Leg Training

Posted 24 April 2020 by Albert David

No-Equipment Exercises

To Develop Your Legs

Published: April 24th 2020

We all want perfectly shaped and fit legs, but many-a-times, we are either too busy or too lazy to hit the gym. Moreover, the gym equipment and appliances are often too expensive that we cannot invest in them for a home training session. So, what should you do to keep yourself fit and active? Well, there is a way. There are a few exercises and workout moves that you can do without spending a penny. We have come up with a list of exercises that you can do to develop your legs without any equipment. So, what does it need? Well, your body, you, and maybe some music. Now, come on, let’s get up and workout.


Frog Bridge

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I am 100% certain you must have heard of glute bridge. So, this workout is an effective version of that. This is a perfect workout for your inner thighs, glutes, hips, and core.


How to do?

  • For this, you need to lie down on your back.
  • Then, bend your elbows and knees.
  • Now, press onto the soles of your feet and then open your thighs.
  • Further, try hard to squeeze and then lift up your glutes. You have to do this with your arm and body strength, combined with the soles of your feet. Stay in this position for at least one second.
  • Then, you can come back to the initial position.


How often?

You should do at least 2 sets of frog bridge each of 15 reps.


Take Note

To ensure that you are doing the frog bridge right, you have to exhale as you try lifting your glutes. While doing this, your knees should be relaxed, and your core should be tight, and neither of the two should touch each other. Also, when you go back to the normal position, you have to inhale.  


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Though a lot of people do not enjoy doing squats, it is by far the most effective workout to tone the legs and the lower body. Squats work your glutes, hamstrings, calves, core, thighs, and abs.


How to do?

  • Firstly, stand up straight. Then move your feet apart in a manner that the two of them are at a shoulder-width from each other.
  • Now, push your hips backwards and go down.
  • You can now stand up straight.

How often?

You should do at least 3 sets of squats each of 15 reps.


Take Note

To ensure that you are doing squats right, you should take care that your back is straight, and you do not extend your knees beyond the toes. Also, don’t try going inwards. When you squat, you have to breathe in, and when you go up, you have to breathe out.


Jump Squats

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Yes, squats are an incredible lower body workout, but jump squats are 100 times better.  Jump squats work on your quads, calves, glutes, hamstrings, abs, lower back, and hip flexors. And come on, jumping is indeed a lot of fun. After you do this, you’ll notice an endorphin rush.

How to do?

  • Firstly, stand up straight. Then move your feet apart in a manner that the two of them are at a shoulder-width from each other. While you do that, do ensure that you have your toes a little pointed towards the outside.
  • Now, lock both your arms together and bend your elbow.
  • Next, you’ll have to go down in the squat position. After this, you have to only slightly lift up your bums, and then go back in the squat position. 
  • Once you do that, you’ll have to push your body upwards as you would when jumping. Then, when you are landing, you have to bend your knees a bit, and again come back to the squat position.

How often?

You should do at least 3 sets of squats each of 30 seconds.


Take Note

You have to ensure that your hips are pushed backwards, and you do not get your knees out of the toe line. Also, when you squat, you have to inhale and while you push your body in the air, you have to exhale.



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Most of us, do lunges every day without even realizing. For instance, when we bend on one foot to tie our laces, it is a lunge. Lunges is a great leg workout and works well on your quads, core, hips, glutes, calves, inner thighs, and hamstrings.


How to do?

  • Firstly, you need to stand up straight. Next, take your feet apart from each other in a way that they are at a shoulder-width from one another.
  • Now, take only your right leg forward. While you do this, you have to keep your body weight in the same direction, and while you do so, your heel would touch the floor.
  • Further, you have to lower your body down to the floor, such that your right thigh and the floor are parallel to each other. In this posture, your knee will be at a 90 degree. Yes, if you need it a little forward, you might, but try not to take it beyond your toe line.  So, as you head downwards, your left knee should go downwards in an attempt to touch the floor.
  • Once done, you have to push yourself to the original position with your right leg.
  • You’ll then have to repeat the same for your left leg.


How often?

You should do at least 20 reps of lungs for each leg.

Take Note

To ensure that you are doing it right, the heel of the foot shouldn’t go off the floor. Also, your back should be straight and risen upwards.

Written by Albert David of ThanksForTheHelp.com

For Essay writing help visit: www.thanksforthehelp.com

Posted 21 August 2019 by CutAndJacked.com

Workout: The Legendary

Tom Platz Legs Workout


Squats: 8-10 Sets x 5-20* reps
( * = Pyramidded, weight on bar increased and number of reps decreased)

Machine Hack-Squats: 5 Sets x 10-15 reps

Leg Extensions: 5-8 Sets x 10-15 reps

Lying Leg Curls: 6-10 Sets x 10-15 reps


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Posted 25 September 2014 by Alex Stewart

5 Mass Building

Leg Workouts

5 Mass Building Leg Workouts.


1. Workout

  • Barbell Full Squats: 4 sets x 4-6 reps
  • Dumbbell Lunge: 4 sets x 12 reps with each leg
  • Leg Press: 3 sets x 12-15 reps
  • Lying Leg Curl: 3 sets x12 reps
  • Leg Extensions: 3 sets x 20 reps
  • Standing Calf Raises: 4 sets x 12 reps

2. Workout

  • Barbell Deadlifts: 4 sets x 4-6 reps
  • Dumbbell Rear Lunges: 4 sets x15 reps
  • Hack Squats: 3 sets x 8-12 reps
  • Seated Leg Curl: 3 sets x 8-12 reps
  • Leg Extensions: 3 sets x 15 reps
  • Seated Calf Raises: 4 sets x 20 reps

