You've watched the videos and read the overview pages. You know how your hamstrings, quads, glutes, and calves work and the best exercises to build them. Now it's time to put all that knowledge into action! Let's build better legs.
Remember, the goal of Phase One is to help you create a strong training base. Yes you're building muscle, but you're also strengthening ligaments, tendons, and joints. When all aspects of your muscular and skeletal system are working fluidly, your body will be able to withstand more stress and then adapt by getting bigger and stronger.
We're resistance training—that means it's time to throw some weight around! Choose weight that you can handle for the amount of prescribed repetitions, but don't get under a barbell that's loaded so heavy you start losing your form at rep number two. Your weight should be heavy enough so that the last couple reps of each set are very challenging.
You might be unfamiliar with tempo training, but don't let that deter you. For your squats today, the tempo is 3-0-1. That means you'll count to three on your way down and then explode out of the hole. The slow lowering portion will increase the time your muscles are under tension, and the speed out of the bottom will increase your power. Use good form and a full range of motion and you'll see physique changes and strength gains soon enough.
Even if you're chomping at the bit to get under that barbell, take 10 minutes or so to warm up well. You don't need to spend half an hour on the treadmill. Full-body dynamic stretching will prepare your muscles, joints, and even your mind for the effort your body is about to put forth.
Put your game face on and let's get to work.
Perform the exercises below at the prescribed tempo to maximize time under tension (TUT). Tempo is shown as a series of 3 numbers, such as 3-0-1.
- The first number (3) is the eccentric, or lowering, component of the lift.
- The second number (0) denotes any pause at the midpoint.
- The third number (1) is the concentric, or lifting, component.
Regardless of the exercise, the first number is always the eccentric and the third number is always the concentric.