Today’s guest post comes from Alex Mullan. Take it away Alex …
It wouldn’t be much of a fitness industry – or any industry for that matter – if there wasn’t a widespread blanket of mis-information and advice that couldn’t hold the sweat that drips off of your brow.
Like with any muscle – or training paradigm for that matter – there’s always a collection of myths and viciously mutilated training practices that far too many lifters end up abiding by.
Myths and training practices that hold you back from the results you deserve.
Often these represent themselves in absolutist statements such as:
Don’t eat carbs after 6pm (excuse me while I have my pre-bed frozen yogurt).
You don’t need to do direct arm work (get the fuck outta here).
Any one exercise is the king of the castle (everything works and has different applications).
Or in the specific case of training legs and building big, strong wheels:
Squats are the best exercise for building your big legs.
You should always begin your session with the biggest movement (usually squats).
Machines such as the adductor and smith machine are worthless.
And perhaps most abhorrent of all…
You only need to train legs once per week.
While these statements may make sense (to some degree) on the surface, when you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that subscribing to those training mentalities is holding you back.
It’s no wonder that “chicken-legs syndrome” is so prevalent in gyms these days.
Hence, I’ve taken heeded the call to adventure and brought in the ghost-busting, myth-destroying squad, as we’re going to crack each of these false legends wide open.
And away we go.
These are the three factors to hypertrophy, and each is created through different methods of programming.
There’s nowhere hidden amongst these muscle building truths that proclaim one exercise to stand head and shoulders above the rest.
This is because when it comes to building muscle, the secret sauce isn’t in what you do, rather the gains come from how you do it.
The amount of focus and energy you place on truly feeling every inch of each rep, being sure to load your muscle tissue as opposed to your joints, and ensuring that your muscles to do the work instead of letting your body take over.
When you let your body take over, it defaults to moving the weight in the most efficient manner possible. This often results in taking the focus away from your target muscle and placing an undesirable amount of stress on your joints, ligaments, and tendons.
While I’m not here to knock powerlifting, this is why brutal joint issues and injuries are so prevalent in that world.
All this is to say that squats can be the ultimate leg building exercise if you’re able to execute them as outlined above. Yet, if it’s merely more weight on the bar you’re concerned with, chances are the extra poundage won’t convert to added leg size that stretches the limits of your jeans.
You need to put in maximum efforts for maximum results.
In all seriousness, there’s no hard or fast rules about when (or how) you squat. And the placement within your session should largely depend on your goal.
That said, I am a fan of entering into sets of squats with already pumped hamstrings, and adductors. Preferably as the 2nd or 3rd movement in your session.
Okay, here’re the reasons.
If you’re not concerned with absolute strength and would prefer to add some girth to your wheels, it makes a fair bit of sense, doesn’t it?
Your concept of what makes a piece of equipment useful or not is a joke.
And that’s the truth.
In the interest of optimal, full leg development, there is simply no exercise, movement or piece of equipment that has the power to thrash your adductors as well as the good old adductor (yes/no) machine can.
Likewise for the smith machine. If you have a poor mind-muscle connection with any muscle on your legs, there’s nothing quite like throwing some weight on the smith and squatting or lunging with utmost focus being place on your legs.
It becomes much, much easier to work on a poor mind-muscle connection when you don’t have to concern yourself with balance and stability. The smith machine removes both from the equation, allowing you to dial in on thrashing every last muscle fibre, and unlocking every ounce of tissue growth you can.
As well, if you’ve never added smith machine squats or lunges for 4 sets of 20 onto the end of your leg session, you’re missing out on a (blissful) world of delightful, muscle-building hurt.
You can “only” train any body part once per week if average development is your goal. While there’s nothing wrong with that, chances are you’re interested in pushing a little ways away from the average end of the physique spectrum.
Which is where high frequency training, or the concept of “front-loading your physique” comes into play.
Front loading your physique means to pick a body part and make it your lone focus for 8 weeks.
That’s not to say you ignore the rest of your body, but all else needs to shift to maintenance mode for said 8 weeks while growth and improving strength in a singular muscle becomes the lone goal.
The true beauty of using this system, though? You can move from muscle to muscle every 8 weeks, and achieve a ton of localized growth and strength.
By the forces of nature that be, and the power vested in my quads, I’ve created the first piece to the front-loading your physique puzzle.
If you’re ready to finally add some muscle to your wheels and banish the dreaded “chicken leg syndrome” once and for all by following a program that’s proven to bring results.
Should you be itching to bust you into a new pair of short shorts and join a close-knit tribe of lifters of whom are all undertaking the same goal, led by my unruly self…
…You’re gonna want to see this and get a piece of the leg building action.alex mullan, best leg exercises, bodybuilding leg workouts, leg specialization, leg training myths, leg training program
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