3. Workout

  • Leg Press: 4 sets x 4-6 reps
  • Romanian Deadlifts: 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Dumbbell Step Ups: 4 sets x 15 reps with each leg
  • Leg Extensions: 3 sets x 12 reps
  • Thigh Abductor: 3 sets x 12 reps
  • Thigh Adductor: 3 sets x 12 reps
  • Standing Barbell Calf Raise: 4 sets x 12-15 reps

4. Workout

  • Front Barbell Squats: 4 sets x 8-12 reps
  • Barbell Lunges: 4 sets x 20 with each leg
  • Leg Press: 3 sets x 15-20 reps
  • Lying Leg Curl: 3 sets x 15 reps
  • Leg Extension: 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Seated Calf Raise: 4 sets x 20 reps

5. Workout

  • Hack Squat: 3 sets x 4-6 reps
  • Romanian Deadlifts: 3 sets x 8 reps
  • Dumbbell Lunges: 4 sets x 25 reps with each leg
  • Leg Extensions: 3 sets x 20 reps
  • Seated Leg Curl: 3 sets x 15 reps
  • Calf Press on Leg Press Machine: 3 sets x 12 reps
Posted 21 September 2013 by Brad Borland, M.A., CSCS

Calf Guide: Grow

Your Stubborn Calves

Calf Guide: Grow Your Stubborn Calves

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We all have a love/hate relationship with the “G” word: Genetics. When we are genetically gifted in certain areas of our physique we deem ourselves blessed. But, when we confront difficulty and monumental challenges we curse our genetics and all but give up on ourselves in attaining that coveted symmetrical and proportioned body we strive for each and every day. How is it that we excel in building some body parts but not others?

Most trainers’ calves are the subjects in question here. In all of my years training, I have come across maybe only a handful of trainers who were satisfied with their calf size. Most are at there wit’s end regarding trying to pack on reasonable amounts of muscle tissue to their lower legs and have relegated there training to just a few sets at the end of a leg day.

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I am hoping this article will shed a little light and hope for those out there still yearning to build some impressive lower legs. You may not be able to build huge, striated bowling balls, but I honestly do believe most anyone can add a significant amount of muscle to their calves and q1 calve.pngimprove the overall proportion of their physique. You DO like to wear shorts in the summer… right?
To pack on a significant amount of muscle on a weak point is a pretty heady task. It will take focus, determination, discipline and attention to detail. To manipulate such a weak area (no matter what body part it is) will take adjustments in frequency, volume and technique.  Throwing in a few sets of calf raises at the end of a brutal quad and hamstring workout has not and will not do the trick. What you need is an overhaul in regard to training AND mentality. Having the belief that you can achieve that goal is imperative to your success. Without that belief, you will go nowhere, fast.

Treat the training program and techniques in this article as you would an intense series of bench presses or squats. Full range of motion, stretching and squeezing the muscle and paying close attention to rest periods will set you on the right path to results over a period of time. Have patience, be persistent and let’s get to it!

Quick Anatomy Lesson

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The musculature of the lower leg is comprised of three main muscle groups. Let’s take a look at each and there functions.

Gastrocnemius: This calf muscle which has two heads (medial and lateral) originates behind the knee on the femur and attaches to the heel with the Achilles tendon. These heads form the famous diamond shape every trainer is looking to build and is mostly targeted when the knees are straight during movements.

Soleus: This muscle lies underneath the Gastrocnemius on the rear of the lower leg. It is mostly activated while the knees are bent.

Tibialis Anterior: This much neglected muscle is found on the front of the lower leg and is responsible for dorsi flexion of the foot (pointing the foot up). The importance of the tibialis anterior is that it aids in the balance of the lower leg regarding strength, muscle mass and injury prevention.

Bull Calves Action!

Now that you know a little about anatomy and function, let’s delve into what makes outstanding calves. The movements and routines presented are designed to get the most out of each trip to the gym. Remember to always use good form and not to use too much weight to compromise your safety.

Standing calf raises:

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Standing calf raises: This movement is the time-tested standard for building overall calf mass, particularly the gastrocnemius area. To perform this movement, fix your shoulders underneath the pads of the machine and stand with the balls of your feet on the calf block below about shoulder width apart. Stand with straight legs and just a slight bend in the knees to relieve the tension on that joint. The knees should stay in this semi-locked position throughout the motion. Descend by lowering your heels toward the ground slowly. Once you have reached full range of motion and feel a deep stretch in the calves, reverse the motion and come up on the balls of your feet and contract the muscle as much as possible.

Important note: When coming up on the balls of your feet, do not try to flex your toes – let the foot do the movement. Also, DO NOT bounce the weight at the bottom or do a bouncing motion throughout the movement. So many trainers perform calf raises this way and benefit very little from their efforts. Full extension and full contraction at a steady, controlled pace is the way to go for real results.  

Quick hit: If your gym does not have a normal selectorized standing calf raise machine there is an alternative. Try doing Smith machine standing calf raises. Affix a calf block under a loaded bar and perform calf raises as described above. No block? Try free weight plates or group exercise steps.

Seated calf raises:

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Seated calf raises: Another great standard in any calf program is the seated calf raise targeting the soleus muscle. This movement is great at adding width to the calf when seen from the front and thickness when viewed from the side. Fix your knees, not your thighs, under the pads of the machine and place your feet on the foot platform below at about shoulder width. As with the standing version, utilize a full range of motion – feel the stretch and then flex the calf hard at the top. Again, no bouncing!

