Such a great video,but is it complete. shall we take a look.
Why: With feet properly placed. The force goes through the hips, not the knees, as in a squat.
It is always amazing to me the things I end up writing on in 2019. This time it is the good old Leg Press. You would think by now there would be a hundred articles on it and how to use it. Well, as you will see this just isn’t true. Thus, I would like to offer up some information for you.
The first misconception I need to clear up is the expectation we all have that equipment companies in this day and age would be the leaders in designing the equipment so that it worked the best possible way for the targeted muscles. Well, guess what? They don’t as you will soon come to see.
Let’s take a deeper look at the Glutes and see if there is anything that may have been missed.
There is so much talk in the media lately on glute training and it is obvious that so much is left out. We sit here in Norway and scratch our heads. It is surprising to see how once instructors, then reader are set in a direction, no one ever stops and asks. Is that really true? This Glute subject is a perfect example. I want to look at this from an entirely different direction.
When a biomechanist looks at the subject of a muscle, there are a few questions that come up first.
How does a muscle, in this case the glutes, work?
Then what is the best exercise to work that muscle?
In the case of the glutes, the first stop would be a simple search. This done, right away it seems already we are starting to see something wrong. Take a guess before going further. Here are the official definitions.
The gluteus maximus is a tensor of the fascia lata, and by its connection with the iliotibial band steadies the femur on the articular surfaces of the tibia during standing, when the extensor muscles are relaxed.
The lower part of the muscle also acts as an adductor and external rotator of the limb. The upper fibers act as abductors of the hip joints
What I am already reading here is the glutes extend the hip, well we all know that, but what else ? It rotates the femur (leg bone). Woops, “rotates”.
Let’s take a closer look at this.
The hamstrings can start the momentum for the glutes if not careful.
Well, just by looking at this picture we can see why this could be. Since any person that studies muscles or understands biomechanics knows, a muscle works in a straight line. The glutes are more on a 45-degree angle from the pelvic to the femur. So if the pull, just by observation can you see they could rotate the leg bone.
Here in Norway was when I started to question this, during my training of a biathlon skier. That’s a person that cross country skis and in the middle has to stop and shoot a target 150 yards away about an 1 to 4 inches depending on if they are standing or laying down. Then get up and keep doing it. Let take a quick look at the real life application of where I am going.
Well, in the north we can’t just take one sport as an example so let’s look at another sport people in the US would know more about, especially when it comes to butts, speed skating.
Speed skaters have always been known for their great butts.
Glute rotation at it’s best.
Glute rotation 2
Again, you see the rotation of the leg by the glutes.
The definition of how the glutes works is close. I just have to show you one more thing.
One more thing that biomechanical people will tell you is that the closer a muscle is to a joint the more effect it has on that joint. Therefore, this taken into consideration the glutes are a short muscle that is really close to the hip joint.
If we consider all this, a more meaningful definition of what the gluteus maximus could be is; “the primary function” of the gluteus maximus is “extension and rotation of the leg the last 30 degrees of extension”. Any movement before that would require the hamstrings to engage, thus building up momentum and getting less glute activation. Sure, they help or have some effect when they are further out, but I am talking about the “main function”.
So now we can take a look using this new definition:
What you will notice first, is making the foot immobile limits the amount of work the glutes can complete. Second, is the range of motion used is the most significant mistake some people make. If you use too much range, the hamstrings will start the movement and as the movement comes to the “primary function” of the glutes, the momentum has taken over. Thus, we have to use another method to perform the work. The leg must be able to extend and rotate during the last 30 degree of extension.
As you see, taking into consideration our scientific definition, sometimes simple observation with some basic logic can be used to better figure out how to work a muscle for both fitness and sports.
Any exercise that anchors the foot, thus restricting rotation does not allow the glutes to work fully.
Total hip machine: This is one of the best type machines to use for this exercise.
The best machine for glute work.
BUT, this video is done by the manufacturer and even they don’t know exactly how to work the muscle. Too many times we think the equipment manufacturers have all the answers. This should just be “food for thought” and show you they don’t have all the answers so be careful.
EMG- One last note in case it comes up, EMG, studies. If you read my EMG article you will see that the EMG might tell you there is activity in a muscle but is really “bogus” when we talk about range of motion and muscle activation.
In closing you noticed this is part one. The next addition to glute work will really answer even more questions around, what the rotation of weak glutes effects and another cool way to work them.
Until then please feel to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Just as I was finishing this article my friend Amit from Muscle and Motion sent me a note on the release of this video. Knowing how much I love animation I had to include it. Talk about demonstrating a point. Check out more of the great videos by Muscle and motion.
Maybe bodybuidlers and trainers have all been so aw-stuck by the look of the super stars and drug people that no one ever took the time to stop an ask about any questions. Well, as fanatic , first on cars when I was 16 and then on muscles when I reopened my gym in NJ after it burned to the ground. Before my roommate in California, Leon Bach ,gave me the nickname the “Musclecoach” due to this fanatic approach to muscle and training I had two great teachers, Of course you all about my trainer with Tudor Bompa, but my other great teacher was a physical therapist, named Robert K Blom, who taught me to look at a muscle and forget what the superstars said, knda the same as Tudor. Robert is not a bodybuidler or really ha any interest in sports except for his golf. He just had the best open mind for muscles and the human Body I ever knew. This video is just another of my rantings of what I found. It just amazes me to know end how and why I was the first to pick up on this. Actually in a way it is just sad that some many trainees have missed better legs. I guess you are just lucky then finding this blog.
Then finally I designed and manuafactured this at the Bear Cave.
Every bodybuilder at one time or another in his training times has been frustrated over calf or in this case lower leg development. It has to be one of the great mysteries of training. What seems so simple is really a complex area of the body that stands alone from all other areas.
Think about it, you have two muscles in the back of the leg that even though they have the same function, flexing the ankle, but do this is two entirely different situations. Then add to that a 3rd muscle on the front of the leg that no one ever even thought of training.