Bulgarian Split Squat vs Lunge vs Back Squat – Differences and Benefits

The back squat, Bulgarian split squat, and the lunge are three lower body movements that are fundamental to nearly every strength, power, fitness, and sport athlete. Neglecting both/either bilateral (back squat) and unilateral (Bulgarian split squat and lunges) can set athletes and lifters up for nagging injuries, performance limitations, and muscular and movement imbalances.

The purpose of this article is to demonstrate the need for all both bilateral and unilateral lower body movements into every strength, power, fitness, and sport athletes program. Additionally, we will point out the key differences between each and how those can be used to best suit performance and the athletes needs/goals.

Back Squat

A post shared by D.J. Shuttleworth (@bigdeej94) on May 29, 2017 at 5:11pm PDT


The back squat is a fundamental movement that build universal strength, muscle hypertrophy, and is a performance enhancing movement patterning for nearly every sport athlete. The back squat, as well as all of the primary variations (front, overhead, zercher, anderson, low bar, high bar, etc) can all be found and discussed in detail in our Ultimate Squat Guide.

Bulgarian Split Squat

A post shared by Eloise Andrle (@elliemarandrle) on May 15, 2017 at 3:43pm PDT


The bulgarian split squat is a specific type of unilateral split stance exercise that demands more unilateral balance and strength than a normal split squat (no bench or box). In this exercise, the lifter places their back leg on a bench of box, increasing the demands and emphasis on the front leg muscles and increasing the complexity (balance, strength, coordination, etc).

[Here’s why you, and most lifters, need to start doing more Bulgarian split squats immediately!]



The lunge is a unilateral lower body movement that can be done by stepping the foot forward, walking, or even dropping one foot backwards (reverse lunge). Most variations of the lunge can be manipulated to a degree to shift emphasis to the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and hips, depending on the goal and intent. Lunging is very applicable to most sports, as it develops balance, sounds dynamic movement and stabilization, increases unilateral muscle mass development, and can even help to stimulate new neurons within muscle units to fire and be developed for suture movement (bilateral deficit).

Bulgarian Split Squat vs Lunge vs Back Squat: Lower Body Training

All three of these movements are highly effective means to produce muscle mass, movement integrity, and optimal symmetry and injury residence in the lower body. Nearly every athlete can, and arguable should, integrate all three of these movements into their training regimens on a continual basis.


One key difference between the back squat and the other two lifts is that the back squat is a bilateral movement, which simply means the lifter or athlete is performing the exercise with both limbs. While unilateral training has been shown to increase muscle activation and can help to work on unilateral deficiencies with lifters, bilateral movements, such as the squat allow for maximal loading, strength capacities, and even application to sport specific movements, such as powerlifting style competitive squats, jumping, heavy cleans and snatches, and more.

Below are three distinct training outcomes that coaches and athletes should be aware of when determine which movement to select for their program.

Maximal Strength Development

Many factors can influence maximal strength development, however for the sake of this segment we will focus on: (1) neuromuscular preparedness and activity, (2) force output, (3) muscle hypertrophy, (4) movement integrity, (5) sport specificity.

A post shared by Steven Maradona (@stevenaay) on Feb 22, 2017 at 9:07pm PST


Back Squat

The back squat be far is the winner for maximal strength development when compared to the other two movements listed. The back squat is a total body movement that maximizes a lifter’s ability to load the spine, increase total body neural excitation, and produce high amounts of force output.

When looking at heavy back squats, we quickly see that a lifter must perform back squats to do well in powerlifting meets, Olympic weightlifting, and functional fitness, as back squatting is a key metric to assess one’s maximal strength abilities specific to the lower body.

While this is not to say that unilateral exercises do not play a role in strength development, the back squat is 100% necessary for nearly every strength, power, and fitness athlete.

Bulgarian Split Squat

The Bulgarian split squat, as well as most unilateral movements can do wonders for overall strength performance when used to enhance muscle hypertrophy, address any muscle imbalances and/or asymmetries, and increase training volume needed for long term adaptation. Unlike heavy back squats, Bulgarian split squats often are performed with moderate to light loading (relative to one’s squat strength) for moderate to higher repetitions in controlled fashion. By doing these split squat variations in this fashion, the athlete can maximize muscle damage and build healthy connective tissues, muscle fibers, and joint integrity over time.


