When lifting, as in life, the first impressions are often not evoked. For example, IFBB bikini pro Jamie Collins and I were fortunate to have recently trained at the City Athletic Club in Las Vegas. At first glance, it was everything you expect in a Vegas club: dark lights make for a cool, laid-back, club-like atmosphere; Many cardio machines and separate exercise rooms equipped with bicycles, stairmasters, elliptical trainers and similar equipment.
However, go up to the weight room and you realize that City is not just another puff training salon. In fact, I realized that I had never seen so many serious weightlifters in a gym before. Compared to the commercial gyms that I normally use, this place was intense and it was up to us to meet the challenge.
Jamie and I decided to start our leg day by going downstairs to warm ourselves up with a little heart. She jumped on the treadmill. I, however, went straight to the Stairmaster. I knew my buttocks muscles had to be prepared to train with an IFBB bikini pro
After we had warmed up, we went to lying curls to focus on the eccentricity and go through the concentric muscle movements.
By focusing less on the amount of steel he moved and more on the shape, Jamie creates more power for each muscle group. More power means more muscle breakdown, which in turn leaves more room for muscle growth. Her approach was a refreshment to me, and supported the idea that, while always challenging yourself, you can make the most of your lifting by focusing on the connection between the mind and the muscles.
We performed this exercise with the lying leg curl machine, which targets the outer thigh muscles. To get the most out of the machine, position yourself comfortably on the machine, legs fully extended and the lower pad between the ankle and calf. Hold your hips down while rolling up the weight, stopping at the top of the movement for one second, and then slowly releasing the weight so you can focus on the negative part of the movement.
Triset: Sumo Squat, Sumo Deadlift, and Kettlebell Swing
Then we moved on to Jamie's specialty – a "Glute Queen Giant Set" – which included sumo squats, sumo deadlifts, and kettlebell swings. In her daily training life, she focuses on sculpting and working on the glutes until it becomes difficult to leave the gym. As I usually get heavier, I thought that walking these three simple movements with less weight would be a walk in the park. It turned out to be a pain in the back instead. Literally.
The Sumo Squats place more emphasis on the inner thighs, glutes, hamstrings, and hip flexors. The right sumo-squat shape is to position your feet wider than the shoulders, with your toes pointing slightly outwards. When you start squatting, you want to keep your chest upright, keep the core tight and tight, and keep your back straight – not plump. Start by squatting. As you move up, bring your hips forward and press your buttock muscles to complete the repetition.
Sumo deadlift is very similar. Place your feet wider than the shoulders again. Toes are slightly outward. Keep your chest upright, your core firm and your back flat. As you go through the exercise, tense and stretch the thigh muscles and gluteal muscles – not the lower back.
Kettlebell turns were a great way to end the Trifecta. They provide a general body workout that not only appeals to the hips, glutes and thighs, but also to the lats, abdominals, shoulders and chest muscles. Pretty much everything! Your body will also take smaller muscles to control and stabilize the weight you are moving.
However, there is no advantage in making one of these movements too difficult. Choose a weight that gives you the feeling that you might end up doing two or three more reps, but you can control them for each of your reps.
Seated Hamstring Curl
Once we have finished the Triset, it was time for the seated thigh muscles, which places more emphasis on the inner thigh muscles. Make sure your back is flush with the back rest and there is no space between your lower back and the pad. Position your body so that your knee bends directly against the edge of the seat. The upper pad should be just above the knee and secure the quads so they can not move.
Position the lower part of the machine – the part to be curled – between the lower calf and the upper ankle. Make a curl, let your legs stretch completely without the weight touching the stack, and then continue with your next repetition.
We're all habit animals, so I decided to go harder and knock out the repetitions while Jamie continues to focus on the positive and negative movements. Still, we both brought our A-games to the table and squeezed each other as the weight increased.
Jamie introduced me to a new abduction style that targets the upper gluteal muscles. She suggested leaning forward during the movement and boy, I tell you, I felt great. My hips are a bit weaker than other joints because of my years of running. That made the exercise a bit uncomfortable at first. After taking the weight back and really focusing on this mind-muscle connection, I felt much better.
Reverse Hack Squat
I chose one of my strongest exercises: the Reverse Hack Squat, where you were before the pad. Since Jamie and I were focused on the gluteal muscles and Achilles tendon during this training, we chose a wider placement for this exercise.
When you start these repetitions, make sure your core is tight, your target muscles are fully loaded, and you squat down while stretching your buttock muscles outward. Do not let your knees go over your toes when lowering your body. If you let this happen, especially with a loaded squat, it can affect your joint health and cause problems in the future. Lifting is a long-term game, so you do not want that to happen.
Limping Home in Las Vegas
Somehow, Jamie and I managed to pull our last reps, crawl down the stairs and come out of the gym alive – barely!
The great thing about my Vegas training with Jamie was that we each brought something new to the table. We learned about our weaknesses and different exercises and tips to turn them into strengths.
If you're looking for killer thigh and glutinous training, then I strongly suggest you give it a try. Find a training partner, be open to new tricks and have them with you. You will not be disappointed.