Lower Body Accessory Exercises

Legs-

Leg Press          Walking Lunges          Front Squat          Romanian Deadlift          Leg Curls         

Back-

Reverse Hypers          Good Mornings          Barbell Rows          Dumbbell Rows          Lat Pull-Downs          Seated Cable Rows         

Biceps-

Dumbbell Curls          Hammer Curls

 

Technique

You will learn the purpose for each and its place in the Mathias Method as well as how to perform them both safely and effective.

Format:

Purpose- Benefits of this exercise.

Prime Movers- Which muscles do the most work

Technique- How to set-up the exercise and preform it safe and effectively.

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Accessory Exercises

Accessory work is in place to improve the main lifts performed that day, improve muscle weaknesses and increase the volume of work performed. Accessory work should be performed with low to moderate intensity to allow for optimal muscle growth and proper technique. Failing on accessory work should be rare, and only utilized when the intensity for the main lift was relatively low. The focus of intensity on the accessory lifts during heavy sessions should be to achieve a strong muscle contraction. The intensity of accessory work done on light days should focus on muscle endurance and hypertrophy. Heavy accessory work should utilize some full body movement, known as “body English” or “cheating”, to increase the muscular stimulus needed for a strong muscle contraction, but needs to be limited. The focus should be on stimulating the muscle rather than just throwing around tremendous weight. Light accessory work should be done at a slow to moderate pace with relatively strict form to ensure proper muscle activation throughout the entire lift. It is important to always be in control of the weight during any exercise being performed. For bodyweight exercises on both heavy and light days, perform the exercises as fast as possible while maintaining control of your entire body. For all accessory work, always stop 1-2 repetitions before failure on all sets other than the last, which can be taken to absolute failure if desired. Another option for accessory work is to perform it on the days between your main lift sessions. The same principles of execution apply to heavy assistance exercises versus light assistance exercises, though they can be done in the same training session. Even on accessory only days it is important to mobilize before and after the training session.

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POWER

Power is not control over others but rather control over yourself and the ability to lead others with what you believe. Be Powerful!

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Squat/ Deadlift Accessory Exercises:

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Leg Press:

Purpose- Increase Leg Hypertrophy, Build Leg Strength, Improve Squatting Mechanics

Prime Movers- Quadriceps (Legs), Hamstrings (Legs), Glutes (Hips)

Technique- Sit in a Leg Press Machine with your back flat against the back pad and place your feet shoulder width apart on the pressing platform. Have your feet straight or slightly turned out as if you were to do a close stance squat, such as a front squat. Claw your feet into the pressing platform while creating an external rotation force (as is done for squatting) as you unrack the weight by straightening your legs. Initiate the lift by bending your knees and opening your hips, just like a front squat, allowing your knees to travel outward so that they do not move in front of your toes. Descent the weight under control until just before you feel a stretch in your back, or your hips begin to move forward off the pad. Forcefully press into the platform while maintaining the same external rotation torque in your feet and knees until your legs are nearly locked out. Control the weight in both directions and keep your feet and back in contact with the machine throughout the entire lift.

Note: It is imperative that your lower back and hips do not come off of the base pads. They must maintain firm contact with the seat and feel no pull in the bottom position. Your mobility will determine the depth of the lift.

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Walking Lunges:

Purpose- Build Hip-Knee-Ankle Stability, Increase Leg Hypertrophy, Teach Single Leg Squatting Mechanics

Prime Movers- Quadriceps (Legs), Hamstring Complex (Legs), Glutes (Hips)

Technique- Standing erect, take one large step forward and plant your foot with toes straight ahead. Grasp the floor with your lead foot and press the ball of your posterior foot back into the ground behind you. While maintaining these two points of contact with the ground, brace your core, keep your hips square and torso vertical as you descend straight down into a lunge. Stop just before your posterior knee touches the floor and pause briefly before ascending. As you ascend, pull your lead heel into the ground to pull yourself up and forward while extending both knees and taking another large step forward, to repeat the movement. If your knee goes past your toes then your step was too short or you leaned too far forwards. To increase the intensity, hold two dumbbells to your sides.

