How to change yourself

It is simply in theory to change into the body you want or become the person you aspire to become. In reality it will take a long grueling journey with everybody including yourself l trying to keep you in the same position.

I am going to use myself for example whenever I tell people my goal is to get down to single digit body fat most people ask why? or say you’re already a lean person why do you want to lose more weight you’re fine how you look now. Now that doesn’t sound like a negative statement in fact most people will take that as a compliment. This is how I view that comment. When I hear this comment most people are telling your not to change. They are telling you to be happy with what you have and stay in your comfort zone. People are telling to stay where you are and just enjoy it.  The reason why is because if you change who you are as a person the people around you will have to change as well. If you decide to stop eating out during lunch and start bringing lunch to work. Your co-worker, friends, family will have to start bringing lunch with them as well if they want to keep socializing with you or they can continue to eat out during lunch and they may not socialize with you during the lunch break. When you decide to make a change the people around you will have to make changes to accommodate the “new” you. If you decided to start saving money that could mean change in activities or less time bar hopping with your friends/family on the weekend.  When something changes it effect everything around it.

Don’t think that the people around you are the only thing that keep you from your goals. Your biggest enemy is yourself. Whenever you want to make a change: Losing weight, gaining muscle, saving money, etc. You are making changes to who you are as a person. I can tell you first hand it is very difficult for me to lose weight. I was a basketball player and athlete, I was either the strongest or one of the strongest people on my team. My strength was something I took pride in. I had worked hard in the weight room to develop that strength. Now my playing days are over I no longer need the strength any more. My life has changed. Unfortunately I wasn’t ready to let it go. Just to let you know that I have the body type that if I look at a weight room I put on weight really quick. So in order for me to lose weight I would have to have a complete change in the way I worked out so that I can obtain my goal. I was afraid of changing what I have done in the past. I loved putting up heavy weight and now I had to give that up. I was comfortable with being strong and always lifting the same way but it was keeping me from my goal of losing weight. When I did change my workout I would get the results I wanted but.. I was getting weaker and I would fall back into old habits or I would look at the mirror and I felt I looked really skinny.( look skinny at 260 lbs ha ha). Mentally I was defeating myself I was afraid to let go of the past. Letting go is very difficult. Saving money is another exam. Spending money and going from check to check is easy. Saving is difficult because it is forces you to show restraint.

If you want change in your life then you must be willing to sacrifice or part ways with old norms in your life. From personal experience in order for myself to change I must be willing to sacrifice the strength numbers that I had worked hard to developed over the years. I must also change the way I workout to reach that goal as well. What I have done in the past in terms of training must be changed in order to become the new me. If I want to have more money in my savings account I must show restraint in buying goods, eating out as much.  The willingness to let things go will allow you to make changes in your life.

Very simple in theory hard in application if you want to make changes in your life then write down what needs to be done to achieve your goals. Write down what needs to change in your life to reach that goal. Then follow the plan without looking back. That is how you make changes in your life

Random Thoughts

Butter vs Margarine

I hear this argument a lot which is a healthier choice.  My opinion on the matter is that Butter is the best choice. Margarine is made hydrogenated vegetable oil aka Saturated Fat.  Everyone should be well aware of the dangers of Saturated fat. Hydrogenated oils have been linked to Heart Disease increase in LDL(bad cholesterol) , promotes weight gain, gallbladder disease, liver disease, impairs immune system function and plethora of other problems. It is best to stay away from Margarine and stick with old fashion butter( just don’t go over board). Other cooking options are  Olive Oil, and Canola oil.


Heart Rate Training

I have recently been doing the couch to 5K program to help with some consistent cardiovascular training.  I am a big advocate for sprinting but I have been really paying attention to my heart rate while training and taking not of how my Heart responds  to the program. I have noticed that even though my heart rate is elevated I am becoming more and more comfortable. I also take not how fast my heart rate drop or my recovery rate. It is interested to pay attention to how your respond to it. On my recovery days I do some Long Slow Days which either consists of keeping my heart rate below 60% MHR( Max Heart Rate) for an 1 hour to 1 hour and 1/2.  For me that was walking with 40lbs vest.( I know I look crazy walking around with a vest but you got to do what you got to do).

