How to Develop Shapely Great Legs

| September 5, 2018 | 0 Comments

Most people focus on the backs of their legs and glutes when they are doing leg exercises, but you can’t completely forget about the fronts. While the quads are sometimes an afterthought, these muscles are still very important to having a strong and shapely lower body. Doing a special workout to target these muscles, especially if you have never exercised these muscles before, is a great way to get your legs into even better shape.

If you ever experience knee pain, you may start avoiding exercises that cause the pain such as squatting, lunging, running, and jumping. While these may hurt, with time, avoiding these exercises will not help your knee pain. In fact, it will make your muscles get weaker and even begin to atrophy. This can result in even more knee pain in the long run. Some simple variations in foot placement: splayed, neutral or slightly inward can make a difference in keeping you pain free and chipping away at your goals.

Even if you don’t have any knee pain, building up your quads is a primary way to deter knee pain in the future. The quads help decelerate your motion and they absorb the shock from your knees when you are landing from a jump, walking down the stairs, or coming off of a curb.

Aesthetically, having a healthy set of quads is a huge game-changer in developing shapely great legs. Here is a routine to put everything together to make your own quad transformation.

Do this routine two or three times each week. Work on your other muscles once or twice a week with just two or three sets of six to 12 reps of each exercise, or stopping right before failure.

When doing conventional muscle training, you usually start with compound movements first and then complete isolation moves later. However, the goal here is to build as much lean mass as possible quickly, not to increase performance. Therefore, you will start with a strategic small movement to build your mind-muscle connection and to fatigue your targeted body part. This will let you feel the muscle more while you are training.

The Workout
Warmup: Do a couch stretch for up to five minutes on each side; knee on a pillow or pad, same leg foot up on the couch behind you.

1. Leg Extension
The point of this is to get your quads fatigued and get as much blood flowing in your muscles and knees as you can. This will warm your body and muscles up and improve your mind-muscle connection so you will feel the burn during the remainder of your workout. Embrace the burn…it is a good thing, so find ways to find it and embrace it.

At the beginning of each rep, flex your quads as hard as you can. Then do three-to-five sets of 10 reps and rest for one minute after each rep.
• First two weeks: three sets
• Second two weeks: four sets
• Third two weeks: five sets

2. 1.5 Rep Bulgarian Split Squat
With this type of training, you do twice as many reps while you are in the bottom position of your exercise because this is where you have the least amount of strength. It also increases your overall amount of time under tension to create more muscle fibers in your targeted region.

Lower your body down into the Bulgarian split squat before coming up halfway and then going back down. Then, come all the way up to complete one rep.

Perform two-to-four sets of six-to-eight reps on each side. Rest up to 60 seconds between sides.
• First two weeks: two sets
• Second two weeks: three sets
• Third two weeks: four sets

3. Eccentric Single-Leg Squat
This move will overload the lowering portion of the exercise to create tiny muscle tears that will subsequently grow your lean mass and improve your overall leg tone and shape.

Additionally, when you work only one leg at a time, you’ll support the weaknesses and imbalances on both sides. Remember, symmetry is important when it comes to aesthetics. I am right handed, so my right leg is stronger and I need to balance the strength and the flexibility of both over time.

Lower for a full five-full seconds before standing back up.

Perform two-to-four sets of five reps on each side. Rest for up to 60 seconds between sides.
• First two weeks: two sets
• Second two weeks: three sets
• Third two weeks: four sets

4. Double Kettlebell Pause Front Squat and Box Squat Jump Superset
To do this front-loaded squat, pause at the bottom of your squat to stop your momentum. This pause also surpasses your quads’ time under tension and allows you to have great movement where you start the upstroke from a dead stop avoiding the “bounce” that often accompanies the deceleration of the eccentric portion of the movement. The pause and go approach is best.

Doing an unloaded power movement after a loaded strength movement for the same muscle groups is a great method to increase your force production and it creates greater gains.

Do eight-to-12 reps of squats, staying in the bottom of the squat position for four seconds on each rep. Then do 10 box squat jumps to make one superset.
• First two weeks: three sets
• Second two weeks: four sets
• Third two weeks: five sets

5. Tempo Leg Press
These two-minute sets help you hit your quads’ slower-twitch endurance muscle fibers. While the leg press is not as functional as squatting, it gives you more stability to push past your comfort zone.

Do as many reps as you can in two minutes by going down for two to three seconds and then up for the same amount of time.

Do one-to-three sets and rest for one minute between sets.
• First two weeks: one set
• Second two weeks: two sets
• Third two weeks: three sets

6. Single-Arm Alternating Forward Lunge
Continuous lunging is very important for leg transformation.

Doing this gives you the sweet spot where you are doing both strength and conditioning.

Hold a dumbbell on one side of your body, one side at a time to increase the work for your core, hips, and thighs.

Hold your dumbbell by your side and perform alternating forward lunges repeatedly for five to 10 minutes and remember to switch hands every 30 seconds.
• Week 1: five minutes
• Week 2: six minutes
• Week 3: seven minutes
• Week 4: eight minutes
• Week 5: nine minutes
• Week 6: 10 minutes

Legs, being the largest muscle group in the body, require the most energy and burn the most calories, when we work them. Don’t shy away from the difficulty of hitting the legs. You will get the most overall total body results by incorporating consistent leg routines that hit both the quads, hams and glutes. Embrace the burn. You CAN do it.

Fitness Together Mission Hills offers personal training with qualified professionals by regular appointment in private suites. Exercise and nutritional programs are custom designed to fit your needs and abilities. Call (619) 794-0014 for more information or to schedule a free fitness diagnostic and private training session. See what others are saying about us on Yelp.

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