Glutes & Hamstrings
The cable pull-through exercise is an excellent movement for targeting the entire posterior chain particularly the glutes and hamstrings. This hip hinge variations provides tension to the glutes and hamstrings throughout the entire range of motion unlike free weight variations where tension releases at the top.
RDL's are one of the single best exercises for strengthening the entire posterior chain as well as targeting postural muscles of the entire body. Focus on hinging at the hips throughout and keeping a neutral arch throughout.
In this video, Dr. Seedman performs barbell RDLs with eccentric isometrics, which offer numerous benefits in terms of muscle function, strength, stability, mobility, symmetrical loading, and hypertrophy. This video was part of Dr. Seedman's featured article on T-Nation.com.
Kettlebell Swings are an excellent exercise for activating the entire posterior chain especially the glutes and hamstrings. Focus on driving the weight back and forth with the hips rather than up and down. Keep perfect posture and spinal alignment throughout.
Kettlebell swings are a great exercise for targeting the entire posterior chain especially the glutes and hamstrings. Add in the single arm variation and you'll also challenge stabilizers of your core that are responsible for anti-rotation and rotary stability.
This is a great modification of the deadlift that slightly reduces the range of motion, allowing greater loading while simultaneously reducing stress on the spine particularly for taller athletes. Here, Dr. Seedman uses a 3 inch box.
Bulgarian Squats performed in an eccentric isometric fashion as shown here are an outstanding exercise for strengthening the entire lower body while building significant hypertrophy and improved muscle function. Eccentric Isometrics are also an excellent technique for improving movement mechanics and motor control.
The Goblet Bulgarian Split Squat is an excellent exercise for unilaterally targeting the entire lower body while simultaneously providing good eccentric stretch and lengthening to the hip flexors. When performed as an eccentric isometric its even more effective for building size, strength and correcting muscular imbalances.
Single Leg Good Mornings are one of the most difficult yet effective exercises for targeting the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back muscles not to mention all of the muscles involved in posture positioning.
Single Leg Barbell Rows are very difficult yet very effective for working the entire posterior chain starting from head to toe. Every muscle in the back, glutes, and hamstrings have to work overtime to control the load.
This is one of the most difficult rowing exercises you'll ever perform. Not only does it crush the entire posterior chain from head to toe but its also great for correcting technique and eliminating momentum. The Hanging Band Technique (HBT) further increases the difficulty of the movement as it requires greater stabilization, proprioceptive feedback (from muscle spindle activation) and sensory integrated movement.
Barbell RDLS with hanging bands crush the entire posterior chain from head to toe. The Hanging Band Technique (HBT) further increases the difficulty of the movement as it requires greater stabilization, proprioceptive feedback, and sensory integrated movement, which reinforces correct technique and eliminates momentum.
This is one of the most difficult RDL's or hip hinge exercises you can perform. Not only does it crush the entire backside but its also great for correcting technique and and addressing lower body imbalances. The Hanging Band Technique (HBT) further increases the difficulty of the movement as it requires greater stabilization, proprioceptive feedback (from muscle spindle activation), core activation, and sensory integrated movement.
The Hanging Band Technique (HBT) when applied to the any lunge variation is excellent for waking up all the lower body muscles and stabilizers. Its also great for correcting technique and addressing lower body imbalances. The Hanging Band Technique (HBT) increases the difficulty of the movement as it requires greater stabilization, proprioceptive feedback (from muscle spindle activation), core activation, and sensory integrated movement to control the oscillations and perturbations of the barbell. In addition dividing the load between multiple bands increases the number of oscillations.
Most athletes and advanced level trainees should be capable of performing eyes closed movements with at least 80-90% of the same load they use under eyes open conditions. If this is not feasible, its often a strong indication that they lack proprioception, stability, motor control, and proper muscle spindle activation.
Bottoms-up exercises are some of the most difficult strength training movements there are. During the snatch you'll be required to aggressively activate your hips while controlling and stabilizing the load at the top. This requires full body strength, power, stability, and motor control. Performing them in a continuous fashion also increases the amount of eccentric loading thereby creating greater strength and hypertrophy benefits.
Reversing your grip on RDLs is an excellent technique for promoting retracted and depressed scapula as if forces the shoulder blades and spine into a tighter position. If you have trouble with your shoulders rounding or inability to maintain a neutrally arched spine during deadlifts, this technique will be of great value.
Performing negative or eccentric accentuated deadlifts (slow lowering phase), combined with the squat-stance or semi-sumo stance is a great movement for increasing strength and power. Ed Coan used a similar technique and stance for breaking numerous deadlift records in the sport of powerlifting many of which still stand to this day.
Combining eccentric isometrics with squat-stance deadlifts (semi-sumo deadlift similar to what Ed Coan used), is a great method for improving technique, proprioception, sensory feedback, movement mechanics, mobility, stability, strength, and hypertrophy. Perform the eccentric phase very slowly and pause at the bottom position for several seconds before powerfully driving the weight up.
Dr. Seedman tweaked legendary powerlifter Ed Coan’s sumo deadlift to make it more joint friendly and conducive for maximizing strength, hypertrophy, and performance for athletes and general populations alike.
This is an advanced but highly effective rowing variation for targeting the entire posterior chain from head to toe. It's also a great movement for improving posture as the entire musculature of the back is worked very intensely.
Performing squats with accommodating resistance such as bands and chains increases tension throughout the body forcing the lifter to stay incredibly tight and locked in. Furthermore, it requires the lifter to lift with maximal force and power production on the concentric phase in order to accelerate through the additional tension provided by the bands and chains.
