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Thread: Legs!

  1. #1
    CutCutChopChop FoxBlossom's Avatar
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    Smile Legs!

    Hi all, just wondering if there are any specific exercises or routines to get better aesthetics on the legs? I know you can spot-reduce, but I'm trying more for a sculpted look for the thighs - I have tiny ankles, pretty narrow knees but the upper legs are big in comparison to the rest (not sure if this is from playing a ton of hockey in my teens, all my strength comes from my legs!)

    So yeah, just curious if there are any certain workouts that are good for leaning them out and getting some nice definition; I'm doing my normal weekly split with the odd session of HIIT cardio, my upper body responds really quickly but the lower half still seems to be playing catch-up. A few people have recommended more steady-state cardio, long-distance running especially but I'm concerned this will just nom away at whatever muscle I have built so far.

    Any help greatly appreciated. Thankie!
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  2. #2
    1 moar rep... kimm4's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by FoxBlossom View Post
    Hi all, just wondering if there are any specific exercises or routines to get better aesthetics on the legs? I know you can spot-reduce, but I'm trying more for a sculpted look for the thighs - I have tiny ankles, pretty narrow knees but the upper legs are big in comparison to the rest (not sure if this is from playing a ton of hockey in my teens, all my strength comes from my legs!)

    So yeah, just curious if there are any certain workouts that are good for leaning them out and getting some nice definition; I'm doing my normal weekly split with the odd session of HIIT cardio, my upper body responds really quickly but the lower half still seems to be playing catch-up. A few people have recommended more steady-state cardio, long-distance running especially but I'm concerned this will just nom away at whatever muscle I have built so far.

    Any help greatly appreciated. Thankie!
    Leaning out/definition in your legs (or any body part) is a matter of lowering your bodyfat. This goes back to the diet and being in a deficit with your calories.

    There are so many exercises you can do for legs.

    Some of my staples:

    Front squats
    Overhead squats
    RDL's
    Goodmornings
    Smith lunges
    Leg press (I prefer doing more single leg work)
    Leg ext (Same thing here, more single leg work)

    I'm sure others will jump in.
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  3. #3
    BrahmaMama mrshester's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by kimm4 View Post
    Leaning out/definition in your legs (or any body part) is a matter of lowering your bodyfat. This goes back to the diet and being in a deficit with your calories.

    There are so many exercises you can do for legs.

    Some of my staples:

    Front squats
    Overhead squats
    RDL's
    Goodmornings
    Smith lunges
    Leg press (I prefer doing more single leg work)
    Leg ext (Same thing here, more single leg work)

    I'm sure others will jump in.
    Kimm, is there a particular reason? I saw someone in the gym doing the same the other day and was curious
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  4. #4
    Registered User IdaVictoria's Avatar
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    I have a strong love-hate relationship with the bulgarian lunge holding db's as they tear my legs apart completely, and walking lunges (both are great compounds) in addition to squats. Compunds are so great for overall strength, kinetics and will def increase your heart rate, thus promoting fat loss. Just make sure you get your proteins.
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  5. #5
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    Originally Posted by mrshester View Post
    Kimm, is there a particular reason? I saw someone in the gym doing the same the other day and was curious
    i do 3 sets of both legs and 2 sets of single legs on machines...just nice to have variation and will slightly effect smaller muscles since the legs will move differently.
    -front squats
    -lying ham curls
    -standing ham curls
    -glute ham raises<---sad to say i cant even do a full set w/o assistance
    -stiff leg deadlifts
    -hack squats
    -donkey calf raises
    -seated/standed super set calf raises
    -anterior tibialis foot thingy
    Last edited by Kemo1990; 05-02-2012 at 02:50 PM.
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  6. #6
    1 moar rep... kimm4's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mrshester View Post
    Kimm, is there a particular reason? I saw someone in the gym doing the same the other day and was curious
    It's a nice variation and I myself can feel a difference when I focus working one leg at a time.
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  7. #7
    BrahmaMama mrshester's Avatar
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    I see, thanks guys, I may give that a try next time
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  8. #8
    CutCutChopChop FoxBlossom's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies guys, will give those a go Kimm4!
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    Back at square one wakechica's Avatar
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    It takes time but if you do as Kimm says you'll get better legs. My thighs have leaned out considerably from squats/dls/hack squats/leg press with diet etc.
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  10. #10
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    I have the EXACT same problem! I have tried my hardest to lean out my thighs. Now that I have been doing a clean diet since January I have seen results. I highly suggest what Kimm said earlier:

