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Posts tagged "lower body"

Chair Pistol Progressions For Beginners (Or Those Working On Hip/Ankle Mobility)

I nailed my first right leg pistol this week! Like a lot of people, I struggled with one side more than the other. My left leg was a pistol superstar. My right, not so much. It took me a year of focusing on pistols, mobility and progressions to nail it, and though it’s still not perfect, I’m getting there.

For those working on their pistols, this is a progression I’ve been using (sometimes with weights) to get my descent just right.

Using a chair, balance on one leg as you sit back on to the seat, and use your hips to drive you up. The lower your surface, the harder this is (eventually I moved to a bench). Keep the lifted leg extended like you would in a pistol, with a slight bend in the knee.

This is much easier on the knees and a decent swap if you have a workout that calls for pistols (I use a 2-3 rep multiplier: if a workout calls for 10 pistols, I do 20-30 of these instead).

Give it a go! Easy to try anywhere. (on two legs, this is a modifier that’s great for beginners to practice squat form too).

My first right leg pistol!

I’ve been able to break parallel with my left for awhile, but on my right side it has been insanely tough to do. Even just getting parallel has been a challenge, and I usually end up on the floor, lol.

Nailed it this week though! Been practicing for a year and it’s finally paid off. Still can’t get as deep as my left side, but progress is progress, falls and all.

Any weaknesses you’re working on?

16 Day Killer Kixie Challenge! Day Seven: 120 Single Leg Deadlifts

Boooooooty! This move requires great balance, so feel free to tap the back foot down or use a chair or wall to help you out. Whatever you do USE your core and hamstrings to do the work: you shouldn’t feel this too intensely in your lower back.

Single Leg Deadlifts

*Advanced: use weight! The single leg version is challenging and should be done with a lighter weight (to start).

If you’re used to doing heavy deadlifts at the gym, this is a good “at home” alternative that doesn’t require heavy equipment. (I usually use 15-30lb dumbbells, but I’d use 10lbs for this high volume challenge). Use dumbbells, a sandbag, or even a heavy book or bag: whatever you got. Hold it in one hand or both hands as you lift and lower.

A. Stand on one foot, keeping a slight bend in the standing knee. Engage your core and find your balance by focusing on a spot on the floor 6 feet in front of you.

B. Driving your lifted knee up to hip level, transferring your weight to one foot. Slowly, hinge forward from the hips (think chest to floor), and keep hips neutral. Remember to focus on that one spot on the floor. Drive your lifted leg to the back of the room as you hinge forward (leg bent or straight).

C. Using your glutes & hamstrings to do the lifting (really: VISUALIZE it), keep your back flat as you power back up to starting position. Tap your foot down for balance if needed, and repeat on the same side.

Tip: think about powering up from the hamstrings and hips: engage your core to drive yourself down and up, and focus on using the glutes - NOT YOUR BACK - to do the lifting. GO SLOW: THIS ISN’T SPEEDWORK. If you feel this in your low back, it is doing too much of the work. Switch to an easier modification (tap down, use less weight etc) to work up to proper form.

Kill this!

(New to the challenge? Start now! See the rest of the 16 Day Killer Kixie Challenge here.)


Single Leg Deadlift, with Curl ‘N’ Row
I’m obsessed with single leg deadlifts (though my bum leg won’t let me do them at the moment). Because I work out at home primarily, I am always looking for ways to add intensity/difficulty using the equipment I have. My sandbag goes up to roughly 40lbs (Pink Power Package) but it’s an unstable weight, making it very difficult to perform balance moves (and my water bag makes this move SO much harder, even though the weight is lighter! The water moves from side to side, making it uber tough to balance).
 Single leg deadlifts are wicked to work your glutes, hamstrings, core and inner thighs (plus they help with balance and coordination). The modification above also targets your biceps and upper back while making it tougher to keep your balance. Tap down ANYTIME. :)
Ways To Do This With No Sandbag
Just bodyweight: form is VERY important and comes before adding resistance. Squeeze the muscles in your hamstrings, back and biceps, pretending you have weight in your hands. Go slowly and make sure your form is on point before adding weight. 
Dumbbells. Either in both hands or just one hand (one hand makes it more challenging to balance. Try switching up which hand has the weight to feel the difference. 
Use what you have! Soup cans, laundry bottles, water bottles etc. The more wiggly and unstable the object, the harder this will be, even without heavy weight. 
Beginners: No need to start on one leg. Tap the back foot down for balance, but keep your weight in the front leg. Keep a slight bend in the knee, and use a wall or chair for balance if needed. (CONTRACT THE CORE! Protects the low back: you should feel this in the hamstrings, glutes and core.)
How To Do It:

