Lower-body Push Exercises

 

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Squat–  Start by unracking the bar and carrying it across the top of your back.  Make sure that your upper back is tight throughout the entire movement by squeezing your shoulder blades back and down.  Step backwards once with each leg and plant your feet to begin the descent.  During the descent, push your hips back while keeping your chest up and shoulders retracted the entire time.  Descend until your thighs are parallel to the ground.  Drive the middle of the feet (concentrate on keeping your heels down) into ground to ascend.  Be sure to never allow your knees to fall inward (break from perpendicular to the ground) during the entire squat.

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Lumberjack Squat– Start by placing the end of a barbell in a landmine or in the corner.  Stand facing the bar so that the end not in the corner is perpendicular to your body.  Pick the bar up and cup your hands underneath it to support it, keep your elbows tucked underneath the bar to support the weight.  Step your feet back so that you are leaning forward at a slight angle.  Keep your torso upright and your core tight throughout the entire movement.  Squat by pushing your hips back and keeping your torso upright, sink until your femurs are parallel with the ground.  It is very important that the first movement is your hips travelling backwards, this will teach your body to squat in proper form.  Ascend by squeezing your glutes and quads while driving through the middle to heel of your feet.  Continue for the prescribed amount of reps.

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Box Squat–  This squat variation is characterized by really accentuating the squatting motion by pushing your hips back even further than normal.  You must still keep a tight upper back, an upright torso and make sure that your knees do not come in as you squat.  For this exercise, you will need a box or bench that allows you to sit back until your femurs are parallel with the floor.  As you squat you will “reach” for the box, sitting back as far as you can while still keeping your torso erect and your back tight.  Once seated on the box, keep your back tight and chest up with your lower back arched, relax your hamstrings and glutes just for an instant and then squeeze and fire both muscle groups explosively.  As you ascend from the box, think about pushing your shoulders into the bar so that you squat the weight up with power and good form.  Continue for the prescribed amount of reps.

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Bulgarian Split Squat– Start by unracking the bar by carrying it across the top of your back.  Step backwards and set your non-exercising foot on a bench or box, then set your exercising foot in place.   Your exercising leg should be far enough in front of your body that your hips can sink comfortably, but no too far that your knee is behind your ankle at the bottom portion of the squat.  Sink by driving the knee of your non-exercising leg directly toward the ground while keeping your hips from moving backward.  Ascend by driving through the middle of the foot of your exercising leg, pushing your hips straight up and pushing your shoulders into the bar.  This exercise can also be done with just body weight or by holding dumbells at your sides.

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Side Squats– Start by placing your feet as wide as comfortably possible.  When you begin the movement, push your hips back, keep your chest as upright as possible and sink to the chosen side while keep ing the non-exercising leg straight.  At the bottom your exercising leg should be in a fully flexed position while your non-exercising leg is straight.  To return to the starting position, drive through the middle and outside of the foot of the exercising leg and concentrate on squeezing your glutes of your exercising leg.  After returing to the starting position, continue the exercise by repeating the steps mentioned above on the opposite leg.  This exercise can be done with just body weight, by placing a barbell on your back, or holding dumbells at your chest or between your legs.

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Zercher Squat– Start by setting a barbell in a squat rack about waist high on the hooks.  Unrack the bar by securing the bar in the crook of your arms, squatting slightly and standing up with the weight.  Take one step back with each foot and then begin to descend by pushing your butt back and squatting down.  Concentrate on keeping your torso as upright as possible and descend until your elbows touch your thighs or your thighs are parallel to the ground.  Ascend by driving through the middle of your feet and your heels while squeezing your glutes and quadriceps.

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Split Squat– Start by unracking the bar and carrying it across the top of your back.  Step backwards and extend your non-exercising leg straight back.  You should step back far enough that your exercising leg is perpendicular to the ground in the up position.  Descend by driving the knee of your non-exercising leg directly toward the ground and pushing your hips straight down without shifting them backward.  Once at the bottom, begin to ascend by driving through the middle of the foot of your exercising leg, squeezing the glutes of the exercising leg and pushing with your quadricep.  Continue on that leg until prescribed reps are completed then immediately switch legs, following the same procedure.

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Front Squats– Start by setting the barbell in a squat rack a little less than shoulder height.  Unrack the bar by setting it on the front of your shoulders tight against your clavicle and wrapping your first two fingers underneath the bar while keeping your arms parallel with the ground at all times.  After you have lifted the bar out of the squat rack in this fashion, take one step back with each leg and set your feet to begin descending.  To descend, begin by pushing your butt back while keeping your torso as upright as possible.  To aid in keeping your torso upright, make sure that you keep your elbows up as high as you can while you descend.  Ascend by driving through the middle of your feet and your heels, squeezing your glutes and your quads.

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Side Squats with a Barbell– This is an example of doing side squats with a barbell on the back.  All form and coaching stays the same as described in the previous side squat video.

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Bodyweight Squats– Start by setting your feet about shoulder width apart with your toes pointed straight ahead or slightly outward.  Begin descending by pushing your butt back and keeping your torso as upright as possible.  Ascend by pushing through the middle of your feet and your heels, squeezing your glutes and your quadriceps.

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Reverse Lunges– Start by standing erect with your feet positioned unerneath you.  Descend by reaching back with your non-exercising leg while keeping your torso as erect as possible.  When reaching with your non-exercising leg, make sure that the leg travels straight back from its starting position.  The leg should not cross the mid-line of your body nor should it travel any wider.  To return to the starting position, push through the middle of your foot to your heel, squeezing your glutes and your quads.  Continue on one leg (unless instructed otherwise) for prescribed amount of reps before beginning on the opposite leg.

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Walking Lunges– Start by standing erect with your feet positioned underneath you.  Descend by taking a step forward, about twice as far as you normally would just to walk, and sink into the lunge position by allowing your hips to drop without your knee travelling more than a few inches forward.  Make sure to keep your torso erect throughout the entire movement.  Return to the starting position by driving through the heel of your exercising leg and squeezing your glute and quad.  Once back to the starting position, begin the same process with the opposite leg and continue alternating lunging on each leg until prescribed amount of reps are completed.

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Step Ups- Start by standing erect in front of a bench or adjustable step.  You want your upper and lower leg to form a right angle when your foot is on the box, if you are a beginner, so find a bench or step that will put your leg in the right position.  Begin by putting one foot up on the bench, driving through the middle of that foot to the heel, squeezing your glutes and quad of that leg and driving yourself up so that your non-exercising leg is even with your exercising leg.  Continue by keeping your foot on the bench and sinking back down into the start position.  Complete all the reps on one leg before moving on to the other leg.

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45 Degree Lunges–  45 degree lunges are performed with the same technique as the other lunge variations, only you step out at a 45 degree angle instead of straight forward and back.