I’m back! I didn’t post on Monday as we’re all our of internet in our new place. But no matter, SAPT is now fully operational, just like the deflector shield of Death Star:
Today, I’ve got not 1, or 2 but 3 exercises to light a fire in your buns! (not under, but in as you’ll definitely feel the effects of these the next day). They’re all excellent posterior chain developers (and we know I’m all about the P.C.) and each develops it in accordance to the various functions of the P.C. Score!
Quick review of the functions of the P.C.
- Hip extension
-Hip abduction and external rotation
- All things that rhyme with “Trawesome”
Sissy Hams: Anything BUT sissy
Why do them?
They train the knee flexion function of the hamstrings (as opposed to the hip extension component that swings, deadlifts, RDLs etc. train). There also is an anecdotal improvement in the squat and deadlift for people who do these (my hubby included). These can also be done a glute-ham machine, (and they’re called glute-ham raises instead of sissy hams) but if you’re gym doesn’t have one and you don’t have about $6,000 lying around, sissy hams are the way to go!
-Find a bench and load some weight one it so it doesn’t flip over. Alternately, you can perform these on a lat pull down machine. Hook your calves under the pads where the knees would normally go (facing away from the lat pull down).
- SQUEEZE your glutes and abs super hard, as if your life depended on it! The tighter you squeeze, the easier (relative term) the sissy ham will be as there will be a stronger co-contraction in your glutes and hamstrings.
-Resist falling as long as you can… trust me, the first time you won’t resist long.
- DON’T break at your hips. You want to maintain a straight line through your shoulders, hips and knees. Again, just resist as far as you can and then fall down. Be prepared to catch yourself and save your face from kissing the floor violently.
- Push yourself back up to the start position, maintaining the same tight, straight body on the return trip. The end goal of this exercise is to go down and up without falling/using your hands.
Single Arm Swings:
Why do them?
Besides the obvious reason that everyone should swing on a very regular basis, single arm swings do a fabulous job of hammering the opposite side glute-hamstring hip extension function. (They also offer a challenge to the opposite side core musculature as it has to work overtime to keep your torso from torquing.)
- Start with a lighter kettlebell than you would use for 2-handed swings. Crank your shoulder blade into your back pocket as you swing as it’s terribly important to maintain the lat-glute connection as you swing. (And it will be a little more difficult to do on one side as opposed to both together.)
- Crack you walnut, with the intention of completely obliterating it each time, and maintain a very tight torso (upright plank) as you reach the swing’s zenith. (read this and this for more detail on swing form.)
- This is a good swing variation if you feel that one leg is lagging behind the other in strength. My left side doesn’t like to pull it’s weight (pun intended) and I’ve been experimenting with 1-arm swings from my left side (so I hold the bell in my right hand) and I think my left leg is starting to get the message. At least, my 2-handed swings feel stronger than they did before. Just don’t over do it. Otherwise you’ll walk in a circle.
Why do them?
These hammer the glute medius (medii?). Why would you care about them? They are very important hip stabilizers (they keep your hips from jaunting too far to the side during walking and running; this is imperative for healthy knees. Runners…start monster walking!) They also prevent valgus knee collapse (knees falling in) during sqatting, jumping and deadlifting. Valgus knee collapse often the culprit in non-contact ACL tears so those little glute meds are very important indeed!
- grab a somewhat-tense band and loop around the base of a squat rack or other sturdy pole.
- Spread your feet outside shoulder-width (and keep them there!), turn your toes in and walk backwards, moving from the hip. Constantly drive your feet out against the band and feeeeel the burn. You’ll know you’re doing it correctly if the outside of your butt feels like it’s been turned into a tiki torch.
That’s it! Give these a try and feeeel the walnut cracking power increase ten-fold!