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Nick

Advanced lower body strength moves?

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Nick

I'm wondering what (if any) advanced lower body strength moves there are. Are pistols and glute ham raises as advanced as it gets or are there more difficult progressions? I'm asking because I already have experience with these exercises and want to keep progressing.

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StevenJ

24-inch box jumps, calf raises, lunges, jumping squats. Just some other leg exercises I can think of. On progressing with your other exercises, do jumping pistols if you can, or put a weight vest on for the pistols and the GHRs.

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Blairbob

I did see a pretty cool video the other day of someone jumping on and off a table in a pistol.

Another would be height jumps. Stand on High Bar ( 8'8" ), jump off and stick.

Bounding jumping series

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Guest jumpupandfly

Id say good old squats and deadlifts.

Although this is a site dedicated to gymnastics strength stuff, that doesn't mean all excersizes have to be limited to bodyweight-style moves.

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Nick

Yes, squats compose the majority of my current training. Previously I had also used other "traditional" exercises like bench presses, etc for upper body. However after experimenting with various gymnastics movements, I'm convinced that they are superior for upper body strength training. I just wasn't sure if there were similarly great movements for the lower body or if, after reaching a certain level of strength that heavy weights were the only way to keep progressing. But I guess it's just a lot harder to come up with very leverage-disadvantaged movements for the lower body.

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Nic Scheelings

Don't forget the olympic lifts as well, although i would consider them a full body excercise they are also great for developing strength and power in the lower body.

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glwanabe

Squats are my main leg work. I do both med weighted, and bodyweight.

I try and do bodyweight squats between upperbody sets. I'm wanting to keep my body working, to burn fat during my workouts.

I don't go real heavy on the weighted squats. I've just upped my weight on them to 100lbs. I strive for higher reps. I don't want to stress my cns to hard due to the overall volume of work I'm doing.

Leg curls and extensions are going to get thrown in as well.

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Guest Valentin

Hi

Lower body strength exercises are limited. There is only so much that you can accomplish (speaking from purely strength development point of view) with body weight lower body exercises. Aside from Single leg squats from a maximal ROM position with additional weight (like weight vest, dumbbells ect), there really isnt anything harder.

In gymnastics however this is about enough, because in gymnastics lower body development is not about strength per say, but plyometric power (efficiency of plyometric biomechanics ). Gymnasts need to be able to explode/react fast of the floor, and not necessarily be able to do a standing vertical of 60inch (that being said such a vertical would be of great help as it does suggest certain capacity of work). Squats and similar exercises don't training this plyometric explosives (they can but not normaly), these exercises are used usually to increase absolute strength, so that relative strength can be optimized.

Lower body development for gymnastics is more similar to a high jumper rather than a power lifter/weight lifter if you get my meaning.

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shiftedShapes

I would try the following advanced variations:

1) One leg squats to full depth, ass to calves, with a straight back, no forward movement or internal rotation of the knee, and no bounce. If you can do a set of 10 of these with perfect from I would be very surprised.

2) One leg stiff leg deadlifts, using an appropriately weighted barbel do a one leg stiff legged deadlift. Try to make it so that your back is straight and your knee doesn't bend. the bend should come at the hips. Also don't let your ass drift backwards. If this gets to easy just hold the weight further out in front of you during the exercise. Again do it without bounce.

3) Leg raises in all directions (front, back, side). Keep working on these until you can lift your leg to vertical without swing. In other words a full vertical split.

You will probably have to train your flexibility to get these exercises. I also think that the ab wheel, especially with a weighted vest is a pretty good leg workout.

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Bob Sanders
I would try the following advanced variations:

1) One leg squats to full depth, ass to calves, with a straight back, no forward movement or internal rotation of the knee, and no bounce. If you can do a set of 10 of these with perfect from I would be very surprised.

2) One leg stiff leg deadlifts, using an appropriately weighted barbel do a one leg stiff legged deadlift. Try to make it so that your back is straight and your knee doesn't bend. the bend should come at the hips. Also don't let your ass drift backwards. If this gets to easy just hold the weight further out in front of you during the exercise. Again do it without bounce.

3) Leg raises in all directions (front, back, side). Keep working on these until you can lift your leg to vertical without swing. In other words a full vertical split.

You will probably have to train your flexibility to get these exercises. I also think that the ab wheel, especially with a weighted vest is a pretty good leg workout.

Isn't the leg raise an ab exercise/ That is where you are on a bar and you lift you legs til you tough the bar of the ceiling? I was doing that other day and I hurt my right shoulder. It hurt real bad at first but a few seconds it's gone but you can still feel it if you move the arms a certain direction.

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John Sapinoso

[^^^] i think what he's referring to is what most people would think of as ballet kicks which are extremely helpful.