Bioforce HRV

It is a new product that measures how hard should your workout be based on how quickly your rate can change and adjust. IF your heart rate is able to change pace freely then you get the green light. If it detects that your heart/body is not performing as well it will give you a yellow or red light. All it takes is 2.5 mins for it to get a reading. A lot of people have had good results and it is supposed to help keep you injury free. So I am saving up for the device to hopefully experiment for on myself first for about a month and go make my decision.



Walking alone is not Enough

Walking alone is not Enough
Many Americans believe that 30mins of walking a week is enough exercise to keep them living long healthy lives. These are the same people that will most likely to have problems later on in life.  If you believe that 90 minutes of exercise a week will correct sitting on the couch/chair for 80 hours a week then you will have some serious problems.  The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise per week. Over the course of seven days those 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise 5 days a week.  Surely running is more than enough to help me keep healthy. If you think that is true then you’re are greatly mistaken.  What about keeping Strength, power, and bone density up? What do you do then? You have to add in Strength Training.  World Class runners don’t just run every day they perform strength training to help prevent injuries from occurring. Resistance training has two main goals. The first goal is to help the athlete get stronger. The second goal is to help prevent injuries. Injuries occur through trauma or overuse.  To keep yourself resilient against gravity and the world around us it is very important to add resistance training to your exercise routine.

ACSM guidelines are 2-3 days a week of resistance exercise that is a minimum of 8 different exercises between 2-4 sets of 8-15 repetitions on each exercise.  So you will have to add another 30-40mins to your workout.  In total your workouts should last at minimum and 1hour (that and 1 hour of work time not leisure time).  Muscles have three functions in terms of movement. To cause movement (concentric contraction) such as bending your elbow, and to slowly resist movement (Eccentric Contraction) To slowly let your elbow bend while resisting the weight and To resist movement at all( Isometric) Holding a box and not allowing the move cause of weight.  Most people do not get hurt moving the body. Where most injuries occur is when people try to resist movement.  Resisting movement causes a greater force to be placed on our muscles and tendons due our mechanical disadvantage of our levels in our body.  Lifting weights and keeping Lean body mass will better your chance to resist those eccentric forces that occur on a daily basis.
To be honest in my opinion I believe that people should do more weight training than running. This is my reason for claim. Most people don’t run or bike to work. The typical day is get out bed walk to kitchen table sit and eat walk to car sit and drive.  Walk to your desk and sit and work. Then leave work go home and sit and watch tv, eat and go to bed. Now if you were to add running 30 minutes to your day you would make significant improvements to your cardiovascular system.  You may also build some lean mass in your legs from the running that you’re doing. Besides the recreation running you don’t do much running elsewhere unless it’s your occupation. On the other hand you perform yard work, lifting and moving furniture, and other various physical activities that may require bending, carrying, and climbing. Does running alone help you perform those activities? Not really because when you’re running you performing the same motion over and over. Which doesn’t correlate with bending or climbing weight training on the other hand forces people to move in positions that they may not be in on a regular basis? Not to mention will help improve muscular strength and endurance.  Parker et al study took a group of 60-77 year old women tested them on a submaximal walking test(2mph at 3.5% elevation) and weight carrying walking( carry a weight at 40% maximum elbow flexion strength) test. They recorded VO2, heart rate (HR) Systolic Blood Pressure (SBP), and Rate Pressure Product (RPP). Placed the group on a 16 week whole body strength training program.(3 days a week 1 hour per session) Then tested again. They say 57% increase in isotonic strength and 29% increase in isometric strength.  No change in VO2 max but significant decreases in HR, SBP and RPP while perform the walking test and Weight carry test.  Not only did the women improve their strength to prevent injury. Their ability to use oxygen became more efficient as well.  Not to mention as well when performing strength training people will work on full range of motion which is important for keep good flexibility and mobility of the joints.  So with older people especially it is very important that they perform strength training to keep muscle strong and bones dense.  As you age strength training becomes more and more important as you age.  Remember the goal of strength training is to help prevent injuries.  Younger people especially women have a fear of lifting weight s because they don’t want to get bulky.  Honestly that is like saying you don’t want to read because you are afraid of becoming a genius. It takes a lot of work to put on lean body mass most athletes work an entire year to put on 5- 10lbs of mass. So if your 3 workouts a week will not make your bulky unless it is in your genes. The fear of getting to big has long been debunk also most people are not willing to put in the amount of time to put on more muscle.

