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 Post subject: Toes and Leg Curl
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 6:06 pm 
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OK, don't laugh, this is a serious question.

I used to have a store-bought bench with a leg curl attachment, which I sold about a year ago. Recently I saw a similar bench on clearance for 20.00 USD and couldn't leave it in the store, so now I have a leg curl machine again. So I'm doing these for the first time in a long time.

Today I was doing a modest 35#, for sets of 15, and on the 2nd set my calves were cramping horribly. I wanted to finish the set so after each rep I'd take a couple of breaths, brace myself, and do another.

Needless to say I was dreading the 3rd set, but this time my foot started cramping up, so I stretched out my toes, the opposite of curling them, and suddenly the weight seemed to vanish. I easily did 20 reps with no cramping and simply stopped because it was getting silly.

So what's up with that? Is that "legit" as the kids say today? If you extend your toes on leg curls will you get some weird toe-extension out-of-balance injury??

Like I said, don't laugh, I'm really asking this. I'm always curious when something new happens in the gym.

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 Post subject: Re: Toes and Leg Curl
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 8:15 pm 
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KenDowns wrote:
If you extend your toes on leg curls will you get some weird toe-extension out-of-balance injury??


No, but it will involve your calves more as synergists in the curling movement. Flexing the foot while curling disables the calves somewhat, but increases the tension on the plantar fascia, which could lead to foot cramping.

http://www.muscleandfitness.com/trainin ... e-remember

As an aside -the notion that foot position can affect muscle recruitment in both leg extensions and leg curls has been scoffed at, but the link above suggests otherwise

Hope this helps

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 Post subject: Re: Toes and Leg Curl
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:59 am 
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Here's another perspective, too http://charlieweingroff.com/2011/08/get ... your-toes/

I think toe position is one of those little things that are probably quite significant but over looked quite a lot.

For example pointing the toes in a straight leg raise really changes it. Also, pointing the toes at the start, or, "punch and crunch" part of a turkish get up really helps. Lastly, "gripping" with the feet and, therefore, "toes down", can make a huge difference to stability on lower body movements.

It's one of those things that keep me awake at night :geek:

KPj

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 Post subject: Re: Toes and Leg Curl
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:33 pm 
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how your foot is flexed makes a difference during leg curls too.

There's lots of little nuances to body position that can totally change an exercise. For example if you're not turning your hand so your thumbs are lower than your pinkies during lateral raises then you're just hitting your anterior delt, not the lateral (it's murder on your shoulder joint though...)


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 Post subject: Re: Toes and Leg Curl
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:05 am 
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robertscott wrote:
For example if you're not turning your hand so your thumbs are lower than your pinkies during lateral raises then you're just hitting your anterior delt, not the lateral (it's murder on your shoulder joint though...)


I would dispute that. I don't dispute that this is what it "feels" like, though.

I would suggest that it's the rotator cuff you feel burning rather than lateral delt. I don't understand how a lateral raise would suddenly become a front delt exercise, either, although you'll probably never "switch off" either of them whilst trying to train one of them.

I've came across this recommendation a lot, and actually used to do them regularly. What I don't understand is that technically the front delt helps to internally rotate the shoulder so, in theory, by internally rotating the shoulder during a lateral raise (the thumbs below pinky or "empty can" as it's known), you would think this plays more to the front delt than to side delt, ya know.

Either way, considering it's a good choice to provoke an injured rotator cuff, I can't see it being a good choice to train the lateral delt.

Going by "feel" I would suggest the lateral delt machine, believe it or not. Or cable lateral raises with your arm starting behind you. John Meadows has some quite creative stuff on hitting the lateral delts, too. Also i'd go higher reps for them (think of them like you think of calves) and hit them after lots of pressing when the front delt will pretty much be spent :grin:

KPj

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 Post subject: Re: Toes and Leg Curl
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:13 am 
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When I went from palms facing down to pinkys pointing towards the ceiling (pretty much), I had to half the weight. Getting back to where I used to be now but I'm sure I can feel it more in my rear delt too this way. I've never tried it with a cable, but sounds like it could work well.


