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10 Tips to An Explosive Deadlift

Eight Weeks to an Explosive Deadlift_Kindle cover

Deadlifts build epic strength.

Deadlifts get you jacked.

Deadlifts help you get athletic.

Deadlifts build a resilient posterior chain and core to support other movements.

Deadlifts require full body tension, strength, and sheer willpower to build strong bodies and stronger minds. As such, the deadlift is the most cherished movements in training.

It sets up the initial pull in Olympic lifts, is a staple in powerlifting, bodybuilding, strongman competitors, and for athletes.

Yep, few things get your testosterone pumping and your manhood on like deadlifts, except maybe steak and Arnold Schwarzenneger in a Tank.


Deadlift, Hypertrophy, explosive deadlift, deadlift set-up, jumps for an explosive deadlift, eric bach, speed deadlift, eight weeks to an explosive deadlift

Perfect then..right?

Well, no. For all the love deadlifts get issues related to poor programming and execution are common.

This results in injuries, plateaus, and a meatheads clamoring over the deadlift like a pack of hyenas.

While I love deadlifts I try not to put any exercise on a pedestal—all exercises are a tool for a physiological response, not an end all be-all to training.

Unfortunately, deadlifts have a well-known propensity for boosting the ego beyond reason, leading to videos like this:

Like anything else there’s a risk-reward for pushing your body to the limits. The deadlift is a great exercise, but you need intelligent planning to maximize your training without snapping your back in half like a toothpick.

10 tips to An explosive deadlift provides simple techniques, programming tips, and variations to cut risk and maximize your deadlift.

1.Pull the Bar Tight:

When the bar drifts away from your body you open a pandora’s box of issues: A greater tendency to round the back, increased shear stress on the spine, and a difficult position to finish the lift.

Unless you want to miss lifts and incur flexion based back injuries then use the lats to pull the bar tight to your shins. The lats connect your spine to your shoulder with tons of connection to the fascia in the low back. Pulling the tight both ensures a vertical bar path and further engages the core to resist forward flexion.

2.Hammer Glute Function:

Most clients come in with lousy glute function and sad anterior core stability. I’ll get to anterior core stability soon, but optimal glute function is essential for everyone, especially individuals with extension-based back pain that deadlift.

To quote Eric Cressey, “Extension-based back pain typically is worse with standing than with sitting. These folks will present with everything from spondylolysis (fractures), to spondylolisthesis (vertebral slippage), to diffuse lumbar erector “tightness.”

Typically, those who suffer from extension-based back pain will have short hip flexors, poor glute function, and a lack of anterior core stability. Effectively, hip flexor shortness and insufficient glute contribution leads athletes to substitute lumbar extension for full hip extension.”(Cressey)

10 tips to an explosive deadlift

This is a big no-no, especially for athletes. Powerful hip extension is the name of the game for most athletic tasks like sprinting, jumping, and of course, deadlifting. If you substitute lumbar extension for full hip extension you’re limiting your training, missing lockouts, and opening the door for further pain and injury.

Bret Contreras has great list of 10 hip thrust variations to check out. Add quadruped hip-extensions, bodyweight hip thrusts, and glute bridges into warm-ups to groove hip extension. Keep a vertical shin and drive through the heel to gain hip extension through the glutes rather than your lower back.

3. “Too much” Core Stability doesn’t exist:

A few weeks ago I received an email asking my thoughts on core training. The jist of it was, “all you need is to squat and deadlift, right bro?”

In all honesty, there’s no such thing as too much anterior core stability to prevent power leaks in movement. While I’d like to agree and never suffer through monotonous planks again the answer isn’t cut and dry. Core stability is as vital for performance as it is injury prevention.

It’s best to integrate different aspects core training into each workout. Rather than repeated flexion via crunches (especially if you sit all day) it’s important to train the “anti” movements. Tony Gentilcore has a great write-up on incorporating core training here.

4.Train with Lighter Loads:

For years I trained with frequent, near maximal intensity sessions.Whether it was my ego or lack of experience I thought “How could I get stronger without pushing intensity above 90% for most sets?”

