In the following article you will find a list of proven exercises used by Mr. America Vern Weaver to build your leg development for mass and shape! - Mr. Berg
The approach is simply: to obtain outstanding leg development you must have a combination of bulk and shape. The only way to acquire this combination is through a proper program of weight training - not merely participation in a single sport or the practicing of one exercise.
The factor that determines the effectiveness of a leg routine is the proper selection and performance of the exercises to be included in the routine. Basically there are two types of leg exercises - bulk building and shaping.
To plan a leg routine you must first appraise your own needs. Do your legs need more bulk or are they large enough but just lack the proper look? Decide what you need most and go after it, but don't neglect the other quality completely.
For instance, suppose you have done no other exercise for your thighs but squats and, consequently, your legs don't have a well rounded look. In such a case, you would eliminate squats from your workouts and in their place include leg presses as your bulking exercise.
Due to the par and you will want to work extra hard on the thigh curl exercise. To round out your routine you will want to choose another exercise, preferably the leg extension or hack squat movement.
There are other examples. Say you are the type who has plenty of shape and defintion in your thighs but they are just too small. Your choose of exercises would be squats, either full or parallel, and leg presses plus a shaping exercise.
Always include at least one shaping exercise in your leg routine. Also, perform the shaping exercise after the bulking exercises, not before.
The combination are numerous but the effectiveness of a routine is routine counts. Choose the exercises that you think will work your weak points. Give the routine a fair chance to work - say a six week period.
Then take another close look at your leg development and see if you are getting the results you desire. Only by experimenting will you be able to determine what results you get from certain exercises. You must be your own trainer as only you can determine the development you want.
You must decide which exercises work to help you fulfill your desires.
Bodybuilders have the same problem - they need more calves. Therefore, it will suffice to say that you should always work your calves to their limit as they can never get too big. In the description of these exercises below, a few pointers are given that should help you to imrpove both the shape and size of your calves.
One final hint before you read the list of exercises that will help you develop a sturdy and shapely pair of legs - do your leg work at the beginning of your schedule. This eliminates any possibility of putting off or omitting your leg work due to being too tired. Vern Weaver has found it best to do the things he does not like first.
Thigh/Leg exercises for bulking
Regardless of how many times it has been written, the facts remains that the key to leg bulk and power is squats. There is no question about the fact that if you want more muscular size on your thighs, you need to squat.
Vern Weaver feels as though the beginner should use full deep squats and keep in mind two important points when squatting: 1) maintain an erect back position and 2) do not bounce or recoil from the bottom position.
Use three to five sets and six eight repetitions. Begin with three sets of eight repetitions and progress to five sets of six repetitions. Of course you are expected to add more weight as you progress.
For the more advanced man Vern Weaver suggests parallel squats on the Power Rack. This is his favorite exercise and one that really adds size and power to the thighs. Set the pins so that your starting position is with the tops of your thighs at parallel or just above.
Warm up with a medium weight. Do at least one set of 10 to 15 repetitions. Add about 100 pounds and begin your first set. Continue by adding 25 to 50 pounds per set until you have reached at least 80% of your maximum poundage. Then do about six repetitions for your first set and progress to triples, doubles and occasionally singles (According to Weaver a maximum or near maximum squat of this nature performed once a week should suffice.) In other words your workout should be something like 6-4-4-3-3-2-2-1-1-1.
Include parallel squats at least twice per week in your workouts, i.e., Monday and Friday or Tuesday and Saturday. However, don't do a limit or near limit single more than once a week.
This is great bulking exercise that many bodybuilders either overlook or don't appreciate. It offers a great change from squats - physically as it works the legs from a different angle, and mentally as it enables the bodybuilder to continue to add bulk to his thighs but with a new and different exercise. Follow the same repetition pattern suggested above for squats. Three to five sets of six to eight repetitions of the increased weight and decreased repetition method.
Both systems work well when increased bulk is the desired end result.
Thigh exercises for shaping
For the front of the thighs, leg extensions, hack squats and sissy squats serve well to shape the front portion of the upper leg. Leg extensions seem to be the favorite among top bodybuilders. However, hack and sissy squats are very effective if performed correctly. The heels should be elevated, the back kept straight as possible and the hips thrust forward as you recover from the low position.
As with all shaping exercises, don't worry about how much weight you are using but instead, be concerned with concentrating on the exercise and its correct performance. Since you don't handle great poundages when performing shaping exercises,it may be possible for you to train three times a week.
In such a case your weekly schedule might look like this: Monday and Friday - Bulking exercises followed by shaping exercises and Wednesday - shaping exercises only.
Three to five sets of 15 repetitions should suffice. But remember, each individual differs due to his physiology, temperament, and experience at weight training. Therefor, you must determine for yourself how much is enough. Adjust your routine according to your ability.
For the rear of the thighs, leg curls and the goodmorning exercise will do wonders in improving this usually deficient portion of the leg. The same adivce and number of sets and repetitions that applied to the shaping exercises above applies here.
The toe raise is the old standby or old reliable when it comes to developing the calf. In fact it is about the only way to develop the calf. However, there are many variations to this simple exercise. Vern Weaver's two favorite are toes raises on a calf machine and toes raises are done seems to be more important than what variation of the exercise you use.
When doing toe raises always keep the pressure on the inside ball of the foot. Also, let the heel go as far below the toes at the bottom position of the toe raise as possible - really stretch the calf muscle.
If you follow these two suggestions, you will find that your calves will become more shapely as the inside of the calf will start to fill out when you follow the advice given above. As to repetitions, he has found low repetitions best - usually eight. He usually does about five to six sets of these two exercises three times a week.
Vern Weaver's final suggestion. A little running for a few times a week will do wonders for your overall leg development.