What’s up Gronk Fitness,
Today, we are talking about two VITAL exercises when it comes to developing your lower body strength and foundation in order to increase your power, muscle mass and ultimately, your performance in your sport.
Now, before we go on any further, note that you most likely will need a Barbell Pad for both of these exercises. A barbell pad is not necessary, but it can help prevent bruising, injuries and inconvenience since both of these exercises are going to be performed explosively. More on that later!
Exercise #1 – Jumping Squat
A jumping squat is frequently considered a “dangerous” exercise by many, but the truth is that when you don’t know what you’re doing, EVERY exercise is dangerous and unsafe. On the other hand, if you take the time to slowly build up to every exercise, understand proper form and avoid ego lifting, the chance of injury is greatly reduced.
The jumping squat is performed similarly to a standard high-bar or low-bar squat with the obvious difference that you’ll have to jump as high as you can on the way up.
IMPORTANT – Note that it is not actually imperative that your feet leave the floor. What matters most is the INTENTION to explosively get out of the hole which means that if the weight is heavy enough, you might not be able to actually jump. That’s fine. In fact, this is the perfect weight you should be working with, since actually jumping with a barbell loaded on your shoulders can potentially cause knee and shoulder strains. So, all you have to do is slowly descend into the squat and then explosively rise back up with the intention of jumping off the floor.
Exercise #2 – Barbell Glute Bridge
If you are not doing this exercise because it looks or feels weird in the gym, you need to reconsider your goals and fitness objectives. That’s because the glute bridge is actually a terrific exercise to build glute, hamstring and core strength and it’s absolutely safe on the lower back and knees.
All you have to do is lie on the floor with your knees bent and a loaded barbell across your hips. Explosively push the barbell off the floor and fully extend your hips towards the ceiling. This is where the Barbell Pad would come in handy. Many lifters experience leg or groin pain when loading many plates on their pelvis like that, and a barbell pad could help cushion that weight and reduce the inconvenience.
Why Do These Two Movements?
One of the benefits that the Jumping Squat and the Glute Bridge have in common is their inherit hip activation and extension which is a lacking component in most people’s training.
If you are a bodybuilder or a recreational weightlifter, you need to keep your lower back and lower body healthy by activating your glutes and hamstrings and strengthening your ability to extend through the hips. Not to mention how important this is for deadlifts, squats and similar bodybuilding exercises as well.
If you are an athlete – particularly a basketball or volleyball player – the Jumping Squat will directly carry over to your ability to vertically jump. If you are any kind of athlete, you will still benefit from increased hip activation, strength and power, not to mention it can be crucial when it comes to avoiding overuse injuries on the field or court.
In conclusion, make sure you get a quality Barbell Pad, regularly include these two movements in your training and as always…Get Your Mind Right!