Exercises and workouts

Mistakes we make when training legs

If there is a muscle group that does not require creativity with the selection of exercises, these are your legs. A massive quadriceps is rarely achieved through ingenuity. Rather, they are achieved by moving heavy weights in the squat or press through full ranges of motion and high repetitions.

In this article we will show the most common mistakes that happen when training legs.

1 Targeting wrong areas and other muscles.

This is a common mistake: To focus more on your quads and less on your glutes during the Smith machine or hack squats, move your feet further forward. Many believe that a wide stance will train the outer quadriceps better and a narrow stance will hit the inner surface more – another mistake. The fact is, even the most seasoned bodybuilders simply don’t know how to best target the four muscles of the quadriceps (vastus lateralis, rectus femoris, vastus medialis, and vastus medialis) and the muscles of the upper, inner thighs.

Errores que cometemos al entrenar piernas

Solutions

  • Point your right toes to work your outer quadriceps (vastus lateralis); point them out to work the inner quadriceps (vastus medialis).
  • Keep your feet under your hips during exercises, such as the Smith machine, to target your quads more and your glutes less.
  • Taking a narrow stance will focus more on the outer quadriceps, taking a wide stance (and toes pointing out) will focus more on the inner thigh muscles.

2 Incomplete_Movement Range

You see it in every gym. Most guys load the leg press with as much weight as possible, just bending the knees just enough to keep the weight moving. This same error occurs on squats, smith machines, hack squats, and many times even for leg extensions. Anytime a bodybuilder trains quadriceps, they most likely won’t be working all full range of motion exercises, especially since doing leg exercises for full rep sets is tough and doing medium reps allows heavy training to give. an illusion of stronger training. By limiting the duration of the movements, you are limiting their growth.

Solutions

  • Each rep of most squat sets should descend to where your quads are parallel to the floor or platform, if not deeper. The exception to this rule is when you want to do mid squats to focus more on the medial, research shows this is effective.
  • In a 45 degree leg press, the knees should touch your chest without the glutes coming out of the leg press seat, which would put a great deal of stress on your lower back.
  • When performing leg extensions, try to do a full stretch (perpendicular to the calf of the thigh) with a full contraction, in which you briefly lock your knees and flex your thighs.
  • Any other leg exercise should have a full stretch and squeeze.

3 Squats with an incorrect_form

Stopping well below parallel is not the worst offense in squats. Many bodybuilders lean too far forward and push their hips back too far, working their back, hips, and glutes more than their quads. What’s worse, this could strain the spinal erectors. If you are going to squat with a bad position, it is better not to do them. A better option is to practice the correct form of this exercise with the weightless bar until you are an expert.

Solutions

  • Generally, when taking a stance that goes beyond shoulder width, it is best to do so with your toes angled slightly outward, but find the position that allows you to stay as close as possible vertical possible. Taller bodybuilders often need a wider stance.
  • Exaggerate the arch in your lower back.
  • Your heels should never come off the floor when squatting. Push the weight up through the heels, not the balls of the feet.
  • Look forward through each repetition (not up, not down)
  • As you go down, keep your butt on your heels, as if you were going to sit in a chair.
  • Consider starting the squat with the Smith machine until you’ve mastered the form, then move on to squats with free weights.

4 Training too heavy

This mistake almost always travels in concert with the one that precedes it, since working too heavy leads to trick reps… and trick reps allow you to pass these types of weights. This is especially true of leg presses, because you will likely be able to use more metal with this exercise than any other. What this does is feed your ego.

Solutions

  • Do all exercises with a full range of motion (see mistake # 2).
  • Keep reps for most sets in the 8-12 range.
  • Focus on the muscles, not the weight.
  • Forget about the ego if you want to make progress.
Exercises and workouts

Drop Sets

What are Drop Sets and who invented them?

The Drop Set is a simple technique in which we perform a series of any exercise on failure or simply before failure, then we do one more series with a lower weight and continue to for more reps to failure with this reduced weight.

This method was originally “discovered” in 1947 by Henry Atkins, editor of Body Culture magazine. Atkins called it the “multi-poundage system.”

Why do bodybuilders love drop sets?

Bodybuilders prefer this system as it is definitely geared towards increasing muscle mass (hypertrophy). In contrast, you don’t see a lot of soccer players, sprinters, or other athletes using drops sets , as this system doesn’t lead to gains in strength, endurance, or speed gains. In fact, most athletes want maximum strength, which is why the drop set system is often banned. However, if you are looking for pure muscle mass, then the drops sets are ideal!