    Originally Posted by kimm4 View Post
    Leaning out/definition in your legs (or any body part) is a matter of lowering your bodyfat. This goes back to the diet and being in a deficit with your calories.
    I calculated exactly where my macros needed to be in order to lose a bit of BF to lean up and so far that's shown some results
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  11. #11
    Training For Chest Hair rdferguson's Avatar
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    Exercises for the big muscle groups of the legs:
    - Squats (in general, the deeper the better so long as good form is maintained; the more upright the torso the more quad-dominant these become, the more bent over the torso becomes the more hip-dominant these become) and leg presses will all work the quads, and will have varying degrees of glutes and hamstring development.
    - Deadlifts, RDLs, SLDLs, Goodmornings are all great builders of the hamstrings and posterior chain.
    - Lunges, step ups and split squats are a bit overrated IMO, but all will work the quads and glutes to varying degrees.

    Exercises for finer details:
    - Rectus femoris, the forward-most muscle of the quadriceps, can often be under-developed from just squats and leg presses due to the hips going into flexion as the knees go into extension. Lunges, leg extensions, and to some degree even straight-legged sit ups can help to bring up this muscle.
    - Gluteus maximus, the muscle which gives the most shape to your bum, typically gets the recommendation of "squats, lunges and deadlifts" for building it up, but these exercises don't provide the best hip position to really work the glutes, and often people suck at activating their glutes during these exercises anyway. Glute bridges and other such exercises that utilise hyperextension of the hip (especially with bent knees to take tension out of the hamstrings) will do wonders for isolating the glutes and activating + overloading them in a way that the big lifts typically can't achieve.
    - Gastrocnemius, the big, visible muscle that makes up the top of the calves, is largely under-utilised by the big compound lifts, because as the knee bends it takes tension off this muscle. Straight-legged calf-raises of all descriptions are your best bet for working on this muscle.
    - Tibialis anterior makes up the most visible musculature on the front of the shins. I had been training people for over a year before I ever heard mention of training this muscle or saw anyone training it, other than a character in Tekken. There aren't usually machines set up to make it easy for you to train this muscle in most gyms. But any loaded dorsi flexion (lifting the feet/toes towards the body) will do the job.
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    Originally Posted by rdferguson View Post
    Exercises for the big muscle groups of the legs:
    - Squats (in general, the deeper the better so long as good form is maintained; the more upright the torso the more quad-dominant these become, the more bent over the torso becomes the more hip-dominant these become) and leg presses will all work the quads, and will have varying degrees of glutes and hamstring development.
    - Deadlifts, RDLs, SLDLs, Goodmornings are all great builders of the hamstrings and posterior chain.
    - Lunges, step ups and split squats are a bit overrated IMO, but all will work the quads and glutes to varying degrees.

