Exercises You Should Be Doing: Core Engaged Slideboard Leg Curl

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As a a predominantly sports training facility it’s no secret that we place a premium on training the backside of the body at Cressey Sports Performance.

While the “mirror muscles” (chest, biceps, quads, abs) get most of the love, what separates the athletes who get cut from the Varsity team to those who earn scholarships and maybe even play professionally are the ones who, outside of having natural ability, understand that training the backside – hamstrings, glutes, erectors, lats, rhomboids, trapzipidus1, etc – is what allows them to run faster, jump higher, and be more explosive.

Photo Credit: Greatist

Not to mention increases your intelligence by 717% in addition to improving your chances of dating a Victoria Secret model by 312%. Trust me, it’s science.

Even if you’re someone who’s not remotely concerned with developing athleticism and all you care about is aesthetics and not being timid to take your cloths off with the lights on, training the non-mirror muscles can have a profound effect on how you look.

Whether we’re talking about helping to offset the deleterious effects of sitting on all day (posture) or just building a well-rounded physique, training the backside of the body is where it’s at.

To that end exercises like deadlifts, squats, RDLs, hip thrusts, glute-ham raises, pull-throughs, and KB swings get a lot of play at CSP.

Another exercise we like to use is the slideboard leg curl. As opposed to the traditional prone 0r seated (machine) leg curl, this variation trains both (main) functions of the hamstrings – knee flexion/hip extension – simultaneously.

One variation of the slideboard leg curl we’ve been playing with recently is the core engaged leg curl.

Core Engaged Slideboard Leg Curl

Who Did I Steal It From: fellow CSP coaches Greg Robins and Miguel Aragoncillo.

What Does It Do: I’ll admit it comes across as a bit gimmicky, but the band does serve a purpose.  Bilateral arm (shoulder) extension forces trunk flexion, which is just another way of encouraging a little more posterior pelvic tilt.

By engaging the core, we can keep people from defaulting into too much lumbar extension during the exercise. Since we work with a lot of people who are stuck in extension, this is an exercise that fits very well with our population of athletes and clients.

You can perform this both bilaterally (two legs) or unilaterally (one-legged). As you can see (and hear) from the video, the one-legged variation is hard! I did shoot this video AFTER a training session, so cut me some slack….;o)

Both variations are superb and a great way to train the hamstrings and glutes.

Key Coaching Cues: I like to use a controlled eccentric and extend my legs to the point where my butt just baaaaarely touches the floor. Finish with the glutes at the top!

This is a somewhat self-limiting exercise, so if you’re unable to extend your legs out all the way that’s okay. You can use what ROM you do have and build from there. You also have to consider that the exercise may be too aggressive compared to your current ability level.

Shoot for sets of 8-10 reps if performing with two legs; 4-5 per leg if performing one at time.

Let me know what you think!

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

I don’t share email information. Ever. Because I’m not a jerk.
  1. I’m testing you, that’s not even a muscle!

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