We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
Powerful leg muscles can be built with both squats and deadlifts.
Image Source/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Gaining power in your hamstrings and glutes doesn't have to be a confusing experience. There are a variety of exercises for these muscles, including isolation and compound movements. Two of these exercises in particular, squats and deadlifts, are beneficial in getting you the results you want. Both can increase power for the hamstrings and glutes, but the choice between them comes down to personal goals and preferences.
Your hamstrings are made up of two muscles, the biceps femoris long head and the biceps femoris short head. The short head runs from the outside of your knee to your glutes, while the long head connects just behind the inside of your knee to you glutes. Your hamstrings play a role in daily activities such as walking and running and also play a role in sport specific movements like jumping. Increasing the strength of your hamstrings may decrease your risk of knee injuries and improve power and speed.
All About Your Glutes
The glutes are comprised of three muscles, the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus. The maximus is the largest of the three with the minimus being the smallest. Your glutes work minimally during walking, but play a bigger role during running. The gluteus maximus muscles both extend and laterally rotates the hip, while the medius plays a role in abducting the thigh at the hip.
Squats and More Squats
Squats are a compound movement working your glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps. This exercise not only increases the size of your legs and glutes, it also strengthens tendons, bones and ligaments. The squat is also a functional exercise assisting in the daily function of going from a seated to standing position. If you're new to squats, start in a standing position with your legs shoulder width apart, from here slowly squat down as if you were going to sit down. Make sure your knees do not go past your toes, as this may increase your risk of injury. Back squats with a barbell work your entire lower body, varying your stance to a wider stance targets the inner thighs, glutes and hamstrings.
Deadlifts are also a compound movement but work a few more muscles than the squat, including the trapezius in your back. For the deadlift, bend over at the waist, grabbing the barbell with an overhand grip. From here slowly stand up as you lift the barbell, making sure to rotate your hips forward while keeping a slight arch in your back. The traditional deadlift not only works the entire lower body but also your core while the stiff legged deadlift focuses more on the hamstrings and core. Your hamstrings and glutes are contracted during the process of tilting the pelvis from front to back during the movement. Using a lighter weight during the movement targets your hamstrings while a heavier weight focuses more on the glutes.
What It All Means
If you're new to training, starting with squats provides a basic way to help you build power in your hamstrings and glutes. Once you have become familiar with resistance training, move to deadlifts for a more advanced way to gain power in your legs. Although both exercises are efficient for gaining strength, to really target your glutes and hamstrings use a wider stance for your squats. Whether you use one or both exercises in your program, remember to increase your weight if you want to continue gaining power.