Lil Miss Fitness Freak

"And though she be but little, she is fierce"


2 Comments

Friday Fitness Questions Numba 2

Hey Friends!

So I want to keep this thing going so here’s coming atcha with the second instalment of fitness related questions for ya’ll

In true Chelsea fashion it seems, this post is comin’ in a day late… 

I didn’t get any suggestions for last week, so I’m going to post about something random. Since it’s spring-ish weather as of lately and that means that people go nuts and pull out their summer clothing because they get too excited..

036811f760ae905c09427e7551b689d0

Lets do one about legs shall we?

So here we go.

What are some of the best legs exercises for strength OTHER THEN squats?

Oh the mighty squat. It gets all the love and attention when it comes to the leg and booty gainz, and for good reason. It utilizes a huge number of lower body muscle groups including the quadriceps, hamstrings, gastrocnemius, and the gluteus maximus (Gullett, 2009). Additionally, it also uses muscles around the ankle joints, your core and the many muscles of your lower back as well. Overall, it is quite the king for sure.

 Despite it’s overall practically and supreme benefits, there are some other important lifts when it comes to a strong lower body that deserve some loving too. With regards to muscle activation, there are a number of alternatives that ring very close, and if not, at par with squats.

We all hate them. Admit it

Lunges.

See too many people doing heavy weighted lunges? Nope. Shall I dare even go into how many guys I have seen do lunges at all…Maybe my hands worth.

Why?

Because they hurt. Many people would actually rather suffer through gruelling squats then to do a lunge. Unfortunately, by avoiding the suffering, you are also avoiding all dem gainz. Here’s some research:

Keogh (1999). This study talked about the performance benefits of adding lunges into your lower body training as they help to work on single leg movements (which can help detect imbalances, improve ankle, hip and knee flexibility and improve overall balance) in addition to having the added benefit of being able to work in more then just one single field. Different lunge variations enable you to work in the lateral and horizontal planes, where as squats are simply lateral movements.

Farrokhi et al (2008). Similar to squats, different variations of the lunge may help to activate slightly different areas. Therefore, you can use variety to your advantage to infiltrate different areas as you need them.

Statsny (2015). There is even research to suggest that the way you hold the dumbbell in your hand during various lunge variations can affect muscle activation. Specifically they looked at the effects of ipsilateral (holding a dumbbell on the other side of the lunging leg) and contralateral (holding the dumbbell on the same side as the lunging leg) on muscle activation during both walking lunges and split squats.

So looking to try some out? Here are some variations to check out.

Walking Lunges

Stationary Lunges

Split Squats

Front-loaded Lunges (hits the quads more)

Movin on…

Another big man on campus is the…

Deadlift.

Known for it’s utility in strengthening you’re entire backside, this lift is a strong contender for anyones training routine.

Fischer (2012). This provides a great overview of the lift, variations, muscle activation and why it should be incorporated in everyones training regime.

Robbins (2011). This study found did not find any significant differences in muscle activation between the deadlift and the back squat, showing how comparable they are with respect to which muscle groups you’re stimulating. I’m assuming this was the conventional deadlift, as it was not specifically mentioned the particular variation. 

Deadlift Variations:

Conventional Deadlift (bar touches the ground following each rep)

Romanian Deadlift (bar never touches the ground, more glute/ham focus)

Stiff Legged.

Sumo Deadlift (glute focus).

Note that the sumo DL is the new cool kid on the block. This was a adopted by powerlifters but now it seems that everyone is trying this version out. There are some thoughts that this is easier on the hips and feels better for many people.

Heres a great article showing some of the variations.

One exercise that is often overlooked (maybe because of how it is done..) but deserves more attention is the:

Hip Thruster.

These guys are known for building that booty up.

Contreras (2011). Brett summaries many aspects of the barbell hip thrust for you in a very easy way. Some of the benefits of the hip thrust include full gluteal activation and they also help to prevent hamstring injuries by building up those glue muscles to help the hamstrings out during hip extension movements. This exercise builds up the strength in the glutes due to having a greater range of motion at the hip then things like squats.

Eckert (2014). Evidence to support the utility in gluteal strengthening exercises such as these for athletes requiring the use of hip extension including sprinters, basketball, powerlifting, etc

If you have weak glutes this exercise is great for you. In addition, it does help to work your lower back as well so even unloaded bridge exercises (mimic the basic movement) can help be therapeutic for those with back pain.

So there are the three big compound (multi-joint) movements that I think everyone should include in their routines to help build those leggies. Of course, I’m not saying to ignore squats, as you definitely should do them as well because they are talked about the most for good reason, but I just wanted to note those other big lifts that some may shy away from or not be aware of to the same extent.

Also, just because something isn’t a compound lift per say, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have it’s place. Accessory work (often those exercises that recruit less muscle groups, but may hit one or two more directly and help with other lifts) can help not only build up those larger lifts and make you progress faster, but they are also something to include for balance, aesthetics and overall development.

Some of my favourite accessory movements include:

Leg press (different foot positions) –> I consider this an assistance lift, many may use this instead of squats if they have issues squatting. 