 Quick hit: If you find yourself in a gym without a seated calf raise machine try rigging one of your own. You can either use a Smith machine or a loaded barbell for this version. Either wrap the bar with a pad or place a thickly folded towel over your thighs for comfort while performing this movement. Place a calf block, step, or weight plates below for the balls of your feet and fix your knees under the free weight or Smith bar. For the Smith machine version, lift the weight and then unhook from the rack (it is also a good idea to set the safety pins just in case). For the free weight version have your partner place the loaded barbell across your thighs and keep your hands on the bar for stability and safety. Perform the movement as stated above.

Leg press calf raises:

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Leg press calf raises: Another great overall mass builder is the leg press calf raise. Normally performed on a 45 degree angle leg sled, (or machine leg press) these calf raises are convenient to do at most gyms when the traditional machines are not available. The trick to make these a bit different than the other versions we have discussed is to keep as close to a 90 degree angle in your hips. This will stretch out the calves for an unbelievable contraction when done correctly.

Seat yourself in a leg press and place your feet about shoulder width apart with a slight bend in the knees – as discussed with standing calf raises. Lower the weight for a complete stretch and then reverse the weight under control for an intense contraction.

Important note: Many trainers will load up the weight and do partial movements (the biggest mistake in calf training). Make sure the load is challenging, but not too heavy where you find yourself only lifting the weight half way up. Full extension and full contraction is the only way to go on these to make them effective.

Quick hit: Another old-school movement that mimics the leg press version is the donkey calf raise. You may have seen pictures and video footage of Arnold and Franco doing these back in the Golden Era of bodybuilding. All you need for these is a calf block and a brave friend or two. Simply stand on the calf block with the balls of your feet (as in standing calf raises), bend over at the hips about 90 degrees and rest your arms on a bench or Smith machine bar. Your partner will climb onto your back to add resistance while performing the movement - straight legs, full extension, and full contraction.

Single leg calf raises:

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Single leg calf raises: One of the best calf builders is a little-used gem called the single leg calf raise. It is very hard to find anyone performing these, but if you choose to, you will add strength and balance to your lower leg arsenal. Why? Because many times trainers are not reaching their full potential due to a strength and development imbalance in the lower legs. Once this is corrected, you can move ahead and start adding mass to your calves without compensating for one side or the other.

These can be performed with or without a dumbbell in hand (if you are new to this exercise it is recommended to start without a dumbbell to master the movement). Find a calf block and set one foot up as in the standing calf raise (straight leg, slight bend in the knee, back straight). If you are using a dumbbell, hold the weight on the side of the working leg, hold an upright for stability and perform the movement with strict from (stretch completely and rise all the way up on the ball of your foot for a full contraction). Switch feet and repeat.

Quick hit: If you find yourself performing more reps with one leg than the other (which is extremely common), do a few forced reps with the weak leg. With your non-weight bearing hand, help yourself with a few more reps for the weak leg by pulling up a bit on the upright you are holding onto. The burn will be intense, but you will soon bring balance to that area.

Tibialis raises:

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Tibialis raises: A much forgotten (or ignored) exercise in the bodybuilding world is the tibialis raise. Mainly reserved for runners, this movement will not only add mass to the front of the lower leg but will also help strengthen that area by developing balance to the antagonistic (opposite) area to the calf muscles. This, in turn, will enhance the performance and reduce injury to all of the lower leg muscles resulting in a more balanced physique.

Simply place your heels on a calf block and drop your feet for a stretch. Rise up (dorsi flex) on your heels while trying to point your toes to the ceiling above. No weight will be needed for this movement as you may find that this area may be a newly discovered weak point. Try not to rock back and forth – keep the form strict and feel the burn!

Calve Training Guides

1. Perform 1 or 2 warm-up sets of 15-20 reps on the first movement
2. Rest only 45 to 60 seconds in between sets (utilize a watch if needed)
3. Do a different calf workout twice per week


Overall Calf Development

  • Standing calf raise: 3 sets x 10-15 reps
  • Seated calf raise: 3  sets x 10-15 reps
  • Single leg calf raise: 3 sets x 10-15 reps
  • Tibialis raise: 3 sets x 10-15 reps


Gastrocnemius Focus

  • Standing calf raise: 3-5 sets x 10-15 reps
  • Leg press calf raise: 3-5 sets x 10-15 reps
  • Single leg calf raise: 3 sets x 10-15 reps
  • Tibialis raise: 3 sets x 10-15 reps


Soleus Focus

  • Seated calf raise: 3-5 sets x 10-15 reps
  • Leg press calf raise (bent leg): 3-5 sets x 10-15 reps
  • Tibialis raise: 3 sets x 10-15 reps
  • Seated calf raise: 3 sets x 10-15 reps


High Rep Blitz!

  • Leg press calf raise: 3 sets x 15-25 reps
  • Seated calf raise: 3 sets x 15-25 reps
  • Single leg calf raise: 3 sets x failure (use bodyweight only)
  • Tibialis raise: 3 sets x failure


Balance Program

  • Single leg calf raise: 3 sets x 10-15 reps
  • Single leg - leg press calf raise: 3 sets x 10-15 reps
  • Smith machine standing calf raise: 3 sets x 10-15 reps
  • Tibialis raise: 3 sets x 10-15


Non-Traditional Workout

  • Smith machine standing calf raise: 3 sets x 10-15 reps
  • Single leg calf raise: 3 sets x 10-15 reps
  • Donkey calf raise (optional): 3 sets x failure
  • Smith machine seated calf raise: 3 sets x 10-15 reps
  • Tibialis raise: 3 sets x 10-15 reps


Superset Onslaught!