After injuries, plateaus, and frustrating sessions I dropped my training maxes and hit a 500 lb deadlift at 165lbs when I was 23. Skip ahead a few years and the answer is obvious:

Tweet: Training isn’t about putting your body through hell; it’s about minimizing risk and maximizing results.

Back off your maxes 5-10%, optimize form, and avoid missing reps. You’ll stay fresh, groove the deadlift pattern, and have a longer training career.

5. Double Check your Deadlift Set-Up:

Your set-up should be consistent and rehearsed every time you prepare for your lift. Double-check your set-up with these tips:

  • Stand with the bar over the tops of your feet, not necessarily against your shins, although bloody shins means you’re hardcore, bro.
  • Hip hinge rather than squat to the bar. Pop your butt back into full twerk position and hinge back until your arms reach down outside the knees. Your butt doesn’t need to be down, it’s a deadlift not a squat.
  • Get your Chris Farley on and double tuck that chin. Keep your eyes looking straight forward to maintain spinal alignment.

explosive deadlift

  • Crush the bar with your grip. Stop and make a fist as hard as possible. Feel the tension all the way through your upper back, shoulder, and arms?

We call that irradiation, tension that packs the shoulders and increases muscle activation to produce more tension and stability. Crush the bar.

6.Slow then Go:

Most lifters try to rip the bar off the ground for every deadlift.

While you need to produce significant power, trying to rip the bar leads to the hips shooting up and a loss of position. Basically, this is a first class ticket to massive lumbar flexion under load.

If jacking up your back and walking like quasi-modo sounds fun, keep doing that, otherwise try the cue  
“slow then go” to teach athletes to drive hard while maintaining tension and then speed up the bar once you’re moving.

I’d rather miss a lift in good position than make a lift with tons of lumbar flexion. Risk versus reward!

7.Stop Dropping Deadlifts:

The logic behind dropping deadlifts is this: If you’re competing, you only need to worry about the concentric (up) phase of the lift. Besides, lowering your deadlift creates excessive stress and muscle damage. While this may be true, what are your goals?

Are you competing? If so, some organizations require control all the way to the ground.

Looking to train for muscle gain? The eccentric component creates additional muscular damage, a vital piece for muscular hypertrophy. If excessive soreness impacts your training frequency then check your training loads, rest periods, nutrition, and training split.

Athletic Performance/Core control? If you’re lifting a deadlift and are unable to  control the eccentric it’s to heavy. Eccentric strength and maintaining position is vital in all sports. Consider dropping the load and controlling the eccentric.

Look into performing controlled drops from knee-mid-thigh instead of a drop from lockouts. Persevering the nervous system near competition is great, but keep the value of eccentric strength in mind.

8.Add jumps for an explosive deadlift:

If a big deadlift is your focus, then channeling your inner Vince Carter and add jumps is a great for improving power. Jumping matches the mechanical movement of deadlifts while training explosive power at lower training intensities.

This aids strength development as generating force faster with lighter-load movements increases neural activation and improves your rate of force development.

The deadlift is a starting strength movement, so box squats, vertical jumps, and box jumps are your best bet.

I’m a big fan of non-countermovement jumps until proper landing mechanics grooved. Once you’ve practiced landing with balance and control mix in both countermovement and non-countermovement jumps.

Single Response Jump Squat: 

Dumbbell Jump Squat: 


Broad Jump:


Box Jump:

9.Warm-Up with Speed Deadlifts:

Rather than jump headfirst into heavy work sets spend time warming up with submaximal loads. These sets aid the warm-up, and work as strength-speed and power movements for extra training volume.

Power= Work/Time

Use loads between 30% -85% for low-rep sets (Baechle& Earle, 2008) to train power with optimal technique.

10. Use More Variety:

While deadlifting is a technique intensive skill it’s also important to include variety. Not only will variety keep you intrigued, you’ll also minimize weak-points and limit overuse injuries. Like anything else, form is vital. If you lose proper spinal position during your pull or have a history of back pain then be conservative with your choices.