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Front Squat:

Purpose- Build Leg Extension Strength, Build Core Strength, Build Thoracic Extension Strength

Prime Movers- Quadriceps (Legs), Hamstring Complex (Legs), Glutes (Hips)

Technique- Set-up the same as if you are going to do a Military Press, with the bar set in your fingers and elbows in front of you 30-45 degrees. Your stance should be shoulder width or closer to allow for a full depth squat. You may point your toes out up to 30 degrees if needed to compensate for decreased mobility. In your squat stance, with the bar resting on your collar bones, ensure your entire body is tight as you take in a deep breath of air and press it down into your tightened abdomen, to create intra-abdominal pressure. Grasp the floor with your toes and create an external rotation torque throughout. Initiate the squat by breaking at the knees, pressing them out laterally past your ankles and descending into a full depth squat. To ascend, keep your knees out, flex your glutes and extend your legs while maintaining a neutral spine. Your torso should maintain a relatively vertical position throughout the lift.

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Romanian Deadlift:

Purpose- Teach Hip Hinge Mechanics, Build Hip Hinge Strength, Build Core Strength

Prime Movers- Hamstring Complex (Legs), Glutes (Hips)

Technique- Set-Up and deadlift (conventional) a loaded barbell to a full lockout. From this top position, brace your core and flex your glutes hard to control your descent as you bend only at the hips, lowering the bar down your legs until it is below your knees. Maintain only a slight bend in your legs in your knees throughout the entire movement. As the bar goes lower than your knees, push it out in front of you slightly so that it is several inches away from your shins, to increase the tension on your hamstrings. To finish, quickly pull the bar back into you and stand up, pushing your hips forward into a full lockout.

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Leg Curls:

Purpose- Increase Hamstring Complex and Calf Muscular Hypertrophy

Prime Movers- Hamstring Complex (Legs), Gastrocnemius (Calf)

Technique- Set up on a leg curl machine of any kind, with your feet hooked. Forcefully contract your hamstrings to curl your lower leg as you press your knee into the pad. Hold the top position, where you have completed a full range of motion, for a pause before slowly lowering the weight under control. To put a greater emphasis on your hamstrings, point your toes as you do the lift to decrease the use of your Gastrocnemius (calf).

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Reverse Hypers:

Purpose- Build Spinal Erector and Glute Strength, Spinal Decompression

Prime Movers- Spinal Erectors (Back), Glutes (Hips)

Technique- Set up on a Reverse Hyper Machine with your feet hooked and the front of your hip crease placed against the edge of the pad. Begin by flexing your glutes to lift your legs up behind you, and allow the weight to rock back down as you relax. As your swings increase so that your legs extend backward in line with your body, pull your head back towards your feet arching your back and flex your lower back musculature hard. Then control the weight back down and allow it to swing forward as you lower your head back in front of you. By arching your back at the top with your head raised you will allow for a better, more complete contraction in your spinal erectors; and as the weight lowers, rounding your back, lower your head to allow for the greatest amount of stretch to occur. This full motion promotes spinal health while strengthening your entire spinal erector chain.

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Good Morning:

Purpose- Teach Hip Hinge Mechanics, Build Hip Hinge Strength, Build Core Strength

Prime Movers- Glutes (Hips), Hamstring Complex (Legs)

Technique- Standing erect with the bar placed in your squat position, have your feet slightly turned out and placed in the position you want to make stronger. Grasp the ground with your feet and create an external rotation force throughout the entire movement. Take a deep breath and press it down into your abdomen, as you flex the surrounding muscles, to maintain a neutral spine throughout the lift. Pull your head back into the bar and push your hips back as you lean your torso forward into a bow. Allow your knees to bend slightly and press them out hard as you descend. Only go as low as you can while maintaining a neutral spine and then flex your glutes hard to push your hips forward to raise the bar back to the start.

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Barbell Rows:

Purpose- Build Pulling Strength and Increase Back Hypertrophy

Prime Movers- Latimus Dorsi (Back), Spinal Erectors (Back), Biceps Brachii (Arms)

Technique- Deadlift a loaded barbell while using a double overhand grip in the same place as your bench press grip. Maintaining a neutral spine as you lean forward while bending your knees slightly so that the barbell hovers over the ground and your back is almost parallel to the ground. Allow your shoulders to hang slightly forward and elbows to turn out. From here, simultaneously raise your torso slightly as you pull your elbows back behind your body. Rotate your elbows so that they point backward as you pull and squeeze your shoulder blades together behind you. Think of bringing the bar into your stomach. Control the weight as you lower it back to the starting position, allowing your elbows to flair and shoulders to be pulled slightly forward.

