Ripped Leg Blast for Carved Thighs
Powerful and thick thighs require gut-busting exercises like squats and leg presses. However, once you have acquired adequate thigh mass and strength, you should consider adding some balance and sharpness to the muscle bellies in your thighs. Although tough to accomplish, leg extensions provide a great way to carve the separations between the muscle bellies, and to accentuate the “teardrop” shape of the four quadriceps muscles of the anterior thigh.
Active Muscles in Leg Extensions
The three vasti muscles comprise most of the anterior thigh.1 The vastus medialis covers the medial (inner) part of the femur bone (thigh bone). When it is well developed, it forms a teardrop-like shape over the medial side of the knee joint. The vastus lateralis muscle attaches to the lateral (outer) part of the femur bone. The vastus intermedius connects to the femur bone between the vastus lateralis and the vastus medialis muscles. The fibers of all three vasti muscles come together at the quadriceps tendon, which crosses the patella (kneecap) to attach to the tibia bone just below the knee.1
Together, the three vasti muscles extend the leg at the knee joint, although the vastus intermedius may be more fatigue resistant than the vastus lateralis.2 The vastus medialis oblique (VMO), which is a small part of the vastus medialis muscle, attaches to the medial part of the patella. It is thought to help the patella track properly during movement of the knee. Improper tracking can increase the likelihood for knee injury.
The vastus medialis and especially the VMO part of this muscle are primarily responsible for tibial rotation (rotation of the tibia bone of the lower leg on the femur) during knee extension. This rotation or “twist” has been shown to increase the activation of the VMO portion of the vastus lateralis even more than doing knee extensions with the hip adducted (thigh rotated so that the medial portion of the knee is facing mostly upwards).3 Dorsiflexion of the foot (moving the ankles so the toes are pointing towards your head) also increases the activation of the VMO by more than 20 percent.4 Likely this is because the dorsiflexor muscles stabilize the tibia during knee flexion and resist rotation of the tibia on the femur as the knee straightens.
The fourth muscle of the quadriceps group is the rectus femoris muscle. It attaches to the anterior part of the hip bone just above the hip joint.1 The largest bulk of the muscle fibers are located on the upper three-quarters of the thigh, whereas the largest belly of the vastus medialis and vastus lateralis are more inferior (i.e., closer to the knee). The distal end of the rectus femoris muscle becomes tendinous and it creates a deep valley between the lateral and medial vastus muscles as it approaches the knee.1 It assists the other quadriceps muscles by extending the leg at the knee joint, although it is less effective when the hip is flexed than if it is straight.
The three vastus muscles of the anterior thigh are strongly activated by single-leg knee extensions. The rectus femoris is not activated as strongly, but it does undergo some overload when the anterior thigh is under contractile effort, about halfway up to the top of each repetition.
1. You should always warm up your knees with some stationary cycling prior to getting into leg extensions. Furthermore, the resistance on your first set should be fairly light to allow the joint to fully warm up before you get to the heavier stuff.
2. Adjust the knee extension machine so that the pivot point of the lifting arm is directly adjacent to the center of the side of your knee joint.
3. Position the ankle roller/leg pad over the lower part of the leg (above the ankle joint).
4. Take about three seconds to slowly extend (straighten) both leg so that the weight is lifted upward from the stack.
5. Continue upwards until the tibia and the femur bones form a straight line and the knee angle is straight. Hold this for two seconds at the top.
6. Slowly lower the weight (about four seconds down) towards the starting position. Once the knee has reached 90 degrees, start the upwards extension phase again. Continue for 12-15 repetitions for the first set. Lower the number of repetitions but increase the resistance for subsequent sets.
7. On the next sets, lift the weight upwards until the knee joint becomes almost straight, but just slightly short of a total knee lockout. Be careful that you do not “jam” the knee joint into a fully locked out position, because this could cause knee cartilage damage5, especially with heavy weights. Hold the top position for a count of three before lowering the weight.
8. Lower the weight slowly (four to five seconds) towards the starting position where your knee is flexed to 90 degrees. Just before the weight stack contacts the remaining plates at the bottom, start lifting it upward for the next repetition.
The downward movement should be slower than the upward phase because you are resisting the pull of gravity. The slow lowering of the weight stretches the muscle under a resistance and this is a great stimulus to improve muscle shape and size.6
Make sure that you do not hold your breath during the lift upwards.7 Rather take a breath at the bottom (start) of the lift, and exhale as you extend the knees/legs. Take another breath at the top and slowly exhale as the weight is lowered. Take another breath at the bottom and repeat the sequence.
This is a mechanically simply exercise, but it really can be very challenging and blood depriving8,9, especially if you try to control the weight as it is moving up and down. However, if you are willing to work through some discomfort, you will be soon enjoying your new shape and slabs of carved thighs.
1. Moore K.L. Clinically Orientated Anatomy. Third Edition. Williams & Willkins, Baltimore, 1995; pp 373-500.
2. Watanabe K, Akima H. Neuromuscular activation of vastus intermedius muscle during fatiguing exercise. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2010;20:661-666.
3. Stoutenberg M, Pluchino AP, Ma F et al. The impact of foot position on electromyographical activity of the superficial quadriceps muscles during leg extension. J Strength Cond Res 2005;19:931-938.
4. Coburn JW, Housh TJ, Cramer JT et al. Mechanomyographic and electromyographic responses of the vastus medialis muscle during isometric and concentric muscle actions. J Strength Cond Res 2005; 19:412-420.
