With legs being just about everyone’s hands-down pick as the toughest bodypart to train, physically and mentally, it is better to train them on their own. This bodypart takes all of your energy resources of worked out properly and calculated intensity. Having to go heavy and hard on legs sometimes has bodybuilders passing out or throwing up. It is better to train legs separately, when you can pour everything you have got into them.
This is a legs routine, designed to build new size, strength and detail into your quads.
Leg Extension – 4 sets, 30, 25, 20, 15 reps superset with
Bodyweight Walking Lunges – 4 sets, 24 steps
Leg Press – 4 sets, 20, 12, 10, 8 reps superset with
Bodyweight Sissy Squat – 4 sets, 15 reps
Hack Squat – 4 sets, 15 reps superset with
Bodyweight Squat – 4 sets, 20 reps
Make sure when doing bodyweight squats take them to parallel then come to a point just short of full lockout to keep constant tension in the quads.
Rest 1-2 minutes after each superset grouping.
Competitive bodybuilders usually train for symmetry and proportion in an effort to build an aesthetically pleasing physique. There are many individuals who go to the gym to build up their beach muscles, disregarding symmetry and proportion in designing their training programs. Instead of training opposing muscle groups equally, they sometimes ignore the muscles they cannot see (back, hamstrings, calves, quads) and focus on the muscles they admire in the mirror everyday (chest, biceps, shoulders and abs). Although training specific muscle groups more than others can create an unbalanced-looking physique, disregarding a muscle group over time can potentially lead to other problems that may subject the body to injury.
One common mistake with regard to balanced training is performing an unbalanced training program between the chest and back muscles. The amount of time, energy, effort, volume and frequency between the agonist chest muscles and the antagonists back muscles may not be equal, or even close. A simple example would be an athlete who performs 4 sets os four exercises for the chest (for a total number of 16 sets) and does only 3 sets of three exercises for the back (for a total number of 9 working sets). Following this unbalanced training regime over time will result in back muscles much weaker than the chest muscles. This imbalance may lead to a slightly kyphotic posture (forward/rounded shoulders) that can potentially cause shoulder problems because of the faulty posture. In addition to the stronger chest muscles (compared to the back muscles) pullong the shoulders forward, inadequate stretching of the chest musculature can further contribute to this problem.
For some people, training legs consists of quads and that is it. The disregard their hamstrings while training only the quadriceps. Exercises such as the leg extensions, hack squats and front squats place a large amount of emphasis on the quads. Although these exercises are great you need to do an equal amount of hamstring work with leg curls and romanian deadlifts to stress both muscle groups. Distributing attention evenly to both muscle groups can give you healthier knees and lower back, as well as fewer hamstring strains because of an unbalanced hamstring-to-quad strength ration.
A less obvious training error woth regard to balanced training concerns the shoulders. Overhead shoulder press, incline bench press, flat bench press and other chest and shoulder pressing movements are critical for maximal muscle development. However, these exercises focus on the major muscle groups such as the deltoids, pectoralis major, pectoralis minor and other muscles known as prime movers. Often ignored in a training regime is the training or isolation of the smaller muscle groups in the shoulder known as the rotator cuff (the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis) that are critical in keeping the upper arm in the socket of the shoulder. Failure to train these smaller muscles groups, two of which are not even visible can create an imbalance between the large prime movers and small stabilisers. This lack of imbalance in strength may result in bursts of bursitis, tendinitis or even rotator cuff tears in the shoulder joint.
It is not always wise to try and get a longer range of motion.
Keep you back flat for spinal safety.
There is really only one exercise that would allow you to round your lower back in a bent-over position, and that is during the stiff-legged deadlift (SDL), but that is primarily a lower-back, not a hamstring or a glute exercise. The trouble is that the SDL and the romanian Deadlifts (RDL) are closely related at first glance. Knowing how the two exercises differ and when to attempt them is critical. Our focus is to correct the romanian-style deadlift, for which there is never any rounding of the lower back, period. The RDL is a glutes and hams specialty move done with a flat back. If you round your back, you not only remove emphasis from the hamstrings and glutes, but you could also risk injury.