A. Starts with a one leg bicep curl (curl the weight up & down while balancing on one foot). Keeping your leg lifted, bend/hinge at the hips to bring your chest parallel to the floor. Keep a slight bend in the standing leg.
B. Perform a row, scraping your elbows up past your back. Keep them close to your body and squeeze your shoulder blades. Focus on a spot 6 feet in front of you to help with balance.
C. Using your glutes and keeping core tight, come back to standing, balancing on one leg. Avoid using your back to do the lifting: keep it flat and focus on your hips/glutes. Repeat, starting with the bicep curl.

Try to work up to 10-15 consecutive per leg, then go a little heavier! Repeat for 3 to 5 sets. (throw in some cardio to recover. Jump rope, deadlift, jump rope, deadlift etc). 
Get sandbag details below if you’re interested! You know how much I freaking love mine. They’re awesome to travel with too if you’re going on vacation this summer (just bring the shell and fillers: fill up on the beach!). 
Ultimate Sandbag Pink Water Package
Ultimate Sandbag Power Water Package

Single Leg Deadlift, with Curl ‘N’ Row

I’m obsessed with single leg deadlifts (though my bum leg won’t let me do them at the moment). Because I work out at home primarily, I am always looking for ways to add intensity/difficulty using the equipment I have. My sandbag goes up to roughly 40lbs (Pink Power Package) but it’s an unstable weight, making it very difficult to perform balance moves (and my water bag makes this move SO much harder, even though the weight is lighter! The water moves from side to side, making it uber tough to balance).

Single leg deadlifts are wicked to work your glutes, hamstrings, core and inner thighs (plus they help with balance and coordination). The modification above also targets your biceps and upper back while making it tougher to keep your balance. Tap down ANYTIME. :)

Ways To Do This With No Sandbag

  • Just bodyweight: form is VERY important and comes before adding resistance. Squeeze the muscles in your hamstrings, back and biceps, pretending you have weight in your hands. Go slowly and make sure your form is on point before adding weight.
  • Dumbbells. Either in both hands or just one hand (one hand makes it more challenging to balance. Try switching up which hand has the weight to feel the difference.
  • Use what you have! Soup cans, laundry bottles, water bottles etc. The more wiggly and unstable the object, the harder this will be, even without heavy weight.

Beginners: No need to start on one leg. Tap the back foot down for balance, but keep your weight in the front leg. Keep a slight bend in the knee, and use a wall or chair for balance if needed. (CONTRACT THE CORE! Protects the low back: you should feel this in the hamstrings, glutes and core.)

How To Do It:

A. Starts with a one leg bicep curl (curl the weight up & down while balancing on one foot). Keeping your leg lifted, bend/hinge at the hips to bring your chest parallel to the floor. Keep a slight bend in the standing leg.

B. Perform a row, scraping your elbows up past your back. Keep them close to your body and squeeze your shoulder blades. Focus on a spot 6 feet in front of you to help with balance.

C. Using your glutes and keeping core tight, come back to standing, balancing on one leg. Avoid using your back to do the lifting: keep it flat and focus on your hips/glutes. Repeat, starting with the bicep curl.

Try to work up to 10-15 consecutive per leg, then go a little heavier! Repeat for 3 to 5 sets. (throw in some cardio to recover. Jump rope, deadlift, jump rope, deadlift etc).

Get sandbag details below if you’re interested! You know how much I freaking love mine. They’re awesome to travel with too if you’re going on vacation this summer (just bring the shell and fillers: fill up on the beach!).

