So in part 4, with my friend and fitness expert Nick Nilisson he suggested some heavy duty upper body exercises that hit the- chest, arms, shoulders, abs and back to help you build a lean muscle and forge a ripped, defined physique.
Today our expert interview continues with Nick Nilsson as he go shares various lower body exercises from his book starting with glutes.
Nick Nilsson: The BEST GLUTE EXERCISE I’ve ever found is actually a bodyweight exercise. If you’ve never done this one before you’re going to be in for a surprise, especially the following day when you try to sit down.
All you need for this one is a bench or even a chair and something to grab onto. It’s basically just a one legged squat, but you’re holding on with your hands to something in front of you so you can balance yourself. This allows you by standing up on a bench to squat way down until your butt is down by your heels.
With your hands, you can actually pull yourself up a little, so you can literally get a few more reps out of it too. But, that deep stretch at the bottom is what really fires the glutes. The first time you do this just use bodyweight and you’ll be fine with just bodyweight.
You can gradually build up until you’re holding a dumbbell in one hand. What I recommend to people also is wearing a backpack, which throws the weight kind of behind you, which hits the glutes even better.
Craig Ballantyne: Okay. Then what about hamstrings? Those are kind of tough to train, especially with bodyweight only. What do you have for free weights and then bodyweight?
Nick Nilsson: Actually, there is one incredibly good hamstring exercise. It’s similar to a glute ham raise, but then it’s kind of like a bodyweight leg curl is what it looks like.
Similar concept to that bicep exercise I was telling you about where instead of doing a leg curl movement where your feet are moving you’re actually locking down your lower leg and using your body as the resistance.
One of the best setups for this is on the seated calf raise machine where you kneel on top of the seat, put your heels underneath the pads where your knees would go and then just lower yourself forward and bring yourself back up, bending only at the knees. But, you’re moving your ENTIRE bodyweight and putting that on the hamstrings.
Nick Nilsson: I’ve got a really good bodyweight exercise for that one too. A lot of calf training is about feel. You can really load up your calves and get some decent results, but your calves will cheat because they’re trying to find the easiest way around things, just like any muscle.
The exercise that I like to recommend to people to do is kind of like what I call a FULL RANGE CALF SERIES. This you can do with just bodyweight anywhere as well, you can do it just on a flight of stairs or something or just a wooden block.
You get on one foot on the edge of the stair like you’re doing a calf raise and keep your leg not quite locked out, but just a little short of that. Now, lean all the way forward like you’re doing a stretch. Your heel is down; this is very similar to a donkey calf raise position.
Because you’re bent over like that you’re putting a good stretch on your hamstrings, which also because they cross the knee joint also puts a great stretch on your calf. So, you’re getting a huge stretch at the bottom there, and you hold that stretch for about four or five seconds.
Now, keeping that completely bent over body position now do a calf raise and come up as high as you can like that. Keeping that position with your foot now you’re bring your upper body until you’re completely straightened out again. Then, finish up with a full regular calf raise.
This takes it basically through the entire possible anatomical range of motion for the calf all in one shot like that. Even with just your bodyweight it’s really an eye opener, because your calves will feel like someone is driving a nail into them on the first rep!