The best way to correct an improper RDL is to go through a series of steps as you get into position. First, begin the RDL from a standing position. You can adjust your knees (unlocked to slightly bent), low back (flat and tight) and chest (up/big) all at once. Then as you bend over, you need to keep thinking “chest up, back flat, knees bent”. Along with a flat back and bent knees, the path of the bar is different during the RDL and the SDL. During the RDL, you need to keep the bar very close to your legs throughout the move. Conversely during the SDL, you actually allow the bar to drift away from your body. So as you can see, even though both are bent-over barbell moves, ther are dramatically different in technique and target muscles.
Stand upright holding a barbell in front of your upper thighs with a pronated (overhand) grip. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in your knees, with your chest up, abs tight and the natural arch locked in your lower back.
Keeping your back flat, lean forward from your hips, pushing them rearward until your torso is roughly parallel to the floor. As you lean forward, keep your arms straight and slide the bar down your thighs towards the floor until the bar reaches your shins. At the bottom, keep your back flat, head neutral with the bar very close to your legs. Flex your hamstrings and glutes to raise back up while pushing your hips forward until you bring the bar back to the start position.
Leg Remedy: Romanian Deadlift
There are very few exercises that have as much going on as the romanain deadlift, which is why going through a mental checklist is your best bet to secure good habits. Besides form, many athletes try and take the bar so far down to the ground in an effort to increase the range of motion (ROM) that they are either forced to round their backs, or if they do keep their backs straight, they actually touch the floor with the plates. (In fact, some people do a hybrid of an SDL and an RDL, in which they try and bounce the bar off the floor at the bottom, which can wreak havoc on your joints and is not recommended.) If you are doing an SDL, allow the weight to settle on the ground, hence the “dead” part (but that move is not specifically for legs, so we will not discuss it here). Second, during a correct RDL, the bar never touches the ground. So, go through your checklist, stay strict and smooth for the best RDL possible.
Keep tension on the hamstrings by keeping your hips down as you lift the weight up.
If there is one exercise you are strong on, chances are it is the leg curl. Lie down on any leg-curl machine and for some reason, you can just pull the heck out of it, right? Well, that is good, but it can also be bad if you allow yourself to get sloppy. Hamstrings in general are pretty powerful. You can pull a lot with your hamstrings, but when it comes to the leg curl, you have to remember that it is an isolation exercise. Many athletes/bodybuilders try to turn it into a compound, multi-joint exercise, by raising their hips off the bench as they curl the weight even though it is only supposed to be an isolation move. Even though you might be able to curl more weight or do a few extra reps with that kind of hip action, you are actually making the exercise easier because you are removing the work form the hamstrings.
The key is to imagine that you have glued your hips to the bench throughout the set. Although you may need to lower the weight in order to achieve proper form, your hamstrings will still bear most of the burden, which is what you really want anyway. In fact, if you want another way to burn the hams and glutes without cheating the lift, then after you have curled the weight up and your heels nearly touch your glutes, try raising your quads an inch or so off the bench. That small movement will help burn your upper hams and glutes even more without sacrificing form.
Lie facedown on a leg-curl machine and position your Achilles¬ tendons below the padded leverwith your knees just off the edge of the bench. Grasp the bench or the handles for stability. Make sure your knees are slightly bent to protect them from over-extension.
Contract your hamstrings to raise your feet towards your glutes in a strong but deliberate motion, squeezing the muscles at the top, and then lowering under control back to the start position. Do not allow the weight stack to touch down between reps. S
Leg Remedy: Lying Leg Curl Corrected
As mentioned previously with the hack squat exercise you can also turn your toes in and out for a different stimulus on the leg curl (an open-chain move). Turn your toes in to target the inner hamstrings, and out for the outer hamstrings. Squeezing your hamstrings at the top when your hips are pressed into the bench will further ignite the muscle fibres or the back of the leg. But be careful not to raise your hips, or you will lose much of that tension.