Ultimate Sandbag Pink Water Package

Ultimate Sandbag Power Water Package

Shapeshifter Squats
Lower body WORK! This is an intense booty challenge, so work up to it gradually. It’s body weight only, so no equipment is required.
Beginners: tap the back leg down throughout the move, but make sure your weight is predominantly in the front leg. The opposite foot should rest about 1-2 feet behind the squatting ankle. You can also keep the extended leg bent throughout the move and/or use a chair for balance.
Challenge: Aim for 20 reps (10 per side) and repeat 3 times per leg.
How To Do It

A. Stand, lifting one leg up behind you and bending the standing knee slightly. Sink down into a squat on the standing leg, lowering your chest towards the floor but keeping your eyes forward. Keep weight in the standing heel, and make sure your knees stay over the tops of your toes. The lifted leg is slightly behind you and bent at the knee. Back is flat and arms cross your body, like a hug.
 B. Hold for a beat, and maintain your posture as you push through the heel, straighten your standing leg and extend your back leg behind you. Extend your arms to the back of the room, squeezing your shoulder blades and open your chest, like you’re flying.
C. Without tapping down, return to the single leg squat, sinking down slowly.

Repeat 10 times per leg x 3 sets. 
TIPS
Make the motion as fluid as possible and think form over speed. Find your balance and tap down when you need to! It helps to find a spot on the floor about 6 feet in front of you to focus on, and keep your abs pulled in tight for balance.
Kill it!

Shapeshifter Squats

Lower body WORK! This is an intense booty challenge, so work up to it gradually. It’s body weight only, so no equipment is required.

Beginners: tap the back leg down throughout the move, but make sure your weight is predominantly in the front leg. The opposite foot should rest about 1-2 feet behind the squatting ankle. You can also keep the extended leg bent throughout the move and/or use a chair for balance.

Challenge: Aim for 20 reps (10 per side) and repeat 3 times per leg.

How To Do It

A. Stand, lifting one leg up behind you and bending the standing knee slightly. Sink down into a squat on the standing leg, lowering your chest towards the floor but keeping your eyes forward. Keep weight in the standing heel, and make sure your knees stay over the tops of your toes. The lifted leg is slightly behind you and bent at the knee. Back is flat and arms cross your body, like a hug.

B. Hold for a beat, and maintain your posture as you push through the heel, straighten your standing leg and extend your back leg behind you. Extend your arms to the back of the room, squeezing your shoulder blades and open your chest, like you’re flying.

C. Without tapping down, return to the single leg squat, sinking down slowly.

Repeat 10 times per leg x 3 sets.

TIPS

Make the motion as fluid as possible and think form over speed. Find your balance and tap down when you need to! It helps to find a spot on the floor about 6 feet in front of you to focus on, and keep your abs pulled in tight for balance.

Kill it!

Drop Squat Chops 
Works: Glutes, inner thighs, and core.
Modifiers: Static Squat & Chop (no jump). Stand with hands overhead and interlaced. Squat down and back, while rotating hands over to one side (arms straight). Engage the core as you chop.
How To Do It
Stand tall and bring your arms overhead. Interlace hands together into a fist (or with fingers pointed).
Jump your feet into a deep wide squat, while rotating your hands to one side. Keep back flat and twist through the shoulders, not the arms, to rotate. Concentrate on engaging your core & keep your chest up.
Swing your hands back overhead as you jump your feet into standing position. Repeat switching sides and move as quick as you can.
Tips: Keep arms as straight as you can throughout the move, bending only slightly at the elbow for comfort. Bring elbows in close to the body as you chop down to the side, and crunch through the obliques on the chopping side. Land softly in the jumps, and move as quickly as you can with good form.
Need a workout? Try these in Unleash The Beast 3: Sweat Revenge! Intense 1000 Rep Total Body Challenge

Drop Squat Chops

Works: Glutes, inner thighs, and core.

Modifiers: Static Squat & Chop (no jump). Stand with hands overhead and interlaced. Squat down and back, while rotating hands over to one side (arms straight). Engage the core as you chop.

How To Do It

  1. Stand tall and bring your arms overhead. Interlace hands together into a fist (or with fingers pointed).
  2. Jump your feet into a deep wide squat, while rotating your hands to one side. Keep back flat and twist through the shoulders, not the arms, to rotate. Concentrate on engaging your core & keep your chest up.
  3. Swing your hands back overhead as you jump your feet into standing position. Repeat switching sides and move as quick as you can.

Tips: Keep arms as straight as you can throughout the move, bending only slightly at the elbow for comfort. Bring elbows in close to the body as you chop down to the side, and crunch through the obliques on the chopping side. Land softly in the jumps, and move as quickly as you can with good form.

