Yes, this can be an extremely “unique” name for an exercise, but the first time you do this exercise, you will know EXACTLY why I called it that (another name I had in mind had the word “evil” in it).
This exercise gives you the best of 3 worlds:
1. You get a good stretch for your quadriceps at the end of the exercise.
2. You get a great contraction at the top (stronger even than with a leg extension).
3. Your quads are NOT broken during the entire movement (for example, when you are doing a regular squat or lunge, at the top of the exercise, the tension is completely released from the muscles and carried through the bones and joints) .
Put all of these together and you have an exercise that will destroy your quads! The first time I did it, I ended up doing more sets than I originally planned to do for legs because I realized it was such a powerful exercise.
Be sure to see the images and video of this exercise in action (side view and front view). Watching the video and it still makes it SO MUCH easier to understand the mechanics of the movement and really get the most out of it when you take it to the gym yourself.
How to do it:
Basically, you will do what looks like a hack lunge with a barbell. It will resemble a lunge holding the barbell behind your back rather than across your shoulders. That’s the best way to describe it, but there are a few key points that take the exercise from a simple lunge to something that will ignite a fire in your quads that knocks you down; almost every set I did of these exercises ended with me falling!
This exercise is best done on a shelf for safety reasons; Doing it on a shelf will allow you to really push your legs hard and maximize the effect of the exercise. It can be done starting with the bar on the floor, but it makes the exercise a little more difficult to handle and you should finish the set a little earlier for safety reasons rather than trying as hard as you can with the support. Having the bar a little higher at the beginning also makes it easier to start the exercise, which helps a lot.
First, place the safety rails in the rack approximately one foot off the ground. Place a barbell on the rails, and then load a moderate weight. The first time you do this, start with a low weight to feel the exercise, for example 25 to 45 on each side.
Stand with your back to the bar (it will be against the back of your legs), crouch down and grab it with an overhand grip (I grip it about the same width I would use for the bench press, using the smooth rings as a guide ).
Once you’ve grasped the bar, stand up and bring the weight behind you so that it rests on the back of your thighs, just below your glutes. Now step your left leg forward in a typical lunge stance. Lower into the lunge with the bar resting on the back of your right thigh (your back leg, basically).
Now the fun begins … instead of standing up straight, keep your torso bent forward at an angle. And as you stand up and straighten your front leg, straighten your rear leg, PUSHING YOUR CHIN UP AND BACK as you do so.
Basically, even though your left leg is forward, it is your right leg that is actually working directly against the resistance of the bar. The more you push to stretch your leg, the stronger the quadriceps contraction will be.
You’re supporting the full weight of the bar on your right hamstring / thigh and the quadricep contraction is what keeps it there. The left leg receives some work, but not as much as the right leg; That back leg is the one you really need to focus on with this exercise, which is contrary to how the lunge normally works.
And here’s the beauty … at the bottom of the lunge, when your right leg is bent, you’re actually stretching your right quad well as well. THAT is why I call this the “Barbell Curse Lunge” … the back leg quads are NOT broken during the entire exercise, from stretch to squeeze and throughout the set.
With a regular lunge or squat (as I mentioned earlier), when you reach the top, your skeleton is bearing the weight, not your muscles. It is difficult to maintain a strong contraction and maintain tension in the thighs without shortening the range of motion and never going all the way up. With this exercise, the more you try to block at the top, the stronger the quadriceps contraction will be and the more difficult the exercise will be.
Trust me, it’s a serious leg training experience and it will really open your eyes. It blew my mind when it occurred to me. And THAT is why I’m telling you to do this exercise on the shelf … because when you’re done, you’re done. Your leg will give out from the burn and you will have to lose weight. The shorter the distance the bar has to travel, the better.
As for the other leg, because both legs are being worked with this exercise (even though the back leg is doing most of the work), the second leg working will already be fatigued and you won’t get as many reps. with that. If you want, you can rest for a minute, then do the other leg instead of immediately starting the other leg.
Try this exercise on your next leg workout and let me know what you think!