  • Single leg calf raise: 3 sets x 10-15 reps (no rest between legs)
  • Superset: Standing calf raise with Seated calf raise: 3 sets x 10-15 reps each
  • Superset: Leg press calf raise with Tibialis raise: 3 sets x 10-15 reps each 

By: Brad Borland, M.A., CSCS workoutlab.net

Posted 30 May 2013 by Adam Bisek

A Quick Guide To

Developing Your Hamstrings

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Developing Hamstrings: A quick guide to how to build the backside of your legs

There is nothing more impressive on a physique then a set of well developed wheels. However, all too often do I see a inequality between weightlifters quadriceps and hamstring development. Not only is this an issue from an aesthetic standpoint, but also from a functional hamstring bisek q1.pngstandpoint. Large disparities in hamstring and quadriceps development and/or strength can lead to a host of issues leading to increased risk of injury of the knees, hips, and low back. On the athletic front, most of the well-gifted clients I work with have become quad dominant, amazing accelerating specimens, however they lack the same ability to decelerate and brake with the hamstrings and glutes. When I start to focus more on these athletes hamstring strength they begin to see better performance on the field and less time off of it.

A Brief Introduction to the back of your legs

The hamstrings are made up of three main muscles; the semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris (See figure 1). The former two muscles, along with the long head of the biceps femoris both extend the hip (act to move the leg backwards) and flex the knee (actively bend the knee). The short head of the biceps femoris does not cross the hip joint and thus only flexes the knee. In regards to the fiber type of the hamstrings group Type II/Fast Twitch fibers predominate, and because of this higher intensity exercise should make up your hamstring routine (Garrett 1984).

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Determining if you have an imbalance

There are a couple angles we can take in regards to hamstring development; aesthetic and strength. Visually it is much more subjective to determine the state of your hamstrings, and thus one would be best served to have their physique judged by a professional trainer, coach, or judge well-versed in the competitive physique industry. When it comes to strength we can substantiate things quite a bit more objectively. The strength of your hamstrings should be roughly 2/3 the strength of your quadriceps. You may be thinking, that's great but how in the world do I assess that? Charles Poliquin, a renowned strength training mind, suggests that if your front squat is less than 85% of your back squat an imbalance exists (Poliquin 2010).

Conducting the ham balancing act

When programming exercise it is always important to take a holistic approach, meaning you should account for all variables in your overall program. That encompasses your workout split, rest and recovery, priority of muscles worked, and of course the goals you hope to accomplish from your program. However, in this article we will focus strictly on the training it will take to bring up your hamstring strength, size, and detail. Remember that the hamstrings groups both extend the hip and flex the knee, so the exercises in our "Holy Hamstrings" program should account for that. Also, as aforementioned, the hamstrings groups respond best to higher intensity exercise, and accordingly the loads we choose should be sufficient enough to allow for only 6-8 reps, 12 at most, so long as good technique is maintained. Below are a couple recommended workouts depending the angle at which you want to attack your hamstrings.

Muscle development workout                        |                      Power development

# Exercise Reps Sets # Exercise Reps Sets
1A Good Mornings (extend 6-8 3-4 1 Romanian Deadlift (extend) 6-8 4-5
1B Glute Ham Raises (flex) 8-10 3-4 2 Glute Ham Raise (flex) 6-8 4-5
2A Stiff-Legged Deadlifts (extend) 8 3        
2B Lying Leg Curl (flex) 8-12 3        


As you can see there are different exercises, rep/set schemes, and overall volume for the two emphasis. For a better idea of how to incorporate these exercises into a comprehensive leg program check out Ian Lauer's article Your Physique is More Than a Torso. Train Your Legs!. Now you have no excuse for a lagging backside, of your legs that is. Whether you want to excel on the playing field, bring a better physique to the stage, or sport a stronger pair of lower limbs, it's important to prioritize your hamstring training.

Written by Adam Bisek

Posted 04 January 2012 by Tim McCune

Overcoming Plateaus:

The Squat

Overcoming Plateaus – The Squat

At some point or another everyone hits a sticking point on their big lifts where any amount of practising the movement itself doesn’t bring about an improvement. For times such as these you need to take a step back, identify whereabouts in the lift you are struggling, and then utilise variations on the lifts, or supplemental exercises to bust through the sticking point.

The squat

Hopefully a staple in everyone’s training plan the squat is hugely important in your lower body development and core strength.
The two places that people will fail in a squats are either in ‘the hole’ where there is insufficient posterior chain drive to begin the ascent, or at any point along that ascent when the core and upper back lack the strength to prevent a folding forwards of the torso.
In this article I will address the first of these problems and a few of the options available for overcoming the problem.

In the hole – how single leg work can get you moving

One of my personal favourite exercises and one which has moved on my squat hugely over the past few months is the rear foot elevated split squat, or Bulgarian split squat.
When proper depth is achieved in this exercise the glutes and hamstrings of the standing leg must produce enough force to propel both your bodyweight, and any additional weight used, up. As the torso stays more upright than in a squat the contribution of the lower back is much lower, allowing the legs to be trained without the core limitation. This quality also makes it a safer option for those that experience lower back pain whilst squatting.
Often a deficit from one side to another can be identified, Gray Cook of Functional Movement Screen fame identifies this as the greatest predictor for injury when assessing movement patterns, and so the exercise has the added function of injury prevention.
Loading of the exercise can take the form of a barbell (either front or back loaded), dumbbells, or weighted vest/chains. Loading selection comes down to individual preference, and the amount of load being used (grip may eventually limit the dumbbell option).