Other deadlift variations:

Snatch Grip Deadlifts: If you hold proper position then the snatch grip deadlift is cruel, yet effective exercise. Yes, you’ll use much ligher weight, but the increased range of motion and full body tension makes up for that. Snatch grip deadlifts are a powerful muscle builder for the entire posterior chain. 

Sumo Deadlifts: The sumo deadlift is a great option for lifters with short arms and long torso’s. The wide stance allows for a more vertical spine and less shear stress on the lower back.

If you squat wide then the sumo deadlift will improve your squat, as long as volumes and intensities are kept in check in regards to hip health. Jordan Syatt gives a great overview on the sumo deadlift here.

Trap Bar: I love the trap bar. The learning curve is short, shear stress on the spine is reduced. I prefer the trap bar as a tool to train both the squat and deadlift with most of my athletes. If you suffer from back injuries or are looking to change your workouts give the trap bar a try.

explosive deadlift

 Deficit Deadlifts: Although snatch grip deficit deadlifts are a killer exercise for muscular development, I’m not a fan. With any exercise, performance gains versus injury risk come into play.

Most clients have the mobility of a monkey wrench, so loading the lumbopelvic region in a bad position has risks that outweigh the benefits. Jamming square pegs into round holes rarely achieves desired results, so unless you maintain neutral spine steer clear. 

10 Tips to an Explosive Deadlift Is a Wrap

If you’re looking to get stronger, shredded, or more athletic the deadlift will get you there faster. Take these 10 Tips to an Explosive Deadlift into consideration for your future programming to maximize your gains in strength, size, and athleticism.

One last Thing…

I have a brand new resource for you to take your strength to new heights: Eight Weeks to an Explosive Deadlift.

This eight week program helped my clients and I build huge levels of explosive strength across the board.

Even better, improved strength in the deadlift will carry across more than the platform, it will build a foundation to build more muscle and athleticism from your training, all for less than the cost of Chipotle Burrito (and no Diarrhea, always a plus )


Eight Weeks to an Explosive Deadlift_Kindle cover-2


========> Eight Weeks to an Explosive Deadlift


Oh, and if you enjoy it please do me a favor by dropping a five-star review and sharing the link.


Coach Eric


Baechle, Thomas R., and Roger W. Earle. “Resistance Training.” Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. 3rd ed. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2008. 400-401. Print.

Cressey, Eric. “T NATION | More Lower Back Savers.” Testosterone Muscle Articles. Testosterone Nation, 5 May 2009. Web. 13 Oct. 2014.

Leyland, Tony. “Biomechanical Analysis of the Deadlift.” Sfu.ca. Simon Frasier University. Web. 4 Dec 2013. <http://www.sfu.ca/~leyland/Kin201 Files/Deadlift Mechanics.pdf>.


Seven Laws of Building Athletic Muscle

I almost quit.


I failed as an athlete trying to build athletic muscle and as a college meathead trying to re-establish some semblance of athleticism. I wasn’t’ happy with my porous results and I wouldn’t be happy unless I had the best of both worlds—being athletic and muscular. Not one, not the other, but both. What’s the point in being a muscle bound sluggish Ogre or lacking confidence?

There’s more to building athletic muscle than deadlifts and lifting weights. Instead of being ripe with dysfunction and scrawny you must ditch the old school “body-part splits,” “insanity workouts,” and “ the Westside or Die” mentality. There’s no perfect recipe.

Forget these tools, they’re only a method of training. What’s needed are sound principles to make real change and get things done. Your body should exude confidence in your abilities and perform in the world, not just the platform. These seven things will build explosiveness, lean muscle, shred body fat, and boost your confidence.

sprints, building athletic muscle
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rethwill/8752384617/

1.)  Movement is a Must

The most common tip to become a better athlete is “get stronger.” This is important, but sports are more about movement than being strong. An over-emphasis on building strength is as dangerous as minimizing it. Without a base of movement it doesn’t matter how strong you are, inefficiencies in movement will hold back your high performance training. Sports occur with jumps, throws, sprints, cuts, hops, and reactive movement, not barbells and dumbbells.

Besides, sprints keep your fast twitch muscles firing on all cylinders and maintain explosiveness as you age. Perform jumps and throws before workouts. Sprint and do change of direction drills two or three times per week to keep you athletic and lean.

