Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Get Back In Shape: Lower Body

Days 2 and 4: Lower Body

1 - Barbell front squat
Cross your arms in front of your chest and rest a barbell on the front of your shoulders. Your elbows should be held high, with your upper arms parallel to the floor as you perform the move. Set your feet shoulder-width apart. Push your hips back, and lower your body until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor. Pause and push your body back to the starting position. Stay on your heels and make sure you don't rise onto your toes as you press back up.

2 - Straight-leg deadlift
Grab a barbell with an overhand grip that's just beyond shoulder width, and hold it at arm's length in front of your thighs. Keep your knees slightly bent. With your lower back naturally arched, bend at your hips (not your waist) and lower your torso until it's parallel to the floor. Pause, and then rise back to the starting position. As you lower the bar, keep it as close to your body as possible.

3A - Swiss-ball hip extension and leg curl
Lie on your back with your lower legs on a Swiss ball. Extend your arms to your sides, palms up. Raise your hips so your body is straight from shoulders to knees. Pull your heels in, bringing the ball toward your butt. Pause for one second, and reverse the motion. Lower your hips to the floor and repeat. As you pull your heels in, keep your hips elevated and your torso straight.

3B - Jump Squat
With your feet hip-width apart, squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor, and then jump as high as you can. Allow your knees to bend 45 degrees when you land, and then immediately drop back down into a squat, and then jump again. Perform this move as quickly as possible to build explosive strength and power.

4A - Swissball Plank

Place your forearms on a Swiss ball and raise your chest so your elbows are under your shoulders. Your legs should be extended behind you on the floor, and your body should form a straight line from ankles to head. Pull your shoulder blades back and down and brace your abs. Hold that position for 30 to 60 seconds. That's 1 set. Keeping your upper back flat maximizes the effectiveness and safety of the exercise.

4B - Swissball Jackknife 
Start in pushup position (your hands set slightly wider than and in line with your shoulders), and rest your shins on a Swiss ball. Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Roll the Swiss ball toward your chest by raising your hips and slightly rounding your back as you pull the ball forward with your feet. Pause, and then return the ball to the starting position by rolling it backward. Don't allow your hips to sag at any point during the exercise.

Source: Men's Health

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