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 Post subject: Re: Toes and Leg Curl
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:39 am 
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Nevage wrote:
When I went from palms facing down to pinkys pointing towards the ceiling (pretty much), I had to half the weight. Getting back to where I used to be now but I'm sure I can feel it more in my rear delt too this way. I've never tried it with a cable, but sounds like it could work well.


That's probably because your rotator cuff isn't capable of lifting as much as your delts :tongue:

Ok so i'm being a bit of an a$$hole with that comment but, the movement is genuinely a provocative test used by physio's to see just how pi$$ed off your RC is. I think you probably need to tear your supraspinatus to really "feel" how much the empty can targets it. This doesn't make it wrong it just makes it risky. Maybe the empty can really does eliminate the front delt. Since the front delt is an internal rotator, too, and we have just eliminated it, then maybe the RC needs to pitch in more than usual and this is just an unwanted side effect of more lateral delt activation. But then that assumes "feeling" = "activation" which may not be the case, and then we've opened a can of worms. It's kind of like lower abs with leg raises - is it your "lower abs" you feel or your hip flexors?

I've "felt" my lateral delts work doing lateral raises in the scapular plane (slightly infront) with the thumbs pointed towards the ceiling and I reckon I could make anyone feel them working with the right combination and approach of sets, reps and rest periods, and especially with pre exhausted front delts.

I think sometimes people are too quick to jump to other movements before messing around with programming of existing movements. I've had the chance to take this approach with a few people because i've worked with a lot of people with screwed up shoulders so things like the empty can are not an option at all. I have found most seem to "like" the cable version. My theory is simply that it is' a different line of pull than holding a DB.

However, the lateral delt machine is great for "feeling" it, too. I used this simply just to shut up a BB type I trained lol but now it's a quick solution I use for people who ask (i mostly get asked from people with beat up shoulders). I tell them to stop short of shoulder level, keep tension on the delt and do sets of 15-20.

I do have a theory that if you can't flex your lateral delt then it's pointless training it - "if you can't flex it, don't isolate it" - Someone smart said that but I can't remember who.

KPj

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 Post subject: Re: Toes and Leg Curl
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:33 am 
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regarding the pinkies on lateral raises, here's a little test you can do at home.

Hold your arm out to the side, palms level. Now turn your arm so your pinky is slightly above your thumb. Now look at your shoulder. That bit of your shoulder you can see is your lateral delt (although if you're not all that lean you won't be able to see it). Pinkies higher than thumbs is just a form cue to make sure you're using the right part of your shoulder to lift it.

Lateral raises are actually quite a technical little move. You need to:

lean forward slightly
raise your arms up so they're level with your shoulders (not higher)
raise your arms up and slightly behind you
turn your hand so your pinky is higher than your thumb

if you turn your hand all the way over then yeah you're shoulder'll be screaming but you only have to turn it slightly to see the benefit. Also something about the up and slightly back nature of the move seems to make it feel better on the shoulders than a straight up and down, at least it does for my shoulders anyway.

I have to say Kenny I thought those delts of yours were lagging last time I saw you, now I know why (wink wink wink)


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 Post subject: Re: Toes and Leg Curl
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:10 am 
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Yeh but, they're like cannonballs now. Walking through door ways is now a serious problem! Need to turn to the side!

As an even more irrelevant aside one of my less experienced training partners used to have think the rotator cuffs were actually the delts - just an assumption he made. So, he would see someone and say, "look at the size of his rotator cuffs!!!!". I never corrected him for about a year (maybe more), it just amused me.

