This is a great example of how changing the foot position can drastically alter how the muscles are worked during an exercise.
Most people will do a Romanian Deadlift with feet around hip to shoulder width apart.
Switching this exercise up to a sumo stance with feet out wide will still target the hamstrings (muscles at the back of the legs), the butt muscles and you will also feel this in the adductor muscles (inner thighs)
Key teaching points:
• Stand tall with feet wider than shoulder width. Brace abdominals tightly throughout exercise. Hold dumbbells in each hand with arms by side. Exact foot width will be individual.
• Put a small bend in knees and maintain this during exercise.
• Begin movement by pushing hips back whilst simultaneously bending at waist, allowing weight to lower in front of you.
• Continue lowering the weights and pushing hips back until you cannot maintain a straight back or hamstrings will not allow you to lower any further.
• To return, squeeze glutes and hamstrings whilst pushing feet into floor to stand up tall again and return to start position.
The Marching Hip Lift is a good bridging exercise between doing a standard 2 Leg Hip Lift and progressing to a 1 Leg Hip Lift Version.
It will put a lot of work through the hamstrings (muscles at the back of the leg) whilst forcing you to keep the butt and core muscles braced hard so the hips do not drop from side to side as you march.
• Lay with back on floor, knees bent 90 degrees with heels on a bench. Arms positions 45 degrees to body with palms facing up.
• Squeeze shoulder blades down and together and brace abdominals.
• Heels should be close to edge of a bench and calves should not be on bench.
• Press heels down hard into bench whilst squeezing butt muscles hard to raise hips up off floor
• Continue raising hips up until knees - hips - shoulders are in a straight line.
• In this position, lift one foot up off the bench until knee is 90 degrees to same side hips
• Then return the foot to the bench and repeat with the other leg
If you had to ask me what I currently think is the grimmest exercise to do which is also awesome - this would likely top my list.
Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats (aka Bulgarian Split Squats) are pretty effective / brutal / will make you want to send me hate mail.
However, a lot of people do the following with a standard version:
1) Rush them and use the Stretch Shortening Cycle to bounce out the bottom of this movement, so not working the muscles as much as they could be doing.
2) Don't use enough range of motion - either to make this exercise easier to do or so they can just go for a heavier weight. Using more weight is great but don't cheat your muscles out of a decent range of motion if they can handle it.
Slow eccentric is basically a fancy way of saying lower slowly. You should look to take 4 - 6 seconds to fully lower down, going as far as is comfortable whilst maintaining a good lower back position (i.e. don't extend through the lower back and make it cranky).
• Stand tall with abdominals braced and either use bodyweight or hold a dumbbell in each hand, arms by side. Place back foot on a bench or raised surface.
• Foot can either be on toes or placed flat on edge of bench.
• Keep abdominals braced tightly and torso in an upright or slightly forward flexed position. This is the start position.
• Bend the front knee whilst lowering hips down towards the floor. Continue lowering for 4 - 6 seconds until front knee is approximately 90 degrees. Do not let back knee touch the floor.
• Press front foot into floor and squeeze glutes to raise hips straight up to return to start position.
• Repeat all reps on one leg before repeating on opposite side.
This is an interesting split squat variation to try.
Most split squats start from the top position and have you lower yourself down.
With this variation, you start in the bottom position and drive the body up.
The kicker is you do not rest at the top, instead, you come to a complete full stop at the bottom again but keep the butt muscles squeezed throughout.
Done with control, this really hits the legs and butt muscles.
I also find this is a great way to teach people the correct foot positions for the split squat if they struggle with that.
• Start in a half kneeling position - Front foot is on the floor with knee bent 90 degrees. Back knee is bent 90 degrees and resting on the floor. Try to keep the pelvis tucked.
• Brace abdominals and breathe out whilst simultaneously pressing both feet into the floor and squeezing the butt muscles to raise hips straight up off the floor.
• Stop when you can no longer keep a tucked pelvis position i.e. your hips roll forward and your lower back starts to round.
• With control, lower your hips back towards the ground and gently rest the back knee on the floor.
• Keep constant tension on the butt muscles throughout the movement.
This is my, mostly, Personal Trainer musings and information which I hope you'll find helpful!