Similar to the Bulgarian split squat, the lunge (and its variations) can be used to further isolate specific muscle fibers or ranges of motion that are hindering optimal development. The lunge can be used to further develop muscular hypertrophy, balance, and joint integrity to bolster back squat performance.

For example, if a lifter has weak quadriceps, a front foot elevated reverse lunge variation can place additional training volume onto the quadriceps and glutes stimulating muscle growth and adaptation. With time, the similar movement patterning and muscle activation used in lunge could be transferred over to the back squat, and ultimately increasing performance.

Muscular Hypertrophy

While all of these exercises are great lower body assistance options, there are slight differences in loading placed upon the quads, hamstrings, and glutes; all of which are discussed below.


Back Squat

Depending on the degree of knee and hip flexion, as well as barbell placement, coaches and athletes can easily manipulate what muscle groups will be primarily working.

In short, back squats can be used to increase muscular hypertrophy throughout the lower body and hips, often don’t in higher volume training with moderate to heavy loads.

Regardless of sport, back squatting for hypertrophy is key for long term strength and sport performance as it is a foundation and jumping off point towards more intense training practices.

Bulgarian Split Squat

When done with a narrower stance, the Bulgarian split squat emphasizes quadriceps and glute hypertrophy, which can be a huge benefit to athletes lacking proper hip and quadriceps engagement while squatting or receiving barbells (cleans and snatces).

During longer splits, knee flexion is more limited, therefore increasing the load upon the hamstring, which can be beneficial for runners, sprinters, of adults who take a lower bar positioning during the squat (and are lacking in hamstring development).

Bulgarian split squats can certainly be used, and should, by most athletes to increase lower body hypertrophy, balance and coordination, and add training volume during certain phases in one’s program.


The benefits of incorporating lunges into programs is nearly identical to the Bulgarian split squat. The wide array of stances and multi-directional open movement patterning under load is also key for increasing injury resilience, improving an athlete’s balance and proprioception, and can drastically increase hip, knee, and ankle health (when done correctly).

Application to Sport

Lastly, application to strength, power, and fitness sports is key when determining exercise selection, order, and prioritization. Below is a detailed reasoning for the inclusion of each exercise within one’s training.

A post shared by Shane Kokolis (@shane.kokolis) on May 29, 2017 at 5:11pm PDT


Back Squat

The back squat has repeatedly been established as a key marker for maximal strength capacity (force output) for nearly every athletic feat. Inclusion of the back squat is key for powerlifters (it’s a competition lift that requires skill and strength), weightlifters (it has high application to leg strength, back position, and both competition lifts), and fitness and sport athletes (increased force development equals bigger, faster, stronger athletes).

While the back squat may be the gold standard for most coaches, there are plenty of variations that can also be incorporated into one’s training to further customize programming based on personal limitations and/or needs.

Bulgarian Split Squat

The Bulgarian split squat can be incorporated to increase sport specific muscle mass, foot positioning (in the split jerk), and/or as preventive/rehabilitative training to enhance any unilateral asymmetries. Increasing leg strength, balance, and unilateral performance can have a drastic effect on joint and connective tissue function during sport movements, especially as progressed properly.


The lunge can be done in numerous of variations, foot positions, and styles, each offering a coach and athlete some of the best methods for increasing range, load, and situational sport skill and strength. Whether a lifter in the split squat, a strongman lugging heavy loads during competition, or a fitness athlete increasing unilateral force production specific to uphill running, the lunge can be manipulated to target a lifter’s needs.

Final Words

The back squat is key to nearly every athletes, regardless of sport. Increased power, strength, and muscle mass will all help an athlete run faster, jump higher, lift heavier, and prevent injury better. Incorporating unilateral movements, such as Bulgarian split squats and lunges can also play a huge role in the overall development and injury reliance of an athlete. Coaches and athletes should prioritize all three movements (or at least back squats and one of the other two exercise above) in every training cycle to fully maximize performance.

Featured Image: @calisthenics_diary on Instagram

The post Bulgarian Split Squat vs Lunge vs Back Squat – Differences and Benefits appeared first on BarBend.


5 Famous People Who Tackled “Murph” on Memorial Day

Memorial Day might be the most solemn of American holidays, being less about celebration and more about remembering the sacrifices the military has made for the country.

