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This is probably the most vigorous workout of all. Before doing any lengthy and strenuous workout, ALWAYS ensure you have adequate fuel stored. (such as loading up on complex carbohydrates). If you dont have enough carbs to burn you can almost guarantee (depending on your present bodyfat percentages) that you will be burning your hard earned muscle. A potato or a carbohydrate mix will do just fine.
In the opinion of most bodybuilders, the basic squat is the primary MASS BUILDER for legs. There really is no secret to performing squats just precautions. When doing squats ensure you are wearing a support belt no matter what the poundage is. Doing extremely heavy weights with squats is not necessary nor is it safe. A maximum weight of 315 is plenty for doing basic squats considering the alternate exercises that are available such as the hack squats and leg presses It is very important to that you take care of your knees and back. Try to make squats the first exercise in your leg routine. Perform 4 sets with 8 to 12 reps within each set. Use these to give your legs a good pump. After a good pump is achieved try going to leg presses or hack squats to push the HEAVY weight. These are much safe on the knees and back and does just as well at building leg mass.
Leg presses are excellent in building mass for the legs and provides a reasonably safe way of doing it. Foot placement on this machine is very important. Depending on where the feet are placed is what determines exactly which muscles in the legs are doing most of the work. For instance, if the feet are placed farther apart, the inner thighs (tear drop and up to groin area) are being worked more than the outer. If legs are spaced closer together, the outer thigh is being worked more than the inner. Another thing to consider about foot placement is whether or not the foot is placed on the top, bottom, or middle of the platform. If the foot is towards the bottom, more stress is placed on the knees and the calves are being worked a little more. The best solution is to have the feet about 10 to 12 inches apart and placed from the center to the top of the platform. For better leg development, leg presses should be done in HEAVY sets. Adjust the weights so only 6 to 8 reps can be achieved, this focuses more on power and size. I recommend doing about 5 to 6 sets of these to really stimulate growth. After these are done, lets follow up on leg presses with a few sets of hack squats.
One good thing about hack squats is that it is almost impossible to be out of form. If you are uncomfortable with doing heavy weights with the basic squat, try it with the hack squat. When doing these be sure to bend the knees to a full bend, when on the upward phase, rise far enough to where the legs are extended but the knees are not locked. Foot placement on this exercise will have the same effects on the muscle groups as in the leg presses. Try to have the feet 10 to 12 inches apart so you can evenly work the quads. This is a great exercise to do after doing basic squats or leg presses. It should be done with slightly lighter weight to give to give you that "final pump". You should concentrate on getting higher reps (8-10) for 3 sets on these. In my opinon, this exercise can be considered a mass builder but also used for definition.
The leg extension can be used as a warmup exercise or as another mass building exercise. Personally, I like to use the leg extension as one of the final exercises (along with the leg curls) to end my leg routine. Try to do 4 sets of these with the first two being heavy sets (able to do up to 8 reps). Let the final 2 be your cool down sets. Try to do a higher number of reps (10 to 12 reps). This provides for a good cool down plus a period to work on definition. If you feel that you have exhausted the quads before getting to this exercise, try doing all light weight sets to work on definition. This also applies to the leg curls. Always remember that the main thing you want to focus on is your form. You want to have a controlled motion when lifting the weights and a resistence to them when lowering . If you find yourself lacking control, decrease weight accordingly.
The leg curl is the reverse of the leg extension, While lying on the machine on your stomach, lift the weights of the machine towards the rear end. This machine is used to work the hamstrings. Doing extremely heavy weights with this machine can help build the mass of the hamstrings but it is basically used for toning. This machine can be used for a little of both. Try doing the first couple of sets using heavier weight. Use weight heavy enough to get up to 6 reps. For the final 2 sets, try lowering the weight to maximize toning. Try to push out 10 to 12 reps. You may want to alter the weights and rep ratio for your personal needs. If you want to focus more on definition, keep using lighter weights with more reps. If your looking for mass, try heavier weights with less reps. But it is best to do a little of both for better overall development.
I hope these techniques work as well for you as they have for me, perfomed correctly, and in given time, you should see vast improvements in your Quads.
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