2.) Build a base of strength

There are multiple types of strength, but we’re focusing on absolute and relative strength.

Relative Strength is the amount of strength relative to body size. This reflects a person’s ability to control or move their body through space. All else being equal, smaller individuals have higher relative strength.

Absolute Strength is the maximum amount of force exerted regardless of muscle or body size. Greater amounts of absolute strength favor those with higher bodyweight and in general, larger individuals.

Building a base of strength improves relative strength (when size is in check) and improves your ability to generate force.

building athletic muscle
Building Athletic muscle require heavy lifting

Why this matters:

You want a body that performs as well as it looks. Both absolute strength and relative strength are needed for high-performance gains. Greater relative strength can be driven up by greater absolute strength and tested through activities that require moving the body through space—jumps, chin-ups, sprints, and bodyweight movements in sport.

Plus, you’ll increase nervous system activation, leading too:

1.  Increases muscle fiber recruitment: the number of muscle fibers being recruited.

2.  Increases speed of rate coding: the speed at which the body sends electrical signals to the muscles.

These both lead to greater adaptation and improvements in workout performance and help you build lean muscle. Build your strength base, it improves your ability to build lean muscle, strength, boosts your endurance, and shreds body fat.

3.) Progressive overload

I hate to break it to you, but squats, cleans, presses, pulls and lunges are still the best for building lean muscle and strength. Too maximize these exercises you must progressively overload the body. That means add weight, decrease rest, and increase training volume. Push your body beyond its abilities or you won’t grow. Get comfortable being uncomfortable or get left behind.

4.) Keep Isolation Isolated

By isolation exercises I’m referring to the typical bodybuilder exercises: lateral raises, biceps curls, and the like. Except for a few exercises at the end of your workouts these isolation exercises are inefficient and a waste of time. They’re a piece of the puzzle for building muscle, but everything has its place. With a limited amount of time to train you’re better off building strength and explosiveness. Get strong, and then worry about isolation, as it’s needed. For others use isolation as it’s needed to prevent injury and improve movement. Here I’m referring to your rotator cuff exercises, activation exercises in your hips and trunk and the like. Make them a piece of the puzzle, but not the main focus of your workouts.

5.) Pride, Passion, and Perseverance.

“Pride, passion, and perseverance.”

“Pride, passion, and perseverance.”

I remember my High-School Football coach preaching these terms over, and over, and over again. I used to think he was full of shit, but he’s right. These three terms are vital to your success on and off the field.

Pride to put your best foot forward and pursue your goals no matter the circumstances. Passion to be relentless and put in the time when no-one is working. Perseverance to push through plateaus and struggles that will occur. Attacking training with pride, passion, and perseverance is imperative to building athletic muscle.

“Knowing” what to do is great, but it won’t get you results. Put in the work!

6.) Exercise Risk/Reward

Everything is a tool and requires a risk-reward analysis.

building athletic muscle
Sorry, this won’t help you unless you’re training for the circus

The behind-the-neck overhead press is a great muscle builder, but creates shoulder impingement and dysfunction in lots of individuals. Is the trade-off worth it?

No. Each exercise is a tool, not the end-all-be-all. There are dozens of exercises to train the same muscles, pick a better option.

7.) De-loading Exercise

Train all you want, but without an emphasis on recovery you’ll end up beat up, weak, and un-athletic.

Training hard is rarely the missing piece for progress. That title goes to recovery, the vital component that most athletes neglect. Intense exercise causes tons of stress: joint & ligament stress, muscular damage, neural fatigue, and hormone disruption are all factors that must be taken into account and is highly individualized to each athlete. Beginners may be able to go for months without backing down; however, advancing athletes require individually specialized programs to maximize training gains. De-load, do recovery workouts, use soft-tissue therapies and contrast showers for better recovery.

Building Athletic Muscle Wrap Up

There’s more to building muscle and being athletic than your strength numbers. Get off the platform and into the world. You have to move, move well, and move often in a variety of ways. You have a finite amount of resources for training; pick exercises wisely, train hard, and be persistent. There you have it. These principles are key for building athletic muscle without turning you into a bloated ball of fail.


