Discover more from Strong As An Ox
Part 2: My Favorite Exercises For Each Body Part
Part 2 Favorite Leg Exercises
This is part 2 of My Favorite Exercises for Each Body Part. After these emails go out, I will delete this post and combine it with the first post so you can find it easier when going back to reference.
I’m going to split legs into both quads and hamstrings because both, though literally right on top of each other, have very different functions. Quads again are easy to work, suck yes, but easy—if it extends the leg, it works quad.
Favorite Quad Exercise
To zero surprise of any followers, my favorite quad exercise is the hack squat. The hack squat allows safer loading of the leg, eliminates most spinal compression, and allows a better angle to isolate the quad
Favorite Barbell/Dumbell Exercise
Bulgarian Split Squat
This might be surprising, but my favorite is not what most would think of—it is the bulgarian split squat. This movement is absolutely elite for working the quads, and again, safer on the spine with relatively low risk of injury.
Favorite Quad Accessory
Leg Extensions aren’t just an elite accessory movement, they are one of the best quad exercises there is. They allow you to really isolate the quad and the machine is safe enough that you can go pretty insane on it
Hamstrings are the most neglected of the lower body muscles because you can’t see them, they are hard to work, and they don’t look “cool”; however, they are extremely important for our overall physical health, and neglecting them creates a very imbalanced physique prone to injury.
Favorite Hamstring Exercise
Straight Leg Deadlifts
Ahh, for once my favorite movement on a body part is a barbell movement! While I could name something theoretically better based on science, the Straight Leg Deadlift is great for loading the hamstring and developing total lower body strength.
The secret here is perfect form and truly controlling the lift, the weighted stretch on the eccentric is great for muscle growth.
Favorite Barbell/Dumbbell Exercise
Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
Well, I’ve already said the SLDL is my favorite overall exercise, so I will give my next favorite movement which is a modified straight leg deadlift, the Romanian Deadlift, done with dumbbells.
Due to the nature of dumbbells, this allows you to fully control and stretch, really taking advantage of the eccentric which contributes in itself to muscle growth.
Favorite Hamstring Accessory
Seated Leg Curl
So I kinda lied, my favorite exercise for hamstrings, which happens to be the most effective hamstring exercise for muscle growth, is the seated leg curl.
The seated leg curl perfectly isolates and loads the hamstring in the full range of motion while also being extremely safe. Reason it’s not number 1 is because I find the SLDL to be a more fun and challenging exercise with benefits beyond just muscle growth.
Training glutes is not just for girls, plus girls appreciate a nice ass as well. Glutes get heavily neglected by men, but they are important as they generate the majority of the lower body.
Favorite Glute Exercise
Glute Bridge Machine
This machine gets some hate from some DYEL’s, but I absolutely love it for hammering and targeting the glutes. Properly using the machine and it actually being effective with a safe ROM is important, but this allows you to load and work the glutes well, which can help alleviate back pain for many.
Favorite Barbell/Dumbbell Exercise
Dumbbell Backwards Lunges
While you don’t see it very often, the backwards or reverse lunge is highly effective for targeting and loading the glutes. Very important you do a backward lunge instead of forward because it creates a totally different exercise.
Favorite Glute Accessory
45 Degree Hyperextensions
If you have access to this machine set up, this is a fantastic glute movement. To add weight, simply grab a light easy bar and hold it in front of you. It’s important to do this properly and truly use the glutes by keeping a very neutral spine with no arch.
While there is really only so much we can do with calves, I will list my favorite movements for each category nonetheless. Calves are a very genetic-dependent muscle—you will never be able to change where the insert and the muscle bellies are, but you can definitely improve what you have.
Calves are just like any other muscle and we need to work with the same intensity and in the correct rep range (6-20 reps) for muscle growth.
The best method I’ve ever found to work calves is the DC Training Calves method I talk about in this post. Realistically any exercise from this post is a good exercise.
Favorite Calves Exercise
Sitting Calf Raises
Keeping it simple and to the point, the sitting calf raise is my favorite calf exercise due to the simplicity and ability to load the calf while sitting, so eliminating strain on anything else (and because I’m very lazy).
This exercise can also be done with a dumbbell resting on your legs and your feet raised on a couple plates.
Favorite Barbell/Dumbbell Alternative
Standing Calf Raises
You could do this with either a barbell in a rack or with dumbbells in each hand. I would suggest placing plates under your feet to allow you to get a deeper stretch and work the eccentric better—calves respond well to being worked in the stretched position.
Favorite Calf Accessory
Leg Press Calf Raises
An accessory calf exercise doesn’t really exist so I will post my alternative favorite calf exercise. Calf Raises on the leg press really allow you to stretch and load the calves and hit the calves at a different angle than sitting or standing. Just be safe and don’t let your ego get ahead of you, it’s calf raises bro… (Enjoy this hyper-dramatic picture)
Arms and Abs
Due to data space, I cannot add anymore or it will be too long to send via email; however, I will add these in when I combine the post and post a tweet of the link to the article (or you can search the archives).
In short, biceps are cable bicep curls and sitting dumbbell curls. Triceps are machine dips, dumbbell tricep extensions, and cable pushdowns. Abs are just standard ab crunches or reverse crunches.
In depth, I have covered training strategies for every muscle group named in the last 2 posts with additional movements that I like for them. I go into detail on training strategy, which is important for targeting the back correctly, and cues and tips to work/isolate the muscles better.
They are found here:
Targeting Specific Muscle Groups:
Guide To Training Calves And Abs - The first post in my series of specific strategies for building certain body parts. Starting with calves and abs—these are two important muscles that are unique compared to other muscles.
Your Guide To Training Arms - This post is to provide you with some tips and advice that can really help blow up your arms and make this a reality. Pt. 2 of Specific Strategies for building certain body parts.
Your Guide To Training Chest - Pt. 3 of Specific Strategies for building certain body parts. A well-developed chest is an extremely powerful and aesthetic feature to your body, it is really the major focal point of your upper-body.
Your Guide To Training Back + Width vs Thickness - Pt. 4 of Specific Strategies for building certain body parts. Back is a rather complex beast when it comes to training and actually training the muscles correctly—this will also clarify what I mean when I say back thickness and back width. The training methodology for both have key differences.
Your Guide To Training Legs - Pt. 5 of Specific Strategies for building certain body parts. Your legs are arguably your most important muscle group—they are up there in importance with your back. This is because your legs are the foundation of your body and all movement. Without legs we would be useless.
Your Guide To Training Shoulders - Pt. 6 of Specific Strategies for building a certain body part. The shoulders are very important in terms of upper body structural health (they control the movement of your arms), and they are also a very aesthetically pleasing muscle.
This is not Legal, Medical, or Financial advice. Please consult a medical professional before starting any workout program, diet plan, or supplement protocol. These are opinions from a Cartoon Ox.