Well lets talk about the most neglected part of the human body. THE LEGS. Now when I talk about legs here I am going to concentrate on the quadriceps and hamstrings. The quadriceps is the muscle on the front of the leg. The hamstring is the muscle on the back of the leg. As much as people hate doing legs, it is the most impressive part of a bodybuilder. Nothing looks better than seeing Flex Wheeler hit a front double bicep pose and have that huge leg of to the side or seeing Tom Platz hit a ab and thigh pose. Legs are a beautiful thing when developed. I am first going to discuss the Quads and how to hit them.
Quads are very hard muscle to train (then again what is not). The quads take a lot of intensity to maybe only see minimum gains. However, the goal of bodybuilding is to build the body to complete proportion. Quads can best be built by squats. You may read an article in Flex magazine that has a professional saying he has built quads with out squats. This may be true, but I have to squat to see any gains. This is by far the best mass builder for legs and could be ranked as one of the best exercises ever.
Squats are performed by placing a bar just underneath your traps and lock it in. Placing your feet just outside of your shoulder width. From here you bend your knees and bring your legs about parallel to the ground. You want to keep the weight on your heels and off your toes. In hale on the way down and exhale on the way up during the movement. You also want to keep your head looking up the entire time; this will keep your back in a good lifting position.
Barbell Hack Squat
For mass, you should hit up about 4 sets working down to 4 reps on the last. A good way to cut up the quads can be done with what are known as rock bottom squats. These are done in the same way, but should be done with a lighter weight. They are performed by squatting down until your butt touches you heals or about that far. Also when training quads you have to remember other exercises: Lunges, hack squats, extensions, front squats and leg presses.
I always like to do extensions at the end of a quad work out. I usually go for around 10 reps and never going less than 8. After a good set of squats I hit up the hack squat machine. I like to do these with my legs close together to get a good sweep of the outer quads. Keeping the legs close together will bring a good tie in between the quads and the Hammies. After those I like to get a few good set of leg presses (4 sets). These I go heavy but still getting around 8 reps. I like to keep my feet just outside my shoulders. Lunges are also performed after a few weeks usually replacing extensions. I like to do these with dumbbells. I do about 8 or so on each leg for about 3 sets. Front squats are a good developer for those stubborn outer quads.
Leg position and toe position during squats can change the stress on a muscle. I will explain what each does. For greater overall development of the quads you want to keep the toes pointed forward and have your feet just outside your shoulders. For the inner quad you want to point the toes out more and get the legs a little closer. For outer quads you want to keep the legs close and toes pointed straight ahead.
Now lets talk about the hamstrings. The hamstrings are on the back of your legs and serve as the bicep does for the arm. A lot of kids think that doing leg curls is enough for this muscle. WRONG. The hammies need to be beat up too. I like to start off with stiff-legged deadlifts. These I have to do on a box. The reason for this is because when I go down the plates will stop me unless I am up on the box. Now you do not have to use a box if you have never done these. They are performed with a lot of stress on the negative part of the set. Stand up with the bar and have your legs together. With your knees nearly locked lower the weight slowly and keep your back straight. Your back can be kept straight if you look straight ahead during the duration of the rep. After you have reached the bottom bring the weight back up keeping your legs straight the whole time. I usually get about 8 to 10 reps and about 4 to 5 sets. After I hit them hard there I go over to the leg curl machine and hit up about 4 sets of 10. This should give you some good results. So let's recap:
- Barbell Squat
4 sets of 8,6,4,4 reps
- Barbell Hack Squat
4 sets of 8,8,6,6 reps
- Leg Press
4 sets of 8 reps
- Stiff-Legged Barbell Deadlift
5 sets of 8-10 reps
- Lying Leg Curls
4 sets of 10 reps
I hope that this is a good workout for all of you who have neglected legs. Trust me after doing this to full intensity you will be sore the next day. However, get up and say, "damn I trained like a WARRIOR." A lot of guys will look at this and its reps and say that is overtraining. Give it a shot for a few weeks and you will realize that it is not overtraining and that this is what you have to do to get great results.