About:Eric Bach, CSCS, PN1 is a strength coach at Steadman Hawkins Sports Performance in Denver, Colorado. As an author Eric has been featured in publications such as T-Nation, eliteFTS, and the PTDC. He is the owner of Bach Performance where he coaches clients to take control of their lives, helping them become stronger, shredded, and more athletic. Get your Free Ebook 101 Tips to Jacked and Shredded Here.Athletic Muscle Building

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/bachperformance/
TWITTER: twitter.com/Eric_Bach


If you want all of this programmed into a workout to finally build the body you desire join Bach Performance Online Coaching today. I’ve got a ton of projects coming an awesome things for you coming up, so stay tuned and join the Bach Performance community for exclusive offers and updates.

Join us now at Bach Performance.com 

Have a tip to add? Drop the Comment Here, I’d love to see it!


photo credit: oscarandtara via photopin cc

Explode Your Deadlift

Six packs, big biceps, and big benches don’t impress me. I can walk into any gym and find plenty of guys pushing some serious weight with a big upper body. Not that I go into gyms looking for swole dudes benching, but you get my point.

What really impresses me is a thick, muscular posterior chain. I’m talking traps, rhomboids, lats, glutes, hamstrings and the like. This tells me they’ve put some serious time in the weight room and probably trained to have a big deadlift.

And you know how I feel about deadlifts.

explosive deadlifts
PhotoCredit: http://www.psdeluxe.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/animals_smile/little_creature_puts_a_smile.jpg

Anyways, this leads me to my latest article published on T-Nation, Explode Your Deadlift. I’ve built a solid deadlift of over 500lbs and this routine helped me get there. More than that, this is the exact plan I used with State Champion Power Lifter Raven Cepeda to pull 683lbs in his last meet.

A few things to keep in mind when reading the article

-A few things to consider with assistance work and exercise selection: Biomechanically lever arms and torso to limb lengths must be taken into account when selecting assistance exercises. Conventional deadlifts require a greater range of motion and begin the pull with greater hip flexion, creating a higher demand for lower back strength. In this case good mornings and reverse hypers would be a phenomenal exercise choice. Conversely, sumo deadlifters pull from a more upright posture and avoid higher lumbar loads that are associated with horizontally included postures. Front squats and squats from the pins are a great option to match the biomechanical needs of sumo deadlifts.

– Don’t try to match the box jump numbers in the program. The height isn’t important; rather, fully extending the hips and landing flush on the box.

This serves as a great template for intermediate and advanced lifters. Unless you’re fairly experienced in the lift it’s best to avoid a program this strenuous.

But enough of that, check it out and drop me some feedback!

<< Explode Your Deadlift >>

Strong. Shredded. Athletic.


Top 10 Tips to Add Muscle

tips to add muscle, high performance exercises

I’m going to keep this simple and straight forward.  If you’re not building muscle, you’re probably missing the basics.

1. Eat Big to Get Big

You can’t put 60 miles worth of gasoline and drive 120 miles can you? Providing your body with the essential calories and nutrients is rule #1. You will be working hard in the gym, you not only need to provide enough calories to fuel your workout, but you also need a caloric surplus in order to gain weight. For each meal aim for 1-2 fistfuls of protein (30g or so), 2 fists of vegetables, healthy fats, and carbs such as sweet potatoes or rice. Track what you eat using a site such as livestrong.com and consider reading up on carb cycling to maximize muscle and minimize fat.  Supershakes are a convenient and easy way to pack your body full of quality nutrients for muscle growth.

2. Progressive Overload

To build muscle you must follow the laws of progressive overload. You must continuously work to add weight to the bar, increase the speed you move the bar, increase the number of reps, or decrease rest periods each time you set foot in the gym. Give your body a reason to grow by challenging to a new level every chance you get (within reason), repeating the same workout pound for pound and word for word will not help yield the gains you are looking for.


