I usually work out by myself which I enjoy because I don’t really struggle with motivation or pushing myself in the gym. I know for some people they work out better with a partner or in a group style session but once I get to the gym, earphones are on and I mean business. But every now and then I do like to train with somebody else, just to mix things up and push myself harder. This weekend just gone I visited my sister who lives in Liverpool so a training session together was certainly in order! I have been personal training Hannah for probably about a year now and her growth in both strength and muscle has been amazing. I check in with her often, so even though we don’t see each other very often I am able to tweak her training and nutrition as I see fit and I hope that she would agree that she has seen some great results. (I will try and get her approval to do a before and after photo and testimonial at some point!)
She is currently on a similar plan to myself, ie trying to build more muscle especially our legs, so it only seemed right for us to do a hamstring and glute workout! Best workout of the week! As we are trying to work on muscle hypertrophy (growth) we stuck to the 10-12 rep range, apart from the conditioning sets which I added at the end.
Hannah is now a member of Xercise4Less after changing from David Lloyd recently so this was my first time trying out this location. I am certainly a creature of habit and enjoy the routine and environment of my own gym as I know where everything is and the people who are likely to be about when I am training. But there is something about checking out new gyms and seeing different machines, different layouts and being around different people that I love and I find that this change in environment usually motivates me to have great sessions when I am away from home.
Really enjoyed this workout so thought that I would share it! I managed to take a few photos and a couple of videos to help explain and show exercises which hopefully you may find useful!
Warm-up: Treadmill 5mins @3.0mph @8.0incline
I don’t always warm up on the treadmill as I prefer to do more dynamic movements and glute activation for leg days as I definitely find them more effective than just the standard cardio warm-up. However as I had a long drive the day previously and it was fairly early in the morning, I thought a quick walk would help loosen me up a bit and set me up for the workout.
Glute Activation :
Wide Hip Thrust x12 +Glute Abductions x12 + Narrow Hip Thrust x 12 +Alternate lunges x 12each side
Repeat 3 times with as little rest as possible
Ever since I saw an article and video from ‘the glute guy’ Bret Contreras about glute activation prior to working out I have implementing them into my warm up. A lot of people suffer from inactive glutes mainly down to lifestyle, ie they are sitting down the majority of the day and not using them! Therefore I find it important to essentially wake them up, get them firing properly and develop that essential mind to muscle connection before beginning your workout. I use a variety of different exercises for activation work, usually picking 3 or 4 and doing in a circuit style; I have also experimented with using a resistance band recently and this has improved the feel massively. We did the first three exercises with a band wrapped under our knees and our backs on a bench making sure to really squeeze the glutes at the top of the rep, before removing the band and doing alternate static lunges.
A) Straight Legged Deadlift with dumbbells 4×10
This is definitely one of my favourite exercises to work the hamstrings and glutes and I find that I feel the stretch more when using dumbbells as opposed to a barbell. It’s important that you don’t round your back as you lower the dumbbells and really squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement. We went as heavy as possible on this exercise to really target the muscles, I think I only managed to get 8reps on my final set.
B)Smith Machine Lunges with a knee up 3×12 (each leg)
Many people don’t do enough unilateral exercises in their programming; they are great for mind muscle connection, balance, building symmetry and for strengthening your core. I always try and put in at least one unilateral exercise each session. Lunges are great as they target all of your lower body, and there are different ways of doing them. Recently I have been enjoying doing this exercise on the smith machine but you can do it with just a barbell or holding dumbbells, or even bodyweight. I find that the added knee up really targets your core aswell.
C)Bodyweight Lunges with kick back 3×12 (each leg)
Another variation of the lunge which we did was static lunges with a kickback. The added kickback this time really hits the glutes! We did three sets of these with no rest in between sets which got our heart rates up too!
D) Lying leg curl 3×12 with strict 1:3 tempo
Changing up the tempo of your lifts is another way to increase the intensity of your sessions. I have been using this on a few exercises recently as another ‘tool in my toolbox’ for muscle hypertrophy. I have found that it enables me to get a better mind to muscle connection, it makes me focus on actually lifting the weight rather than shifting it, and I can certainly feel it the next day! Some people in the gym muist think I am mad as I find it really helps me to count out loud when doing this style of training! This day we focused on eccentric (lowering) phase of the lift, ie we lifted the weight in one count but slowly lowered in whilst counting to three. You naturally want to let gravity take over and drop the weight during the negative portion of a lift, but this method of training fights this urge, eliminates momentum and increases the muscles time under tension. The final few reps of this type of training are killer!
E) Barbell Hip Thrust 3×12
We did this exercise using an Olympic barbell with our backs hinging on a bench. I haven’t done this exercise for a while, instead I have been using the leg extension machine (yes you do get some awkward looks), however it wasn’t possible to set up with the machine at this gym, so it was back to the barbell. One of the best exercises for building the booty! I won’t go into much detail here about the benefits of this exercise, instead I will link you to this article by Bret Contreras where he talks about variations of this move as well as well as set up, tempo, rep variations etc.
F) Barbell Walking Lunges 3 x12 each leg
We finished up the main part of our workout with walking lunges. I made sure we focused on pushing through our heels and not pausing between reps so we had constant tension on the working leg.
Conditioners: did both of these conditioners 3 times through with as little rest as possible
1)Reverse abductions x15 + Glute Pushdown x15 each leg
2)Moving Band abductions x10 each side
As well as implementing more glute activation work at the beginning of my workouts, I have been adding conditioners like these to the end to really target the glutes and leave them feeling pumped! The moving squat with a band is my current favourite, it was the first time Hannah had done the exercise and she couldn’t believe how much she could feel it burning, and you could certainly tell from some of the faces she was making towards the end!
So that was our workout! As you can see there was quite a lot of volume, but we were feeling good so kept going! The biggest challenge of the day was walking round Asda next door trying to decide on what we fancied for our post workout meal as we without doubt deserved a good feed!
I wasn’t too sure on how to structure this blog post in regards to how much detail to include, so hopefully I haven’t waffled on too much and you have found some of it useful?! Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!
Love Abi xxxx
Leggings – Nike
Trainers – Nike Free Flyknit 5.0
Sports Bra – Forever 21
Vest – Forever 21