Low-bar pause squats are a great movement not just for powerlifters but also for athletes--especially football players--as it teaches them to better use there hips. Here's one of Dr. Seedman's athletes working on technique. Typically, after several sessions, the movement feels locked in.
High rep deadlifts are a brutal but effective way to finish your deadlift session. Use 60-70% 1RM and aim for 8-10 perfect reps. Focus on keeping your spine and overall body mechanics locked in throughout especially as you fatigue.
Here's one of my clients using excellent form for squat stance deadlifts. Adding chains with a moderately light loads is a great way to provide accommodating resistance and work on power output. Focus on driving with the hips and squeezing the glutes powerfully at the top.
If you're looking to change up your deadlift or squat workout, try performing this unique kettlebell variation. If you're needing an added boost in intensity try adding chains. As far as the protocol goes, you simply lift the weight up 1 inch off the floor, pause, drive to the top, lower slowly, pause 1 inch from the floor, set the weight back to the floor gently, then repeat. Simple but brutal and highly effective for increasing, strength, size, functional muscle mass, motor control, and technique.
Here's one of Dr. Seedman's female figure athletes demonstrating the belt squat, a unique-yet effective-squat variation for isolating the lower body while taking stress off the low back. The first rep will usually be a "feel rep" where you'll need to adjust your body and become familiar with the position (as you can see my client doing here). After that, you should feel a natural path to follow.
Here's a great lunge or split squat variation that crushes the legs and core as well as the upper body. You're essentially having to fire your shoulders and arms in order to support the heavy load making it a great finisher after any full body workout.
Heavy dumbbell lunges are a basic, yet highly effective, mass builder not only for the legs but also for the upper body, as the shoulders, upper back, and forearms are forced to fire intensely in order to handle the load.
Trap bar deadlifts are one of the most effective full body movements particularly when performed with controlled eccentrics or negatives. This targets every muscle in the legs, back, traps, and other areas of the body.
If you're looking for a great variation of the kettlebell swing this one is a must try. The movement emphasizes deceleration forces the lifter must deal with as they absorb force in the eccentric position. The bands also create constant tension in the glutes particularly in the fully contracted position. If you're looking for a new variation to crush your glutes and hamstrings as well as one that improves hip power and hip function you'll definitely want to give this a try.
Named after the legendary lifter Paul Anderson, the Anderson (or dead stop) squat is a great power, strength, and mass builder for the lower body as it forces the lifter to overcome inertia and move the load from a dead stop position similar to a deadlift.
Heavy barbell lunges and barbell squats are a must for figure and bikini competitors. These movements produce incredible results in the glutes, hamstrings, quads, inner things, outer thighs, and surrounding musculature. Performed with chains, these exercises are even more challenging as they provide constant tension to the muscles in the form of accommodating resistance. Here's one of my national level figure competitors demonstrating the proper form.
Dr. Seedman has one of his figure competitors performing a low-bar variation of the Bulgarian Split Squat. This variation places even greater strain on the glutes and posterior chain due to bar placement that tilts the body over slightly more.
This Bulgarian squat variation is a very difficult lower body lunge movement that targets all of the larger muscles of the legs including the quads, glutes, and hamstrings, as well as the smaller stabilizers throughout the feet, ankles, hips, and core. Adding eccentric isometrics by pausing going slow on the negative then holding the bottom stretched position makes it even more challenging yet also more effective for growth, strength, and muscle function.
The draping chain technique is a great way to work your stabilizers, proprioceptors, core, and primary muscles groups, as it forces the lifter to stay incredibly tight and locked in as a means for ensuring the hanging chains don't sway. This technique is particularly difficult when applied to a lunge due to the balance required. The combination is great for the quads, glutes, hamstrings, and entire lower body.
Here's NFL defensive end Jarius Wynn performing a unique exercise I developed to teach motor control, technique, tightness, and proper deadlifting and squat mechanics. It's also highly taxing on the surrounding musculature of the body including the legs, core, back, shoulders and more and also produces a significant degree of oxygen depletion and heart rate elevation.
Varying your squat angle just slightly by elevating a portion of your foot can alter the emphasis and dictate which portion of the lower body you're targeting most. When the toes are elevated it forces the hips back further placing more stress on the posterior chain, glutes, and hamstrings. When the heels are slightly elevated, this places greater stress on the quads. The normal stance (no foot elevation) hit's the lower body equally. This tri-set squat combination is a great way to increase hypertrophy and size gains throughout the entire lower body.
Good mornings are a great exercise for targeting the entire posterior chain including the upper back, lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. It's also great for improving squat and deadlift strength as well as hip function and lower body hinge mechanics. The draping chain technique adds an additional instability component forcing the lifter to control the load and stabilize to a greater degree, essentially making them perform the movement in a more controlled fashion.
The single leg Romanian deadlift swap is an incredible drill for improving mobility and stability of the hip hinge position. Simply perform a single leg RDL and perform swaps while holding the eccentric isometric position. Just be prepared to deal with a serious burn in the glutes and hamstrings as well as the feet and ankles.
Dr. Seedman works with NFL defensive end Jarius Wynn, who is performing banded good mornings. Good mornings combined with accommodating resistance are a great exercise for targeting the glutes and hamstrings while minimizing stress to the low back as the bar is deloaded towards the bottom of the movement.
The Bulgarian Split Squat & Kettlebell Swap is perhaps the most painful yet also one of the most beneficial variations of the swap. Simply perform an eccentric isometric Bulgarian squat, and then hold this position while passing the weight between the legs. This is also one of the single most effective drills for simultaneously improving mobility and stability in the lower extremities. You’re essentially forced to stabilize your lower body and core while the surrounding musculature are contracting in a stretched and loaded position.