For gymnastics, leg strength is punching and rebounding based, as opposed to jumping.

here's some suggestions:

jump off a tall object and stick. (rope hi bar, blocks...rooftops) to make it harder: squat jump upon landing, perform with a single leg, flip off of the object, upon landing punch or punch front onto elevated surface.

double and single leg rebound series (sender's)

body weight hamstring curls/ ghr

i've tried a quadricep version of the above but it seems strenuous on the knees

pushing panel mats with a few teammates or a weight stack on top of it.

lunge jumps

most gymnasts are built like yield signs and have tiny legs though, so if you're only in this for the aesthetic aspects, you may want to use other supplemental lower body strength training.

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cathal

tsoonami how exactly do you perform the quad version of the glute ham raise?

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Bob Sanders

You've really confused me there.

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Ari

I'm guessing you would get in the position of a glute-ham-raise, but facing upwards. That does sound really stressful on the knees to me.

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George Launchbury

Eek. That sounds like a bodyweight version of the leg extension machine ...feet anchored, pivot under the knees ...ouch! :)

George.

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Bob Sanders

Hey that sounds like a need exercise. SO how does it go? I do not see the prefect picture here. So will I be like in 90 degree angle and I go up until my body is parallel to the floor?

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Nick

Just wanted to share some things I've been noticing in regards to pistols. Any comments would be great.

Pistols should be done with the shin angle at 90 degrees at all times. In other words, don't let the knee drift forward. All movement should come from the hips.

To manipulate the difficulty of the exercise, simply adjust the torso angle (while obviously keeping the shin angle consistent). Leaning the torso forward makes it easier, while leaning back makes it more difficult. Here's a quick drawing I made if you can't visualize it:

http://i33.tinypic.com/24w99bc.jpg

Not sure what could be done beyond leaning as far back as possible to increase difficulty, however, this at least gives something beyond the standard pistol to work on.

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Coach Sommer

To descend into a SLS (single leg squat) I prefer for the athlete to push their hips out behind them, much like the athlete would do if they were sitting down on a couch. I have found that this greatly increases stability as well as naturally extends the depth of the movement.

For the ascent, rather than focusing on keeping the shins vertical, I recommend focusing on ensuring that the hips and shoulders rise together so that the extension of both the knees and the hips occurs simultaneously. Allowing the shoulders to drop forward and the hips to rise first turns the exercise into a partial squat followed by a partial arch-up.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Bob Sanders

Great tip. Thanks!

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Nick
Single Leg Squat Tips

To descend into a SLS (single leg squat) I prefer for the athlete to push their hips out behind them, much like the athlete would do if they were sitting down on a couch. I have found that this greatly increases stability as well as naturally extends the depth of the movement.

For the ascent, rather than focusing on keeping the shins vertical, I recommend focusing on ensuring that the hips and shoulders rise together so that the extension of both the knees and the hips occurs simultaneously. Allowing the shoulders to drop forward and the hips to rise first turns the exercise into a partial squat followed by a partial arch-up.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

So along with ensuring that the movement is generated by the hips, what is your opinion of my thoughts on torso angle? Do you think that would be an effective way to adjust difficulty of the movement? Beginners would obviously start with the torso far forward, then progressively move the torso back to put the legs at more of a leverage disadvantage. Just curious if you feel this would be a good way to advance the difficulty of the single leg squat.

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Coach Sommer

Focusing on the angle of the torso is never something that I have emphasized. My personal preference is to allow the athlete to lean forward to counter balance the hips extending to the rear. Then once the athlete becomes proficient at SLS, I usually add weight (anywhere from 10-25lbs depending on the size of the athlete). Once they become proficient at the weighted SLS, then I introduce jumping for height, then jumping for distance and finally jumping for distance and height.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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temet nosce

Sirs, I believe beggar's knees exercises would be a great addition to lower body strength, especially the single leg version if you can ever get there.

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Nick

Please explain, I've never heard of those before.

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Guest Ido Portal

There is more to a gymnasts/dancers/martial artists leg training than squating strength and jumping ability.

I urge you to keep an open mind when it comes to your leg training, as the benefits of a complete leg training is way beyond jumping ability.

What I concentrate with my athletes:

A. Jumping ability and explosive, starting and speed strength.

B. Reactive ability and elasticity.

C. Fast&Slow Dynamic flexibility, active-iso flexilibity. (also strength depended)

D. Iso-Passive flexibility. (strength depended)

E. Specific endurance legs training. (general endurance - no such thing, everything is specific)

F. Skill leg training. (specific coordination, balance. General work in this department after the age of 12 is a waste of one's time)

The combination of training methods produce similar results to gymnastics upper body training. The legs can be moven into any position, held there, support the body, propel it, push outside objects or another person, manipulate the body into various positions, etc...

The modern-western way to look at leg training is limited in a similar way to using weightlifiting to develop the full spectrum of physical abilities possible.

As the african Kikungo proverb says:

"Mooko mu tunga, malu mu diatikisa"

"Arms are to build, legs to destroy"

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Nick

Ido, what types of training would you recommend to develop those qualities? Plyometrics and/or movement drills? Or something else?

Also, would your comments remain the same given that gymnastics is not my primary sport, but rather a supplement to help me in other sports - namely basketball and football?

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