How do drop sets work? «Breaking muscle fibers»

Let’s say you’re doing 40-pound bicep curls for a set of 8-12 reps. Repetition number 10 is difficult. Number 11 is extremely difficult, even with a bit of cheating. For repetition number 12 you have to make a supreme effort. You have come to the fault honestly. But if you drop a little weight to the bar – say about fifteen to twenty percent less, you can go ahead with the number of reps.

Although it is possible to reach a momentary point of muscular failure after 8-12 repetitions in a conventional linear series, you have not reached absolute failure, you have only reached failure with the weight in pounds / kilos. As you can see, not all the fibers of a muscle group are activated. You only recruit the number of fibers necessary to lift a special weight for the desired number of repetitions.

As you lose weight and continue the series, you cumulatively recruit more and more “reserves” of muscle fibers.

Drops sets recruit muscle fibers “from the bottom”, causing growth that could not normally be achieved by stopping a single set of six to twelve reps.

Drop Sets

Creative Methods for drop sets

– Drops sets with bars:

This was Arnold’s preferred method of bicep training, but it can easily be used in any barbell exercise. All you have to do is put small weights (5kg or 2.5kg for example) on each side of the bar and remove them when you reach failure.

– Drops sets with machines:

Taking the weight off the bars quickly can be messy, cumbersome, and time wasted (unless you have a couple or two). Drop sets are easier with machines. All you have to do is remove the pin from the weight stack and raise it to a lighter weight. On a leg extension machine, for example, you don’t even have to get out of your seat to shift the weight. This allows for a quick weight change, which intensifies the set.

– Drops sets with dumbbells:

This is a great technique for dumbbell exercises, especially curls, side raises, and shoulder presses. For example, if you’re doing side flips, you can start with 20 kilos, do eight reps, then put the 20-pound on the floor, grab the 15, go to failure and then put the 15-pound on the floor and grab the 12 kilos and try to do more reps. Try this technique on the delts and biceps and you will see that the arms and shoulders will inflate like a balloon.

– Drops large sets:

A series of large drop sets refers to a greater decrease in weight between reps. These sets are easier and allow you to do more reps. Due to cardiovascular fatigue, large drops sets are often used on large muscle groups such as the squat, horizontal barbell row, and leg presses. For example, in the squat you can start with 120 kilos on the bar, then you throw a whole 20 kilos plate on each side and move to 80 kilos, almost a 30% drop in weight in kilos. You can then remove another 20kg plate from each side and go with 40kg (a 40% drop). Believe me, 40 kilos never felt so heavy.

– 50% Drop sets:

The “halving method” is a set that allows you to use two completely opposite rep ranges, each of which attack a different aspect of the muscle cell. This allows for excellent muscle growth as well as incredible engorgement! After warming up, start by choosing the heaviest weight you can handle for six repetitions with strict form. Perform six repetitions, then without rest, reduce the weight by exactly fifty percent and continue for twenty repetitions with this weight. An example: In the dumbbell row. If we can do six reps with 60kg max, start with these six reps, and then immediately grab the 30-pound dumbbells and do twenty good reps. You’ll be out of breath and feel something on your lats that you’ve never felt before.

– Drop sets of power: (low repetitions of drop sets)

This was the favorite method of Larry Scott, the first Mr. Olympia. Scott used this technique to develop monster delts and biceps, even in a less genetically optimal frame. Larry says heavy weight and low reps (six reps) were the best way to build size and strength at the same time. This rep range allows you to use heavier weights, which can help maintain your strength levels and thicken muscle fibers without much of a pump effect. Start with a maximum of six reps, and then drop the weight ten to fifteen percent with each set. Repeat with the lightest weight for six reps.

– Drop sets without rest:

This non-stop drop set system is incredibly difficult and most people, conscious or unconscious, avoid it because they are so difficult. To carry out an “honest” drop set without a break, you usually need a training partner (or two). For example, if you are doing the leg press on your own, you have to get up, walk to one side, remove one plate, walk to the other side, remove the other plate, then sit back down and resume the set. . This process takes at least 20 seconds. In that time, the muscles have already begun to dissipate lactic acid and regenerate their energy supplies. But if you have two sparring partners, they can both remove your plates in an instant to get you on with the series. The difference between 0 and 20 seconds is like night and day. Combined with continuous tension, in which absolutely nothing is resting, this can be one of the most difficult exercises of your life! (Good luck!)