    Exercises for finer details:
    - Rectus femoris, the forward-most muscle of the quadriceps, can often be under-developed from just squats and leg presses due to the hips going into flexion as the knees go into extension. Lunges, leg extensions, and to some degree even straight-legged sit ups can help to bring up this muscle.
    - Gluteus maximus, the muscle which gives the most shape to your bum, typically gets the recommendation of "squats, lunges and deadlifts" for building it up, but these exercises don't provide the best hip position to really work the glutes, and often people suck at activating their glutes during these exercises anyway. Glute bridges and other such exercises that utilise hyperextension of the hip (especially with bent knees to take tension out of the hamstrings) will do wonders for isolating the glutes and activating + overloading them in a way that the big lifts typically can't achieve.
    - Gastrocnemius, the big, visible muscle that makes up the top of the calves, is largely under-utilised by the big compound lifts, because as the knee bends it takes tension off this muscle. Straight-legged calf-raises of all descriptions are your best bet for working on this muscle.
    - Tibialis anterior makes up the most visible musculature on the front of the shins. I had been training people for over a year before I ever heard mention of training this muscle or saw anyone training it, other than a character in Tekken. There aren't usually machines set up to make it easy for you to train this muscle in most gyms. But any loaded dorsi flexion (lifting the feet/toes towards the body) will do the job.
    Awesome info, thanks!! I do legs twice per week right now - they aren't going to get any longer (boo hoo) so I'm going to try all I can to get them (and the rest of me) leaner!
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    Originally Posted by FoxBlossom View Post
    Hi all, just wondering if there are any specific exercises or routines to get better aesthetics on the legs? I know you can spot-reduce, but I'm trying more for a sculpted look for the thighs - I have tiny ankles, pretty narrow knees but the upper legs are big in comparison to the rest (not sure if this is from playing a ton of hockey in my teens, all my strength comes from my legs!)

    So yeah, just curious if there are any certain workouts that are good for leaning them out and getting some nice definition; I'm doing my normal weekly split with the odd session of HIIT cardio, my upper body responds really quickly but the lower half still seems to be playing catch-up. A few people have recommended more steady-state cardio, long-distance running especially but I'm concerned this will just nom away at whatever muscle I have built so far.

    Any help greatly appreciated. Thankie!
    I LOVE LOVE LOVE Sumo Squats, Walking Lunges, Leg Press, and Single Leg Deadlift. Those are my go to leg exercises!
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    Originally Posted by kimm4 View Post
    It's a nice variation and I myself can feel a difference when I focus working one leg at a time.
    Yeah, its good to do unilateral exercises. Sometimes your stronger leg will pick up slack from your weaker one, So, by doing one leg or one arm, you can keep a good balance.
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    I have had some success with sumo squats. Actually, lots of success. Sumo squats, wide-stance squats and leg press are my staples. I also do my cardio on an incline/heavy resistance or the stepmill.

    I really like the stepmill for cardio because I feel like it's a great fat burner while also giving you a nice workout in the leg/glute region so I always feel like I am killing two birds with one stone by using it.
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    Great info!
    I've been realizing that squats aren't really a butt builder per se.
    What other exercises for gluteus Maximus can you recommend? Would split squat with foot elevated work it?


    Originally Posted by rdferguson View Post
    Exercises for the big muscle groups of the legs:
    - Squats (in general, the deeper the better so long as good form is maintained; the more upright the torso the more quad-dominant these become, the more bent over the torso becomes the more hip-dominant these become) and leg presses will all work the quads, and will have varying degrees of glutes and hamstring development.
    - Deadlifts, RDLs, SLDLs, Goodmornings are all great builders of the hamstrings and posterior chain.
    - Lunges, step ups and split squats are a bit overrated IMO, but all will work the quads and glutes to varying degrees.