The military and law enforcement officers (LEOs) have a special role in the world of CrossFit® and functional fitness, which is exemplified by the Hero WODs, workouts that are dedicated to fallen soldiers. Used to commemorate the lives and achievements of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, they’re intended to be gruelling, exceptionally difficult challenges, and “Murph” is perhaps the most famous of them all: a 1-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air squats, and another 1-mile run. Often, it’s performed with a 20-pound weighted vest.

The WOD is named after Lieutenant Michael Patrick “Murph” Murphy, a United States Navy SEAL officer who earned the Medal of Honor in Afghanistan and was killed in action by Taliban forces in 2005. Performing “Murph” on Memorial Day has become something of a tradition, and over the past few years the clothing company Forged (which is not affiliated with CrossFit®) has raised $800,000 for the Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation through The Murph Challenge. Participants can pay to sign up and post their times on the site, and in return they receive some merchandise and the knowledge that a portion of their payment goes toward the foundation.

This year, the workout got some serious name recognition when two high profile actors took part.

A post shared by John Krasinski (@johnkrasinski) on May 29, 2017 at 5:42am PDT


Chris Pratt and John Krasinski

Starlord and the man who was once very, very nearly Captain America both finished the Murph Challenge together this Monday. Pratt has always been outspoken in his support for the armed forces (and this wasn’t his first Murph) and called Lt. Murphy “one of the many, many brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country that we think about and honor today, Memorial Day.”

We haven’t seen numbers but we’re willing to bet that these two asking their followers to grab a shirt from Forged, which donates a portion of their profits to military-affiliated non-profit organizations, made for a seriously effective fundraiser.


Donald Trump, Jr.

The oldest child of the President of the United States wrote on this Instagram post, “Oh boy after being really inconsistent in my workouts coming back to @Crossfit #murph is a recipe for disaster. Did ok but 5 minutes off my PR of 31:56.”

A post shared by Austin Nichols (@austinnichols) on May 29, 2017 at 1:16pm PDT


Austin Nichols

The actor, best known for his roles on The Walking Dead, The Day After Tomorrow, and One Tree Hill, specifically pointed out that he was inspired by Pratt and Krasinski in two Instagram posts. When he was finished, he could only gasp, “Thanks John and Chris, and especially Mike Murphy, for the inspiration. That was really hard. Happy Memorial Day.”

A post shared by Shawn Booth (@shawn_booth18) on May 29, 2017 at 6:27pm PDT


Shawn Booth

The celebrity with perhaps the most well-filmed “Murph” on Instagram is Shawn Booth, a personal trainer who is best known for winning The Bachelorette two years ago and, unlike most winning couples on the show, actually staying together with his fiancée Kaitlyn Bristowe.

These were some pretty solid “Murph”s, but our all-time favorite has got to be either Allison Brager’s skydiving “Murph” or the one that Colonel Mike Hopkins completed in space.

Featured image via @johnkrasinski on Instagram.

The post 5 Famous People Who Tackled “Murph” on Memorial Day appeared first on BarBend.

How Strongman Has Changed in the Past Year (and What’s on the Horizon)

As this month draws to a close, we celebrate my one year anniversary writing for BarBend! It’s exciting for me, and I hope in some way I have helped you become a better strongman through my (almost) weekly pieces. I have learned a few things myself; mostly that it’s difficult producing constant content when you are a coach first and a writer (can I use that term?) second. It started with my piece that tried to convince you to learn the jerk and has covered a lot of ground from there.

Much has happened since I started, and it is good news for the athletes and fans alike. Let’s take a look at what happened in such a short period:

  • A woman’s professional class was established and debuted at the Arnold. There are also more women competing in the sport than ever before with my estimates showing about 40% of return competitors being women.
  • After he broke the world record by 10% in the deadlift, a great documentary about Eddie Hall was released on Netflix. It is great exposure for our sport that regular people who may not have otherwise been exposed.
  • Openly gay athlete Rob Kearney competed in the World’s Strongest Man contest in Botswana. From what I’ve seen, read, and heard, he has seen nothing but support from the community, and this helps shine a positive light on strongman.
  • There are more live streams and ways to get information on the sport than ever before. The quality of them will soon rival that of the broadcast networks.
  • The 2017 WSM ended with Eddie Hall taking the title narrowly from Hafthor Bjornsson. Hall promised to retire after just one win, but I doubt this will be the case. Other athletes have complained that they were misjudged and the events were designed to favor the Brit. If he really wants to be seen as one of the best ever, he will have to defend his title.

