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TARGET

TRAINING

LOCKED & L OADED LEGS

98

Take aim at thick,


proportional thighs
with targeted moves
that hit them from
every angle

AREA 1:

AREA 5:

TO TARGET
FRONT SWEEP
OF QUADS

TO TARGET
GLUTES

BY BILL GEIGER, MA

BEST EXERCISES

Leg day. No question, its the toughest


workout of the week. In terms of total
effort and the amount of muscle mass
activated, this is the one that separates
the men from the boys. Push yourself
hard enough and you might even end
up praying to the porcelain goddess,
a rite of passage among true-blue bodybuilders. A good leg workout is like a
gift that keeps on giving your thighs
will be sore for days, making a task as
simple as negotiating a flight of stairs a
test of iron will.
Here we zero in on the main areas of
the legs and identify the best exercises
to strike each one precisely, so you can
craft a routine to bring up a weak spot
or choose one move from each category
for a leg workout thatll build thicker,
more balanced thighs and glutes from
all angles.
Leg day may be a foray to your physical and mental limits and beyond.
While we cant do the work for you,
at least weve made the experience a bit
less complicated.
MUSCLE & FITNESS

December 2007

Foot position is key on


squatting moves so
your knees dont
travel over your toes.
Setting your feet well
out in front on the
Smith machine squat
guards against that
while working your
glutes. All types of
lunges call on the
glutes as well.

Perform any squatting


move in which your
feet are directly under
your body and your
knees travel over
your toes, especially
in the top half of the
movement.
Leg Extension
Sissy Squat

BEST EXERCISES
Smith Machine Squat
Reverse Lunge

AREA 2:
TO TARGET OUTER
SWEEP OF QUADS
Use a close stance on
squatting moves to hit
the outer thighs more
strongly.

BEST EXERCISES

AREA 6:

Barbell Squat
Hack Squat

TO TARGET
GLUTE/HAM TIE-IN
The upper hams are
worked in squatting
moves (especially
deep squats with the
knees well behind the
toes in the bottom
position), as well as
moves in which you
bend at the hips.

AREA 3:
TO TARGET
INNER THIGH
Do squatting moves
in which you space
your feet wide apart,
in addition to the
single-joint adductor
machine.

BEST EXERCISES
Glute/Ham Raise
Romanian Deadlift

BEST EXERCISE
Sumo-Style Deadlift

AREA 4:
TO TARGET
TEARDROP

AREA 7:
TO TARGET INNER
HAMSTRINGS
Research on leg-curl
exercises shows that
movements in which
your hips are flexed
(as in a seated position) while you flex
your knees better
target the inner
hamstring muscles.

AREA 8:

Research shows that


whether you take a
narrow, normal or
wide stance on the leg
press, it emphasizes
the teardrop more so
than the other three
quad muscles.

BEST EXERCISE

BEST EXERCISE

BEST EXERCISE

Leg Press

Seated Leg Curl

Lying Leg Curl

TO TARGET OUTER
HAMSTRINGS
Research on leg-curl
exercises finds that
keeping the legs in line
with the torso best
targets the biceps
femoris.

AREA 1 FRONT SWEEP OF QUADS

AREA 2 OUTER SWEEP OF QUADS

Barbell
Squat (not shown)

Loewm
Leg
(ipsumil)
Extension

>>>>
This
Grasp
isolation
the barexercise
with anisoverhand
best per-

>> Due to the number of muscle fibers


recruited, this is a great first exercise,
especially when you challenge yourself with heavy weights. Use topnotch form, keeping your chest out,
low back slightly arched and head
straight throughout, and use a shoulderwidth stance with your toes pointing
slightly outward.
>> Descend under control, keeping
your head up and back flat as you
bend your knees and push your hips
rearward until your upper thighs
are about parallel to the floor. The
deeper you squat, the more the
hams and glutes become involved.
>> Reverse direction without bouncing.
Push your hips forward, squeezing
your legs and glutes at the top.

formed
grip. Fully
last in
extend
your your
workout
armsand
when
relax
your legs are so pumped and fatigued
that
TARGET
standingTIP
movements
| To really
become
stress the
difficult.
upper/oute
Advanced bodybuilders sometimes do it first in their routines as a
pre-exhaust move.
>> Sit squarely in the machine with
your knees bent 90 degrees just off
the edge of the pad, the foot lever
resting just above your ankles.
>> Contract your quads to fully
straighten your legs, holding the top
position briefly before lowering under
control. Make sure the weight stack
doesnt touch down between reps.
TARGET TIP | Point your toes for-

ward to ensure balanced development.


Turning your feet inward hits the
outer quads harder, while turning
them outward places greater emphasis
on the teardrop.

