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chairohkey

The Training Yard: Where We Get Our Learn On

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I have a question about building hip strength, namely glutes.

After working on flexibility and focusing on muscle weakness for the last several months, I attempted some decently heavy singles on deadlifts.  I noticed that when the weight felt fairly light, I jumped up 20 lbs and I could barely move it.  The glutes failed.  The problem was that I can't seem to generate enough squeeze / power from my glutes so my whole body feels like it folds in on itself.

I'm very pleased with my progress so far but I'm wondering what I can to to strengthen the hips / glutes because I really want to pull 405 this summer.  It's not so far off and after avoiding heavy deadlifts for 6 months, still being able to pull in the high 300s means 405 is definitely attainable.  

Also, SI problems?  Sounds like this is worth investigating for preventative measures to be taken pre-emptively.  

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Okay. So since there seem to be lots of peeps with SI stuff, I will just copy/paste what I sent in PM. It's long and full of links, so it's behind the spoiler tag.

 

El Exorcisto also suggested to me in another thread that sumo deadlifts can help glutes. Another one that is just great for the posterior chain in general and hammies in particular is the exercise ball hamstring curl I talk about below. He also recommended something else that I don't remember but it's in the thread titled "OW". You can also do lunges, reverse lunges, and step ups, although EE noted that it puts more strain on the joint so it's better to do bilateral exercises.

 

For gluteus medius which tends to be the weak link for a lot of people, well, pretty much all the stuff I talk about below. And they have helped a LOT. My ass is flat as a pancake, and the glute medius exercises have done more for my ass shape than squats have ever done.

 

At any rate...here it is, if you're curious.

 

So I first had problems in early Feb of this year. I would sometimes have a little pain in my lower back area, but it was never that big of a deal. My husband and I were going somewhere, and so I had bent over the sink that morning to do my eye makeup. It was slightly stiff, but again no big deal. All of a sudden, when I bent to get into the car, I had this HORRIBLE stabbing pain all of a sudden. I was really worried it was a herniated disc or something. Thank God it wasn't. I went to my dr and he referred me to a PT.

 

So PT started with some ROM and strength stuff and pretty much immediately diagnosed me with an SI joint "issue" most likely brought on by muscle imbalances. She said my IT band was a lot stronger than my gluteus medius (about 70%/30% when it should be 50/50). So my right hip was actually kind of hiked up and out which was putting pressure on the joint and the surrounding tissues. Most of the work she gave me was either 1. stretches, 2. core strengthening, or 3. butt work.

 

Probably the very first thing she had me do was lie on the table on my back, with my feet on the table (so knees up). Then she had me focus on pushing my lower back into the table using only my core. No glutes involved. What I don't know, and I never thought to ask while I was there, was whether she thought I had anterior pelvic tilt (APT) issues. I don't think I did because she probably would have something, but doing the little pelvic tilt helps you engage your lower abdominals and be aware of your pelvic position more. So I practiced that for a long time - sitting, standing, lying down - and holding it for a period of time. Doesn't have to be super tight either.

 

The second thing we did, and we always did this before she checked my alignment, was in the same position as above and then raising your hips up for just a second. Hip thrusts ftw. Later she had me do this with a swiss ball (smaller one), so my heels/feet were on the ball and I would do the hip thrust between 8-15 times. It was a little uncomfortable on the joint at first, but most days it got better with each successive rep. The last exercise in this progression was doing a hamstring curl on the ball. Again, 8-15 or even 20 reps. That shit was hard, yo. And the most important thing is always to remember to do that first thing with the pelvic tilt. That's why I mentioned it first, and so make sure you keep that in mind for all these exercises.

 

She also assigned me planks and side planks, doing 3 sets and working up to a minute on each. I can still barely make 30 seconds on side planks, but regular elbow planks are getting a lot easier.

 

Bosu ball: she had me do lunges on the round part of the ball, both forward and side. Again, making sure that core is tight. Always be aware of your form. We would do usually 15 of each on each leg. After a while she started adding some ankle weights (like 2 lbs). We also did bosu ball box squats at the very end of my 6 weeks there. Those were hard but not as hard as I thought, especially since the table was up high enough that it wasn't a very low squat. Oh! And also wall/swiss ball squats. Those were good. 