The second option

Box squats are a great tool for teaching the squat pattern as the fear of falling backwards when sitting back with hips is removed. Additionally it is easy to identify those that favour the quads over the posterior chain as when attempting to drive off the box there will be a shift forwards of the knees and torso to allow the quadriceps to initiate the movement. When performed correctly the weight should remain on the heels and the torso relatively upright.
Once box squats have been mastered there is the option of adding accommodating resistance in the form of bands or chains which apply more weight at the strongest part of the movement (lock out).

The box squat teaches force production from the bottom of the squat as the box kills the momentum that is often used to ‘bounce’ out of the hole. As with deadlifts where you would start from a dead stop each time to allow the lower back and legs to exert force rather than bouncing the weight to ‘cheat’ the reps this exercise will add strength to the weakest part of the lift.

Improving your power output with mobility work

Torque at the hip (the rotational force) is the way that force is generated to drive the body and weight out of the bottom of the squat. This rotational force requires external rotation of the hip (something that manifests itself in a ‘knees out’ position). A lack of external rotation can be the result of weak or tight external rotators (Piriformis, Gemellus Superior, Obturator Internus, Gemellus Inferior, Obturator Externus, Quadratus Femoris) and tight external rotators, especially the illiacus, psoas major and psoas minor (collectively called the illiopsoas). Improving the external rotation of the hip can result in a greater amount of force being generated. Any stretch which takes the leg into flexion and external rotation will help to improve this position (think the pigeon pose from yoga), additionally stretches putting the leg into extension and internal rotation will help to free off the illiopsoas. For more information and ideas for increasing movement efficiency check out mobilitywod.com Some useful cues when thinking about this force production are to imagine screwing your feet into the ground (pushing the heels inwards, though they shouldn’t actually move) or to imagine trying to push the floor apart with your feet. The knees out cue also works wonders as the valgus collapse (knees caving in) is a sign of loss of power.

Written by Tim McCune

Posted 09 November 2011 by Nick Nilsson

Super Intense Deadlift

Variations For More Muscle

Deadlifts are a prime mass-building exercise...no doubt about it! But if you’ve been doing them awhile, it might be time to try a few different training techniques to start a whole new growth spurt...  These will definitely kick your butt!

1. Continuous Tension Deadlifts

One of my favorite techniques for deadlifts is also one of the most grueling (surprise!). It's called Continuous Tension Deadlifting - you may have encountered it or tried it before but now's a great time to revisit it!  If you want to build overall body mass (and most specifically back mass), this version of the deadlift is a great one.
It's simple...you do a set of deadlifts without EVER touching the barbell plates back onto the ground.  I first used this one quite a few years ago out of necessity - I almost got evicted from a gym I was training at in Ft. Lauderdale that was located on the second floor of a building! When I was setting the weights down, the owner was worried I was going to put the barbell through the floor!
So rather than give up on deadlifting while training there, I decided to just not set the bar down until I was done with each set (and set it down very softly at the end of the set). The owner let me do THAT at least!

It's not a NEW exercise, per se, but it IS a great training technique that can really help you mass up your whole body. Just be VERY tight with your form at the bottom of the reps.
You start like a regular deadlift, pulling the bar from the ground to the top. But as you come down, instead of setting the barbell back down on the ground, you instead reverse the direction just before the plates touch and come back up.

Your body gets NO break at the bottom, as you normally do in a deadlift where you set the bar down. This keeps HUGE tension on the entire body. It's just brutal, especially on the change of direction. You have to not only stop the downward momentum of the bar, you have to reverse it and bring it back up again!
This not only keeps great tension on the body but builds excellent strength off the bottom. Just overcoming gravity isn't nearly as hard as reversing AND overcoming it again in one movement!  When you're coming down to the bottom of the movement and reversing direction, hold your breath very briefly to stabilize the core more strongly. The moment you reverse direction successfully, breathe out again (through pursed lips, to maintain that core stability).  When you do this exercise, reduce the weight you would normally use. The continuous tension is an eye-opener!

2. High-Rep Deadlifts

If just the very NAME of this one doesn't make you both dread it and get excited about it at the same time... High-rep deadlifts are a GREAT way to send your metabolism through the roof. Sometimes, when I'm feeling energetic, I'll just pop 225 lbs on the bar and rep out with as many reps as I can get. I've hit as high as 40 reps with it.

This is a basic straight-up deadlift done for as many reps as you can. For me, this weight is about 40% of my 1 RM. You can pick anything that's around 40 to 50% and you should be able to hit a good number of reps with it.
If you've always stuck to lower rep ranges in the deadlift, this one will be an eye-opener for you.  Keep a fairly brisk pace. I found for much of the set, I wasn't even setting the bar down in between reps but just grazing the floor and coming right back up.
Now just crank out as many as possible. Towards the end, I stop for a few seconds to try and catch a little breath but that only gets me a couple of more reps.
If you like deadlifts and are comfortable with them, give this a try. It's not so comfortable by the time you're done...  One set of these is all you need - don't save ANYTHING in this set...you're not going to be doing any more high-rep deadlifts sets after so you've got no reason to hold back.
Just be tight with form from start to finish - don't let it get sloppy - reps with bad form don't count.

