With the right plan and the right discipline, you can get seriously shredded in just 28 days.Read article
One thing’s for certain—Heather Dees knows how to look stunning onstage. The 34-year-old IFBB figure pro, personal trainer, posing coach, and master aesthetician and cosmetologist expertly covers all the bases of perfect presentation, translating that knowledge into 20 top-five finishes thus far in her decade-long pro career, including third at this year’s Figure International competition.
Here, she outlines her favorite workout for a body part that often gets lumped in with hamstrings—and suffers as a result. “It’s hard to get maximum muscle hypertrophy when you train both quadriceps and hamstrings together on the same day,” Dees says. “There’s not enough gas in the tank for both. That’s why I split my legs over two workouts and train hard and heavy on both.”
Dees begins her workouts with a few minutes of dynamic stretching. “The purpose is to effectively stretch the muscle with movement to warm up and prevent injury,” she says. Her typical routine:
Dees believes in reaching failure during her working sets—but with safety in mind. “When I train alone, I choose a weight I can do through my entire set with correct form,” she says. “When I train with my husband and coach, Justin, he pushes me to failure in every workout—but he’s there spotting me in case I cannot finish a rep.”
The finisher is seven sets of sissy squats, leaving Dees’ quads quivering even without added resistance beyond her body weight. “I do the standard version, butt to ankles, focusing on using my quads and glutes to power my body back to standing position,” she says. “I’ll hold on to the support of a Smith machine or power rack, trying to use as little arm strength as possible to keep 100% of the focus in my legs to get myself up to standing.” And while she rests 45 to 90 seconds between her other working sets, for sissy squats, Dees cuts that to 30 seconds max. “This basically finishes off my workout,” she says, “and pushes me to failure.”