 

She also had me sit on a swiss ball with one leg straight out in front of me, sitting tall and keeping the lower core engaged, and then she would toss me a light ball. She would throw it higher, lower, to the side, to the other side. So that was another good core workout.

 

Modified supermans: lying on the swiss ball face-down, keeping the core tight, and alternating sticking one arm out in front and the opposite leg back. 20 reps of those usually. Actually I think when I first started, I was on my hands and knees and then we moved to the swiss ball. I still have trouble with this one, just because of the balance I think. Here's a link to an image of what I'm talking about: (Link!)

 

She also had me doing clams. Have you ever done clams? Holy hell are they hard. When I first went in, I could barely raise my knee up a few inches. Now I am doing them with a blue theraband. The key to these is to make sure you are really rolled forward on your hip and your knees form at least a 90 degree angle with the rest of your body. I will even put my bottom arm behind me to remind me to roll forward more. The purpose for the rolling forward is to make sure you are using your gluteus medius and not the IT band. (Link!)

 

In a similar vein were crab walks or sideways walks. The key here is to drop the hips and bend the knees. I haven't tried it, but I hear the lower you are in the squat position, the harder it is. Make sure you are picking up your feet during each step and keeping tension on the band the whole time. I started out going along a wall (20 ft maybe?) one way and then the other, with the yellow (lightest) theraband. I'm now up to doing it 4x with the blue theraband. (

 Although I bend my knees more than this person and I put the theraband around my ankles)

 

Dead bugs with swiss ball - she had a smaller than normal ball that I would do these (and the hamstring curl one) with, but I've just been doing them with a regular swiss ball and I don't know if there is a difference. (

 Note that you DEFINITELY want to keep your lower abs engaged during this one - that's the whole point. Also, I would get my foot as close to the floor as possible, but never all the way touching. The dude in this video lets all tension go when he puts his leg on the ground.)

 

You could also try 

 (okay they're leg lifts, but I like Jane Fondas) and 
, but I haven't done those yet and they weren't prescribed by the PT. Fire hydrants would also be GREAT for the hip flexors.

 

As far as mobility and stretching - pigeon pose (if you can get into it - I usually get into it by being in downward dog, lifting one of my legs as high as I can, then kicking it through to the front). If you can't get your hips that close to the ground (I can't), you can use a yoga block or something to help support you. Also you want your lower leg in the front to be as close to 90 degrees from your upper leg as possible. Usually mine is 30 or at best 45 degrees  ;)

 

Another similar stretch would be lying on your back, feet on the ground. Cross one ankle over your other knee, put your hands behind that knee, and pull. You should feel a good glute stretch there. This would also be easier than pigeon pose. (Link!)

 

The last stretch she really gave me is a combination quadriceps/hip flexor stretch. (Link!) This one can be hard to do - it was easy for me when I was on her table, but my bed is too soft and I didn't have any other hard surfaces that were high enough to lie on. So I do a standing variation of this where I will put my back leg on a bench or something.

 

Oh! I should also mention a couple things she did to get me back in alignment. So first she would have my lying on my back, feet on the table. She would put her hands on the outside of my knees and tell me to push out for a few seconds. Medium pressure. Then she'd spread my knees a bit and do it again, and then one more time. Then she'd do the opposite - hands on the inside of my knees, and I would have to push out, then a little closer together, and then one more time. She also did one where I'd lie on my left side (my SI joint problems were on the right side) and let my right leg dangle off the table. Then she'd put some pressure on it, stretching it up towards the top of the table (and my head). I don't know if that makes sense.

 

So, after all this, of course I have to say I'm not a doctor, etc etc etc, and I don't know if your issues were caused by the same thing my issues were, or whatever, but those exercises have definitely helped. I'm still not 100% better (actually it was giving me some trouble over the weekend) but I AM able to lift again, and that's awesome. I've just been trying to really pay attention to my core and focusing on being REALLY TIGHT before I do anything.

