In the last two “common imbalances” articles, we covered the shoulders and the lower back. This article will cover common imbalances in your legs.
The biggest imbalance CrossFit athletes develop is Quad Dominance. This is usually caused by high volume low weight squatting, high bar back squats, and front squats tend to drive home the use of Quads.
To counterbalance that, athletes should have even stronger hamstrings and glutes. This will help prevent knee pain and back pain, improve your hip drive for Olympic lifts, and improve your quality of life in other ways.
The best ways I have found to develop hamstrings very easily is by adding in Banded Hamstring Curls. These work really well for CrossFit gyms because most have plenty of bands – and plenty of people with weak hamstrings.
I would recommend doing 3 sets of 25 with the red bands before getting into any squatting or deadlifting. Another great way to implement them is as a finisher after class; I typically have clients do 1×100-200 reps.
The biggest key to doing this correctly is to make sure you push your butt down and take your hips under. Then, when you think you’re doing it right, realize you probably aren’t, and push your butt down more.
The Glute Bridge is probably the most popular glute exercise and is quick and easy to do.
My go to warm up using the hip thrust is:
- 10 Reps
- :15 second at top
- 10 reps left leg only
- :15 sec hold at top left leg only
- 10 reps right leg only
- :15 sec hold at top right leg only
When doing these make sure you are not driving your knees out, but keeping them straight forward over the toes. You must also think about tucking your hips under and really squeezing your glutes.
The Sled Push is my absolute favorite exercise for the Glutes and Hamstrings.
There are very few CrossFit athletes I’ve found that wouldn’t benefit from a sled push.
Now, just like anything else that I recommend, you’re not going to get anything by just going through the motions on this. For this to be effective, you’re going to need to bring your MAXIMUM intensity to it. For technique, set your hands low on the posts, get your hips almost parallel with your shoulders, lift your heels off the ground, and keep your knees close to your chest.
Take short steps and avoid fully extending your knees and – for the love of god – don’t let your heels get anywhere near the ground. I’ve found that going lighter on the weight and longer distance gets the Glutes to burn the most.
Make sure you’re not trying to think about your glutes during this, as long as you stay low, take small steps and go fast, you’ll feel them afterwards for sure.
Try something in the article, want to learn more, or have questions I may be able to answer? Drop a comment below and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
You can follow me @coachbchambers on Instagram, and my gym @bigbendstrengthandconditioning on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, and subscribe to our podcast “Big Bend StrongCast” on Itunes and Spotify.