    Exercises for finer details:
    - Rectus femoris, the forward-most muscle of the quadriceps, can often be under-developed from just squats and leg presses due to the hips going into flexion as the knees go into extension. Lunges, leg extensions, and to some degree even straight-legged sit ups can help to bring up this muscle.
    - Gluteus maximus, the muscle which gives the most shape to your bum, typically gets the recommendation of "squats, lunges and deadlifts" for building it up, but these exercises don't provide the best hip position to really work the glutes, and often people suck at activating their glutes during these exercises anyway. Glute bridges and other such exercises that utilise hyperextension of the hip (especially with bent knees to take tension out of the hamstrings) will do wonders for isolating the glutes and activating + overloading them in a way that the big lifts typically can't achieve.
    - Gastrocnemius, the big, visible muscle that makes up the top of the calves, is largely under-utilised by the big compound lifts, because as the knee bends it takes tension off this muscle. Straight-legged calf-raises of all descriptions are your best bet for working on this muscle.
    - Tibialis anterior makes up the most visible musculature on the front of the shins. I had been training people for over a year before I ever heard mention of training this muscle or saw anyone training it, other than a character in Tekken. There aren't usually machines set up to make it easy for you to train this muscle in most gyms. But any loaded dorsi flexion (lifting the feet/toes towards the body) will do the job.
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    Always Breakin' ****! sweetkissees918's Avatar
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    Split squats work the butt very well. I used to do them alot, and everytime i would i could barely sit down! They are great.
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    Originally Posted by Romina81 View Post
    Great info!
    I've been realizing that squats aren't really a butt builder per se.
    What other exercises for gluteus Maximus can you recommend? Would split squat with foot elevated work it?
    Depends on a few variables, such as which foot you'd be elevating, how your weight is distributed between the feet, and your ability to switch on your glutes in whatever position you get into for the split squat (case in point, when doing lunges the hip angle gives more potential training to the glute max of the back leg, but I personally have to strain like I'm trying to induce a stroke in order to actually get the glute firing -- it's a very quad-dominant movement. I imagine the same issues would be present in split squats if there is any weight put on the back foot. For the most part, split squats are a better guarantee of work for glute medius/glute minimus, which are little stabiliser muscles at the side of the hip and don't contribute much to the shape and size of the bum.

    Glute bridges are one of the best glute exercises I've ever done, which is why I mentioned them above. Hip thrusts are more or less the same exercise, or a variation of the same exercise. Hyperextensions can be good, if you know how to drive with your glutes, and again if you emphasise getting that little bit of hip hyperextension (not lumbar spine hyperextension). They'll also work your hamstrings a lot due to being a straight-legged hip hinge. There's also reverse hyperextensions and glute kickbacks. Really, anything that involves hip hyperextension, and especially if it includes a bent knee, is going to be good for the glutes.
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    Originally Posted by rdferguson View Post
    For the most part, split squats are a better guarantee of work for glute medius/glute minimus
    Will split squats help round out the glutes? I have been searching the Internet and BB for glute medius/minimus exercises and I have not been successful.
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    ((( d(^_~)b ))) Romina81's Avatar
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    Thanks rdferguson... I will look into doing more hip thrusts I just really hate doing them since no pad at gym to put around bar weight kills my pelvis....perhaps I should try them in smith machine?
    Will also look at glute kickbacks...sadly my gym doesn't have the butt blaster machine my old gym used to have.
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    Originally Posted by FoxBlossom View Post
    Hi all, just wondering if there are any specific exercises or routines to get better aesthetics on the legs? I know you can spot-reduce, but I'm trying more for a sculpted look for the thighs - I have tiny ankles, pretty narrow knees but the upper legs are big in comparison to the rest (not sure if this is from playing a ton of hockey in my teens, all my strength comes from my legs!)

    So yeah, just curious if there are any certain workouts that are good for leaning them out and getting some nice definition; I'm doing my normal weekly split with the odd session of HIIT cardio, my upper body responds really quickly but the lower half still seems to be playing catch-up. A few people have recommended more steady-state cardio, long-distance running especially but I'm concerned this will just nom away at whatever muscle I have built so far.

