Huge legs – it’s great! Well, thin legs – shame! Legs are considered to be “difficult” muscle group. If in cases of chest and back is simple – load to the maximum, up to crack in the bones, the legs – a delicate subject. Athletes have a lot of issues. Do they need to split training into two days: first day – quadriceps, second day – hamstrings? What are the priorities? More weight or more reps? Extension – is this a serious exercise or not? And so on. As you know, the practice is the criterion of truth. So the answers to all these questions and many more are formed taking into considerations training advices of well known bodybuilders – Nasser El Sonbaty, Beth Horn and amateur champion Pete Ciccone. GoldenMuscles ensure that their tips are very expensive – in the sense that in a couple of months you will have to heavily invest in your wardrobe, what is below the belt.
Because legs are very large muscle group, then it seems to need some special “depth” workout. Is this true?
Horne: I usually train for about five minutes on the stepper, after which proceed to stretching exercise. This dramatically increases blood flow to the legs. Sometimes instead of warm-up exercise I do 15-20 squats with low weight.
Ciccone: I am warming-up at least 15 minutes on the treadmill running and then turn to the stretching exercise. I think that legs stretching exercise is a fundamental part of the workout for people who walks a little and the whole day are doing sedentary work. After stretching, I additionally do extension and flexion of the legs – three sets of 20 repetitions each.
El Sonbaty: My workout consists in 2-3 sets of 15 reps each of Leg Curl Lying. Then in the same way i do leg extensions. In fact, before serious training you need to “pump” into the muscle more blood – that’s the rule.
Golden Muscles key points: The proper warm-up is the basis of an effective training. Warming revives neural pathways in muscle. Due to this, the leg muscles function is more smoothly and more resistant to heavy loads. Another important task is to “pump” more blood in the leg muscles. After general warm-up athletes/bodybuilders must do a few stretching sets with light weight.
Can I build legs muscles without squats with barbell? Is it true that Smith’s machine is able to substitute the barbell?
Key points: Squats are effective only with proper execution. Otherwise, the load is located in the spine and injury is guaranteed. Is not recommended to fall below parallel (thighs parallel to the floor), but everybody have its optimal amplitude. It depends on the height and proportions of the body. The fundamental condition of squats is flexible hamstrings. If these muscles, contrary, are hard and short, then they impede proper technique, not allowing enough to withdraw the pelvis back. In this case, in spine occurs traumatic stress. Ideally, from the side, squat should look just as “sitting” on a chair, where all movement begins with the abduction of the pelvis back.
Are complex exercises stimulating legs enough or should we include in complex any special exercises for buttocks?
Golden Muscles key points: The buttock is such part of the body that is not so easy to concentrate on it. Although it is somewhat stimulated by squats and leg extension, and to build buttock it is necessary to do such exercises like lunges. You can also try to execute them on the Smith machine and squats on one leg. If your gym has special exercise machine for the buttocks, you can use it in addition to the standard set of exercises for legs.
Is it necessary to perform leg extensions with heavy weight to ensure the growth of the quadriceps, or better to do more repetitions of this exercise at the end of training?
Golden Muscles key points: leg extension is aimed at the thigh muscles, which form quadriceps – muscle group of rectus femoris, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, and vastus lateralis. For good results leg extension should be performed in proper way, and it doesn’t matter will you do with heavy weight or more rep. In the initial position do not keep your foot under the seat! Bending your knees strictly at 90 degrees!
Do I need to exercise all the leg muscles in one day? What other exercises besides squats, could help to increase the mass of the quadriceps and buttocks?
Golden Muscles key points: The effectiveness of an exercise will depend on your genetic features. For example, squats may not be effective in your case. Ask the expert to show you where is your weaknesses and work to fix them. In case his advice will not help you, look for a worthy replacement for squats. In any case, you need a long time to select your exercises. An alternative can be lunges, sitting leg extension and lying leg extension. You need those exercises that will not cause back and knees pain. Remember, leg exercises are always performed with heavy weights, so that even slight discomfort in back or knee, sooner or later will result in injury.