Barbell Cursing Lunges To TORCH Your Quads
Yes, this may be an extremely "unique" name for an exercise but the first time you do this exercise, you'll know EXACTLY why I called it that (one other name I had in mind included the word "evil" in it).
This exercise gives you the best of 3 worlds:
1. You get a good stretch on the quads at the bottom of the exercise.
2. You get a GREAT contraction at the top (stronger even than with a leg extension).
3. Your quads get NO break through the entire movement (for example, when you're doing a squat or regular lunge, at the top of the exercise, the tension comes completely off the muscles and is carried by the bones and joints).
Put all these together and you've got an exercise that will DESTROY your quads! The first time I did it, I ended up doing more sets than I was originally planning on doing for legs because I could tell it was such a powerful exercise!
Be very sure to check out the pictures and video of this exercise in action (side view and front view). Viewing the video and still makes it a LOT easier to understand the mechanics of the movement and really get the most out of it when you take it to the gym yourself.
How To Do It:
Basically, you're going to be doing what looks like a hack lunge with a barbell. It will resemble a lunge holding the barbell behind your back instead of on your shoulders. That's about the best way to describe it but there are some key points that take the exercise from a mere lunge to something that will light a fire in your quads that will leave you the floor - pretty much every set I did of this exercises ended with me falling down!
This exercise is best done in a rack for safety reasons - doing it in a rack will allow you to really push your legs HARD and maximize the effect of the exercise. It CAN be done starting with the barbell on the floor but it does make the exercise a bit more difficult to manage and you have to end the set a little sooner for safety reasons rather than pushing yourself as you can with the rack.
Having the bar a little higher up at the start also makes it easier to begin the exercise, which helps a lot.
First, set the safety rails in the rack to about a foot or so off the ground. Set a barbell on the rails then load up a moderate weight. The first time you do it, start light to get the feel for the exercise, e.g. 25's to 45's on either side.
Stand with your back to the barbell (it will be up against the back of your legs), squat down and grab it with an overhand grip (I grab it about the same width as I would use for bench press, using the smooth rings as a guide).
Once you've gripped the bar, stand up, bringing the weight up behind you so it's resting on the backs of your thighs, just under your glutes.
Now step your left leg forward into a typical lunge position stance. Go down into the lunge with the barbell resting on the back of your right thigh (your back leg, basically).
Now the fun begins...instead of standing upright, keep your torso leaning forward at an angle. And as you stand up and straighten your front leg, straighten your back leg, PUSHING THE BARBELL UP AND BACK as you do so.
Basically, even though your left leg is forward, it's the RIGHT leg that actually is working directly against the resistance of the barbell. The harder you push to straighten your leg, the stronger the contraction you'll get in the quads.
You're supporting the entire weight of the barbell on your right hamstring/thigh and quadricep contraction is what's keeping it there. The left leg gets some work but not NEARLY as much as the right leg - that back leg is the one to really focus on with this exercise, which is contrary to how the lunge normally works.
And here's the beauty of it...at the bottom of the lunge, when your right leg is bent, you're actually putting a good STRETCH on the right quadriceps as well.
THAT is the reason I call this the "Barbell Cursing Lunge"...the quads of your back leg get NO break through the whole exercise from stretch to contraction and through the ENTIRE set.
With a regular lunge or squat (as I mentioned above), when you come to the top, your skeleton is supporting the weight, not your muscles. It's tough to keep a hard contraction and maintain tension in the thighs without shortening the range of motion and never coming all the way up.
With this exercise, the more you try and lock out at the top, the stronger the contraction you'll get in the quads and the harder the exercise will work you.
Take my word for it, it's a serious experience in leg training and it'll really open your eyes. It blew my mind when I came up with it.
And THAT is the reason I'm telling you to do this exercise in the rack... because when you're done, you're DONE. Your leg will give out from the burn and you'll have to set the weight down. The shorter the distance the barbell has to go, the better.
As far as the other leg goes, because BOTH legs get worked with this exercise (even though the back leg is doing most of the work) the second leg you work is going to already be fatigued and you won't get as many reps with it. If you like, you can rest a minute, then do the other leg instead of going immediately into working the other one.
Give this exercise a try in your next leg workout and let me know what you think!
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