If anyone is dubious of the notion that the glutes/hamstrings are engaged in the bottom-most of a front squat, try this little combo on for size:
- cns prime: Russian scissor jump for height x 6 total
- front squat: 135 x 5, 5, 185 x 3; 205 x 3, 2
- snatch grip RDL: 135 x 5, 5; 185 x 5; 205 x 5, 4
- cns prime: muscle-ups x 3
- bent-over row (barbell): 205 x 5, 5; 255 x 5; 275 x 3, 3
Total of 5 rounds. Auto-regulated for load/rep speed (power) drop-off. Doesn’t really look like much, but when you reach the point to where you can be surgically precise with maximizing the effectiveness of each and every repetition, it doesn’t take much per-workout quantity and/or variety. Notice how each exercise (except for the muscle-up cns prime) put the glutes/hams under duress; even the BOR stresses the glutes/hams in holding a proper, bent-over position. This was by design. Went well below parallel in the front squats to accentuate the glute/ham involvement in and out of “the hole”; working weight used suffered as a result.
Specific to the execution of the RDLs: with an empty bar in a snatch grip, stand with your backside to a solid, immovable surface or wall. Bend at the hips as if performing a power snatch from the low hang, and then ease lower so that the bar clears the knees. Push what your mama gave ya (your boo-tay) back as far as humanly possible while pushing as much as possible (think “push the floor away”) from the heels. Now scootch your feet appropriately so that your butt just does touch that object/wall behind you. Feel that hamstring stretch? Yeah, baby, that’s what we’re looking for! Now mark your foot position (I use a piece of athletic tape. You do have some with you, right? It’s a gym bag staple.); also mark the width of your foot placement, as this matters as well (remember 9th grade geometry, kids!). Load up the bar and rock on. And remember two things: (1) push the floor away with the heels on every rep, and (2) touch that wall with your boo-tay on every rep. Don’t cheat yourself, though the urge will surely arise. As the weight gets heavier, you’ll feel as if you’re going to topple over backwards – you won’t; remember that wall? You’re not going anywhere. And keep the rep speed up. Power production is the name of the game.