A definitive look at using the squat to achieve your goal of increased muscle size!
No more leg presses move leg extension to the lower ranks, if you want massive thighs then buddy you better start squatting. I'm not totally dismissing all other leg exercises; each have their place in every workout. But the fact remains that too many bodybuilders find to many excuses NOT to squat instead of giving it a good try for at least a couple of solid months of ass busting effort. You can blame just about all the rag mags out there on bodybuilding for a lot of this. Every time you talk some of these guys they say I heard that so in so doesn't squat and he has great legs. Well I'll say this only once because most young trainee's today don't it but most the pros today have some of the worst leg development seen in years. Very few can say they have complete leg development. The only person we here reach a unanimous conclusion on is the reigning Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman. His thighs have the bellows and sweep that only come from heavy and consistent squatting with free weights. Far to often, even from these pretenders that are often paraded in the mags as contenders to the throne have bottom heavy thighs which lack sweep, hamstring roundness, fully developed glutes, and inner thighs. Yeah one more thing, stay off the abductor machine, thats for ladies you wusses.
Most conventional leg exercises target one or two particular muscles in the upper leg. Leg extensions for example, isolate the frontal quads, specifically the vastus medialis - the innermost head of the quad muscle. Leg curls tend to isolate the hamstrings. Leg presses are okay, but full range of motion and repetition speed are often sacrificed for mega sets with 12+ plates loaded on each side. Be side these short comings most bodybuilders only lower the leg press a couple of inches before ramming it back in a violent manner, this type of action placing extreme stress on the knees and even for a second tier exercise your receiving no benefit what so ever from it in this manner.
Squats on the other hand tax all the muscles in the legs - quads, hams, glutes, even calves. They also strengthen the hips and lower back, which help prevent injury. When we are talking squats there is none of this smith machine crap. In our opinion this SHIT is even worse then the leg press because it brings a false sense to people using this exercise that they are really squatting when all you did was invert the leg press to an upright position. Look if your are going to squat do it the right way and stop pussying around. Bottom line - Want Size? Start Squatin!!
For those trying to get shredded, there are 3 keys aspects remember cardio conditioning, your eating plan, and muscle-burning fat through exercise. If you stop and think about it squats are the perfect exercise for the job. The legs hold almost half the body's musculature. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn when you're resting. It's true that other leg exercises will help build muscle in the legs, but the squat trumps them all because it works the entire body from head to toe. Squatting has always been touted as a total body exercise for this very reason.
When you're squatting, your entire upper and lower body is working hard to stabilize the weight. The muscles of the chest, shoulders, arms, back and abs are all working hard to keep your torso erect while your quad, hamstring and calves are tensed to with stand the force of the repetition to come in the movement. While squatting won't give you big arms, or thick pecs, it will develope strength, stability and muscular endurance while taxing the cardiovascular system as well. Therefore, it speeds up the body's metabolism.
Won't squatting make my waist and ass huge? The answer is - it depends. Squatting will work the glutes and there isn't much you can do to prevent it except making sure your stance isn't too wide. Placing a one-inch board under your heels is also a good way to reduce glute involvement. Many top bodybuilders have built their superb legs around the squat. Yet when you see pictures of them, their waists are streamlined and their hips, thighs and glutes are all in perfect proportion.
Therefore, how small your waist can get is genetically determined. Do you have naturally wide or narrow hips? Is your butt along the same vertical plane as your shoulders (i.e. does it stick out naturally)? When it comes to measurements, some bodybuilders can dial it in at a tight 28-inch waist; others may have to settle for a wider midsection around 30 inches. Focus on ripping up the midsection before worrying about a large butt.
|Routine #1||# of Sets||# of Reps|
|Squats||4 sets||12-6* reps|
|Straight Legged Deadlifts||2-3 sets||8-12 reps|
|Routine #2||# of Sets||# of Reps|
|Squats||6 sets||12-5* reps|
|Leg Extensions||3 sets||8-12 reps|
|Seated Leg Curls||3-4 sets||8-12 reps|