All in all Strength training is very vital for a healthy life I believe that everyone needs to incorporate some form of Strength training. It will help improve your quality of life and help prevent injuries from occurring as you age.  Walking or jogging is not enough keeping strength and lean body mass is very important for keeping you independent  and out of the retirement home


In my Gym Bag: Valslides

In my Gym Bag: Valslides
This week I want to write an article about things that I carry with me to the gym. One of the tools that I carry in my bag is a pair of Valslides. Valslides are plastic disk with a little bit of foam padding.  They slide on just about every surface (indoors) they work very well on turf and carpet.  The Valslides will make a stable surface unstable and therefore will force people to stabilize the limb throughout the movement. The Valslides are a pretty cheap tool roughly 30 dollars online. I honestly feel that I have gotten more than my 30 dollars’ worth of use out of them. It is a fantastic tool to have in your own personal gym or to use when training clients. I will go over some exercises that you can do with the Valslides but if you are creative you will be able to come up with some interesting exercises.

Upper Body Exercises.
Push up with Single arm Slide out. This is a push up variation. It will help increase the difficulty of the exercises and also help train people for the single arm push up. I also so see the arm slide out as a moving plank exercises as well.

Single and Double arm Chest Fly. This is a very good variation of Chest fly. If you do not have access to dumbbells and lord forbid Chest fly machine (can’t believe I typed that). This is a great variation to that exercise.  On the single arm while performing a push up the arm on the Valslide will perform a chest fly. This is a great exercise for isolating the chest muscles. Once your mastered single arm Chest Fly you can move to the Double arm Chest Fly. The double Chest Fly will work on Shoulder stability through the motion.

Lower Body Exercises 

Reverse Lunge on Valslide. This is probably my favorite posterior chain on the Valslide. If you goal is to get quicker and faster I highly recommend.  Remember running and sprinting is a pulling exercise not a pushing exercise. This reverse lunge works the hamstrings and Glutes in the same fashion as running. It is a fantastic exercise.

Valslides Lateral Lunge.  If you don’t have access to a slide board the valslide is the next best thing.  Place your foot on a valslide. Now slide your foot outward sideways as far as you can. Now return to standing. This is a great exercise to work the adductors of the legs. I know believe that athletes don’t work their adductors enough.


Body Saw
The body saw is like a moving plank. You want to start in the plank position with your feet on the Val slides. Now with your arms push your body back and pull forward continue until reps are completed. It is a variation to Abs rollout.

Mountain climbers on Valslides
Assume the mountain climber position on the ground on hands and feet. Take the Valslide pucks and place them under your feet. Now keep your back straight and butt down perform mountain climbers without bouncing up and down. You don’t have to worry about lifting your foot off the ground.   Mountain climbers are very good for the Hip flexors.

Hopefully with the information provided you are willing to give Valslides a try or look to include them into training bag.

