Saturday, January 17, 2009

Vancouver Personal Trainer Reveals the Best Lower Body Exercise Ever!

As a fitness trainer, it's common to be asked, "What exercises are best for ______” fill in the blank. The most common area of course is the stomach but right behind it are the hips and thighs (specifically from my boot campers).

Today I’m going to give you the inside scoop on one of the best lower body exercise. Get ready for results! I call it the "Bulgarian Split Squat". Want to thunder-thigh proof your body? Master this!

One of the great things about this exercise is you cover a number of muscle groups at ONCE and thus don't need to worry about individual body part training. I am a strong believer in total body training, meaning that we train the upper body, lower body, and core during every single workout.

By training the whole body at once we maximally stimulate lean muscle gain and metabolism and promote total body fat burning in order to effectively eliminate the body fat not only throughout the body but also in those stubborn fat spots. If you want to get any noticeable results (the key is noticeable as you will get stronger and better conditioned but most if not all people want to see change), a diet high in lean protein, fiber, and green veggies and low in unnatural fats and refined sugars and starches is critical.

It is also important to know that you lose fat in a genetically predetermined way. You can do all the crunches you want but without total body training, proper eating habits, and enough time to get to those stubborn fat areas you will never get rid of your gut, jiggly arms, or the junk in the trunk.

Moving onto the main event: one of the world’s greatest lower body exercise. You may want to choose single leg exercises in lieu of their double leg counterparts for a lot of reasons. For people with back issues, single leg exercises allow them to safely perform lower body exercises without putting their lower lumbar spine in jeopardy of hyper flexion or excessive rounding that can cause back spasms in the short run and herniated discs in the long run. Furthermore, I feel there’s often such a strength and/or flexibility imbalance between one leg and the other for most people that it’s critical to address one leg at a time to really shore up the weak links from the start.

Case in point. One of my clients has been having good success with his exercise program, has lost about 10 pounds thus far, and has nearly completely gotten rid of his hip/groin pain that he's had for YEARS. However, I did notice just last week that he displayed a muscle strength discrepancy between his left and right legs while doing single-leg squats, but wasn't evident while doing double-leg squats. So make sure you incorporate single-leg movements and not just double-leg exercises.

Now for the Bulgarian Split Squat. So basically we’re going to elevate the back foot on a chair, bench, box, or any other sturdy foot support, usually about 12-18 inches high. You’ll put your front leg well in front of you in order to make sure that your front knee and ankle are lined up. In general, exaggerate how far you put your front leg forward so that the front knee is almost slightly behind the ankle as this really helps reduce sheer force on the knees. Initiate the exercise by loading the front heel and dropping your hips as low as you can in a pain-free range of motion while staying really tall up top with a proud chest and shoulders down and back. Finish the rep by explosively driving through your front heel to return to the top of the movement. You can start with body weight only in search of front thigh parallel to the floor or lower depth and then progress by adding speed of movement or by adding dumbbells. You can even incorporate some very cool combination movements with this lower body exercise like adding a curl to press at the top of the movement or even by raising dumbbells overhead to really challenge your core and single-leg balance and stability.

See the video below for a complete demo of all of the different variations of the Bulgarian split squat:

This exercise really helps strengthen your vastus medialis muscle, that inner quad muscle that looks like a teardrop, that’s heavily responsible for tracking your patella and keeping your knee caps in line. So if you have a history of overtraining or patella-femoral issues this exercise is phenomenal for keeping your knees as bulletproof as possible.

Also, what’s great about it too is that it provides a very good stretch for the hip flexor of your back leg, an area that is often very tight, especially for those who sit for extended periods of time. Any exercise that allows you to simultaneously stretch and strengthen your body is a goldmine. No more wasting your time with the adductor "squeeze" machine, it's time to crank it with one of the world’s best lower body exercise today!

Resurrect your body back to life!


PS. Get a FREE 1-week trial to boot camp today by emailing
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