Glute Kickbacks–> Don’t limit yourself to just straight behind you. Also try kicking back at 45 degrees. 

Hamstring Curls

Single-leg Leg Extension –> Great for burning out the quads (do drop sets!)

…and my newest favourite…

Vertical or Inverted Leg Press w/ a Pulse using the Smith Machine. 

Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 10.02.05 AM.png

This is the basic inverted leg press movement. Add the thrust at the end for the added glute burn! 

So good! It not only acts as a wide stance leg press but the vertical position really activates the glutes and hamstrings because you can get your legs really close to the chest (it forces a better range of motion). The additional pulse is like adding a hip thrust component for even more glute action. PLUS you feel this in the lower abdominal region because of the upward thrust.

So there ya go. Strong legs means you have to put in the work. Suffer a lil bit with these tough (physically and mentally) lifts and gain all of the benefits.

Hope this was helpful!

-Chelsea

 

Advertisements


46 Comments

Juice Cleanse Rant…Q&A

So here I am again! Procrastination at it’s best 😉

Thank you so much for all of your awesome questions on my last post! The comment number just kept getting higher and higher as the hours went on and it got me too excited to wait to respond. So with that, I bring you the first few questions..

Once again, click on the picture and it will take you to video.

IMG_6838

I gots me a halo halo hallllooo…

I just realized that the title of the video included the ACV question (ie apple cider vinegar) that Andrea posted and I totally missed out on talking about it because the video was already like 15 minutes long. Man, I really need to work on that.

…apparently something I fail to compute. I feel like I kinda know what I’m talking about (or I would say I’m not the best to attempt to answer, plus these are my opinions), so please don’t feel like my really long explanations are because I’m trying to pull some BS on you I just need to be a better communicator.

Short and to the point…

Just like me…

Does that even make sense?

Anywho, back to that ACV question

Andrea asked:

Hi Chelsea, I was wondering if you use apple cider vinegar at all in your diet? I have read so many different opinions about it but not sure what to think. Can you shed some light for me P.S. Love this blog; it’s my daily highlight!! Thanks!

I do use ACV in my diet but with some restraints. Yes I truly believe it’s amazing for you…

Detoxifying.

It is recommended to start off your day with a ‘shot’ of ACV (you can really use any very acidic substance I believe, but I will have to check up on that) to cleanse your body and start your day off with something alkalizing. Yes, contrary to the fact that vinegar is super acidic, it’s actually alkalizing (or de-acidifying) in the body. Alkalizing of any kind does wonders for the body because acidic bodies are inflamed bodies and the majority of our American diets support acidity. Hello carbs, sugars and proteins..not to mention stress.

So try it out! Take a tablespoon or so of the lovely vinegar and shoot that stuff back when you wake up before eating and you will feel a nice little energy boost! If you can’t tolerate the vinegar as is, then you can dilute it in a bit of water too. Personally, I can drink vinegar, but for many, it’s too strong. I guess I just have the taste buds for all dat tang. I swear I was balsamic swiggin European in a past life.

Helps with digestion.

Many people have a hard time digesting their food, resulting in indigestion and heartburn and one contributing factor could be low stomach acid. We have our gastric juices (acids) in our stomach which do a large part of breaking down the food we eat and so if you are running dry, an upset stomach may result. By adding more acid, you can help your body out if it’s runnin a bit short. So either you can take a shot, or just have a salad with an ACV vinegar (or any vinegar/lemon juice) based dressing and see if you notice a difference.

I added the …. because most people do very well with it. For me, of course being the exception to the majority of the population (story of my life for realz #TheStruggle), I have to be careful how much vinegar I have because I’m actually the opposite and overproduce acid. So much so that I actually have a prescribed medication to take daily to ensure that I don’t decay my teeth. Crazy I know and, yes, another random quirk of mine.

So, to conclude this answer, I believe it has great benefits and I urge you to try it out and see how you feel. If you feel good, then by all means, continue using it as we can all use a lil alkalizing in our lives. On the other hand, if you feel like it’s giving you heartburn, then be careful with how much you have.

As with many things, it’s all about listening to your gut body.

So I hope you enjoyed the video and feel free to keep posting questions and I will get around to answering them as I motor along. As for the links I mentioned in the video, here is the link to Robyn’s awesome blog

[Click here]

I’m so sorry that I blanked on your name in my video Robyn. I love your blog and really enjoy hearing your thoughts as a future RD to be.

As a lil extra, here are some cool green smoothies..

This one doesn’t include fats or protein as I mentioned so make sure you can eat something else soon after or add something to it.

How-to-make-the-perfect-Healthy-Smoothie-307x1024This site is a great resource for a variety of types of smoothies and it gives you ideas for fillers to make it more of a meal. Just ignore the fact that it’s for weight loss as that’s not what I’m getting at.

…and some not so green smoothies that still give ya a good boost of veggies…

Round of applause for this one! Fiber from the chia, spinach for dem greens, avocado for a dose of healthy fats and a creamy texture, protein powder for some staying power and bloobs for some sweetness.

Hope they help you out!

Much love!

-Chelsea