Sports Performance Training/ Functional Training

Sport Performance Training and Functional Training
What is Sports Performance Training/ Functional Training? Many people have heard of the both of those terms in when it comes to training.  Functional training is training that will help improve a person’s ability to function in their daily activities. There are several categories of Functional/ Sports Performance training: Soft tissue care, Flexibility & Mobility, Strength training and Conditioning.  Each area is very important to improving an athlete’s performance and reduces your chance of injury. The same areas can also be applied to General wellness client.
What is Soft Tissue care? Soft tissues are your muscle, ligaments and tendons in your body keeping those tissues in proper working order will save you a lot of pain later on in life. Very common soft tissue care is Sports Massages. Unfortunately not every has the time to get a sports massage before they workout. The next best Soft tissue work is the foam roller.  A foam roller is a cylindrical piece of hard celled foam. They come in many different sizes, shapes and densities.  The larger or more muscular the person the more dense the foam roller should be. The Foam roller should be used as a way to apply pressure to the sore area in long sweeps across the length of the muscle.  Your goal with the foam roller is to find tender areas to roll those areas to keep the muscle density uniform throughout the length of the muscle.  Keeping the Muscle tissue uniform can reduce your chances of strains and tears.

Flexibility and Mobility everyone is should know the importance of stretching and keeping your body limber. I don’t think there is anyone in the world that aspires to be very stiff.  So if no one wants to be stiff then why don’t people stretch more often?  The ability to move your body through full range of motion will allow people to move without restriction and get into positions that are essential for sports and life. The trick however is to find whether people’s restrictions are caused by flexibility or joint mobility.  Once you determine where a person’s limitations are you can implement some proper stretches and/or mobility exercise to increase those range of motions. When you have a limited motion in a joint it will cause the neighboring joints will have to move more to compensate for the limited motion.  Having the full range of motion will reduce your chance of injury.

Strength Training is vital to proper health. Remember the ability to move objects or run faster is correlated to a person’s ability to produce force.  If you cannot produce more force how you will be able to run faster. Yes some people will make improvements when you teach them how to run with proper form.  Eventually they will reach a plateau and that is where strength training will help progress further.   Why is Strength training important for the General Wellness? Strength is important as you age you will begin to lose muscle mass which also means you will lose strength.  Losing strength not only means losing your ability to move object but also losing your ability to absorb forces that act on your body.  Remember energy cannot be created or destroyed. When a person falls or gets hit. If the person muscle cannot absorb the energy from the force then energy will have to go to other places such as ligament, tendons, and bones.  Keep your muscle strong not only helps you perform daily task better it can also
help prevent injuries from falls or unexpected hits.

The last component and arguably the most important is Conditioning.  Conditioning is one’s ability to sustain an action. There are many different criteria for conditioning. For runners it is how far someone can keep a pace over a certain distance.  For lifters it is how much weight you can lift with in a time period.  In sports it’s how long you can play in a game before your performance begins to drop due to fatigue.  For the General public if you can’t walk up a flight of stairs without getting to winded then you may want to reconsider your conditioning. Depending on what you doing in your everyday life you should condition yourself appropriately so that heart and lungs are not over worked on a daily basis.
Being in good condition will not only help you perform your activities better but will make you sure your heart and lungs are working properly.

Functional training/ Sports Training is training that is tailored for each person to strengthen their weaknesses whether that is Soft tissue care, Flexibility, mobility, Strength Training and/or Conditioning for sports or General Wellness.  The last information that I can give you is before you start any new training program please go see your doctor and make sure your get testing done.  I recommend that everyone gets a stress test done at least once a year.  If you are 24 or older I think it is mandatory for you to have a stress test done once a year.  Athletes should have a stress echo done with their routine physical every year to make sure that there is no underlying condition.  Too many athletes die due to underlying heart conditions that were never checked out before hand. If you want to start a new program I recommend scheduling an appointment with your doctor first to make sure you have been cleared to do so.

What is Functional Training?

It’s been a while since I have last written Life has taken control but it is starting to calm down a little bit.  What comes to mind when you hear the term Functional Training.  Most people will think about balancing on Bosu balls or balance boards while performing exercises to force people to adjust to every shifting environment. You also may think of Crossfit in which it is randomized workouts so that everyday is something different so that you will be prepared for anything that you may come across in your life.  I am still young in my career to determine say whether one is better than the other. My interpretation of Functional Training is looking at Human Anatomy and develop a program to help  those muscle perform there function better. That can include Strength training, power training,  flexibility and mobility work.