    Any help greatly appreciated. Thankie!
    Oh, well. I sow your pics on your page. Pic #4 shows exactly where is your porblem. You have very feminine structure, which is good for the childbaring, breast feeding and servival. Your bod looks exactly what the mother nature ment you to be. But your goal is obviousely to have different look, more boyish, not like mature woman. What u have to do is shifting your hormonal balance toward less feminine toward manly. If u agree on it, u have to make shift in your diet and feeding paterns.
    U definitely need calory defecit and more cardio training (don't think about endless hrs on treadmill).
    I'd make a break in eating before going to gym. If u train on full stomach, u have to burn first the glucose from your food, say first 30-40 min. then your muscles burn the storaged glucogen in the muscles, it takes another 30 min. Now, when you are ready to burn real fat u get tired, stressed out, lost concentration and stop burning fat because of all the overtraining factors.
    But the trick is, if you train in fasting state, u burn 30 min your glycogen. Start from the lifting heavy, may do your legs anything u want. Just avoid any isolated leg curls or leg extentions. I'd better switch from upper bod to low bod every time. You allow your blood flow to rush really fast from upper to lower bod parts, making your metabolism really fast. This type of exercising is called high metabolic impact. Vs isolated curls, that gives you only big thighs and null metabolic impact .
    When u train on empty stomach. u get all benefits of reliesing HGH. It is rushing in all your bod organs and replaces your Estrogenic complex. This small rebalancing of the hormons, stops your Estrogens from making you look like a pear. You have to remember to stop Estrogens to resist you from loosing fat from your feminine parts (thighs, butt) You may train extremely hard, but it will be worthless. If u train smart, not hard that makes all the difference.
    On you place, I'd stop doing split training, but do whole bod for 45 min on empty stomach, only plenty of water. Next you turn to HIIT for 20min and only after that, 15 min steady cardio run or eleptic (your choice). You may even stop and rest 10 min before going to steady cardio. There is big reason behind this sequence. Don't ask me now why. Its' too long to tell. If you start from steady cardio. u get burning calories only the actual time you run. When u step from the treadmill, u stop burning fat. If you doing suggested above sequence, you burn fat after training another 36-48 hrs!!
    Don't eat after this trainig another 1 hr. You may drink protein shake BCAA rich within 50 min and then little later your protein/low carb meal. You diet is always has to be low carb. Little carbs are possible only after your training.
    Good luck to you. Sorry for long story. But it's hard to stick several theories about stubbon female upper legs in one short note. If you have more questions you can ask me on my page
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  22. #22
    Training For Chest Hair rdferguson's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Romina81 View Post
    Thanks rdferguson... I will look into doing more hip thrusts I just really hate doing them since no pad at gym to put around bar weight kills my pelvis....perhaps I should try them in smith machine?
    Will also look at glute kickbacks...sadly my gym doesn't have the butt blaster machine my old gym used to have.
    I've actually found in my personal experience that I prefer to do them without the pad, and being a man...well, I've got more to lose there. But it can be pretty uncomfortable even at the best of times.

    There's always 1-legged bridges and kickbacks using the cable machine (if your gym has one). You could also try going halfway between a hyperextension and GHR: get on your knees with your feet locked down (like in the GHR), then hinge at the hips (like in the hyperextension). I don't know if there's a name for that, so of this moment it's the RDF Bubble Butt Builder 2000, all yours on this special TV offer for just 4 easy installments of $19.95 + your dog's soul.
    Will split squats help round out the glutes? I have been searching the Internet and BB for glute medius/minimus exercises and I have not been successful.
    If my interpretation of "round out the glutes" is as you intended it, then split squats probably won't do much for your glutes that regular squats don't already do (although it does depend on how you do them and on your ability to activate your glutes for the exercise, as I mentioned earlier). They might add something else on top of regular squats, but probably not a lot. The main shape of your bum comes from the structure of your pelvis (not controllable), glute maximus development (controllable) and local fat levels (not controllable in isolation, but obviously losing fat across the whole body will reduce fat on the bum and gaining fat on the whole body will add fat onto the bum).
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    I am just starting to get into using some weights, very light to start with as I have never really done much exercise in my entire life.
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    ((( d(^_~)b ))) Romina81's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rdferguson View Post
    I've actually found in my personal experience that I prefer to do them without the pad, and being a man...well, I've got more to lose there. But it can be pretty uncomfortable even at the best of times.