TARGET TIP | The squat hits all


major muscles of the legs and glutes
and makes the core muscles work
hard to keep you upright. To target
more of the outer quad sweep, bring
your feet closer together.

Loewm
Sissy
Squat
(ipsumil
)

TARGET TIP | Think about creating


a shelf with your chest for the
weight, but keep your hand on the
plate throughout the set.

100

B
MUSCLE & FITNESS

April 2007 2007


December

Hack Squat
>> Position your body squarely

P H O T O S : J O A Q U I N PA LT I N G ; G Y M : P O W E R H O U S E C H AT S W O R T H

>>>>
Stand
Grasp
next
theto
bara stable
with an
object
overhand
with
your
grip.feet
Fully
hip-width
extend your
apart.arms
Grasp
andthe
relax
object with your same-side hand and
TARGET
TIP
| To
really
stress
the
hold
a weight
plate
across
your
chest
upper/oute
with
your other hand.
>> Rise onto your toes; arch your back.
>> Staying on your toes, bend your
knees to lower yourself straight
toward the floor, keeping your chest
up and back arched throughout.
>> When your knees approach
90-degree angles, pause and extend
your legs to return to the start.
Remain on your toes as you squeeze
your legs hard at the top.

against the pad, hips pressed into it,


feet about hip-width apart and low
on the platform.
>> Descend under control to a deep
squat until your thighs are about
parallel to the foot platform. If your
heels come up, you wont be able
to drive through your entire foot;
consider working on your hamstring
flexibility.
>> Smoothly reverse direction by
driving forcefully with your legs to
just short of locking out your knees.
TARGET TIP | To focus more on
the outer quads, set your feet more
narrowly. To hit more of the front
sweep, place your feet low on the
platform.

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MUSCLE & FITNESS

April 2007 2007


December

AREA 4
LOWER
BACK
INNER
THIGH
+ TEARDROP
AREA 3 INNER THIGH

Loewm
Sumo-Style
(Deadlift
ipsumil)

BB

>> Grasp
Stand with
the bar
a very
withwide
an overhand
stance
grip.
facingFully
a loaded
extend
barbell.
your arms
Pointand
yourrelax
toes out.
TARGET
>>
Bend at TIP
the knees
| To really
and hips,
stress
squatthe
ting
upper/oute
down to grasp the bar with a
shoulder-width, staggered grip (one
hand supinated, one hand pronated).
>> At the start, the bar should touch
your shins and your head should be
straight, eyes on the floor a few feet
in front of you.
>> With your arms straight and back
flat, press through the floor with
your feet, dragging the bar up your
legs until youre completely upright.
Squeeze your legs, glutes and back at
the top, then allow the bar to drag
down your legs again to the floor.
TARGET TIP | The key is beginning each rep from a dead stop. This
tests your inner-thigh concentric
strength. The wider the stance,
the more involved the inner thighs.

Loewm
(ipsumil)
Leg Press

AREA 4 TEARDROP

>> Grasp the bar with an overhand

grip. Fully extend your arms and relax

>> Machine moves are best done after

aTARGET
standing exercise
TIP | To
because
really stress
they allow
the
you
upper/oute
to focus on just moving the
weight without having to balance it.
>> Sit squarely in the leg press with
your hips and back against the seatback. Position your feet high on the
platform about shoulder-width
apart, toes pointed slightly outward.
>> Allow the weight to press your
knees back toward your shoulders,
but stop before your low back lifts
off the pad; your knees should be
bent about 90 degrees.
>> Press through the soles of your
feet to full extension, stopping just
short of lockout.

102

B
B
MUSCLE & FITNESS

April 2007 2007


December

TARGET TIP | The narrower your


foot placement, the greater the
emphasis on the teardrop.

AREA 5 GLUTES

Smith
Machine
Squat
>> This is performed similar to the

barbell squat described under Area 2,


except in a vertical Smith machine.
>> By positioning your feet about 18
inches in front of the bar, you reduce
quad activation and increase
ham/glute work.

TARGET TIP | For knee comfort,

point your toes outward while keeping your feet flat on the floor. Press
through your whole foot rather than
your toes, starting with your heel.

Reverse
Lunge
>> With a bar across your upper back,

stand erect with your chest out and


a slight arch in your low back, feet
fairly close together, head straight to
maintain spinal alignment.
>> Take a medium step back, keeping
your torso erect as you bend your forward leg. Descend straight down until
you reach a 90-degree angle in your
forward leg, which should carry the
brunt of the workload.
>> Let the ball and toes of your back
foot contact the floor, your knee just
short of touching. Push forward off
your rear leg as you press up from
your front leg to return to the start.
Repeat to the opposite side.
TARGET TIP | Lunges focus
strongly on the glutes, and this
version is particularly challenging,
but you can do any number of variations. Try the Smith machine version,
which provides more stability, especially if your legs are already pumped
from previous moves.