KPj

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 Post subject: Re: Toes and Leg Curl
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:57 am 
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Robert, that's exactly how I do it. The leaning slightly forward at the beginning thing and finishing with your arms back is essential. I don't do any pressing or raises for my anterior delts because they seem to take over in everything. My chest and anterior delt training is summed up in one exercise: close grip, incline dumbell press (elbows facing towards my feet). I haven't lost any size, I wouldn't even mind losing some for proportion. At least it's 2 less body parts to train and more time to work on other parts.

I think maybe the pinky up thing just sorts my technique out more than anything. With palms face down I found it hard not to slightly angle my arms forward, bringing the anterior delt more into it.


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 Post subject: Re: Toes and Leg Curl
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:18 am 
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KPj wrote:
Yeh but, they're like cannonballs now. Walking through door ways is now a serious problem! Need to turn to the side!

As an even more irrelevant aside one of my less experienced training partners used to have think the rotator cuffs were actually the delts - just an assumption he made. So, he would see someone and say, "look at the size of his rotator cuffs!!!!". I never corrected him for about a year (maybe more), it just amused me.

KPj


that's well funny, "Look at the size of his rotator cuffs!" Imagine walking up to one of the big guys in your gym and saying "Dude, how'd you get your infraspinatus so big?"

can you even see the muscles in the RC? There's a lot going on in the upper back, I'm not sure I could name all the muscles


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 Post subject: Re: Toes and Leg Curl
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:20 am 
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Nevage wrote:
Robert, that's exactly how I do it. The leaning slightly forward at the beginning thing and finishing with your arms back is essential. I don't do any pressing or raises for my anterior delts because they seem to take over in everything. My chest and anterior delt training is summed up in one exercise: close grip, incline dumbell press (elbows facing towards my feet). I haven't lost any size, I wouldn't even mind losing some for proportion. At least it's 2 less body parts to train and more time to work on other parts.

I think maybe the pinky up thing just sorts my technique out more than anything. With palms face down I found it hard not to slightly angle my arms forward, bringing the anterior delt more into it.


cheating with the anterior delts is very easy to do on lateral raises, and is one of the number one mistakes I see made in gyms. I used to do it myself. I thought I was pretty strong on lat raises using the 15k bells, then I fixed my technique and had to drop down to the 5ks.

my chest dominates my physique too, it's good in that my bench numbers are respectable but it sucks because my shoulders look like $h1t


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 Post subject: Re: Toes and Leg Curl
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 10:24 pm 
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KenDowns wrote:
OK, don't laugh, this is a serious question.

I used to have a store-bought bench with a leg curl attachment, which I sold about a year ago. Recently I saw a similar bench on clearance for 20.00 USD and couldn't leave it in the store, so now I have a leg curl machine again. So I'm doing these for the first time in a long time.

Today I was doing a modest 35#, for sets of 15, and on the 2nd set my calves were cramping horribly. I wanted to finish the set so after each rep I'd take a couple of breaths, brace myself, and do another.

Needless to say I was dreading the 3rd set, but this time my foot started cramping up, so I stretched out my toes, the opposite of curling them, and suddenly the weight seemed to vanish. I easily did 20 reps with no cramping and simply stopped because it was getting silly.

So what's up with that? Is that "legit" as the kids say today? If you extend your toes on leg curls will you get some weird toe-extension out-of-balance injury??

Like I said, don't laugh, I'm really asking this. I'm always curious when something new happens in the gym.


Ken, I have a suggestion about what happens when the "weight seemed to vanish". Say you do a leg curl with the foot in the finish position of a heel raise through the whole movement (plantar flexed). The gastroc starts shortened over the ankle and stretched over the knee, then when you close the leg curl the gastroc is shortened over the ankle and shortened over the knee. The second position weakens the gastroc (active insufficiency). If instead, at the finish of the leg curl, you lift the front of your foot towards your shin (contract the tib, dorsiflexion), you keep the gastroc in a strong position. Which would make the same weight in the leg curl movement "vanish", because both the hamstrings and the gastroc are able to contract with force over the knee.

(like your take on "indistinguishable from magic")


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