For me, leg day is the workout that's so nice, I do it twice: Once with a glute and hamstring focus, and once with a focus on quads. After all, as an EAS Myoplex athlete and IFBB bikini pro, I know that rocking my suit from just one side isn't an option!
I find that my glutes and hamstrings respond well to volume and sets of 15 reps. Not only will this help build up those posterior muscles, it also burns lot of calories, all while getting you working on your balance with single-leg exercises.
Nothing complicated here! You can bust this workout out in most commercial gyms and be out the door—maybe walking a bit gingerly—in an hour.
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Superset: Sumo Squats and Curtsy Lunges
When I doing sumo squats, I focus on my form: making sure that my knees don't go over my toes, keeping a nice wide stance, and going down until I feel a nice stretch in the hamstrings. Then, I explode upward into a tight contraction. I like to focus on tucking my tailbone under to make sure I really squeeze the glutes.
This applies to the curtsy lunge as well. I take a big step over so that I feel that stretch. Then, in the middle, I bring my tailbone under and really contract the glutes. Everything is a stretch and contraction.
Knee-Elevated Split Squat
Some people like to go heavy with these. Not me, especially when I'm going to be knocking out 15-rep sets. However, I still like to hold a weight, even just a 10-pound one, because it helps with balance without making the exercise any harder.
The front foot is where a lot of people go wrong with this movement. Put your toe on the bench, then bring the foot out far enough that your knee won't extend over your toe when you go into the squat.
If you're too close, you can't really push through the heel of your front foot like you should.
Superset 2: Bent-Knee And Straight-leg Kick-Back
My supersets for these movements are almost more like a dropset. I like to do 15 reps with the bent-knee leg, then go right into 15 with the straight leg before I switch legs. This really exhausts the leg, because it's like you're doing 30 reps on each leg.
I lean forward a little and hold on to a support with both hands to make sure I'm focusing on the glutes and hamstrings. Again, be sure to stretch out, pull the leg in, and push out by driving through the heel.
Whenever you focus on glutes and hamstrings, you should feel like you're driving through the heel, whether your leg is on the ground or in the air.
I start my single-leg leg presses with both feet on the platform in a high, fairly narrow-footed stance, then drop one leg down right before starting. Don't feel like you have to load the sled up heavily—or even at all, necessarily. The one I used in the video started out at 165 pounds, and for 60 total reps on a single leg, that's a good amount of weight.
Instead of weight, focus on form. Be sure to bring your knee in close to your chest so you feel a nice stretch, and then push out through your heel.
The single-leg deadlift is one of the most difficult exercises I do, but it's also one of my favorites. It takes a little bit of practice because it demands a lot of balance. When you first start out, you can help balance yourself by holding the back of a chair or bench. If you've got the flexibility to bring your leg up behind you nice and straight, that will also help a lot with your balance.
Another trick to help you keep your balance is to concentrate on one spot ahead of you. If you move all over the place or try to follow your form as you go, you'll probably lose your balance a bit. I find one spot on the wall and just keep my focus there, and it really helps me maintain balance throughout the entire exercise.
Hip Thrust Or Glute Bridge
The difference between a glute bridge and a hip thrust is subtle, and either one works great here. One is performed with your shoulders on the ground. For the other, you increase the range of motion by elevating your shoulders.
I like to have the bar sitting just below my hip bones, and I place both shoulder blades on the bench. I bring my glutes all the way down to where I almost touch the floor before popping up and squeezing the glutes for the best activation.
I always finish up with one last great glute-focused exercise like this; there's nothing like a hip thrust or bridge to burn the glutes out at the end. Aim for 15 reps, and work through the burn!
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