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I finally got to the Doctor's yesterday and he said it is a strong possibility that I keep straining my back because of a muscle imbalance.  I front core is weaker that my back core.  I guess the ab work I get through compound lifts isn’t enough.  I need suggestions (or a plan) for abs strengthening. 

 

Thanks for your help.

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I finally got to the Doctor's yesterday and he said it is a strong possibility that I keep straining my back because of a muscle imbalance.  I front core is weaker that my back core.  I guess the ab work I get through compound lifts isn’t enough.  I need suggestions (or a plan) for abs strengthening. 

 

Thanks for your help.

planks strengthen your abs a good bit. i may even look into dropping the weights you're lifting and gradually working your way back up to heavier weight to allow your core to build and catch up. 

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planks strengthen your abs a good bit. i may even look into dropping the weights you're lifting and gradually working your way back up to heavier weight to allow your core to build and catch up. 

 

Ugghh!!  I hate planks...  Ok, I'll do them more often.  I am in a deload for my squats as I have made a technique change.  I think I may need to add a second workout every day to target abs.  Maybe a good 15 minutes to ensure I do them.

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So, here's a question:  I tried to use the search function, but couldn't turn up many useful hits (in case anyone yells at me for not searching first).

 

What sort of warm up / cool down routine should I be doing for a Stronglifts program?

 

Right now, I'll do some dynamic stretches--Nothing fancy, just swirling my arms round and round a bit followed by some air squats.

 

Before every exercise, I warm up with the empty bar (5 reps).  For those where I'm lifting more weight, I'll work my way up in 20 lb increments (I'm not lifting very much as I just started not too long ago, so 20 lb seems reasonable to me for the time being).  I do this with every exercise.  5 reps with empty bar and then fewer reps at the 20 lb increment as needed.

 

Cool down involves a few static stretches, mainly in my arms and shoulders, but this rarely lasts more than a few minutes because I don't really know what I'm doing.

 

I know that this isn't the best way to approach this, but rather than continuing to fumble around aimlessly, I figured that I'd pose my question to you all.

 

And while I'm on the subject of stretches, I've noticed in the morning when I wake up that my back is almost always stiff as hell, especially in my mid to lower back.  Do you guys know of any stretching that I can do to alleviate this?

 

Thanks!

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So, here's a question:  I tried to use the search function, but couldn't turn up many useful hits (in case anyone yells at me for not searching first).

 

What sort of warm up / cool down routine should I be doing for a Stronglifts program?

 

Right now, I'll do some dynamic stretches--Nothing fancy, just swirling my arms round and round a bit followed by some air squats.

 

Before every exercise, I warm up with the empty bar (5 reps).  For those where I'm lifting more weight, I'll work my way up in 20 lb increments (I'm not lifting very much as I just started not too long ago, so 20 lb seems reasonable to me for the time being).  I do this with every exercise.  5 reps with empty bar and then fewer reps at the 20 lb increment as needed.

 

Cool down involves a few static stretches, mainly in my arms and shoulders, but this rarely lasts more than a few minutes because I don't really know what I'm doing.

 

I know that this isn't the best way to approach this, but rather than continuing to fumble around aimlessly, I figured that I'd pose my question to you all.

 

And while I'm on the subject of stretches, I've noticed in the morning when I wake up that my back is almost always stiff as hell, especially in my mid to lower back.  Do you guys know of any stretching that I can do to alleviate this?

 

Thanks!

 

For the stiff back in the morning, I do the forward fold in yoga.  So forward fold to flat back, to fold, to flat, rinse and repeat until I feel a little less stiff.  Then I roll my shoulders back and wiggle my spine a little (I think of it like a snake).  That usually helps me. Here's a link.

 

Your warm up doesn't sound bad, really.  You just want to make sure you're bringing your joints through all the ranges of motion. So maybe add a couple more things.

I do a couple minutes of cardio in the winter (in the summer my muscles just feel looser) to get the blood flowing, but then I do a dynamic warm up with inch worm or bear crawls, air squats, sumo squat, side lunge, reverse lunge with torso twist, and arm circles or PVC pass throughs.  Then I do what you do with the bar.  Depending on your working weights, you may not need as many bar reps.