3. Stiff-Legged Deadlifts to Conventional
Deadlifts - BRUTAL Superset

Basically, you're going to take a weight that allows you to get about 4 to 6 reps on the Stiff Legged Deadlift. Then you're going to do those reps on the SLDL (stiff legged deadlift). Then you will IMMEDIATELY continue with the same weight on regular deadlifts.
Just keeping until you've had enough.  If you like a challenge, you'll love this one!

One quick note with the Stiff Legged Deadlifts, I recommend you set the bar down on the floor in between reps. This is much better on the back when you're using heavier weights because it allows you to reset your spine and the support muscles of the core with each rep. If you've never tried that before, you'll notice a BIG difference.  When you keep the bar off the ground, you can't reset and it'll gradually fatigue your supports muscles and round out your lower back.

Works WAY better with heaver weight with no deleterious effects on hamstring stimulation.
So get between 4 and 6 reps on the SLDL. Then immediately pick it up with regular deadlifts:
So finish with as many deadlifts as you can get (keep the do-or-die rep in you, though). This combo is tough enough on its own!

Written by Nick Nilsson

Posted 29 April 2011 by CutAndJacked.com

Guide: Calf

Building 101

Introduction to Calf Building 101

A new course is available at Weik University on building massive calves. Those interested in sitting through an easy course, no need to look any further because class has just begun.

Everyone is guaranteed an "A" for the course as long as you sit through the course and pay attention (you can take notes if you wish). From there, all you have to do is take what you learned from the course and utilize it in the gym for massive calf gains.

Let's start with the basics of Chapter 1 and then get into more detail later on in the course.

Chapter 1: Anatomy of the Calf


The gastrocnemius is also called the calf muscle. The muscle itself is one that is visible on the body (meaning it doesn't lie underneath any other muscles and therefore is not visible by the eye). The gastrocnemius attaches to the heel (at the Achilles Tendon) and originates on the femur (behind the knee). The calf muscle has two heads (the medial and lateral heads).


Unlike the gastrocnemius, this is one of those muscles that I mentioned above that are not visible because it lies underneath another muscle. It is for this reason that the muscle isn't very well known among those just starting out. The medial head originates on the posterior tibia and the lateral head on the posterior fibula. These two heads unite and insert into the calcaneal tendon.


The plantaris is a very small muscle. The long tendon of the plantaris passes between the gastrocnemius and soleus and inserts into the calcaneus. It originates at the lateral epicondyle of the femur, just above the origin of the lateral head of the gastrocnemius.

Chapter 2: Different Parts of the Calf


The function of this muscle is plantar flexion (elevating the heel). Without this muscle, it would be very hard to walk normally since you would not be able to push off the ball of your foot.


The function of this muscle is basically the same as the gastrocnemius in that its job is to raise the heel.

The only real difference between the two is that the soleus comes into play when the knee is bent (for example during seated calf raises).


This is a very weak muscle but does help aid in raising the heel (plantar flexion).

Chapter 3: Different Calf Exercises

• Standing Barbell Calf Raises
• Seated Barbell Calf Raises
• Smith Machine Standing Calf Raises
• Smith Machine Reverse Standing Calf Raises
• Smith Machine Seated Calf Raises
• Standing Dumbbell Calf Raises
• Seated Dumbbell Calf Raises
• Standing Cable Calf Raises
• Donkey Calf Raises
• Calf Press on Leg Press Machine
• Single Leg Dumbbell Calf Raises
• Machine Standing Calf Raises
• Machine Seated Calf Raises

Chapter 4: Mass Building Calf Workouts

It is important to know that for many people the calf responds to higher reps. See what works for you but for most you need to be doing at least 15 reps per set.

You want to concentrate on really feeling the calf contracting during the set and get a good stretch at the bottom of the movement and a hard contraction at the top.

Do not bounce during the movement. You want to make sure that during both the concentric and eccentric part of the movement is nice and slow and controlled.


Workout #1

Standing Barbell Calf Raises 4x15
Seated Barbell Calf Raises 4x15
Donkey Calf Raises 4x15

Workout #2

Standing Barbell Calf Raises 4x15
Standing One-Leg Dumbbell Calf Raises 4x15
Seated Dumbbell Calf Raises 4x15

Workout #3

Smith Machine Standing Calf Raises 4x15
Standing One-Leg Calf Raises 4x15
Donkey Calf Raises 4x15

Workout #4

Calf Press on Leg Press Machine 4x15
Machine Standing Calf Raises 4x15
Machine Seated Calf Raises 4x15

Workout #5

Calf Press on Leg Press Machine 4x15
Standing Barbell Calf Raises 4x15
Machine Seated Calf Raises 4x15

Workout #6 (Smith Machine)

Smith Machine Reverse Standing Calf Raises 4x15
Smith Machine Standing Calf Raises 4x15
Smith Machine Seated Calf Raises 4x15

Workout #7 (Bodyweight)

Standing Bodyweight Calf Raises 6x15
Standing One-Leg Bodyweight Calf Raises 6x15

Course Conclusion

When it comes down to it you want to focus on the mind-muscle connection. You should really feel each rep and feel the muscle working. If you don't feel an exercise in your calf, then you are probably doing it wrong or are using a weight that you can't handle and are using more than just your calf muscles.

Most of all have fun with your workouts. If you aren't having fun, then what's the point? Utilize what you learned in this course and see where it takes you. Good luck and see you at graduation!