Strength Training
Strength is very important  if muscles are not strong enough to resist gravity I can bet you will have a hard time in life. If your legs can’t support your own body weight your will have a difficult time in life. Think about all that you do with your legs. If you can squat then it will be very difficult to get in and out of cars, chairs, off the ground. Sometime there are imbalances between muscle group. An example is an imbalance between chest to upper back strength. Most people are able to bench press a lot more than they can pull.  When you have a great imbalance between muscle groups you are more susceptible to injury.  Strength training is very important to make sure your body is strong enough to propel itself and to resist gravity. When muscles are strong you will decrease the chance of injury.


Power Training
Power Training is very important in everybody. As you age strength will decrease. Whats even worse a person’s ability to produce power decrease more than their strength.  What is an everyday power exercise that everyone does daily? It is very simple getting out of a chair.  Sit in your chair and try to get out of it slowly without using your arms to help you up. I bet that it was impossible( if you were able to do it then either your cheated or you’re a beast and you must post a video of you doing it).  A power movement can be anything from Olympic lifts, Box Jumps, Bounds, Kettle bell swings, skipping, Anything that forces your body to move quickly. If you perform a power exercise daily you will feel a lot better.  Power is defined by Force x Distance / Time  or Work/Time. It is creating a force in the shortest amount of time possible.

Flexibility and Mobility
Picture yourself as stiff as you have ever been. I can bet you felt awful.  Now think that some people bodies are like that all the time. If you take those people and you stretch and work on their joint mobility(ankles, hips, and thoracic spine) They will have a new lease on life.  Make joints that are supposed to be mobile move  and that will allow the other joints to perform their jobs better.  Also working on connective tissue length as will also help with flexibility and mobility of those joints.  Foam Rolling  and Mobility exercises to help increase Joint range of motion are vital.  A rule of thumb for how many decades you are alive that’s how many days of mobility  work you need a week.

Functional training does not have to be some super creative outlandish exercises just try to make people strong enough to resist gravity, develop power, and have as much range of motion as possible in their joints. It is very simple. Do those things and you will change people lives.

Random Thoughts and good reads

In the last couple of weeks I have been reading and working  pretty hard so I haven’t had time to write but I have had time to read bring in new material In the last couple of weeks I have had plenty of thoughts I will lay down some of my thoughts down.

Adipure Trainers
I bought a pair of Adipure Trainer Shoes in the middle of March. Now that I have some wear and tear on those bad boys I think it is appropriate to give my review of the shoe I will go more in depth about them in a later post. When I first got the Adipure. I had some familiarity with minimalist shoes( Nike free).  Unfortunately it is very rare that they make shoes my size( size 16) I was able to fit in to a size 15 without a problem. The shoes have a flexible fabric and they stretch some to accommodate everyone foot.  That being said the sizes are not done the same way as Vibrams where it is European sizes and they measured by the longest toe.  Adidas went with traditional shoes size so if you have weird shaped feet be warned they may not feet well. I personally had a problem with my last pinkie toe getting rubbed on the inside between the toes. So the first week of wearing those shoes was painful until the skin calloused over. After I allowed my feet to heal Everything seemed to fall in place. The  fabric has stretched out my arch started to get  stronger and I was able to push myself harder in my workouts. It is a great show but as a big person I would weary about working out in these day after day. Make sure you carry another pair of shoes so you can switch when you can.

Fat Head Documentary
Now the if you have NetFlix I high recommend this documentary it is very informational on nutrition and how the guidelines need to be change in the United States. Tom Naughton the creator of this movie was a stand up comedian and now computer programmer and he does a lot of individual research on health and nutrition. Also he decides that the Super Size Me experiment was false and Morgan Spurlock falsified his food diary. I have seen the movie about three times and if you don’t have Netflix here is a link of the movie on youtube.