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Dumbbell Rows:

Purpose- Build Pulling Strength, Increase Shoulder Integrity

Prime Movers- Latimus Dorsi (Back), Rhomboids (Back), Biceps Brachii (Arms)

Technique- In a staggered stance, with one foot forward and the other behind, bend at the hips until your torso is slightly above parallel to the floor. Place your lead hand on a stable structure, or on your front knee, as you grab a heavy dumbbell or kettle bell with the other hand. Maintain a neutral spine as you pull your elbow back towards your hip until it is higher than your torso. Keep your palm facing in towards your body throughout the lift and pull your shoulder blade back at the top of the row while allowing your torso to rotate slightly up. Control the descent as you let the weight arc back into the starting position just underneath your shoulder. In the starting position between lifts, let your shoulder blade protract forward and torso rotate slightly pulling again. This slight rotation allows for use of the entire lat muscle, which is attached at the base of your spine.

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Lat Pull-Down:

Purpose- Increase Back Hypertrophy, Improve Shoulder Integrity

Prime Movers- Latimus Dorsi (Back), Biceps Brachii (Arms), Rhomboids (Back)

Technique- Using a Lat Pull-Down cable attachment of your choice, grab the handles firmly and sit in position on the machine. Make sure to grasp firmly and wrap your thumbs around the handles trying to maintain a neutral wrist position. To begin, lean your torso back only slightly, while pulling your elbows back and down behind you. Focus on leading with your elbows and pulling your shoulder blades together. Then, control the weight down as you slowly relax back into the start position with your arms fully extended. If you are able to without letting the weights rest, come all the way back to where your torso is vertical and you can push your head through your arms the same as for Military Press. For proper movement and efficiency, rotate your elbows inward towards the front of your body as you pull and let them flair out as you come back to the start position.

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Seated Cable Row:

Purpose- Increase Back Hypertrophy, Improve Shoulder Integrity

Prime Movers- Latimus Dorsi (Back), Biceps Brachii (Arms), Rhomboids (Back)

Technique- Using a cable attachment of your choice, grab the handles firmly and sit in position on the seated row machine. Make sure to grasp firmly and wrap your thumbs around the handles trying to maintain a neutral wrist position. To begin, lean your torso back only slightly, while pulling your elbows back and down behind you. Focus on leading with your elbows and pulling your shoulder blades together. Then, control the weight down as you slowly relax back into the start position with your arms fully extended. For proper movement and efficiency, rotate your elbows inward towards your hips as you pull and let them flair out as you come back to the start position.

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Dumbbell Curls:

Purpose- Increase Biceps Strength and HypertrophyIMG_2540IMG_2538

Prime Movers- Biceps Brachii (Arms)

Technique- Start by standing erect while holding two dumbbells at your sides in a neutral position, so that your palms face in. To begin, curl either one or both dumbbells up until your arm is fully flexed with your palm externally rotated until it faces upward. In the top position allow your elbows to come forward slightly until it is directly under the weight. Control the descent as you rotate the dumbbell back to the starting position.

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Hammer Curls:

Purpose- Increase Biceps Strength and Hypertrophy, Increase Forearm Strength and HypertrophyIMG_2541IMG_2538

Prime Movers- Biceps Brachii (Arms), Brachioradialis (Arms)

Technique- Start by standing erect while holding two dumbbells at your sides in a neutral position, so that your palms face in. To begin, curl either one or both dumbbells up until your arm is fully flexed with your palms facing each other. In the top position allow your elbows to come forward slightly until it is directly under the weight. Control the descent as you bring the dumbbell back to the starting position.

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Disclaimer

When participating in any exercise or training program there is a possibility of physical injury. If you engage in any movements, exercises or training programs, you agree to do so at your own risk. By voluntarily participating in these activities, you assume all risk of injury to yourself and agree to release and discharge Mathias Method, Ryan Mathias and all other affiliates of any responsibility if injury occurs. In addition, by following any of the suggested guidelines, protocols, templates, activities or any other information or advice on this website (mathiasmethod.com) you do so at your own risk. Do not begin any nutrition or training program without consulting with a  Board Certified Medical Doctor and/or Registered Dietician first.

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