weeks is because it take a few weeks to get the movement down and perform it right. It may be a little tough for your knees to get used to at first. THIS IS NORMAL, you are asking your body to do a non-functional movement that most of us have never done before. This is why I say try it for a little while because at first, I thought it would be an exercise I would throw to the side but I use this quiet often to help me grow the quads and get the separation to make the quads look nasty!

With all of this history talk and anatomy, lets get into how to perform the sissy squat! I have a short video of me going over the exercise right here below. Just hit play, learn and try it out next leg day!!

 

Thank you for viewing todays article! If you have any questions then leave comments below. If you have tried this exercise, tell me about your experience. Hope everyone is having a great Thursday and enjoys their day!

-Alex Costa-

Safety Squat (Yoke) Bar

Safety Squat (Yoke) Bar         hbs

 

The safety squat bar can be a good tool to use. Unfortunately I have seen many people in the gym use the bar incorrectly or just not know what it is for. I am hoping that this post will help you gain a better understanding on how you can start using this bar today.

First off, if you are new to lifting and squatting then I would not recommend the safety squat bar to start off with. The main reason for this is because that when you get underneath this bar compared to a normal olympic bar you will notice a couple differences.

  1. A safety squat bar tends to be about 60-70 lbs as where a standard olympic bar is 45lb.
  2. The safety squat bar will load up your anterior chain where a normal back squat will load more of your posterior chain.

Lets talk about some of the benefits that the Yoke bar can give you, shall we?

 

Increases deadlift

On the other hand, if you have some experience then I would throw this into the mix. This can be a good tool if your deadlift is lagging and you need to bring it up. The reasoning for this is because of how this bar front loads your body. The posterior chain will have to really work to help stabilize everything. This will help build the leg strength transferring into the ground as well as increase the strength of the back because your back is trying to hold up the load as you descend into the squat. As most of us may know, a strong posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, back) will really skyrocket your deadlift.

 

Great for athletes & powerlifters

If you are a powerlifter or athlete then this is right up your alley, with it being a good tool to add strength. Of course if you are not one of these and just are a gym goer that is looking to switch it up then have at it! Athletes need to have a strong core, hamstrings, glutes and back to be a more powerful athlete. When you are a more powerful athlete then you have a better chance of having the upper hand on your opponent.

 

Fights around injuries

One point that I have not yet mentioned but is a very solid point about this bar is that it can work around injuries! What I mean by this is that you can still squat if you have an upper body injury depending on what the injury may be. As an athlete plays through the season, injuries are always possible during season and even off season. With this bar, you can fit underneath the pad and still perform a squat. This can be extremely beneficial because you can still strength train to a certain degree (always check with your athletic trainer). If you have tight deltoids and pectoralis muscles then getting underneath a straight bar to take some squats can be stressful on those muscles and joints. This bar has the handles that you can hold on to during your squat which in turn will take the excess stress off of the shoulders.

 

Quad dominate

As I have mentioned in some of the article above, this will front load your body. This means that this will increase activation of the anterior chain like the quadriceps. The quads will really be working hard in this movement due to the stress placed upon them. Branch Warren, a pro bodybuilder says that this bar is one of the greatest tools he’s ever used to develop his thighs.

 

Numerous exercises you can do with this bar

A unique thing about this bar is that it has a spot to place your head and neck into the pad. On the sides of the pad, there are handles so you can hold onto the bar and keep it stable. With the handles being there, this opens up this bar to more exercises than just a safety bar squat. There are more things you can use the bar for like the list of the following:

  • Lunges
  • Back extensions
  • Split Squat
  • Box squats
  • Good mornings
  • Use suspended chains on this bar a lot easier

ssb lunge

This is why a powerlifter would love this bar. These are some of the more common uses of this bar as a powerlifter.

 

In conclusion

This bar is a useful tool for any gym. Although it stands out for athletes and powerlifters, anyone can try it out and I definitely recommend it! It is always fun to try something new in the gym, this bar may help you in more ways than I posted in this article. With  that being said, I hope you enjoyed this article and find this helpful. If you use the safety squat bar for anything else or know other benefits of this bar then comment below and let me know!   

 

 

Resources:

http://primalstrengthcamp.com/why-you-should-be-squatting-with-a-safety-squat-bar/

http://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/leg-exercises/safety-bar-squats-jacked-quads

http://www.stack.com/a/why-every-gym-should-have-a-safety-squat-bar

Pictures: lunges