Why are Hip Dominant Leg Exercises Important?

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question-icon-newI just finished reading your article, “How To Build a Better Body – Part 2“, and was wondering if you could give me a couple of examples of hip dominant leg exercises.

answer-icon-newThe importance of hip dominant leg exercises is to make the muscles of the gluteus and hamstrings stronger and more powerful. A great way to structure your lower body workout is to balance the total number of sets between both hip dominant and knee dominant exercises. Well conditioned and strong hamstrings take the pressure off of the knees, which helps to decrease knee injuries. In addition, strong gluteus and hamstring muscles relieve pressure from the lower back and also helps to prevent hamstring and knee injuries. The hamstrings become dominant during the hip extension but if the gluteus muscles are weak, this can lead to hamstring injuries. There are many different hip dominant exercises available for you to choose from. These movements include hamstring combinations, back extensions, Romanian deadlifts and the back lunge exercise.

The Hamstring Combination
This type of hip dominant leg exercise develops torso stability and strengthens the hamstrings. The hamstring combination is a functional closed-chain exercise that imitates the horizontal forces which take place in movements such as sprinting. On the opposite end of the spectrum, machine leg curls are single-joint, nonfunctional exercises. In order to prevent hamstring injuries, incorporating the hip dominant exercises is very beneficial. The way to execute this exercise is to lift your hips to a straight body position from the floor. Ensure that you lower your hips until your butt nearly touches the ground.

Back Extension
This is the type of hip dominant exercise that strengthens the posterior chain. In the course of synergistically working together to extend the hips, the gluteus muscles, hamstrings and adductor magnus are strengthened dynamically.

Back Lunge
This is a single-leg hip dominant leg exercise to develop and strengthen each individual leg along with improving overall balance. It can also be used for the development of dynamic flexibility in the hip flexor muscles.

Romanian Deadlift
The aim of this exercise is to strengthen the posterior chain. The Romanian deadlift is an amazing hip dominant leg exercise to include in your leg workout. The lower back extensors function as stabilizers and are strengthened isometrically. By maintaining an arched lower back throughout the entire movement, you are able to activate the stabilizer muscles. Romanian deadlifts are one of the best exercises to strengthen your lower back.

Tips and Exercise Advice
There are many advantages of including strength training workouts into your overall fitness program. Daily exercise improves self-image, increases energy levels, enhances brain power, builds lean muscle and helps to burn calories which will decrease body fat levels for a leaner physique.

If you are a beginner, it is important for you to build up your routine gradually in order to prevent injury, avoid extremely sore muscles and deter possible burnout issues from over-exercising. Your fitness level will begin to improve after two to three weeks of regular training, so stick to your routine, get plenty of rest and focus on eating nutrient dense whole foods to help your muscles fully recover from your workouts.

Remember that your exercise program doesn’t have to take several hours to complete. It actually is a disadvantage to weight train for over 60 minutes since your natural muscle building hormone levels (testosterone and growth hormone) start to decline after this amount of time. You only need about 30-45 minutes of resistance training a day, 3 days per week to achieve great results from your fitness routine. Make sure to properly cool down after your intense workout by walking slowly to allow your body to rest and for your heart rate to come back down to a normal level. Stretching for 10-15 minutes post-workout when your muscles are fully warmed up is a great way to get the lactic acid out of the muscle and to assist in overall recovery and repair.

Proper hydration and water intake is crucial during your workout. Make sure that you drink water while you workout because you will be losing water through sweat with each intense workout. Therefore, drink at least 16 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes during your workout in order to avoid additional fatigue as a result of dehydration which can occur quickly without the proper amount of liquids.

Your real results will be achieved outside the gym and not inside, so focus a great deal on your overall nutritional plan and the specific types of food you put into your body. Eating different types of nutrient packed whole foods every day is crucial. A clean diet is one that includes fresh fruit, whole grains, fresh vegetables, lean meats, nuts, poultry, eggs, beans and lots of fresh water. When in doubt, always review your diet as the key indicator as to why you might not be achieving the results you want. Whether its building muscle and packing on mass or cutting down and getting ripped, your diet is the most important element for success.

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