ON THE BENEFITS OF SUBORDINATE EXERCISES
BOTH IN REGARDS TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE BODY AS WELL AS THE WELL-BEING OF THE MIND
BY DONNY SHANKLE CPT
If I had to choose one subordinate exercise, I would recommend back raises. Back raises can and should be done daily to continually strengthen the lower back and hamstrings. Performing back raises after training not only builds muscle and develops strength but it also flushes the lower back with blood. This allows for optimal performance during your next training session. Iron enriched blood speeds the healing process of muscle breakdown. A similar concept is contrast baths. Immersing oneself in an ice bath followed by a warm bath is the same principle as flushing an area of the body with blood by performing back raises. Slight back pulls are very common for the weightlifter but should never be serious enough for him to miss training. Performing a couple repetitions of this exercise immediately after lifting will help you become stronger and stay healthy so you can lift heavy and often. Alternate the amount of weight you use. Combine heavy sets of five with lighter sets of ten or just use your bodyweight for twenty repetitions.
Adjust a GHD (glute ham developer) so that the pad allows you to bend comfortably at the hip. You can either use a GHD that has the pad at a 45 degree angle or parallel to the floor. The only difference between the two is that the one at 45 degrees forces you to contract harder at the top. At the bottom focus on going down as low as possible until you feel a deep stretch in the hamstrings. Your face should be as close to the support beam in the center if you have a GHD built like the one in the picture. Relax and take in a deep breath. As you get set, use the momentum on the bar to help you find a stretch reflex in your back and hamstrings allowing you to spring into the concentric phase.
A common question is “How far do I need to come up in the concentric phase?” A good rule of thumb is once you can see the back of the gym. Or, if you are in front of a mirror, then come up until you can see your eyes. At this stage of the exercise if you wanted to involve a contraction of the hamstring muscles even more. Then, drive your knees into the GHD and come up a little further to where your body is at a 45 degree angle with the floor. Once you have come up all the way, then resist slightly on the way down, but not enough that you miss catching the stretch reflex in your hamstrings and back. Use this stretch, as well as the momentum on the bar to help you pound out some heavy repetitions. The prime movers for the back raise are the erector spinae and hamstrings. The stabilizer muscles are the abdominals but the GHD machine should be stabilizing you throughout.
Advanced way: Attach a resistance band to the front of the GHD machine and loop the other end around your neck. Performing it this way forces you to contract even harder at the top.
Duration: 5 -10 minutes
Placement in training: Very end every day