No matter how much bigger a competitor might be, you can bring him down to your size or smaller. All you need is harder density, deeper cuts and more chiseled definition, and, voila: your more visible muscularity creates the illusion that you have more size.

Taking this a step further: If you create that illusion on a blatantly big body part such as your legs, his height, weight and other conventions of size suddenly virtually disappear, alongside your superior development and conditioning.

Acquiring that illusion, though, necessitates the painful reality of intensifying your training; but if you can make that sacrifice, your reputation as a respected giant-killer awaits you. Just follow these tips for slicing and dicing your legs:

Leg press
• A wide stance, with toes pointed outward, works the inner quads and hamstrings. A closer stance, with toes pointed straight ahead, works the front quads. For proportionate development, use both positions, alternating from one workout to the next.

• Get a full range of motion, bringing your knees into your chest but not so far that your hips rotate off the pad.

• Lock out at the top, squeezing the teardrops and outer thighs.

• Do four pyramided sets of 12-15.(See photo above.)

Single-leg extensions
• This is a warm-up exercise, normally performed by extending both legs simultaneously, except that by using one leg at a time, more force can be concentrated into each individual thigh.

• Do not lean backward. Sit upright, or even lean slightly forward; this intensifies the contractions in the medialis and lateralis at the top.

• Movements should be slow, focusing on lifting your leg by means of quad contractions, not with leverage.

• Lock your ankle perpendicular to your lower leg, and squeeze all the way up; then, hold for a peak contraction.

• Do four sets of 15 repetitions each.

Smith machine squats
• Once you release the bar from its brackets, take a shoulder-width stance and move both feet about a half step forward, to isolate your quads.

• Stay tight as you lower yourself to where your thighs are just below parallel; then, explode upward and backward against the bar.

• Get a full range of motion, but do not stop at the top.

• Do four sets of 15 reps.

Top tips and techniques for achieving muscular legs.

April 18, 2008

Written by FLEX Staff


Lying leg curls

• Keep your body locked in position, so that your hips and/or upper body do not rise off the pad. Only your lower legs should move.

• Squeeze all the way up, heels on butt.

• Do four sets of 12-15.

Bilateral leg extensions
• Returning to the leg extension machine, use both legs, but concentrate on burning the muscle with poundage, instead of with reps.

• Squeeze each contraction at the top to build a painfully burning ache.

• Do four sets of 10-12 reps.

Stiff-legged deadlifts
• Lock your knees, and use a fairly narrow stance.

• On the way down, loosen and relax your upper body, in an effort to touch the bar to your shoes; to lift, progressively squeeze your hamstrings into your glutes into your lower back, until erect.

• Do not pull upward with your shoulders; it’s all hamstrings.

• Do four sets of 12-15 reps.

Standing unilateral hamstring curls
• These are a warm-up for your hamstrings; again, one leg at a time, to focus full intensity into each leg.

• Keep your hips stable on the seat: Do not shift from one side to another in trying to apply more leverage. The extension must be only from hamstring contractions.

• Don’t swing or yank your leg upward. Squeeze.

• Do four sets of 15 reps.

Nine Keys to a Perfect Squat
In the Beginning
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