3. Stick with Compound Exercises

Mixing in endless amounts of curls, leg extensions, calf raises, and lateral raises will do little more than delay your recovery and hinder your progress. Stick with squats, deadlifts, presses, bench presses, chin ups, dips, hip thrusts, and rows to build a well rounded physique. Major structural exercises like these will work the most muscle mass and stimulate the biggest release of testosterone to fuel your muscle growth. You don’t need gimmicky machines, cable crossovers, and shiny new equipment to get the job done; they are often a waste of time. Pay your dues with a barbell, kettlebells, dumbbells, and your own bodyweight to move your body the way it was built to move.


4.  Train Heavy

Training heavy is becoming a lost art in many gyms. I see so many people training every exercise at 12-15 reps chasing the pump that it makes me sick. Most individuals tend to follow body part splits with crazy high volume and rep ranges that only work for beginners and/or steroid users. Most drug free lifters make phenomenal gains by putting more weight on the bar and focusing on rep ranges between 3-8. Anything over 8 reps really begins developing endurance unless you can handle significant weight for reps. Bottom Line: If you add 50 pounds to your squat or a deadlift in a year you will be bigger, add weight and see magic happen!


5. Get In Get Out

Workouts are meant to stimulate, not annihilate the body. Get in a solid warm up and try to complete your workout in 45 minute or less. You are in the gym to work out and see results, not socialize in-between sets on the preacher curl. Get in, get out, eat, and repeat.

6. Sleep 8+ Hours

You need to recovery to grow, and optimal growth and recovery comes with getting 8+ hours of sleep per night. Sleeping well and long will increase your testosterone naturally while giving you more energy and making you more efficient throughout the day. Turn off the TV and get some sleep

7. Foam Roll

Staying healthy and recovering from workouts is absolutely vital to making consistent progress in the gym. Foam roll troubled areas such as the shoulders, pecs, IT bands, calves, and piriformis to improve movement quality. Pick up a foam roller or use tennis balls, baseballs, softballs (ouch), medicine balls to break up scar tissue. If you are financially able try to get a deep tissue massage once per week.


8. Incorporate SOME higher reps into your training

The emphasis on your training still needs to be on lower repetition multi-joint exercises to build muscle. However, increasing reps on occasion to 10-15 reps will increase your muscles ability to store glycogen and water. This will add volume to the muscle and increase their size. This is known as non-functional hypertrophy. If you goal is solely aesthetics and not strength/power mix 1-2 exercises per workout with a higher volume. Just be aware this can compromise your performance on big lifts!


9. Keep a Workout Journal

Writing down your workouts and tracking your progress is incredibly important to make consistent gains in the gym. How in the heck will you know when you have a new PR, or when you increased your reps by 5 on your squat from 2 months ago? Keeping a detailed workout journal will show you exactly what has worked in the past and what has not. Your workouts will improve and so will your knowledge of how your body reacts to different workouts.


10. De-load every 6-8 weeks

De-loading the muscles and nervous system every month or two will keep you healthy and mentally fresh in the long term. Muscle building is not an overnight ordeal, it takes years to build and smart programming. Take a complete week off on occasion, drop your intensity, or your volume for a week to allow joints, ligaments, and the nervous system to health up.

The Top 10 Tips to Add Muscle

Lift heavy, eat, sleep, repeat to get the gains you want. By taking these tips and focusing on 1 at a time until it becomes common practice will bring your training and physique to where it wants to be.
And if you’re looking for a program to get rollin,’ I’ve got you covered here.

Get Your 12 Week HFT Mass Program Today

Exercises to avoid: Adductor Abductor Machine

Stop spending your workout with this awkward machine in hopes of a nice set of thighs or glutes.

Photo Credit: deansomerset.com

Sorry, your attention should be elsewhere. If you’re looking to maximally develop these areas learn to squat, lunge, deadlift, sprint, and move optimally rather than wasting your time.

Although this wonderful device provides resistance for both adduction (bringing the legs together) and abduction (spreading the legs apart) it neglects to train the muscles of adduction and abduction as stabilizers, their primary role. Although they provide a burn” to the inner and outer thighs it serves no functional purpose and will not further “tone or shape” a muscle.

These machines are useless.