Quote from Gary Taubes book Why we Get Fat
In this book he  had one statement that stuck with my mind  Overeating does make you Fat but Being Fat( or making fat) makes you overeat. It was a very simple statement that makes a lot of sense if you sit and think about it.  Lets break it down I have seen people overeat a lot and not gain weight and on the other end of that spectrum I have seen people eat little( for their size)  and are still pretty big.  Let’s look at it like this the average american male eats roughly 2000 calories a day.  If his body decides to make fat. The fat cells will take a portion of his food every time he eats. So now the body is only getting 1500 calories a day. So now the body is in a deficit so now what?  The body sends a signal to the brain telling you that it is still hungry and to go get something to eat.   So now you go eat a little more. The fat cells take there portion of the food and you still want to get one more bit just to be sure you got your daily caloric intake.

Nutrition Rant

I want to thank the United States Education for this.  A  Calorie is a Calorie that is plain and simple.  Unfortunately the laws Thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed which I will not argue because I believe that law stands true.  Unfortunately anyone who understands that law also believes that they are a nutritionist. If you believe that a calorie from a slice of cheese cake is the same as a calorie from a filet of grilled salmon. You may want to turn in your highschool diploma and start over again. If you believe that nutrition is as simple as balancing your calories. Then you honestly don’t know what is going on inside your body.  For example a double cheese burger from McDonald has 490 Kcal. In order for me 6’5” 250lbs person to burn that burger off I would have to run at a 7 mph pace for 25 minutes.  Not to mention if I ate a medium fries and a soda to drink( equals a whopping 960 calories)  I would have to run for 44 mins at the same pace.  That’s not including breakfast, or dinner.  A lot of people use calorie counters to restrict the amount of food they eat. If you keep restricting your food intake eventually your metabolism will slow down and your will stop losing weight and when you quit counting calories you will gain the weight back plus more.  Remember a Calorie is not a Calorie Think before you eat.

My top 5 Core exercises

To add to my list of favorite exercises I will go ahead and name my Top 5 favorite exercise for the “Core” All the exercise may incorporate the entire body which is fine because you can’t move your body without the core being involved one way or another. Most of these exercises I still use because they will help keep me strong and flexible for the rest of time.

5). Single leg sit-up
The single leg sit-up is a regression to the very popular Turkish get-up This is a great exercise that can hit your Core and both sides can be worked evenly. It is an exercise that can easily be loaded and when loaded help turn the exercise into a great shoulder stability exercise as well. It is a fantastic exercise that needs little set up just get in the traditional Sit up position on the floor. Extend one leg straight and perform sit ups. Did I mention that the 1 leg sit-up is also safer on your lower back? With one leg extended it causes people not to round the lower back which take a lot of shearing force off of the disk which protects your spine.

4).Suitcase Carries

Suitcase carries is the Farmer walks city slicker cousin. Instead of walking with two weights just grab one weight. Now the goal is to walk in a straight line( at least 20 yards) and keep your shoulder square and try not to lean.  Keeping yourself up right will be more than enough to wake up those obliques.  Not to mention there is a dynamic implementation when you walk. If you ever wanted to learn how to brace your core try a farmer walk. It is an exercise that teaches you how to perform it correctly while performing the exercise.

3). Turkish Get-up

I mention the single leg sit-up as the regression for the Turkish get-up. The Turkish get-up is not an exercise your want to play around with.  This is exercise should honestly come with an instruction manual. This exercise will remind you how awful it can be to get up off the ground.  But doing this exercise will show you your weaknesses and help strengthen them at the same time.  If you wrestle, judo, ju-jitsu, or any other martial arts this is the exercise for you. I think all contact sports need to incorporate a Turkish get-up.  Fantastic exercise give a shot.
2). Med ball Tosses( all directions) 
Get exercise for thrower, golfers, fighters,  and just about all sports.  This exercise can also be used to work on power in athletes. There are so many variations but it teaches you how to generate power from your hips up through the mid section and out through your arms.  It keeps emphasizing that kinetic chain. How to transfer energy created from your legs and move it through your abdomen to your arms. If your core is weak you will lose a lot of power throughout the movement. I prefer if you can throw the ball against. So I can throw the ball without worrying about injuring another person.

