Found this old video from last fall this morning and realized I had never posted it. I took if for two reasons-
ONE :to show one of the many amazing reasons I love Golds Gym in Venice. There is so much equipment there, old and new, all under one roof, that I have yet to find elsewhere. I know these little contraptions exists in other gyms- but for some reason, this one is just the best. Maybe it sentimental because I never used one before I got to Golds.. I don’t even know what you call it. Either way, if you are a fitness fanatic like myself you should really try to make it there once in your life. Its very inspirational and the energy is intoxicating. Everyone is so hungry to be the best.
TWO: I took this video to show full hip extension. Whether you are squatting dead lifting or doing these thing-a-ma-jigs, that GLUTE SQUEEZE at the top of the exercise, or hip thrust (a full opening of the front side of your hips) is important to understand and practice for a few major reasons.
First, this thrust and squeeze motion activates your glutes more than they would otherwise in the exercise (like if you only came up 90% leaving a slight bend at the waist-you have probably seen people in the gym doing this when they squat) and if you’re a white chick like me- working those glutes should be a corner stone in your training. Nobody wants a flat booty. However, if you already have an amazing bum, you probably want to keep it that way so there is no excuse to slack. But thats just about looks- a more mechanical reason is this: practicing this intentional glute activation through body weight exercises, like in this video, helps your glutes more instinctively activate when you go into heavy exercises like squats. This is important because a major issue with squats, dead lifts and similar exercises is the tendency to roll ones lower back when the weight becomes too heavy (or if someone is just not used to the movement). Having strong glutes (strength) and strong glute activation (mind to muscle connection) will help one place that heavy weight in their ARSE, where it belongs, rather than their back. This will not only prevent injury and pain, but again, one can’t tighten or grow their booty if they aren’t using it- so it needs to be used to its full capacity in each exercise intended for it. Lastly, on the front side of your body, you are opening up the hips and essentially stretching our upper quad and hip flexors. This is important because if someone continually failed to open up those hips they would be encouraging a tightness… a tightness in the hip flexors which is not fun. Again, tight hip flexors can lead to back issues, other muscle imbalances and injury and really prevent strength and muscle gains in the long run. ON the flip side, stretching that upper quad at the top of each rep will actually contribute to muscle growth. Although there is not a lot of weight paced on this muscle in this exercise, muscle grows from being torn down and rebuilt thicker and stronger, or in some cases with more fibers. That muscle tear starts with a muscle stretch. This is why the concentric movement of all lifting exercises is so important. So elongating a muscle as much as your can through each movement (within reason and with control) will help to increase flexibility and allow for more stretching in other exercises as well as this one.
One last detail- as your thrust your hips forward make sure you ARE in fact doing it from the glutes and not the low back. It is almost a tucking of the tail bone, like a dog tucking its tale. This motion causes your low back to become flat. However, if you just thrust froward from the belly, focusing on the front side of your body rather then that back side booty tuck, your low back with become arched. This is incorrect. This can also put stain on the knees if you are locked into a piece of equipment as seen in the video. PROPER form really is the foundation of lifting and why learning from someone with more experience will help you grow faster, avoid injury, and get where you want to go the safest and fastest way possible. Happy training!