Although they provide a burn” to the inner and outer thighs it serves no functional purpose and will not further “tone or shape” a muscle. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as spot reduction. Contrary to belief you can’t change the shape or tone of your muscles– your insertion points aren’t going anywhere. If you want to a muscle to show visibly the issue isn’t muscle shape, but subcutaneous fat covering the muscle.


The adductor muscles are responsible for adducting the leg away from midline at the hip-joint. These muscles have multiple functions beyond simple adduction as you see below:

  • Adductor longus: Hip adduction, hip flexion
  • Adductor brevis: Hip adduction, hip flexion
  • Adductor magnus: hip extension, hip adduction, hip flexion
  • Adductor minimus: hip adduction
  • Pectineus: Hip adduction, hip flexion
  • Gracilus: Hip adduction, hip flexion, knee flexion


As stated in described by their group name, the abductors abduct, or move the legs away from midline in the body.These muscles have multiple functions beyond simple abduction as you see below:

The Muscles responsible for abduction include:

  • Gluteus Medius: Hip abduction
  • Gluteus Minimis: Hip abduction, hip internal rotation
  • Tensor Fasica Latae : Hip abduction, hip internal rotation

Isolating these muscles services little purpose, as there are few instances these muscles work as a solo-primary mover in exercise. Muscles that control abduction and adduction must work synergistically to keep the femur (upper leg bone) in proper alignment and maintain frontal plane stability. Neglecting these functions with purely isolated training leaves the body open for knee injuries due to poor stability/mobility in the hip and knee and flexion based back injuries.

Opt For These instead:

All lower body unilateral exercises and variations including: deadlifts, Lunges, Squats (any variation), step ups, sprinting, banded shuffle walks, hip thrusts, bird-dogs, fire-hydrants and banded monster walks.

Training the adductors and abductors is NOT a bad idea, but using the “Yes-NO”machine is a waste of time. Muscles DO need to function in isolation, but overpowering their ability without training them dynamically is recipe for injury.

Plus, I’m not sure this is how you want to see your co-workers during lunch. Avoid the adductor abductor machine, it has no place in your routine.

Yes-No Machine Is sending mixed messages. 

18 Ways to Build Muscle, Lose Fat, and Rule the Freakin’ World


1. Be goal oriented

Pick a goal and go all in towards that goal. Start small and keep your goals written down somewhere visible where you see it each day.

2.  Perform Hill Sprints

Hill sprints are grueling hard work that simultaneously toughens your body and mind. Start at 2 days of 4-6 60-80 meter hill sprints to build a chiseled physique and regain your athleticism.

3. Train Movements First, not muscles

Train the body through a variety of movements such as squatting, hip hinging (deadlift), vertical pressing, vertical pulling, horizontal pushing, horizontal pulling, lunging, jumping, hopping, and skipping. Bringing up lagging body parts through assistance work can be beneficial especially if your goals are aesthetics only, but everyone should be able to perform these movements with some proficiency.

4. Perform Soft Tissue Work

Foam rolling and other soft tissue work is one of the best ways to improve your movement quality and decrease pain. Soft tissue work improves the quality of the muscle to support better mobility and flexibility.

5. Perform Glute Work

Low back pain can be crippling, especially if you are looking to rule the world. The most common reason for low back pain is inactive and weak glutes. Train that booty with hip thrusts, lunge variations, bridges, and squats and feel it working!

6. If something hurts, stop doing it

Pain is a warning sign that something is not right, we can all agree on that. Unfortunately, most gym goers think no pain no gain. WRONG! If your Ferrari started smoking under the engine and the check engine light ison would you say screw it? Hell no you get it fixed.

7. Jump

Jumping is a great way to maintain explosive power, quickness, and coordination. You can jump rope, perform jumping jacks, box jumps, it doesn’t matter. Just make sure you perform some variations of jumping!

8. Train Outside

Training outside is liberating and refreshing. Perform hills sprints, a bodyweight circuit, or grab some sandbags, kettlebells, and some friends and see what you come up with. Get creative and have fun!

9. Include Low Rep Training in your workouts

Training with lower reps 1-5 and higher intensity will build strength and explosiveness, two very important traits in having a healthy, athletic, world dominating physique.

