Quad Blaster

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Question: I need to build larger quads for next year’s competition. I already do leg presses, lunges, inverted leg presses, leg extensions and a variety of exercises and use considerable weight in doing those. I do not do squats frequently due to problems with my upper spine and neck. What are some methods that I can use to work quads deeply and get them to grow?
Answer: You appear to have a solid grasp on the necessary exercises needed to get results but may need some fine tuning to be able to take your growth further. Range of motion is one consideration. Too often we sacrifice range of motion in order to move greater weights. As you warm-up, pay closer attention to how deep you are allowing your weight to move. Decrease the speed on the way down so that you are using a 3-1-3 reps speed instead of the usual 1-0-1 speed. The 3-1-3 means that you lower the weight, the negative part of the exercise, in 3 to 4 seconds. The bottom or top of the rep depending on the exercise has a 1 second pause and the return is done in 3 to 4 seconds as well. If you observe people training in the gym the majority use a 1-0-1 pattern or the negative part of the rep is done in 1-2 seconds. The bottom or top of the rep has no pause and the return or positive part of the rep is completed in 1-2 seconds. The muscle isn’t under stress for very long. Using slower speed while you warm-up allows you feel your muscles working and make an assessment about how deep you need to go to get the most from each rep.
You want the rep to go as deep as you can without allowing without allowing your hips to roll up off of the support. If your hips roll up very much you will get sore in your spinal erectors and medial gluteus. These are the muscles that surround your spine in your lower back. By dropping too deep they are forced to drive your back into the support to return your pelvis back to the proper lifting position to train your legs. Going too deep causes your spinal erectors and medial glutes tend to burn so much that you won’t get much leg training done. Focus on keeping your back as flat as possible and pushing with your legs while doing the deeper reps. Continue to maintain this form as you increase the weight. Increasing your range can stimulate more muscle fibers in your legs. The slower reps reduce momentum and force your muscle to work harder. You may learn that you have to use a little less weight but the work will be more intense. As a final thought, when you reach your working weight, use the slower method for the first half of your set and on the last half of your reps, return to a quicker movement. The change in speed in the middle of the set is another way to shock your muscles into growth. These methods are uncomfortable so be mentally prepared for the shock.
God bless and keep training,
Daryl

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