How to maximize the efficiency of drop sets:

– Order and have the equipment you are going to use at hand: To move quickly from one exercise to another, you must have all your equipment configured and ready before starting the first exercise. Instead of putting large plates on a bar or machine, load several with 5, 10, 20, 25, 30 etc, ready to go. If you are going to do the drops sets with weights, align the dumbbells beforehand.

– Train when the gym is not full so you have a set of dumbbells or bars for yourself: Drop sets are not very practical in crowded gyms, nor is it polite to hog three or four sets of weights to you alone for 20 minutes. If you are planning to use this training system, try to schedule your training well for a time when the gym is not crowded.

– Stay in a range of six to twelve reps most of the time: Six to twelve reps is the most productive range for bodybuilding and this general rule of thumb should not change in a drop set. If you want to work on maintaining or building strength, even four to six reps is best. If you want pure hypertrophy, stick to around eight to twelve reps. For muscle congestion, resistance, 15-20 reps is best, especially on your last set.

– Use the drop set system sparingly (as a high intensity method) Drop sets are very intense programs and require caution and common sense. If you wear them all the time, you will quickly burn out and overtrain. A great way to use this system is with the 3: 1 method: perform three sets of an exercise, followed by a series of drop sets.

Exercises and workouts

Smith machines, good or bad?

Smith machines are very popular and can be found in any gym large or small. There are a lot of people who really enjoy the Smith machine and there are those who do not approach them. There are some good uses for the Smith machine but personally I believe much more in the negatives than the positives. So What are the positives and negatives of the Smith machine?

Máquinas Smith

Positive aspects of using the Smith machine

  • The Smith machine is definitely safer than free weights. You have a bit of help without having to worry about stabilizing the weight during the up and down movement, plus if you hit failure unexpectedly and can’t push any further you can bend your wrists a bit and put the bar in place. Also, in many cases you will not need someone to help you perform the exercises on the Smith machine.
  • Another benefit of the Smith machine that I would like to point out is that you can usually lift a little more weight with the Smith machine as there is no waste of energy used to stabilize the weight. I’ll explain why this is actually a Smith machine minus a bit later in the article …
  • Personally what is strange to me about the use of the Smith machine is the following: 2 years ago I only trained on a regular flat bench and due to a move I had to change gym. When I signed up for a new one, they only had the smith machines. What’s funny is that when I started to bench press the Smith machine I did fewer reps with the same amount of weight as I would on a regular flat bench (it had only been a week since my last workout). So, forget about stereotypes that are not always true regarding the Smith machine. I initially thought I was going to be stronger on the Smith machine but actually I was weaker.
    But over time I became more used to the Smith machine and my strength increased dramatically. However, when I switched gym and went back to the free bar again, thinking that I was going to be able to lift the same weight as on the Smith machine and I couldn’t and almost got injured. What I realized when I made the switch is that I had lost muscle strength from stabilizing the free bar on the flat bench. The reason is that the up and down movement with the Smith machine is not the natural movement of most lifters in the free bench press. But it’s safe to say that you can lift a bit more with the Smith machine as there is no need to use the stabilizing muscles during use.

Negative aspects of using the Smith machine:

  • When using the Smith machine you are not using your stabilizer muscles, which is safer but you will not get the best out of each particular exercise. There is no need to balance the bar with the Smith machine and this will lead to underdevelopment in the muscles or underdevelopment of the stabilizer muscles.
  • Using the Smith machine will make you more prone to injury as you are not working and strengthening the muscles responsible for stabilization. The Smith machine will take advantage of muscle imbalances that will make you more prone to injury when doing any type of physical activity.
  • It is a master of the lack of form for any exercise. There really isn’t a wide variety of free weight exercises that use a 100% up and down motion, most have a slight arch or slight curvature. If the bar has to move horizontally for whatever reason and the Smith machine forces the bar to move only vertically and does not allow it to move horizontally, we are doing something wrong. This is very dangerous for the joints, tendons and ligaments.

Let’s take an example: When we are doing the traditional bench press with the free bar, it moves back a little then forward as it travels up. When doing the bench press on the Smith machine, the weight moves upward only, no curvature or anything. Over time, great stress is placed on the wrist, elbow, and shoulder joints. At the very least, you’re going to end up with nagging pain like I did in your shoulders. I can validate that once I stopped using the Smith machine 3-4 weeks later, all my shoulder pain was gone.

