Full Lower Body

Full Lower Body

Training Notes:

A1: Use this movement to get blood moving into your knees before the heavy squats. Try to contract your quads hard at the top.

A2: Similar to A1, you're going to be warming up your hamstrings and getting a nice pump here. The intensity should be high for both the extensions and curls but load doesn't need to be the primary driver. Focus on feeling the target muscles work correctly.

B: Perform 3-4 feeder sets with descending reps (i.e. 8/6/4/etc) until you reach your top set with your target weight. These should be quad dominant so elevate your heels as needed and aim for max knee flexion in the hole.

C: Do your best to mimic the same movement pattern as with the front squats. Glutes will be working hard as a byproduct of the bar placement but execution should target quads.

D1: Get full hip extension on each rep. Try to perform an explosive concentric. Load these as heavy as possible without compromising the ROM. Keep rest minimal before D2.

D2: Use a load that would be your 15 rep max. Keep the movement fluid and the steps controlled. Sink into the stretch at the bottom and lengthen the glutes/quads.

E: Keep the ROM in the bottom 2/3 of the movement in order to bias the hamstrings a bit more. Think about extending the ROM by a centimeter in the stretch on each rep to lengthen the hams but don't force it.

F: The tempo is the most important part here. Use the eccentric to build tension and the pause in the stretch to remove elasticity from the Achilles tendon. Make sure the load isn't compromising full plantarflexion by being too heavy. Take the last set to failure here.


Goals of this session:

This is a pretty straightforward lower body session with aspects of heavy squat, hinge, lunge and horizontal hip extension patterns. From an application perspective, there shouldn't be an inherent prioritization of any specific muscle group over another. We should be looking to go in and train hard, move some heavy loads and build volume without having to take intensity too far.

Warm-up recommendations:

-5-10 minutes of steady state cardio such as incline walking, biking or rowing

-Soft tissue manipulation in the form of 3-5 min of light foam rolling the quads, calves, adductors and mid-back focusing on any particularly sensitive areas

-Specific mobility with light cossack squats and cat-cows


Common exercise modifications:

Seated Leg Curls- Lying Leg Curl, Standing Leg Curl, Seated Band Leg Curl, Swiss Ball Hamstring Curl

Front Squats- Smith Squat, Hack Squat, Pendulum Squat

High Bar Squats- Smith Squat, Hack Squat, Safety Bar Squat, Belt Squat, Pendulum Squat, V-Squat

Machine Hip Thrusts- Smith Hip Thrust, Barbell Hip Thrust

DB Stiff Leg Deadlifts- 45º Hyperextensions, Barbell Goodmornings

Seated Calf Raises- Squatting Calf Raises, Single Leg DB Seated Calf Raises, Seated Calf Raises on Lying Leg Curl


Common program modifications:

Advanced trainees- Increase volume of High Bar Squats and DB Stiff Leg Deadlifts by adding a working set. Increase intensity by taking the last set of A1 and A2 to failure, working set of B to 9RPE, working sets of D1 to 1RIR, and working sets of E to 2RIR. 

Intermediate trainees- Keep the program as is

Beginner trainees- Adjust volume of B by switching to 2x10-12 (4RIR) and decrease volume of C, D1 and F by a working set. Decrease intensity of A1 and A2 to 3RIR, C to 4RIR, D1 and D2 to 3RIR, E to 4RIR, and F to 2RIR with no failure set at the end.

Male trainees- Longer rest between sets and more feeders before working sets on B and E. Volume may need to be decreased depending on strength level and recovery capacity (stronger trainees may need less working sets).

Female trainees- Shorter rest between working sets and less feeders/warmup sets will generally be needed. Volume may need to be increased depending on strength level and recovery capacity (better conditioned trainees may need more working sets).


Common injury modifications:

Low back- Reduce axial loading as much as possible. Try slowing tempo on the squats to reduce load needed, move C to belt squats, move E to 45º hyperextensions. Add in trunk stability work before and after session.

Knees- Warmup with 5 min of recumbent biking with escalating resistance each minute. Perform 2 sets of 60 sec Wall Sit holds with bodyweight before beginning A1. Add a pause in the stretch for B and C to reduce load needed and force on knees. Switch D2 to DB reverse lunges in place.

Hips- Perform 2 sets of light machine adductions and hip airplanes beginning A1. Keep a relatively narrow stance on B and C. Reduce stride length for D2.


Additional Notes:

This workout should be added into a well-rounded, general program that holds a relatively equal importance on volume and intensity. Another full lower body session could be completed 3-4 days later with a similar volume and intensity distribution for those aiming for broad programming application. 

Progression models can be linear, shooting for increasing load and/or reps week-to-week as intensity trends towards failure. Intensity jumps can be more aggressive on A1, A2, C2 and F while volume increases can be more aggressive on B and E.

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