 

For post lift, do whatever makes you feel good.  If you did deadlifts, stretch out those hamstrings and lower back.  If you did squats, maybe some IT band or quad work.  I usually do some forearm stretching and a quick roll out on the foam roller.  Any area that you find consistently tight after a lift is a good area to lightly stretch or roll or whatever.

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Thanks for the info.  I actually had to look up the forward fold on Youtube as I found a video to be more helpful.  Am I correct in assuming that in terms of yoga, "fold" and "bend" are synonymous?  It would make sense that they would be, but I don't know anything about yoga, so I wasn't certain.

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Warm up looks good to me. I run 4-5 minutes to the gym, do some PT stuff (for an injury) and then start warming up with the bar. I also decrease number of reps the heavier it gets since I don't want to burn myself out. For squats and deadlifts, I always start out with 10 air squats, more if I feel stiff. But I should definitely be more stretching than I do, especially post-workout. Instead, I run 5-6 minutes back to work.

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Thanks for the info.  I actually had to look up the forward fold on Youtube as I found a video to be more helpful.  Am I correct in assuming that in terms of yoga, "fold" and "bend" are synonymous?  It would make sense that they would be, but I don't know anything about yoga, so I wasn't certain.

 

Ah yes. Videos are good :P  Basically, yes, they are the same. They key is to continually try to get your legs straighter and straighter as you breathe into the fold. You can lightly wiggle your hips back and forth in it, etc. Just be gentle because you're tight and your body is mostly cold.

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I finally got to the Doctor's yesterday and he said it is a strong possibility that I keep straining my back because of a muscle imbalance. I front core is weaker that my back core. I guess the ab work I get through compound lifts isn’t enough. I need suggestions (or a plan) for abs strengthening.

Thanks for your help.

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Just chiming in on the "compound lifts are all the abs I need hurrdurr" thing. Not sure where this originated (maybe Rip? Sounds like something the SS camp would latch on to as dogma) but no one who know's what they are talking about actually believes this. Direct "core" work is pretty much necessary for any serious lifting. If you're weak all over compound lifts will surely increase your core strength but it doesn't take long before your core will become the limiter in one way or another.

 

TL:DR don't look to justify any latent laziness with internet jockey talking points and just do-your-damn-abs some way or another.

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Just chiming in on the "compound lifts are all the abs I need hurrdurr" thing. Not sure where this originated (maybe Rip? Sounds like something the SS camp would latch on to as dogma) but no one who know's what they are talking about actually believes this. Direct "core" work is pretty much necessary for any serious lifting. If you're weak all over compound lifts will surely increase your core strength but it doesn't take long before your core will become the limiter in one way or another.

 

TL:DR don't look to justify any latent laziness with internet jockey talking points and just do-your-damn-abs™ some way or another.

 

So you're saying I won't get Phil Heath biceps from just squats. But wut about dat testosterone factor.

 

http://www.robkingfitness.com/supplements/how-squatting-gives-you-bigger-arms/

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My issue I believe was muscle imabalances between my glute and IT band. And probably lack of core strength. When I laid down, my right hip was higher than my left. Good times.

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Ha, almost nothing worse than decent advice shrouded in voodoo bullshit. The exception of course is voodoo bullshit shrouded in bigger, smellier voodoo bullshit.

 

I'll have you know that it's voodoo bullshit that lubricates the wheels of society.

 

Also, that would make a great name for a blues band.

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Hey, warriors, I need help!

So, when I'm doing squats, I have this issue where at the bottom of the squat when I'm just starting to come back up, my shoulders don't keep up speed. I end up doing this weird thing where I do a mini good-morning at the bottom, which is definitely not right! It's typically not too bad until I get close to my work sets. I've definitely been trying to focus on that area as I lift, but just thinking about it really hard during my squat hasn't seemed to help.

 

Do any of you have suggestions on how to fix this? Deload? Assistance exercises? Changes to position, setup, etc?

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