    There's always 1-legged bridges and kickbacks using the cable machine (if your gym has one). You could also try going halfway between a hyperextension and GHR: get on your knees with your feet locked down (like in the GHR), then hinge at the hips (like in the hyperextension). I don't know if there's a name for that, so of this moment it's the RDF Bubble Butt Builder 2000, all yours on this special TV offer for just 4 easy installments of $19.95 + your dog's soul.

    No padding yikes!
    I saw a thick 4.5 in circumference bar pad in Sports Authority for 15 bucks...may have to get that in the future when I decided to do glute bridge again.
    I tried the cable kickbacks today and they felt nice!
    Will incorporate these in weekly for sure...

    Squats are good and all...but not enough if you want a bubble butt
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    Originally Posted by Romina81 View Post
    Thanks rdferguson... I will look into doing more hip thrusts I just really hate doing them since no pad at gym to put around bar weight kills my pelvis....perhaps I should try them in smith machine?
    Will also look at glute kickbacks...sadly my gym doesn't have the butt blaster machine my old gym used to have.
    Here is one of the pads that Bret Contreras recommends when doing hip thrusts- http://www.amazon.com/Hampton-Intern...ef=pd_sxp_f_pt
    Those HURT if you don't have some padding for sure


    As for the OP-- I have pretty big legs and have to get them lean to not feel like they are thick. I played soccer all my life (you had mentioned hockey!) so work on that diet and I bet you see some results.
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    Very helpful thread! Thank you!
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    Really great advice so far guys, glad this has turned into a useful discussion for all!
    -= If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail =-

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    Training For Chest Hair rdferguson's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Romina81 View Post
    No padding yikes!
    I saw a thick 4.5 in circumference bar pad in Sports Authority for 15 bucks...may have to get that in the future when I decided to do glute bridge again.
    I tried the cable kickbacks today and they felt nice!
    Will incorporate these in weekly for sure...

    Squats are good and all...but not enough if you want a bubble butt
    Glad you found an exercise you like

    I've always found that when I put a pad on the bar, the bar's less stable, and it manages to wiggle out of the pad half-way through the set, anyway. I applaud anyone who can get those things to behave.
    SQ 2x150kg BP 95kg DL 190kg OHP 60kg @ 70kg

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  29. #29
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    Originally Posted by rdferguson View Post
    Glad you found an exercise you like

    I've always found that when I put a pad on the bar, the bar's less stable, and it manages to wiggle out of the pad half-way through the set, anyway. I applaud anyone who can get those things to behave.
    I don't know what I would do without my Hampton Thick bar pad! It's not like the usual ones you see in the gym, I got my own personal one for BB hip thrusts. It's pretty secure on the bar and on me. So far got up to 205 x 9 (full extension), don't think there is any way I could do that without that pad! Was getting nerve numbness at those two points on my pelivs when I tried without the bar at just 135.

    I think Bret Contreras (glute guy, lol) has a new padding recommendation now, but that was his original one he said you had to get it you wanted to BB hip thrust heavy weight.
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    Training vids: www.youtube.com/user/birdiefu/videos
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    Registered User bethanyboo's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by birdiefu View Post
    I don't know what I would do without my Hampton Thick bar pad! It's not like the usual ones you see in the gym, I got my own personal one for BB hip thrusts. It's pretty secure on the bar and on me. So far got up to 205 x 9 (full extension), don't think there is any way I could do that without that pad! Was getting nerve numbness at those two points on my pelivs when I tried without the bar at just 135.

    I think Bret Contreras (glute guy, lol) has a new padding recommendation now, but that was his original one he said you had to get it you wanted to BB hip thrust heavy weight.
    I have the hampton thick bar pad too and it works pretty well for hip thrusts. I do have to make sure the seam is facing up for each set or the bar will slip between the crack.

    Bret is now recommending these (expensive!): http://www.amazon.com/Airex-MATBAL-B.../dp/B0011YY86G
    ** Current Maxes: **
    Deadlift: 235 lbs // Bench: 100 lbs // Squat: 185 lbs // Overhead Press: 80 lbs
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