Fitness

Exercise of the week: Sumo Deadlift & Leg Curl Superset

As mentioned previously legs are a key part of my workout programme. On leg day my trainer and I use a combination of supersets and individual exercises. A superset refers to performing two or more exercises back to back with little to no rest in between. This really pushes the muscles to work hard and burns more fat.

There are many different combinations of supersets. For example, the superset described below focuses on the same muscle group and involves a compound and an isolation exercise.

Here are Adrianna’s tips on sumo deadlift + lying curl supersets:
1. Sumo Deadlift

The sumo deadlift is a wide-stance deadlift where your hands are on the inside of your thighs.

It is a hybrid between the trap bar deadlift and the conventional deadlift. Your hips start closer to the bar (especially if you think about pushing your knees out to get to the bar, versus pushing your hips back), and you’re also much more upright.

Starting from this wide-stance squat position, push yourself up (and the bar) through your legs using (i.e. squeezing) the hamstrings and glutes to lift the bar

The sumo deadlift works a large set of muscles including the quads, glutes, hamstrings, parts of the lower back, and even the adductors (inner thighs).

2. Lying hamstring curl

This isolation exercise involves flexing the hamstring muscles and lifting the lower legs towards the glutes. The muscles are naturally stronger during the eccentric phase of a contraction. The eccentric phase refers to the phase in which the muscle is being lengthened and the weight is being lowered down.

An advanced trainee can adapt the principal of variable resistance by alternating foot position. This can be achieved by selecting a slightly heavier weight and performing the curling movement with the toes pointed up towards the knees and the lowering movement with the toes pointed down and away.

Pointing the toes towards the knees will draw additional recruitment from the calves which helps make the movement easier.

Variations:

Rotating the feet slightly outwards will draw more recruitment from the lateral portion of the hamstring. (Biceps Femoris)

Rotating the feet slightly inwards will draw more recruitment from the medial portion of the hamstring. (Semimembranosus & Semitendinosus)

Fitness

Exercise of the week: The Squat

As any experienced gym-goer would tell you, there is no leg day without squats! This functional exercise not only works your legs, but also the entire lower body and core. Many would call the squat as one of the best exercises for both muscle-building and fat loss. However, it’s also one of the most difficult exercises to do properly unless you know the correct technique.

It has been a few weeks that I hadn’t done squats, as me and my coach Adrianna focused on my mobility and flexibility (especially in my lower body joints) in order to improve my form & technique. So after several weeks of leg press, hack machine squats and lunge variations, here I am (slowly) getting back into squatting with some light weights:

Here’s what Adrianna says about the importance of squats:

The squat is considered a strength training exercise but it’s also a great muscle-building exercise. It involves the natural crouching and standing up again.

The eccentric (a.k.a. negative or lengthening) part of the movement includes the complete bending of the knee joint and a partial bending of the hip joint and the ankle joint.

Depending on flexibility, length of the torso and the relation of thigh to lower leg, the squat looks different from person to person.

The deeper the squat the better and a smaller weight should be used (especially using slow tempo) as the technique gets sacrificed at the altar of weight.

The more upright you can stay while performing the squat, the less stress on the spine and the less risk of injury.

Deep squats make you more flexible, provide healthier joints in the lower body and improve knee stability preventing injuries.

Like they say, squats are a girl’s best friend 😉