With all these great thing happening, I can’t help but take some guesses as to where we are headed in the next year. With the freedom of not putting any money down, here are my best guesses for what is going to happen in the next 12 months for the sport.

  • While American women will continue to dominate most spots at international contests (Danni Schwalbe; Strongest Woman in the World, Liefa Ingalls; Arnold Pro, Kimberley Lawrence; North America’s Strongest Woman), England’s Donna Moore is and will be the woman to beat. After winning the Arnold Amateur look for her to have a sponsor foot the bill and get her at every possible contest that fits her schedule. She is leaner than last year and looking even stronger. This combined with her speed and athleticism makes her tough to beat.
  • Derek Poundstone was always a fan favorite, and the 36-year-old will be making a comeback this season. Despite plenty of injuries this man has plenty to prove and if he can stay healthy, he will again be tough to beat. His return most likely will be short, maybe a few years, but will be explosive, entertaining, and passionate. That’s everything you want in an athlete.
  • Exploring new contest formats is inevitable. To make the sport live broadcast friendly, head to head events that excite the crowd will be featured, and smaller match-ups that are faster paced and visually exciting.
  • I see Bjornsson making 2017 his year. He is now good enough to beat Shaw and we will be treated to major battles when they face each other in the next few months.

I have had the pleasure of working with some top-notch athletes and meeting hundreds of the top competitors from across the country and the world. It is the best part of the job and I am anxious to meet more new faces and see mind-blowing feats of strength.

While all of my articles are kept here, I will summarize my main points of the last year in a single sentence: To be a better strongman set reasonable goals and stick to a plan you are able to recover from while using great form and technique.

Now, let’s get started on year two of our journey together.

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

Featured image: Michele Wozniak

The post How Strongman Has Changed in the Past Year (and What’s on the Horizon) appeared first on BarBend.

Adidas Powerlift 3 Weightlifting Shoes Review

The Adidas Powerlift shoes are currently in their third generation and have steadily grown in popularity since their initial release. This shoe could be described as one of Adidas’s most well-known lifting shoes since the 08 AdiStars, and the AdiPowers, which came some time after the Powerlifts.

Adidas Powerlift shoes are popular for multiple reasons. First, they’re an inexpensive option for a lot of lifters, as even the latest Powerlift 3s start at $90.00. Second, they offer a lower heel, so often times lifters can make a smoother transition into a heeled shoe when lifting. Third, they have a single strap design and offer plenty of security for the recreational lifter.

[Want to find the best weightlifting shoe for you? Take our weightlifting shoe quiz to find out which brand and model you should try!]

How do the Adidas Powerlift 3s stack up against other hybrid models and Olympic lifting specific shoes?

How Much Do the Adidas Powerlift 3s Weigh?

The Adidas Powerlift 3s weigh around 15 oz, which make them a slightly lighter the Adidas AdiPowers and Leistung models.

Image courtesy of Amazon.com 

Personally, I feel as though this shoe is a great transition shoe for someone who might be newer to using lifters. In that respect, I feel likes this shoe’s weight is good for what it’s designed for. Someone who’s new to experimenting with lifting shoes will benefit from a lighter shoe, because it will feel similar to cross trainers, Chuck Taylors, or tennis shoes they may have been previously wearing.

A lighter shoe will also help prevent the slowing of foot turnover in various power movements, so an athlete will experience less of a “getting used” to them period. Additionally, if you’re someone in need of a hybrid shoe for CrossFit® style workouts, or functional fitness styled lifting, then this shoe’s weight is a good option.

Adidas Powerlift 3 Effective Heel Height

The effective heel height of the Adidas Powerlift 3s is .6 inches or 15 millimeters, which puts this model’s heel on the shorted end of lifters. 

Image courtesy of Amazon.com 

The typical traditional model lifters have an effective heel height of .75″, which works for a lot of athletes. The .75″ is often the best fit for most athletes looking to achieve aid in squat depth, and stability in lifts. One downfall to this heel’s height is that it may not be the best fit in hyrbrid style lifting, or powerlifting.

The Adidas Powerlift 3 heel’s are a lower .6″, which make them better suited for a few activities. First, a lower heel may be a better option for athletes doing CrossFit style workouts. A smaller heel will help limit the feeling of being pushed forward, and that can be beneficial when moving from power to strength movements. Second, the lower heel may be ideal for those low-bar squatting who like a lifter’s stability, but don’t need extra heel for achieving depth.