104

B
MUSCLE & FITNESS

December 2007

AREA 6 GLUTE /HAM TIE-IN

Glute/Ham
Raise

>> Lie facedown on a back-extension

bench with your ankles under the pad


and your hips square on the top pads,
bending at the waist with your back
slightly arched. Unlock your knees.
>> Practice this with no weight, then
hold a plate across your chest to add
resistance as you become proficient.
>> Contract your hams and glutes
to rise to where your body forms a
straight line (as in a back extension).
With your torso and thighs working
as a unit, bend your knees and continue
pulling with your hamstrings to raise
your body as high as possible, trying
to get your hips off the bench.
>> Reverse direction as the angle in your
knees opens, then bend at the waist.
TARGET TIP | This move works
the hamstrings from the hip joints
first, then the knee joints.

Romanian
Deadlift

>> Stand upright holding a barbell


in front of your upper thighs with a
pronated grip. Your feet are shoulderwidth apart, knees unlocked.
>> Keeping your chest up, abs tight and
the natural arch in your low back, lean
forward at your hips, pushing them
back until your torso is roughly parallel
to the floor. Your arms are straight.
>> How far you descend depends on
your hamstring flexibility. Pausing at
mid-shin level is a good guidepoint. At
the bottom, keep your back flat, head
straight and the bar close to your legs.
>> Pause briefly, then flex your hams
and glutes to lift your torso while
pushing your hips forward until you
return to the start position.
TARGET TIP | Dont allow your legs

106

B
MUSCLE & FITNESS

December 2007

to straighten; keep them bent to maintain focus on the glutes and hams.

INNER + OUTER HAMSTRINGS


AREA 7 INNER

Seated
Leg Curl

>> Sit in a seated leg curl machine

with your back fully supported and


the footpad directly under your Achilles
tendons. Adjust the quad pad as tight
atop your legs as possible to allow for
as little movement as necessary during
the exercise.
>> Grasp the handles for leverage, then
curl your legs underneath you as far as
you can, squeezing hard at the end of
the range of motion.
>> Slowly extend your legs back to
the start, keeping a slight bend in your
knees to protect them and maintain
tension in the knees.
To further stress the
inner hamstrings, turn your toes
inward.

TARGET TIP |

AREA 8 OUTER

Lying
Leg Curl
>> Adjust the padded lever so it sits just
above your Achilles tendons. Lie facedown on the bench with your knees just
off the edge, keeping your body square
and your hips pressed against the bench
at all times.
>> Contract your hamstrings to curl
the pad toward your glutes in a smooth
motion, bringing your feet as high as
you can while keeping your hips on
the bench.
>> Squeeze and hold the peak contraction momentarily before slowly reversing direction, making sure the weight
stack doesnt touch down between reps
and keeping a slight bend in your knees
at the bottom.
TARGET TIP | Moves in which you
flex at the knees stress the lower portion
of the hamstrings. You can shift the
emphasis even more to the outer hams
by turning your toes outward.

108

B
MUSCLE & FITNESS

December 2007

BEST LEGS

Building Your Leg Routine


1) Choose 23 exercises that target the major areas of your legs
(quads, glutes and hamstrings),
focusing on compound moves that
engage the most muscle fibers,
early in your workout.
2) To bring up a lagging bodypart,
do a move for that area first in
your workout when your energy
levels are highest. You can even
add a second move for that weak
spot later in your training.

4) Add single-joint exercises for


the quads and hams toward the
end of your workout; you cant
typically lift as much weight with
these moves.

3) Variations in foot position can


be made from set to set, or from
one leg workout to the next.

110

MUSCLE & FITNESS

December 2007

5) To train for mass, do 23 sets


of 812 reps after your warm-up.
For strength, go heavy with sets of
46, and do 1520 reps per set for
greater muscular endurance. M&F

HERES A SAMPLE MASS WORKOUT THAT FOCUSES ON THE QUADS BUT STILL HITS ALL
AREAS OF THE LEGS (DOESNT INCLUDE WARM-UP SETS)

EXERCISE / TARGET AREA

SETS

REPS

Barbell Squat / Outer Sweep

68

Leg Press / Teardrop

Hack Squat (feet low) / Outer + Front Sweep

10

Leg Extension / Front Sweep

12

Glute/Ham Raise / Glute/Ham Tie-In

Lying Leg Curl / Outer Hamstrings

10