By: Matt Weik

Posted 27 April 2011 by Matt Weik

Guide: Hamstring

Building 101

Introduction to Hamstring Building 101

A new course is available at Weik University on building massive hamstrings. Those interested in sitting through an easy course, no need to look any further because class has just begun.

Everyone is guaranteed an "A" for the course as long as you sit through the course and pay attention (you can take notes if you wish). From there, all you have to do is take what you learned from the course and utilize it in the gym for massive hamstring gains.

Let's start with the basics of Chapter 1 and then get into more detail later on in the course.

Chapter 1: Anatomy of the Hamstrings

The hamstrings are made up of three muscles. Those three muscles are the biceps femoris, semimembranosus, and the semitendinosus.  All three of these muscles originate on the pelvic bone under the glutes, and then insert on the tibia.

The bicep femoris, semimembranosus, and the semitendinosus are all used for flexing the knee as well as hip extension. For those of you who aren’t familiar with that terminology, think of knee flexion as a leg curl—where you are taking your foot and moving it towards your glutes in one fluid motion. An example of hip extension is where you are moving your leg to the rear. You can think of the movement like a stiff-leg deadlift.

Chapter 2: Different Parts of the Hamstrings

In this chapter we are going to talk about the different parts of the hamstrings so you fully understand each specific part of the muscles.

Biceps Femoris

The biceps femoris is a muscle that like its name says (bi-) has two heads. There is a long as well as a short head to the muscle.

The long head of the muscle starts at the lower and inner impression of the tuberosity of the ischium on the back side. For those who are not sure where that is located, think of it attaching to the back of the hip bone. It then travels down and inserts on the lateral condyle of the tibia.

The short head of the muscle starts between the adductor magnus and the vastus lateralis and extends up as high as the insertion of the glute muscles. The adductor magnus originates on the lower portion of the ischial tuberosity and is inserted onto the tubercle below the medial condyle on the tibia. The adductor magnus is responsible for hip extension.


The semimembranosus is located at on the medial side on the back of the thigh. The muscle originates on the hip, specifically the tuberosity of the ishium. From there it travels down and inserts onto the medial condyle of the tibia.


The semitendinosus is located at the medial and posterior area of the thigh and originates from the same place as the semimembranosus (the tuberosity of the ishium found on the hip). From there it travels down and inserts onto the upper part of the medial surface of the tibia.

Chapter 3: Different Hamstring Exercises

• Seated Leg Curls
• Lying Leg Curls
• Standing Leg Curls
• Lying Bodyweight Flutter Kicks
• Stability Ball Flutter Kicks
• Barbell Stiff-Leg Deadlifts
• Dumbbell Stiff-Leg Deadlifts
• Dumbbell Lunges
• Barbell Lunges
• Smith Machine Stiff-Leg Deadlifts
• Squats
• Glute-Ham Raises
• Barbell Good Mornings

Chapter 4: Mass Building Hamstring Workouts

Workout #1

Squats 3x8-12
Dumbbell Lunges 3x8-12
Smith Machine Stiff-Leg Deadlifts 3x8-12
Glute-Ham Raises 3x8-12

Workout #2

Lying Leg Curls 3x8-12
Barbell Lunges 3x8-12
Dumbbell Stiff-Leg Deadlifts 3x8-12
Barbell Good Mornings 3x8-12

Workout #3

Standing Leg Curls 3x8-12
Barbell Stiff-Leg Deadlift 3x8-12
Dumbbell Lunges 3x8-12
Stability Ball Flutter Kicks 3x8-12

Workout #4

Squats 3x8-12
Barbell Stiff-Leg Deadlift 3x8-12
Glute-Ham Raise 3x8-12
Lying Bodyweight Flutter Kicks 3x8-12

Workout #5

Barbell Stiff-Leg Deadlift 3x8-12
Barbell Lunges 3x8-12
Lying Leg Curls 3x8-12
Glute-Ham Raises 3x8-12

Workout #6

Seated Leg Curls 3x8-12
Dumbbell Stiff-Leg Deadlift 3x8-12
Dumbbell Lunges 3x8-12
Barbell Good Mornings 3x8-12

Course Conclusion

When it comes down to it you want to focus on the mind-muscle connection. You should really feel each rep and feel the muscle working. If you don't feel an exercise in your hamstrings, then you are probably doing it wrong or are using a weight that you can't handle and are using more than just your hamstring muscles.

Most of all have fun with your workouts. If you aren't having fun, then what's the point? Utilize what you learned in this course and see where it takes you. Good luck and see you at graduation!

Written By: Matt Weik

Posted 04 April 2012 by Heather Leff

The “Best” Training

Tips for Women

Let me start by saying this: There are a ton of tips and tricks out there on how to achieve your “best” physique. But when all’s said and done, how do you know which ones to listen to? How do you know which ones will put you on the straight and narrow to your “best” you?

News flash. You don’t.

It’s like finding a man or that perfect little black dress. It’s not always what looks good on paper — you have to try a bunch on before you find the one that fits you just right. There’s no steadfast plan. No secret method. It all comes down to old school trial and error. Like that man or that dress, no one exercise will work for every woman’s body because we’re all built differently; therefore, we’re all going to respond differently.

It took me a long time to understand that patience is key in building your “best” body. I know plenty of people who threw their weights in frustration and quit when they didn’t see gains from what they thought they should be doing. Or what they thought was “best” based on someone else’s routine. So my intention is not to dictate what you should be doing, but to break you out from that line of thinking and give you some new ideas and moves to try on for size.

