SET YOURSELF UP FOR STUNNING QUADS
No squats needed
Images by Dallas Olsen | Model: Jess Blair | Hair and make-up by Tegan Woodford
Bored of lunges and squats, or not seeing the results you’re yearning for? We have your solution!
Although this exercise is #1 for lower body development, weight machines can actually isolate your quads, hams and glutes more effectively. They can sculpt, strengthen and make your body leaner than it has ever been before.
As you may or may not know, there are two types of strength exercises: isolation exercises, which target specific muscles (i.e. bicep curls and leg extensions), and compound exercises, which work multiple joints and muscles.
Squats, lunges and push-ups all fall into the latter category, so if you’re sticking to these types of exercises you have so much more potential to get even stronger. However, both isolation and compound exercises are necessary for strength building and they complement each other perfectly.
“A balanced fitness program will incorporate both types of exercises,” says Tom Bishop, owner of Perform Fit, and author of Stronger Legs & Lower Body (Human Kinetics, 2011). “Muscles that get overlooked in compound exercises can be targeted with isolation exercises.”
Compound exercises steal the spotlight due to their quicker completion time and increased rate of calorie burning. Bishop adds that these exercises “teach you to move as you do in your daily activities” and dominate in most athletic programs due to their functional nature.
But keep some room in your training program for isolation moves. They let you target individual muscles more efficiently and can emphasise certain stabilisers – like your deep hip muscles and leg abductors – more efficiently than squats and lunges can, Bishop advises.
Isolation moves can also be safer.
“Because of technique, posture and balance, compound exercises have a little bit of a learning curve, which you don’t have with isolation exercises,” Bishop says.
This results-guaranteed workout starts with one compound move (to work your legs and glutes) and follows up with isolation moves (to further home in on your hamstrings and quads). Do the moves in order, following the reps and sets for each and resting for 45 seconds between sets.
To maximise your results, do this routine one day per week, then focus on compound moves (like squats and lunges) in a second lower-body workout later in the week. Continue alternating the two, leaving at least 48 hours of rest in between.
This lower-body workout will keep you motivated, free from boredom and, most importantly, give you the strength and results you desire. So get on the machines and begin to sculpt and lean out your body with us.
Seated leg press
TARGET MUSCLES: Quadriceps, gluteus maximus
Set-up: Sit at the leg press machine with your feet high on the footplate, back against the seat, grasping the handles lightly at your sides. Your knees should be bent to about a 90-degree angle [A].
Action: Press through your heels to move the footplate away from you; stop when your legs are straight but not locked[B]. Hold for one count then slowly return to the start.
Tip: The other exercises target smaller muscles than the leg press, so push it right off the bat by doing fewer reps with a heavier weight.
For the full article and workout, check out the latest issue of Oxygen in all good newsagents, or you can click here to subscribe.
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