10. Deadlift

Learn to do it correctly and it is the most “Functional,”badass movement you can perform. Picking heavy things off the ground is vital!

11. Focus on Posture and Form

Never ever ever ever ever round your shoulders or lower back when lifting or doing anything else. This will lead to injuries when lifting and poor posture with everything else. Use a flat back and big chest.

12. Eat Dead Animals

Nuff’ Said

13. Warm Up

Perform a warm up of foam rolling, jump rope 100x, 3-D Lunges, pushups, medicine ball throws, and jumps. These will loosen you up, increase blood flow, improve movement quality, and ramp up your nervous system to increase your strength.

14. Challenge your grip

A strong grip and forearms are awesome, who doesn’t envy Popeye? Use Fat Gripz, Grip 4orce, plate pinches, farmer walks, or wrap towels around bars and dumbbells.

15. Stop Performing Burn-outs

Performing exercise to failure on a consistent basis just leads to a fatigued CNS and eventual burn out and injuries. Performing sets to failure is okay on occasion, but keep it to every few weeks.

16. Pick out an exercise program and stick to it

Switching from program to program will keep you from your goals. Learn to spot a good program such as 5/3/1 and stick with it for 12 weeks minimum. Pick productive basic exercises and master them.

17. De-load

Take a week every 4-8 weeks (more frequent if you lift heavy), and back down the volume, intensity, or both. This will keep you motivated while preventing injuries and burnout.

18. Keep in touch with Friends and Family

Maintaining relationships with the people who helped mold you is a great way to relax and keep a good perspective on life. Healthy relationships are vital to a healthy body and mind.

Total Body Exercise Selection

Total body workouts are the most time efficient manor in which to design a resistance training program. The entire body is designed to work in synchrony, with some muscles stabilizing while others contract to create movement.

Most trainers and trainees look for a list of muscles stating whether they are prime movers or stabilizers to design a body part split. Unfortunately, this fails to recognize that the role of muscles often change depending on the bodies position and the joint in action.

This leads to un-balanced programming issues such as imbalances in flexion versus extension, more upper body pushing than pulling, and neglecting deeper muscle tissues and focusing solely on the superficial muscles of the body.

To combat against poor programming total body workouts are designed based upon movement patterns.

Some of the patterns I typically use are as following:

Upper Body

Horizontal Pushing

Vertical Pushing

Horizontal Pulling

Vertical Pulling

Lower Body

Knee Dominant

Hip Dominant

*** Also included are various unilateral variations of each movement, core stabilizing (mostly anti-rotation exercise), additional mobility work and total body combination exercises such as a clean and jerk or thruster.

A sample program I may design would be based upon having an upper body push, upper body pull, and a lower body lift.

Day 1:

1a.Pull (Horizontal) – 3 Pt Dumbbell Row

1b. Core Stabilization- ½ kneeling cable lift

2a. Lower Body (Knee Dominant)-Front Squat

2b. Mobility- Wall Ankle Mobilization

3a. Push (Vertical) – 1 arm Standing DB Press

3b. Upper back work- Rope Face Pulls (90% of all trainees could use more!)

Conditioning Work

Body weight circuits, sled work, strongman circuits

Day 2:

1a. Push (Horizontal) – Low incline bench press

1b.Mobility/Corrective Movement- Scapular Wall Slides

2a. Lower Body (Hip Dominant) – Conventional Deadlift

2b.Core Stabilization- Squat Stance Palloff Press

3a. Pull (Vertical) – Neutral Grip Chin Up

3b. Upper back work/rear delt- DB Rear Lateral Raises

Conditioning Work

Stairs, Sled Pushing/ Pulling

Upper Body workouts are my preferred method of program design for most populations. I have seen good success on as few as 2x per week using this template, but have also gone up to 4x per week with more trained individuals.  Mix and match exercises to get a well rounded workout and include necessary non-fatiguing assistance work to bring up weak areas. Use multiple rep ranges for each body part to hit more muscle fibers and develop a well rounded and trained body.

Copyright 2012 by Eric R Bach.  All rights reserved.  This material may not be duplicated or distributed without written consent from the author.

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