If you’re looking to become a bodybuilder or the next Mr. Olympia you’re going to need to fuse powerlifting with high-intensity weightlifting to achieve hypotrophy — the fancy word for “muscle growth.” Your diet has to be on point down to ever macro and you’ll need to implement things like supersets, tri-sets, and dropsets into your training.
What we’re trying to say is that type of training is hard as hell. Deadlifts and squats will play a big role in getting your legs the size of tree trunks. For those of us who don’t want to grow giant-sized lower limbs but instead want to either get them stronger or looking less like stilts, you’ll need the best thigh exercises for men to target the quads.
We relied on science to tell us what to do, referring to studies that describe which activities utilize the most muscle fibers or exhaust the quads, thighs, and hamstrings best. Here’s the lowdown …
High-intensity Interval Training
A recent study evaluated the effect of a 16-week program of high-intensity interval training on development of the thigh muscles. The participants in the study rode a stationary bicycle while using an arm crank. Each training session consisted of a period of maximal effort for 60 seconds, followed by a 60-second rest period, repeated 12 times.
Therefore, each training session only required 24 minutes, with warm-up and cool-down periods extending the exercise session to 30 minutes. The participants only exercised twice a week. After 16 weeks, the quadriceps had increased in mass by 11 percent on average, and the amount of power the participants were able to produce during the training sessions had increased by 23percent on average.
The Farmer’s Walk
Imbalances in the strength of the hamstrings vs. the quadriceps is a common cause of knee injuries. Weak hip muscles also contribute to instability of the leg and can lead to painful conditions such as runner’s knee. A group of researchers recently studied some highly experienced bodybuilders and identified significant imbalances in leg musculature and weak hip muscles.
They recorded the bodybuilders use of their leg muscles as they performed a Farmer’s Walk exercise, and concluded that regularly performing the Farmer’s Walk is a great way to develop balanced musculature in the thighs while also strengthening the hip muscles. When performing a Farmer’s Walk, the exerciser simply picks up two heavy objects, one in each hand, and walks a short distance.
Experts in sports training recently reviewed the literature on strength training and concluded that one of the best ways to develop powerful thighs is to perform ballistic exercises while carrying a load that is 50 percent of the maximal load the lifter can manage to carry while performing the exercise.
An example of a ballistic exercise is the box jump. The lifter places a barbell with the 50 percent load across his shoulders. He then sits down on a box or bench. Then he leaps straight up into the air with all of his power. Repeat 10 times. Ballistic exercises are all about exploding powerfully into action.
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