Heel Construction

Unlike most popular lifters, the Adidas Powerlift 3s have a high density EVA heel, which is a durable lightweight material used in multiple types of heeled shoes.

Image courtesy of Amazon.com 

Possibly the biggest downfall to the Adidas Powerlift 3 is the heel’s material. The high density EVA is durable and will last a while, but it’s not as resilient to abrasions like TPU. It’s comparable in weight to TPU, but lacks the rigidity TPU heel provides. The EVA compresses slightly, and when under extremely heavy loads a lifter may be turned off by this fact.

As mentioned above, another issue that comes with EVA is long-term durability. This heel is designed to last, but if you’re looking for a shoe that’s going to withstand multiple years of heavy lifting, then TPU will be a better option. The one positive to the EVA heel is cross-training. If you’re in need of a hybrid shoe with an elevated mostly stable heel, then the EVA serves its purpose very well.

Upper Shoe Material

Image courtesy of Amazon.com 

The Adidas Powerlift 3s upper shoe material was pretty standard to a normal cross-training shoe. This shoe has lightweight leather and breathable mesh enclosing them, so they breathe pretty well if you’re performing high-rep, or cardio-esque lifting movements (light weight cleans, squats, snatches, etc).

I thought this shoe was pretty flexible, even upon their first use. The toe box is open, so it flexes well. You can expect around a one week “breaking them in” period, which is pretty standard for lifters. The only downfall to the Powerlift’s shoe material is around the heel. Personally, I prefer a deeper, or more stable heel, so I thought the mesh towards the upper heel was a little too flexible, but that’s my personal bias.

Foot Straps

The Adidas Powerlift 3s offer a standard single strap design that’s near the top of the tongue. As the Powerlift generations have grown, so have their straps. The 3s have a little thicker strap compared to their previous models, which is a cool feature. Single straps are known for offering a little less security, so the extra effort to provide a wider strap is a nice touch.

Image courtesy of Amazon.com 

Another positive feature of the strap is there’s not excessive overlap if you pull them tight. The Nike Romaleos 2s always had strap hanging on the ground when pulled really tight, and the Powerlift 3s strap doesn’t come close. A downfall with the Powerlift’s single straps is the full foot security. You have laces and a wide upper strap at the top of the shoe to achieve full foot security.

Adidas Powerlift 3 Price

The star player of these shoe’s are their price. They start around $90.00, but can be found for less in multiple online locations, including Amazon. If you’re interested in a cost efficient shoe with an elevated stable heel, then I’d recommend looking into the Powerlift models. On the flip side, for serious lifters who need a high performance shoe for specific reasons that’s going to last, this may not be your best choice.

Image courtesy of Amazon.com 

Final Word

The Adidas Powerlift 3s are a hybrid lifting shoe that utilizes a high-density EVA heel to produce stability in workouts. They’re cost efficient, and can be a great choice for lifters looking for a lower .6″ heel, as opposed to the usual .75″. They offer moderate stability and kept the ankle secure in the bottom of the squat.

The area where this shoe falls short is its abilities to support the elite athlete due to its heel’s material. EVA heels are known for being a little more compressible, so TPU, or wood, may fair better under very heavy weight.

If you’re looking for a cost efficient lifter that provides a lightweight, secure feeling, then the Adidas Powerlift 3s could be a good option for you.

Feature image from Amazon.com 

The post Adidas Powerlift 3 Weightlifting Shoes Review appeared first on BarBend.

Ray Williams Matches World Record, 1,052-Pound Squat in Training

“Let’s do this sh*t!” says Ray Williams, somehow managing to speak coherently, stand for more than ten seconds, and then squat 1,052 pounds (477.18kg).

Over the weekend, Williams was getting under some very, very serious weight — in fact, it was almost as much as any human being has ever moved without the help of a squat suit.

One of the world’s greatest raw powerlifters of all time taught a seminar at Gaglione Strength in New York, and while he was there — you know, since he was already in his lifting shoes and all — he decided to squeeze in a casual workout during which he hit the IPF all-time world record in the raw squat: 1,052 pounds.


To be fair, there’s a little bit of confusion as to whether this was exactly as much as March’s squat or just a little shy. The world record that he cemented earlier this year was 477.5 kilograms, which is 1,052.7 pounds. The weight he hit this weekend was listed in John Gaglione’s Instagram post as 1,052 pounds, so we’re not one hundred percent sure if Gaglione was rounding the weight or if this was indeed his 477.5 kilogram lift.