Another example is the squat , an exercise frequently performed on the Smith machine. When most people squat on the Smith machine they place their feet a bit on the back of the torso, or directly in front of the bar, so the back is straight allowing free movement from top to bottom… This is! evil! The correct form is the feet placed shoulder width apart, with a slight arch in the back, so you can then move up and down.

One last thing to keep in mind is that you won’t be able to build muscle and strength as fast as you would with free weights compared to the Smith machine . It all leads back to stabilizing the muscles and using them to help balance the weight and perform the exercise. In fact, a study in the “Journal of Strength” (research in December 2009) compared the free squat with the Smith machine squat in six healthy individuals. Researchers used electromyography to measure muscle activation and found that free weights activated an average muscle rate 43% more than those performed on the Smith machine!

With that said, if you’re looking to build muscle it’s best to stay away from the Smith machine. I personally will never use the Smith machine again and will not recommend it to anyone.

Exercises and workouts

Split routines and weight training

There are many advantages to breaking up weight training routines. Working all muscle groups can work for some people with great genetics, but split workouts work best for everyone and allow you to gain more muscle gain by working less time in the gym.

Normally, a person using a full-body routine would have to spend two hours in the gym training. With a split routine, you can spend 30-45 minutes in the gym. One of the biggest advantages is spending less time training, this allows you to have more intensity, more attention, concentration and more energy. Also, having a full-body routine can lead to long-term overtraining, at least much more so than a split routine. This is the purpose of using a 3 to 4 day split workout routine. You make sure that you won’t over-train and that it will allow your body to rest and recover.

Rutinas divididas

Pros

  • Better to shape the body – You have more control over the specific development of your physique. If you want to spend a little extra time on increasing shoulder width, then you can do that. To my knowledge, there are very few natural bodybuilders and fitness models who consistently do full body workouts, the vast majority use some kind of split routine.
  • Very manageable / Easy – Lifting weights should not be easy, but if you like to lift with a lot of intensity, it is more manageable if you only focus on 2-3 muscle groups at a time, or less. “It is less metabolically demanding.”
  • Change routines – Changing your exercise routine can be as easy as changing the split body part so that you will focus on different body parts on different days, or simply substituting different exercises for a given split.

Cons

  • Less Total Calories Burned – If you are doing an arm workout, your calorie burn will be less than a full body workout.
  • Muscle and strength imbalances – If your exercise routine is not structured properly, it is quite easy to overdevelop certain muscle groups at the expense of others and develop muscle imbalances, both from the point of view of aesthetic sight and strength.
  • You can’t skip a workout – Well, you can skip a workout but it’s troublesome. With most split training routines, you will be working each muscle group once a week, so if you miss a workout, it will take two weeks to train that muscle group.

Who should use a split routine?

  • Bodybuilders / Powerlifters – If you like to lift very heavy and train hard a muscle having great control over the configuration of your body, then these types of routines are very good.
  • Advanced lifters – If you’ve been lifting for a long time and religiously go to the gym every day, or lift weights at home 3 to 5 times a week, keep doing split routines. I don’t see any reason to change as long as you are training your legs and core on one of those days and have your nutrition under control. If you have more than 20% body fat, you should seriously consider full body workouts to help maximize calorie burn.

Routines

When creating a routine, always try to put the muscle groups that are weaker the first days of the week and those that are more developed or strong in the rest of the week. It must also be remembered that the largest muscle groups in the body should always be trained before the smallest. For example: (if we train on a biceps / back day, we should always start from the back) The smaller muscles are used as support and stabilization in your lifts and in compound movements, so it is important that they are not tired when necessary .

This is the training routine that I personally currently use for 5 days and that is very good:
As my weakest muscle group is the legs, I put them on the first day …
Monday – Legs and abs
Tuesday – Chest and shoulders
Wednesday – Back and biceps
Thursday – Triceps
Friday – Calves / abs / hamstrings
Weekend – Rest!

Split 4 day routine:
Monday – Back and biceps
Tuesday – Chest and triceps
Wednesday – Rest
Thursday – Legs / calves / hamstrings (personally I think that if we want to do all this in one day we will spend more than 1 hour and a half in the gym)
Friday – Shoulders and abs
Weekend – Rest or 30 minutes of cardio!

3-day split routine: I personally don’t like this type of workout. We spent more than 2 hours in the gym.
Monday – Chest / shoulder / triceps
Tuesday – Rest
Wednesday – Back / biceps / abs
Thursday – Rest
Friday – Legs / Calves / Hamstrings
Weekend – Rest or 10-30 minutes of cardio!

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