The Back And Legs Killer
So this is a new workout I’m developing for my in person clients to build leg and back strength and even help them improve their pull ups. It was so fun, I just wanted to share it with you all!
This workout will work on scapular retraction to help you do pull ups from a dead hang as well as mobilize your shoulder blades to help prevent neck and shoulder pain. It will also strengthen your legs, especially your glutes.
Rest as needed so you can keep challenging yourself and upping weights. You don’t want to rush through and not push yourself to do harder variations and heavier weights.
NOTE: MAKE SURE YOU ACTUALLY FOCUS ON THE MUSCLES WORKING! IF YOU FEEL YOUR NECK OR UPPER TRAPS TAKING OVER ON PULL UP WORK, YOU WILL END UP WITH NECK AND SHOULDER PAIN INSTEAD OF STRENGTHENING YOUR BACK. (This is so key, I put it in all caps!)
For warm up, I recommend doing glute and back activation. Then complete 5 rounds of 8-12 reps of the Straight Leg Deadlift, resting 60-90 seconds between rounds so you can go up in weight. Then rest 1-2 minutes and move on to the circuit. Do not rest too long between exercises, but rest up to a minute between rounds of the circuit as needed. Complete 3-5 rounds of the supplement circuit.
8-12 reps Straight Leg Deadlift
10 reps Mini Pull Ups
10 reps per side Balance Lunges
10 reps Pull Ups (can regress or do fewer or modify as you go)
10 reps Glute Bridge and Curl
10 reps per side Plank Wipers
Straight Leg Deadlift – To do the Straight Leg Deadlift, stand with your feet about hip-width apart. You can use a barbell, kettlebell or sandbag. If you use a kettlebell, hold it right in front of your feet with both hands. With a slight bend to your knees, hinge over and grab the bell. Keeping your back flat and your arms straight, drive back up through your heels and come to standing. At the top, squeeze your glutes and stand up nice and tall. Then sitting back in your heels, lower the bell back down, keeping your back flat.
Mini Pull Ups – To do the Mini Pull Ups and work on engaging your lats to pull up, hang from the bar with your palms facing away from you (you can also do this with palms facing toward you for a Mini Chin Up). Your hands should be about shoulder-width apart although you can do it with them wider apart or closer together as well. I recommend using whatever grip you use when you do your Pull Ups. Hanging from the bar, press your chest out and pull your shoulder blades down and together. Feel your back engage as you draw your shoulder blades together. Don’t bend your elbows and turn this into a pull up. Just press your chest out and retract your shoulder blades bringing them down and together. Feel your back engage and pull you up toward the bar even though your arms aren’t moving. You should feel your shoulders go down as your chest lifts up. Then relax out and repeat. Remember, you are not bending your elbows to make this movement bigger.
Balance Lunges – To do Balance Lunges, place one foot back up on a box. You can place the top of your foot on the box by pointing your toe or you can flex your foot and rest the ball of your foot on the box. Hop your front foot out so you are in a nice wide stance with your back foot up on the box. Then sink down into a lunge, dropping your back knee toward the ground as you bend your front knee to 90 degrees. Really sit back into the lunge. Make sure you aren’t going forward onto your front toe and that your front knee is not going past your toe. You want to sit back to make your glute work. You should also feel a nice stretch in the front of the leg that is back when doing this move. Keep your chest up nice and tall as you sit down and back. If you are struggling to sit back, you can hinge very slightly forward at the hips. After sinking down as low as you can, drive back up to standing, driving through your front heel and the back foot. Don’t go forward as you drive up. Then repeat, sinking back down. Beginners may want to use a super low box or do the move from the ground as a Split Squat.
Glute Bridge and Curl – To perform the Glute Bridge and Curl, place both feet on top of one towel about hip width apart (or a towel/slider under each foot). Start in the bridge position and slide your feet out. Keep your hips up off the ground and your glutes engaged as you slide out. Make sure your abs are engaged as you slide out. Then curl the heels back in, bringing the hips up again into a glute bridge. Do not let the hips sag toward the ground as you slide out or come back in. Make sure your abs stay tight to protect your low back.
Plank Wipers – To do Plank Wipers, set up in a plank from your forearms and toes with your toes on the Valslide. From this plank position, slide one foot out to the side and up toward your shoulders. Keeping the leg straight, slide it out and up as high as you can. Then slide it back in to the other foot. Then slide the other leg up and out. Keep alternating legs until all reps are complete. Keep your body in a nice straight line as you slide each leg out. Do not let your hips sag to the ground or you butt go up in the air as you do the Plank Wipers. The further up and out you slide, the harder the move will be. Beginners may want to try this move without the sliders to make it easier. Instead, step your feet out to the side, alternating sides until all reps are complete.
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