But this is a training lift, so we’re not going to pretend that the 0.7 pounds (317 grams) is quite so important. The point is that, for all intents and purposes, he matched his historic world record in what seems like a pretty routine training session, which is crazy. You can relive the incredible 477.5kg squat he made in March below.

A post shared by 9for9 Media (@9for9media) on Mar 4, 2017 at 1:37pm PST


Following this weekend’s squat at Gaglione Strength, Williams wrote the following on his Instagram.

Blessed to be blessed…. 2 God B The Glory!!! 1052 not as pretty as I would have like it to be but I moved the weight… It’s Money Time!!! Big Thanks to @gaglionestrength & @elgatograndeosu for having me at their gym and treating me like family this weekend!!!

Williams is preparing for the IPF World Championships taking place in Minsk, Belarus next month. He definitely had to fight for this squat, but we have a feeling he might make yet another addition to the record book come June.

Featured image via @gaglionestrength on Instagram.

The post Ray Williams Matches World Record, 1,052-Pound Squat in Training appeared first on BarBend.

Dorian Yates Then and Now: “Inside the Shadow” Film Review

YouTube channel London Real has produced a free, authorized documentary-feature about six-time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates. Its contents may surprise you! 

[We’ve embedded Part 1 of the documentary at the bottom of this article.]

Yes, bodybuilding fans will get their fair share of entertaining archival footage, but this documentary is more about Dorian Yates the man than it is about Dorian Yates the bodybuilder. In a series of interviews across a range of unique locations, Dorian himself will convince you this is a distinction that can be made.

A post shared by Dorian Yates (@thedorianyates) on Jan 17, 2017 at 5:11am PST


Yates will concede that it may have been impossible to separate himself from his on-stage persona during his six-year reign as Mr. Olympia. “The Old Dorian” was a bodybuilder wholly consumed by the desire to be best in the world. Today’s version, however, blames an unhealthy, oversized, unchecked ego for such individualistic aspirations.

As such, Dorian Yates challenges viewers’ assumptions about what bodybuilders are supposed to be like. At least my own assumptions were erroneous.

Dorian Yates’ Posing Routine at his first Mr. Olympia Win, 1992. High quality kicks in before the posing routine starts:

The documentary is hosted by Brian Rose, who through his London Real interview series has developed a relationship with Dorian Yates over the past several years.

At times the documentary can seem as much about Rose as it is about Yates. This is no accident. Rose created London Real to “promote personal transformation through inspiration, self-discovery and empowerment.” He makes every on-camera attempt to learn and apply what Dorian Yates teaches him, starting with his take on high intensity training.

But do not watch the movie expecting heaps of fitness related advice. Instead, Brian Rose lauds Dorian Yates as a guru of sorts, and the film carries what might be labeled a spiritual tone. Its narrative begins in the darker years, with Yates living like a bodybuilder-monk for over a decade, rarely smiling, rarely having fun, and entirely committed to training and winning.

Dorian Yates discusses what became of his life when it all ended so abruptly. With one career-ending bicep injury, Yates went from the incredible high of being Mr. Olympia into forced retirement. The monk would turn party animal.

A post shared by Dorian Yates (@thedorianyates) on Mar 3, 2017 at 10:34am PST


The living legend talks frankly about his own steroid use, of which he is even more open about in previous London Real interviews. He highlights the mistake of quitting cold turkey, but considers the drugs he took safe.

Today, he’s an enlightened man. Dorian Yates sports a “One Love, One Heart” Bob Marley tattoo on his leg, and promotes marijuana advocacy. He calls it a “teacher plant, just like the Ayahuasca,” and does not condone alcohol consumption, which he suggests too often leads to violence. He claims to have “an intention” in mind before lighting any joint.

Yates also shares information about his relationship with psychedelic drugs – particularly DMT. The man who admits he thought Yoga was too girly to perform, gave it a shot after one self-reflective psychedelic journey ended in the realization that his posture was no good. He now practices regularly, and suggests it to athletes seeking to mitigate the risk of injury.


Potentially borrowing a quote from philosopher Alan Watts, he tells Brian Rose he received the message that psychedelic drugs were meant to send him, and so has put down the phone (discontinued using them). He remains a changed man.

