If you know me at all by now, you understand that I advocate highly for compound moves in my weight training programs. That is because compound lifts (using large, multiple muscle groups) is the most effective way to train most body parts. Not only are you building and enhancing stability and mobility with use of all these and other, smaller muscle groups, you’re also getting the most bang for your buck in terms of actual work done in a single movement.
Take the Romanian Deadlift/Stiff-legged Deadlift, for example. This is what I call a big compound move. Not only are you using your hamstrings (the back side of the thigh most of us want to shape) to do the work, you’re also recruiting your abs, hips and the entire posterior chain to keep you from falling over while you’re doing it.
At first glance this may seem like a simple exercise. You bend at the waist and go down and up. Sure, it does look that way. However, this is an advanced move that takes time to build because it really is a concert of individual concepts performed all at once. See my client Wendi’s example below. She has been doing these for several weeks now. You’ll know you’re doing it right when your back is nice and flat. This move paired with hip thrusts, will give you well defined glutes and hamstrings, as Wendi is displaying beautifully here.
What an incredible way to really carve up the hammies. Be SURE you have the form down with light dumbbells before graduating to the Olympic bar. Here’s how you do it:
- Grasp the bar with a shoulder-width grip. I like to teach mixed grip (one hand over and one under) for balance upon future loading
- Stand upright with your shoulders back and down, chest up
- Take a shoulder-width stance with your feet pointing forward
- Squeeze your glutes to stabilize BEFORE you begin
- Knees should have a soft bend, not locked
- S L O W L Y hinge at the hip and push your hips back
- Keep your chest up, back straight, knees relatively straight and head neutral (don’t look up) as you descend
- Feel the stretch and let your hamstrings and glutes take on the load. Trust them to come to the party, they’re BUILT for this!
- Descend to about sock height with the bar and return to your starting position.