Leg day workout - focus on form for squats and deadliftsCategory: Fitness
Female Leg Day Workout – Focus More on Your Form Each Time & Build Weight Up After
When it comes to working out the lower half of your body it’s key to make sure you are using proper form. Not only because as you increase weight it can cause serious injury to your back and other parts of your body, but because you won’t be getting the benefit of the intended exercise if you don’t use proper form. You will see this a lot in the gym; people going HAM (hard as a mother-effer) but they are doing the form all wrong. Every time I see that I either want to A) go up and help them or B) tell them to get ready for a ice pack or heating pad. The worst offenders of this are usually when it comes to squats and dead lifts. Now don’t get me wrong, I was guilty of having bad form in the beginning too. I suffered from a very very weak back from being top heavy for a good part of my life, so most of the time when doing squats and deadlifts my back would round and boy would that hurt the next day. It took me some time to learn proper form, to strengthen my back to prevent injury and also time to get a lot more flexible in my hamstrings, hips and lower back. Needless to say I wanted to share some variations to squats, stiff leg dead lifts and regular dead lifts so that you too can get better at your form before start adding more and more weight (which is the goal, right?!)
Below are a few videos as well taken in my at home gym so that I could show you the movements in action, that always seems to help over just images. To do these exercise I used two (2) kettle bells that each were around 18 pounds. This combined was 36 pounds which is a good weight to add some resistance but not so heavy to ruin form to show you these tips and tricks. Why did I use kettle bells?
Kettle bells are a great way to help you with form for a few reasons.
1. When doing a stiff leg deadlift many people will bend down too far thinking they have to put the weight to the ground. When you reach down too far most of the times people will round their back and lose form. You don’t have to go all the way down and doing so could hurt your lower back. By using a kettle bell the bottom of the bell will hit the top of your feet without you having to reach to your feet, and when you tap your foot with the bell its your signal to come right back up. The kettle bell gives you a bit more depth.
2. They don’t take up much room so they are good to have a for a home gym.
3. They are very versatile for a variety of exercises and muscle groups
4. They don’t cut my hands up as much as a regular olympic bar does
Today’s 3 exercises to focus on form are a basic squat sit, a deadlift (narrow stance) and stiff leg dead lift. Below is the starting position for all three of these exercises.
So without further interruption let’s jump into some tutorials and tips!
Stiff Leg Deadlift:
Start with the kettle bells at your side and then bring them around to the front.
Keeping your shoulders back and a tight core you are going to slide the kettle bells down the front of your legs, over your knees and down to touch the top of your feet.
While you are doing this in the front, in the back you are pushing your butt back and keeping your back flat
Your knees should have a slight bend to them
On the way up you slide right back up your legs, driving through your heels and pulling in your butt and squeezing your glutes at the end.
As you can see my back is flat, my butt is back, my knees are not locked but are slight bent, my shoulders are back and chest is up.
Basic Deadlift with a Narrow Stance:
Start with your feet in a normal stance, not shoulder width apart but a bit more narrow
With a kettle bell in each hand place them down on the outside of your feet closer to your heels than your toes
Your back should be neutral and your chest up with shoulders back
The deadlift is exactly that, you are lifting a dead weight off the floor to the standing positing
Drive up through your heels, using your legs and gluts not your upper body to pull up the weight.
come up to a standing position and squeeze your glutes
lower back down and put the bells on the floor and lift again
Make sure as you come up your chest is up, shoulders back and you are driving through your heels and squeezing those glutes!
Tips for working on your basic squat form:
Stand about 1 foot away from a bench or a chair
Stand up tall with hands to your sides
Lower your butt back until it taps the edge of the bench or chair
Drive up through your heels and come back up to standing position
Make sure your knees never pass your toes and that you are driving your butt back and not pushing your chest forward
Focus on keeping a neutral spine and that you chest is up
As you can see here my knees are in line with my toes, not forward and not behind. My back is in a neutral position, not rounded or over arched. Your butt hits about parallel with your knees then back up to standing and repeat.
I hope these quick tips will help you with your leg day form to avoid injury and help you achieve heavier weight over time