My #MBBathlete friends know that I place a huge emphasis on mind-muscle connection in the program. It’s super easy to simply go through the motions of an exercise without fully engaging the correct muscles. It was important to me to set you up for success during My Best Body and beyond by knowing how to lift weights with MBB – not just giving you a list of exercises to do.
For many of us, our legs take the longest to change. This can be due to a number of factors – genetics, metabolism, calories and macros consumed, loads, frequency of training, etc. – but it can also be because the right muscles are not being engaged at the right moment or for the right amount of time.
MBB Leg Day Training Focus Areas: (and really, these apply to all muscle groups!):
FORM: A good set is not one you rush through in pain (because the weight is too heavy). It is not one you fly through because it’s too easy, either. Let’s take the weight (load) out of the equation for a minute. Using proper form is key in engaging the right muscles. I know, I know – you hear this all the time. But let’s really think about it for a minute. Educate yourself on the targeted muscles for each exercise. I provide extensive written directions in the My Best Body Resource Guide, which is meant to supplement the photos in the program. Knowing what you are working will make you a smarter athlete and will help you engage the right muscles. As you do the exercise, pay close attention to those muscles. If you can’t feel them contracting and lengthening, there is a good chance those muscles are underactive and other (overactive) muscles are compensating. When this happens, drop your weights! Load is important, but form is key in lifting safely and effectively.
SQUEEZE: Squeeze those muscles! It’s not “cute” to squeeze your butt, but doing so will earn you results (and no one is watching you, anyway!). On squats and deadlifts, squeeze your glutes hard at the top of the exercise. It takes a mindful approach to engage your muscles correctly. Do not simply go through the motions. Make those muscles work!
TEMPO: I go into great detail on tempo in MBB (Note: If you bought the program and skipped ahead to the workouts, bypassing the intro sections, I highly encourage you to go back and read!). I place a lot of emphasis on eccentric lifting in MBB and believe that time under tension is key in muscle growth and strength progress. Do. Not. Rush. Take your time. Think about the muscles contracting and lengthening. Make that mind-muscle connection. Again – when you have it right, you will know!
LOAD: Okay – let’s add the weight back into the equation. I will always encourage you to go heavy, but NOT at the expense of good form. Heavy weights are going to stimulate growth and change. This might require you to step outside of your comfort zone. Maybe you will try an Olympic barbell for squats instead of the lighter curling bar you’ve always used. GOOD! Get out there. Test your limits. You want to be able to complete a full set with good form, with the last few reps being somewhat difficult (but manageable). The best way to determine this weight is to simply try a set. The further you get into your lifting journey, the better understanding you will have of your abilities. Lift safely, but don’t go easy on yourself. Continue to test your limits in a smart manner.
FREQUENCY: If your legs are resistant to change, work them more frequently. There are two leg days in many MBB weeks. Ensure you give your muscles enough rest time in between to allow for recovery and growth.
STRETCHING AND FOAM ROLLING (SMR): We could all be better at rehabilitation of our muscles. Stretching your legs will help you achieve that definition you’re after by lengthening your muscles. Aim to stretch and foam roll regularly after your leg sessions (with a proper warm-up in advance). I provide suggested warm-ups in My Best Body for every workout!