Need a workout? Try these in Unleash The Beast 3: Sweat Revenge! Intense 1000 Rep Total Body Challenge

Lawn Mower Pull & Press

Find a weight that’s challenging, but where you can keep up a decent pace. You can also do this with no weights: focus on squeezing the muscles as if you had one.

*I’m using ONE 15lb dumbbell, but you can use a dumbbell in each hand (two) as well. This is a better option if all you have is very light weights at home.

How To Do It

A. Stand with feet wide, toes pointed out, with one dumbbell up by your shoulder.

B. Rotate into a deep lunge on your opposite side, bringing your hands towards (but not touching) the floor. Press your bodyweight into the heel of your lunging leg, and keep hips neutral.

C. Push through your heel to return to the starting position, pulling the dumbbell up by your shoulder: do this with intention, like you’re pulling on a lawnmower cord. 

D. Twist and rotate your body to the opposite side, pressing the dumbbell overhead. Use your core to stabilize yourself, and come up on your toe to help you twist your hips towards the opposite wall.

E. Repeat 10-15 times, then switch sides.

Tips

Stay light on your feet to make this motion fluid: once you get the rhythm, try to think of it as one movement instead of broken into parts. Staying on the balls of your feet will help you pivot without straining your knees or hips.

Pay attention to your hips & core: hips should move with your body and core tight throughout.

Sandbag Elevated Hip Bridge
Ultimate Sandbag Website (All Models) 
This is tough even without the sandbag (you can use anything as extra resistance really: no sandbag needed! Just make sure it can sit on your lap without falling). If this modification is too hard, or it hurts your wrists/shoulders, choose the modification that’s right for your level.
Tips

- Press through the heels, and tuck your hips under your pelvis to engage your glutes.
- Hands directly under your shoulders: adjust for comfort.
- No need to lift high: even a mini-lift is enough.
- If you experience discomfort, strain or pain? Stop. This move is not for everyone. Try a different modification if needed (including from the floor), and you’ll still get the burn without the ‘ugh’.

See other hip bridge modifications & instructions here
Advanced? Try this modification instead of the elevated hip bridges in the Booty Murder 2.0 circuit.
Ultimate Sandbag Website (All Models)

Sandbag Elevated Hip Bridge

Ultimate Sandbag Website (All Models)

This is tough even without the sandbag (you can use anything as extra resistance really: no sandbag needed! Just make sure it can sit on your lap without falling). If this modification is too hard, or it hurts your wrists/shoulders, choose the modification that’s right for your level.

Tips

- Press through the heels, and tuck your hips under your pelvis to engage your glutes.

- Hands directly under your shoulders: adjust for comfort.

- No need to lift high: even a mini-lift is enough.

- If you experience discomfort, strain or pain? Stop. This move is not for everyone. Try a different modification if needed (including from the floor), and you’ll still get the burn without the ‘ugh’.

See other hip bridge modifications & instructions here

Advanced? Try this modification instead of the elevated hip bridges in the Booty Murder 2.0 circuit.

Ultimate Sandbag Website (All Models)


“Holy SCHMOKES! just finished booty murder 2.0 … could only get through 2 rounds! WOW!!” Via Lena

Did you miss Booty Murder 2.0?
It’s intense, but anyone can modify it for their level! Send me your times once you bang it out! Instructions and details here.
xo
 

Holy SCHMOKES! just finished booty murder 2.0 … could only get through 2 rounds! WOW!!” Via Lena

Did you miss Booty Murder 2.0?

It’s intense, but anyone can modify it for their level! Send me your times once you bang it out! Instructions and details here.

xo

 

Bulgarian Split Squat

Beginner alternative: Static or walking lunges

Advanced alternative: Added weights (sandbag, dumbbell or medicine ball)

Works: legs, quads, glutes

How To Do It

A. With or without dumbbells, stand in a staggered stance, with one foot in front of the other. Place toes or the top of your foot (laces) on an elevated surface like a chair, bench, stability ball etc. Adjust your stance as needed.

B. Slowly, lower your body down in one straight line as far as you can (imagine you’re sinking down like an elevator). Place weight in the front heel (back foot used for balance only), and keep knees over your toes. If you can wiggle your toes at the bottom of the squat, you’re in the right position.

