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Friday, March 1, 2013


We have already discussed in Chicken Squat what exercise is the best to train all the muscles of the legs at the same time. But do you know which muscles are targeted more by the Squat exercise? When you are training legs are you really giving equal attention and training to the back of your legs as you do the front? If not do you compliment your leg work out with other exercises to balance off the back and front?
When the squat is done, if you don’t sit down low with enough forward lean you emphasize your Quad muscles (Chicken Squat), and the back of the leg muscles, commonly known as hamstrings aren’t affected enough. The muscles of the hamstring that should be affected along with the Quads and calf muscles should be the Gluteus Maximus, and secondary muscles, such as the erector spinae (Strength from the Inside Out) and hip adductors, are the Isquitibial (semitendinosus and semimembranosus) and the Long and Short head of the Femoral biceps (yes! They are also in your legs). So to compliment the work out, the leg curl machine is usually used. But sometimes that is not enough for equal symmetry of the front and back of the legs. So to target the hamstrings more the dead lift is used. But one variation of this exercise has been banned, because in order to do it there is a need to bend over with heavy weights and return to the standing position with no bending of the knees. In daily life The movement of the Stiff legged Dead lift has been considered the wrong form to pick up weights for it can put a big strain on your lower back, sciatic nerve, and cause even disc injuries, especially if there is no flexibility of the hamstrings and done repeated times in the wrong way. And in order to prevent injuries squatting down (simple form of deadlift) should be used to pick up things.

But the movement of the Stiff legged dead lift should be of lowering the barbell or dumbbells bending over, keeping the back and neck straight. Slowly pushing the hips back and lowering your upper body, until where the individual’s flexibility permits and then slowly coming back up to standing position. You can also let the bar run down your thighs to keep it close to the body. To minimize tension on the lower back, the knees can be slightly flexed (bent), and there is no need to extend your trunk backward for the gluteal and hamstring muscles are the most active in the lower one-third of the movement. Proper posture with tension of keeping the back straight will already affect your lower back and erector spinae muscles depending on the load that you use. 

The stiff legged dead lift should be an exercise included for advanced resistance training programs for the requirements to keep the correct form and movement also depends on the individual’s strength conditioning of the hamstring muscle and flexibility. If you have weak core muscles, strong quads, and inflexible, there is a strong chance that more complex hamstring exercises such as the Stiff or Back extensions can cause injury, especially when you are not used to warming up, and there was a prior hamstring injury. The wrong body mechanics while running could also cause or contribute to hamstring injuries, and once injured, it may be a long road to recovery for since there are many muscles involved in rehab (flexibility, strength and conditioning), and if not properly treated, there could be recurrence of the injury, but a belt could be used to prevent it.  

Articles consulted:
1 - Science and Clinical Applications for Preventing the Recurrent Injury – Sherry et al, National Strength and Condition. Assoc., June/2011.
2 – Hamstring Strain Injuries: recommendations for Diagnosis, Rehabilitation, & Injury Prevention, Heiderscheit et al, J.Orthopaedic & Sports Phys. Therapy, Feb/2010.

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