Lower-body Pull Exercises

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Barbell Deadlift– Start by setting up a barbell with two weights on each side on a flat surface.  Set your feet underneath you with your shins about an inch away from the bar as you stand erect.  Set your grip, which can be double over hand or mixed, and “pull” yourself into starting position by pushing your hips down to the floor while arching your lower back slightly and pulling your shoulder blades back and down.  Your arms should be straight, with no bend in the elbow, throughout the entire movement.  Ascend with the weight by keeping your back flat with your shoulders pulled back and down as you drive through middle of your feet and pull with your glutes and hamstrings.  Lower the weight back down the same path keeping your form exactly the same.  Continue for the prescribed amount of reps.

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Good Mornings–  Start by unracking the bar and carrying it across the top of your back.  Take one step back with each leg and set your feet.  Your grip should be as narrow as possible on the bar and your shoulder blades should be retracted and pulled downward throughout all repetitions.  To begin the descent, push your hips back, bending only at the waist, keeping your back as flat as possible and your chest out.  Your knees will have a very slight bend and you should feel a pretty good stretch in your hamstrings as you descend.  Once you reach the bottom, squeeze your glutes and drive your hips forward in order to stand yourself back up straight.

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Single Leg Romanian Deadlift–  The single leg romanian deadlift is similar to the good morning in that it involves a genuflect-like movement with a slightly bent leg.  Begin by grasping a pair of dumbbells and holding them at your sides as you balance on one leg.  As with all exercises, the back should remain flat throughout all repetitions.  Begin the descent phase by sticking your hips back, bending at the waist, and allowing your arms to remain naturally straight as if on a hinge from your shoulders.  Once you reach the bottom, squeeze your glutes and drive your hips through until you are standing erect again.  Maintain the balance on one leg for all repetitions until you switch sides.

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Glute Ham Raise– Adjust a glute ham raise machine so that when your toes are pressed against the foot plate your knees are about an inch away from the pad, while your legs are completely extended.  Set yourself in the machine so that your hips, knees and ankles are totally extended with your toes pressed into the foot plate.  Keep your glutes squeezed tight throughout the movement and begin by pushing through your toes and pulling with your hamstrings and glutes to bring your body into a position in which it is perpendicular with the ground.  The goal is to keep your hips extended throughout the entire movement, do not let them flex and travel backward before the rest of your body.  As you return to the starting position, control the eccentric portion of the movement by keep your glutes and hamstrings tight.  Repeat for the prescribed repetitions.