1). Planks (Front, Side, and all other variations)

Planks are a simple exercise to train your abdominal, hips, and shoulders. Just get in a push up position on your elbows. Keep your body in a straight line from head to toe. Hold that position like your life depends on it. Very good exercise to work your core correctly which to make a stable platform in which you can move your limbs from. Very simple with lots of variations. This is a must include exercise. If you’re able to hold for at least a minute you are doing big things. If you can’t then… get to work.

My Favorite Lower Body Exercises

I have been exercising for a majority of my life and throughout my time in gym I have been partial  to a few exercises. When I see those exercises on my program I get excited like a young teenage girl about to see Hunger games.  So in the Post I want to show My 5 favorite Lower body exercise I recommend given them a try if you haven’t already.

5. Back Squat/Front Squats
 I truly believe that this exercise will withstand the test of time. This is the basic exercise to build strength in your lower limbs.  I usually only go to 90 degrees( upper thigh parallel to floor) but I have at one period of time squat ATG(Ass to Grass).  There is a big myth that squats are bad for your knees but I haven’t had any problem with knees. Having a strong lower body will greatly improve the quality of your life.  I was first introduced to back squats in the 8th grade. I had a very good strength coach who taught me great technique and it was easy for me to do.  If you don’t squat you should think about incorporating them into your program.

4. Trap Bar Deadlift
The Trap Bar Deadlift is a variation of the traditional dead lift which is a great exercise to develop the Posterior chain of the body( Hamstring, Glutes Back extensors). The hex bar is move of a manly hula hoop  that you can add weight to. The trap bar dead lift is supposed to be more back  friend rather than traditional dead lifts. Because the back level is shorter than traditional deadlift. Professionals are now starting to consider the Trap Bar Dead lift and hybrid exercise due to the amount of knee flexion compared to traditional deadlifts.  Great exercise I completely recommend it.

3. Walking Lunges
I have always hated walking Lunges because I would almost without fail be very sore the next day.  It is a very dynamic exercise That requires power, stability, strength. If you want a great lower body exercise walking lunges. Sometimes I still have flash back from the first time I perform walking lunges properly. I couldn’t sit right for a week.

2. Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats
RFESS  also known as the Bulgarian(Romanian whatever country) split squats.  I used to perform this exercise as a supplement exercise for my legs. Up until early 2011  I was learned that you can also perform this exercise pretty heavy not to mention there is a huge stability component of this exercise. I found that you can work you legs just as hard if not harder than the back squats without putting too much weight on your back. The limiting factor in the back squat is not your legs. It is your back you’re only able to squat as much weight as your back will allow.   But by going to single leg you can load up more weight on your body one leg at a time.  When I first started performing RFESS I was working with  135 lbs on my back and honestly it was kicking my butt. Now I can do 205 lbs comfortably and I noticed that my legs feel stronger than they have in years.

1. Pistol Squats 

I take pride in my leg strength it was something that I was naturally good at and I worked hard at trying to improve. In college I was able to squat 565lbs. I was a beast but when we got a new strength coach he felt my squat was strong enough in the bilateral since but he wanted see how strong we were unilaterally. So he started incorporating pistol squats and Single leg Dead lifts The first day I tried to do a pistol squat I could not go anywhere near parallel. It was unbelievable. How can a person with a 500 lbs squat barely perform an average pistol squat. It made me angry but at the same time open up my eyes as to how strength is relative to your goals. I see power lifters throwing up huge numbers. I see body weight people able to perform muscles ups and Full ATG Pistol squats it is truly amazing to how the body can adapt to stimulus.

Honorable mentions
Single leg Straight leg Deadlifts
Stability ball Leg Curls
Hip Thrusters
Traditional Dead lifts.