5. Senter C, Hame SL. Biomechanical analysis of tibial torque and knee flexion angle: implications for understanding knee injury. Sports Med 2006;36:635-641.
6. Alway SE, Winchester PK, Davis ME et al. Regionalized adaptations and muscle fiber proliferation in stretch- induced enlargement. J Appl Physiol 1989;66:771-781.
7. Garber CE, Blissmer B, Deschenes MR et al. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2011;43:1334-1359.
8. Denis R, Bringard A, Perrey S. Vastus lateralis oxygenation dynamics during maximal fatiguing concentric and eccentric isokinetic muscle actions. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2011;21:276-282.
9. Ueda C, Kagaya A. Muscle reoxygenation difference between superficial and deep regions of the muscles during static knee extension. Adv Exp Med Biol 2010;662:329-334.
The post Ripped Leg Blast for Carved Thighs appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.
By: Stephen E. Alway, Ph.D., FACSM
Title: Ripped Leg Blast for Carved Thighs
Sourced From: www.fitnessrxformen.com/training/ripped-leg-blast-for-carved-thighs/
Published Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2022 19:11:16 +0000
Did you miss our previous article…
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The post PRIMAL Preworkout appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.
By: Team FitRx
Title: PRIMAL Preworkout
Sourced From: www.fitnessrxformen.com/nutrition/supplements/preworkout/primal-preworkout/
Published Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2022 16:51:41 +0000
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Increase Your Bench Press and Build a Bigger Chest
By Charles Glass
I’ve been training with weights for two years and I’m 35, 6-foot-2 and 270 at about 20% body fat. My problem is my chest. It’s lagging. After two years I can still only max out at 250. It kills me to see guys smaller than me hitting 350. Heredity has given me a big chest with a lot of meat but little muscle. It looks big, but it’s just fat. It’s so underdeveloped that it causes my tri’s to engulf my bi’s. Can you help me with a chest routine that will get me into the 300+ club? I definitely want to get bigger too, but if I get stronger wouldn’t everything else get bigger? My routine once a week is: incline barbell press, three sets: I start with 12 reps, then eight reps, then failure from three to five; bench press, three sets (same); decline press, three sets or incline cable flye (same).
You should be concerned. A 250-pound maximum bench press isn’t very good for a 270-pound man who’s been training regularly for two years. I have a feeling your chest routine isn’t the reason you can’t put up more weight than that, though. There’s a huge misconception that the pectoral muscles are what move the weight up in the bench press. Actually, they’re just part of the team. You also must have powerful triceps and front delts to drive the bar up off your chest. In fact, if you ever get a chance to attend a powerlifting meet, you’ll notice something strange. A lot of the men who can bench press outrageous amounts of weight in proportion to their bodyweight – and I’m talking about 220-pound guys who can bench 600 pounds – don’t have the massive chest development you would expect them to. What they always do have, however, are thick triceps and anterior deltoids. And you may expect them to do mostly bench pressing in their training to increase their one-rep maximum (1RM), but you’ll find that they do a lot of so-called “assistance work” for shoulders and triceps. Those exercises are usually close-grip bench presses, weighted dips and military presses. In fact, if I recall correctly, Ted Arcidi, one of the first men to bench press over 700 pounds in official competition back in the 1980s, could do a few reps with 405 pounds in the seated military press and about 315 pounds for skull-crushers. Marvin Eder, who bench-pressed 515 pounds in the early 1950s at a bodyweight of just 195 pounds (in the era before steroids, I might add), could perform dips with 400 pounds around his waist, as well as do behind-the-neck presses with over 300 pounds. So I suggest you start working hard on compound movements for the shoulders and triceps. When you said your chest was lagging, I’m not sure if all you were referring to was strength. Your phrasing was a bit confusing when you said your chest had “a lot of meat but little muscle,” because typically meat is a slang term for muscle mass.
If all you care about is strength and not the actual development of the muscle, that’s your prerogative, but if you want to improve your pecs, you need to stop thinking so much about lifting weight and concentrate more on working the muscle, or to be more specific, feeling the muscle work. Focus intensely on squeezing or contracting the muscle as you press the weight up and then on stretching the muscle as you lower it back down under control. Practice this with half your normal working weight and half your normal rep speed to build a good sense of mind-muscle connection. Strength and size are related, but not nearly as closely as most people think. A bodybuilder with a mastery of the mind-muscle connection can work his muscles very hard and make them grow without using super heavy weights. Finally, I think you need to seriously consider losing some weight. 20% body fat not only looks pretty sloppy, it’s also unhealthy and increases your chances of developing heart disease, diabetes and other maladies you don’t want. 15% would be more reasonable. Add in a few sessions on the treadmill to your workout routine every week after your weight training and tighten up that diet to get rid of junk, fast food and excess carbs.
Charles Glass is the Godfather of Bodybuilding, with over 35 years of experience as a trainer of champions. Charles’ methods produce dramatic and significant gains to anyone that applies them. His clients cross the spectrum from celebrities, fitness athletes, and pro athletes to everyday people, and include some of the most successful people in the fitness industry and numerous Mr. Olympia and Bikini Olympia champions. For more information, visit godfatherofbodybuilding.com
The post Increase Your Bench Press and Build a Bigger Chest appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.
By: Team FitRx
Title: Increase Your Bench Press and Build a Bigger Chest
Sourced From: www.fitnessrxformen.com/training/chest/increase-your-bench-press-and-build-a-bigger-chest/
Published Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2022 13:56:54 +0000
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