Bum Rap

For a lot of us ladies, the backside is a tough area to tackle. Having always had more of an ample posterior, I’m constantly looking for new ways to target and strengthen the glutes. They’re comprised of the Gluteus Maximus, Medius, and Minimus, with the Maximus being the largest of the three. In order to hit all of those, squats and hip thrusts are great choices to add into your training repertoire.

When working the butt, using enough weight is critical. I used to think low weight/repping my face off was the way to go. But I’ve seen the most gains after adding more weight into my sets, so it’s something to consider.

Starting with squats. They target your hips and thighs, in addition to your glutes, so you get a lot of bang for your buck. You can do them on a Smith machine for more control, a squat rack, or by holding dumbbells to each side or on your shoulders. Whatever you choose, keep your back straight and your weight evenly distributed through your feet and heels. Drop your butt down until your thighs are parallel to the floor, without letting your knees go past your toes. Keep those glutes tight throughout the movement.

Onto hip thrusts. A good friend of mine showed me this move, and I fell in love with it right away. A variation of butt bridges, which are done completely on the floor, hip thrusts have you sitting on the ground with your shoulder blades against a flat bench. With your feet flat on the floor, have a straight bar or loaded barbell ready to go. Place it over the top of your thighs, and roll it up so it’s just at your hips. Then, power through your feet and drive your hips straight up, squeeze and hold for five seconds before bringing your hips back down. Again, squeeze those glutes the entire move to really make them work for it.

Thigh’s the Limit

My recommendation is to mix up your quad/ham/adductor exercises, so you’re always challenging your thighs. A good overall burner is the lunge and they have a ton of variations: to the front, side or back, and with either a barbell across your shoulders or holding dumbbells. If you really want to bring the pain, try walking lunges. (Hold some dumbbells while taking wide steps across the gym.) Rule of thumb for whichever you choose…don’t hyperextend your knees. Make sure they don’t go past your toes.

For hitting those abductors and adductors, I like dumbbell plie squats. Keep your stance wide and hold/dangle a dumbbell between your legs. Lower yourself, like a squat, as far as you can comfortably drop, and push back up with the weight in your heels. And just to reiterate…don’t be afraid to grab a heavy dumbbell. Your inner thighs will hate me, and then thank me for it.

Now to hit those hams. I love some heavy stiff-leg deadlifts and standing single-leg hamstring curls. My tip would be to compound set those. Try running 4 sets, and go for 10-12 reps. On the deads, keep your legs stiff and your back straight. For the curls, point your toes for max contraction.


The typical ab adage is that they’re “made in the kitchen, not in the gym.” And there’s a ton of truth to that. But since I’m gearing this article toward training, I’ll give you my picks for a few good stomach smashers.

Know this going in: I train abs every workout. Few will tell you to do that, since abs are just like any other muscle that needs rest. But I follow my own advice and do what works for me.

Let’s start with weighted stability ball crunches. These really target the upper abs. Hold a dumbbell (make sure it’s a decent amount of weight to provide resistance) at the top of the chest and lay back on a stability ball with your shoulder blades. Crunch up by bending at the hips, keeping the back as flat as you can and pulling your abs tight. Be sure you’re only bending at the waist…no movement from the shoulders. It should be very controlled and focused.

Another good option is an incline push sit-up. Grab a weight plate and lay back on an incline bench. Hold the plate out in front of you, keep your arms straight and crunch, pushing up with the weight. Take note: you’ll definitely feel this one.

Moving on to obliques. Try dumbbell twists. Sit on the floor, knees bent, holding a dumbbell in front of you. Lift your feet off the ground a few inches, and twist the dumbbell side to side. Keep your body facing forward as you twist, as opposed to jerking your upper body back and forth.

And perhaps the most difficult part of the abs, the part we all love to hate...the nether ab region. A super-intense lower move is the hanging leg raise. You can hang from an abs chair or, if you have arm slings, clip them to a pull-up bar and stick your arms through each sling.

With your ankles together and your legs hanging straight down, bend your knees and bring them up toward your chest. Lower your legs to starting position, keeping your abs tight. Just be conscious of form here and keep the rocking under control, because your body will want to roll forward.

Another good one is the incline leg hip raise. These don’t look so hard at first, but trust me. They are. Lay back on an incline board and grab onto the top handle or feet pads. Keep your ankles together, and roll yourself up, raising your knees to your chest by flexing at the hips. Then roll back down into starting position. Keep your feet neutral, but not using them to lead the movement. Keep all of the pull from your middle.

Shoulder Check

And now, my favorite. The delts. Having full, round shoulders is boss in my book. They make you look a little broader up top, which makes things like your waist look smaller. To make sure you build them up from all angles, you need to hit them from the front, sides and rear.

So, try compound setting three exercises. For front, do seated dumbbell military presses. (You can do them one arm at a time, or both at the same time.) Next, go into dumbbell lateral raises. Bend a little at the waist when doing them. And finish with cable one-arm rear lat raises. For these, stand next to a low pulley with a stirrup or D-handle attachment. Slightly bend over with a bit of a bend in your knees, and pull the attachment out to the side, raising your arm until your elbow is up around your shoulder. Keep the move slow and controlled on both the way up and down.

Your “Best” is Yet to Come

While some of these tips may lead you to your “best,” remember…the name of the game is trying new things to see how they work for you. Challenge yourself. Don’t get sucked into promises or “shoulds”. Get out there and define your own “best” you.

written by Heather Leff


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