C. Lower slowly, then raise back up quickly. Repeat.

Aim for 10-20 per side, for at least 3 sets

Hardcore Holidays! Stocking Stuffer Challenge Day 13! 80 Switch Kick Ups

This is a challenging (and FUN) total body combo that will target everything, get your heart rate going, and really hit your core & booty. No equipment required. :)

Challenge yourself! Make this harder by moving as quick as you can, staying on the same side instead of alternating (40 per side) or using the advanced modification below. Do not sacrifice form for speed. Like all other challenges, you can split up the reps any way you like. 

How To Do It

A. Start in plank. Hands under your shoulders, core tight, and eyes forward.

B. Step one foot forward into a deep runner’s lunge. Hands on the floor. You may need to walk the foot forward, depending on your flexibility.

C. Press through the heel of the front foot (not the back foot) as you stand and swing your back foot forward into a straight leg kick. The straighter the leg, the harder this is (use your core). Ideally, you’ll want this to be ONE motion, but you can tap your foot down at any time for balance if that’s too hard (lunge, stand with both feet, then kick).

D. Swing your leg back into runner’s lunge, and step both feet back to plank. Repeat switching sides, swinging the opposite leg forward into runner’s lunge.

BEGINNER Modification: omit the plank, and do a step back lunge to a front kick instead. 

ADVANCED Modification: From runners lunge, hop and switch your feet in one motion (don’t come back to plank, but switch from side to side, like alternating froggers - see here), keeping your butt down.

G’luck! Kill it!

Hardcore Holidays On Tumblr

Follow the challenges on Pinterest

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Hardcore Holidays! Day 11 Stocking Stuffer: 150 Squats (your choice).

Almost finished! 3 challenges left, and we’re done!

Congrats to all of you who have been keeping up with each challenge and sending me your progress. I know it’s hard, and we’re all sore, but we should be very proud. :)

Today is a squat challenge: any and all squats count (mix them up & choose toughers modification that you’re used to). I’ve added some of my favorite modifications below.

See 4 Quick Ways To Fix Your Squat for tips on form.

SQUAT MODIFICATIONS

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Prisoner Squat Jacks

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This is a challenging modification that’ll engage your core & inner thighs.

A. With hands by your sides, elevate one foot on to a chair or bench. Push through the heel and lift your bottom leg off the ground, keeping it underneath the chair. Engage your core. 

B. Push through the top heel and draw your knee into your chest. Kick your leg up, foot flexed, towards the ceiling, as you lift your hips as high as you can.

C. Repeat by reversing the motion. Do a few reps, then switch sides.

From the Hardcore Holiday Challenge: Day 8, 50 Elevated Hip Bridges. See other modifications here.

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Hardcore Holiday Challenge! Day 8 Stocking Stuffer: 50 Elevated Hip Bridges

Booty. Work.

Hip bridges are a fab exercise, a great way to strengthen your hamstrings and glutes. Placing your feet on an elevated surface makes this simple move VERY challenging. Make sure to engage the glutes, core and listen to your body: this may be too tough for some of you, but it’s perfectly fine to do them from the floor. You can also use a swiss ball, a roller, or any other piece of equipment that suits your fancy.:)

Because people of all levels are doing this challenge, I’ve added a ton of modifications for you to choose from. Pick the HARDEST modification you can handle, and do as many as you can.

Basic Bridges From The Floor

Many of you won’t be ready for elevated bridges, and that’s okay! Try them from the floor instead, with both feet or on one leg (25 per side). See photos below.

Tips: curl your tailbone under and contract through the core to really engage your glutes. Don’t worry about lifting up high: just work on really feeling the contraction. Shoulder blades stay on the floor & back is flat: don’t arch.

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Elevated Bridge Modifications

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Inner Thigh Scissors (aka ‘Leg Death’).

These are tougher than they look! Lots of core & shoulder strength is required, and it’s very intense on the inner & outer thigh. Awesome for heartrate recovery, a strength interval or as part of a cooldown.

Highly recommend for runners or those looking to improve stability in moves like squats & lunges. (or if you just want ‘crush a man’ thighs’).

Tips…

1. Keep shoulder directly over the hand. Core and legs are tight & engaged. Find your balance first.

2. Work to push your hips up to the ceiling. Don’t let them sag.

3. Press weight through the inside blade of the top foot during the lift & lower. Try to minimize movement everywhere but in the bottom leg.

4. Use a dumbbell in your hand to help with wrist pain OR try it from your forearm instead, elevated too if necessary.

10-20 per side, then repeat! You’ll FEEL these right away. “Killer”.

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