With so many unexpected highlights, approaching so many topics not usually intertwined with bodybuilding, I recommend Dorian Yates – Inside the Shadow. The documentary film is worthwhile to anyone interested in bodybuilding, memoir, biography, interview podcasts, self-growth, or modern spirituality.

London Real does require you to sign up at LondonReal.tv in exchange for the final ten or so minutes of the feature-length film. I tested this myself to make sure no scams were attached. In exchange for my e-mail address, I received access to the full range of their Dorian Yates content, which I continue to enjoy at the cost of receiving a few promotional e-mails each week (that I may or may not unsubscribe from).

[The full documentary can be found here.]

Featured image: @thedorianyates on Instagram

The post Dorian Yates Then and Now: “Inside the Shadow” Film Review appeared first on BarBend.

The Stiff Leg Deadlift – Exercises, Benefits, and Muscles Worked

Strengthening the posterior chain is a necessity for strength, power, and sport athletes. The ability to integrate fluid knee and hip flexion and and extension is at the root of force production for most movements, such as; clean and jerk, snatch, deadlift, squats, sprints, jumping, tackling, etc.

The stiff leg deadlift is an isolation movement that specifically targets hip flexion and extension, and can be performed by all athletes to increase muscular strength, hypertrophy, and neuromuscular control of the muscles involved in powerful and explosive movements.


In this article we will discuss everything you will need to know about the stiff leg deadlift and how to program it into your current training programs.

The Stiff Leg Deadlift

The stiff leg deadlift is an effective accessory exercise to build strength and muscular development in the posterior chain for most fitness, power, and strength athletes. In a previous article I discussed the specific differences between the stiff leg deadlift and the Romanian deadlift, concluding that the lack of knee flexion at the onset and throughout the stiff leg deadlift increased the loading placed upon the lower back (erectors) and hamstrings.

A post shared by Janne Salmela (@janneesalmela) on May 11, 2017 at 11:50am PDT


Stiff Leg Deadlift Benefits

Here is a brief overview of the benefits coaches and athletes can expect from performing stiff leg deadlifts.

Stiff Leg Deadlift Muscles Worked

Below is a listing of the primary muscles targeted by the stiff leg deadlift (in no specific order). As discussed above, this is not the same as the Romanian deadlift (although is very similar). The key differentiation is that the stiff leg deadlift has less knee flexion at the onset and throughout the motion, increasing the need to flexibility and hamstring and lower back strength.

  • Hamstrings
  • Erectors
  • Lats (snatch grip)
  • Gluteus Maximus

Stiff Leg Deadlift Tutorial

Below is a video by Dorian Yates in which he covers how to properly set up and execute the stiff leg deadlift.

Note that the distinct difference between this and the Romanian deadlift is the degree of knee flexion at the onset and throughout the range of motion. During the stiff leg deadlift, the lifter minimizes nearly all knee flexion throughout the movement to specifically target the hamstrings and lower back muscles, with the movements drastically dependent upon the flexibility of the lifter.

Programming the Stiff Leg Deadlift

Programming the stiff leg deadlift can be done in a very similar fashion as the Romanian deadlift, with the knowledge that the hamstrings and lower back muscles are called into action slightly more during the stiff leg deadlift.


[Learn about two powerful deadlifting movements: sumo versus conventional deadlift here!]

Generally speaking, this movement can be performed to increase movement integrity and/or control with lighter loads, or with moderate loads for muscular strength and development. When programming, repetitions can be performed with 30-70% of an athlete’s back squat for 6-20 repetitions, based upon the goal and sport.
Some important considerations when programming this in populations with poor hamstring flexibility and/or control is to understand that the limited range of motion in the movement (due to poor flexibility) may impede the effectiveness of this hypertrophy based movement. If this is the case, the lifter may want to swap for Romanian style deadlifts which allow for greater knee flexion and allow for a fuller range of motion with less mobile athletes.

Final Words

The stiff leg deadlift is a viable training exercise to increase muscular hypertrophy, strength, and integrate sound hamstring range of motion for nearly every athlete. Due to the isolation of this exercise, most athletes and coaches should perform this movement in the moderate rep range with moderate loads to maximize hypertrophy before going into more advanced strength and/or speed technique. Both this and Romanian deadlifts can be great assistance exercise for nearly every athlete looking to maximize hamstring and glute performance and health.

Featured Image: @peter_ingleton on Instagram

The post The Stiff Leg Deadlift – Exercises, Benefits, and Muscles Worked appeared first on BarBend.