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  • Help me "Get Weird With It"!

    OK guys, here's the deal. I've searched the topic and came up with a few old threads, but nothing that really helps me, so here goes...

    I am blessed / cursed with short legs but a big old powerful bum! It's not a gluteus maximus, its a MAXMUS gluteus! But yeah, because my legs are rather short, my glutes compensate by being very very dominant and seem to overpower almost all lower body exercises. I was a competitive athlete for years, and having powerful glutes is great for athleticism, expolisiveness, agility, quickness, etc etc, except just one problem - I haven't played hockey or even skated in years, and i just want monster wheels not a monster ass!

    So enough rambling, my point is that after squatting and deadlifting for year and years, but being still stuck with mediocre legs but a huge ass, I realised that I am simply banging my head against a brick wall here. If 11 years of progressing my lifts still hasn't brought my legs up vs my glutes, then clearly I need a new strategy, so I'm now "trying to get wierd with it"!

    Believe it or not, probably the ONLY exercise where I get to truly work my QUADS (not my hip flexors, ass, etc) to absolute failure is the leg extension machine. I shied away from this exercise for years, and still avoid looking at myself in the mirror in disgust every time I cross the gym floor toward the machine, but it seems to be the only thing working - plus I've been managing to keep progressing on it too.

    I have tried pre-exhausting by doing leg extensions as my first exercise before moving on to a squat movement, but doing it this way seems to make it impossible to progress on the squats movement,which makes it a real pain to track my workouts since I still go by the DC mentality, though I haven't trained strictly DC for a while now.

    As for "squats", I have started squatting with my heels raised on 5lbs plates so that my weight is pushed forwards more on to my toes. I find this helps put more emphasis on my quads rather than glutes, but still not a great deal of help. I also do this movement close stance now - I should mention that previously I've always squatted the traditional style with feet wide and knees out, and bum sits down between your legs almost ass to the floor. But anyway, even doing it close stance now, still not a great deal of difference.

    I find Bulgarian Split Squat or Speed Skater Squat variations are effective at hitting my quads, whether I do them free bar, smith, or with DBs, but again the problem is I find it hard to progress on this exercise, so find it hard to judge if Im making gains.

    I've tried smith machine squats with my feet quite far forward, and this has actually helped, however I have to be careful to find the perfect groove, as I keep getting lower back pain and pains in my hip flexors from this exercise, so it worries me a little bit.

    Front squats I find don't really make a difference in hitting my quads more to be honest - in fact I find I naturally take an even wider than normal stance doing front squats, so in fact front squats could be WORSE than back squats for me in trying to hit my quads.

    I haven't really experimented with Leg Presses yet, but I plan on trying this next, perhaps with a close stance with feet pointed forwards and feet low on the platform.

    I find lunges are actually effective for me at hitting quads, but again, same story of struggling to progress on them.

    Sorry for this long post but I'm getting frustrated in trying to find something that works for me, so I'm open to any ideas please!

    Do I just drop squats completely and only stick to Rack Deads? Surely I cant do that can I - it sounds sinful just typing this?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Skinnyrunt View Post
    OK guys, here's the deal. I've searched the topic and came up with a few old threads, but nothing that really helps me, so here goes...


    Believe it or not, probably the ONLY exercise where I get to truly work my QUADS (not my hip flexors, ass, etc) to absolute failure is the leg extension machine. I shied away from this exercise for years, and still avoid looking at myself in the mirror in disgust every time I cross the gym floor toward the machineWhy ? It's an exercise like any other, but it seems to be the only thing working - plus I've been managing to keep progressing on it too.Then why avoid it ? You found an exercise that works, embrace it.

    I have tried pre-exhausting by doing leg extensions as my first exercise before moving on to a squat movement, but doing it this way seems to make it impossible to progress on the squats movement,which makes it a real pain to track my workouts since I still go by the DC mentality, though I haven't trained strictly DC for a while now. It will take a while to get used to this, yes, but once you do there is no reason why you wouldn't progress. How long did you stick with it before giving it up ? The "DC mentality" only calls for progress, that can either be more weight, more reps, or simply doing an exercise with more ease than when you did it last time. It's the kaizen principles, inch by inch a snail climbs mount fuji.

    Supersets will also be your friends here.


    As for "squats", I have started squatting with my heels raised on 5lbs plates so that my weight is pushed forwards more on to my toes. I find this helps put more emphasis on my quads rather than glutes, but still not a great deal of help. I also do this movement close stance now - I should mention that previously I've always squatted the traditional style with feet wide and knees out, and bum sits down between your legs almost ass to the floor. But anyway, even doing it close stance now, still not a great deal of difference.

    Close stance squats actually demand more glute and vastus lateralis. What you want here is to stay as upright as possible, you should break the movement with your kness and sit between your legs. Pause at the bottom and repeat. Your stance should be whatever allows you to sit comfortably between your legs without hip or back pain (For most it's feet shoulder width)

    Here's a video that will help you out
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qu6-KiPL89c

    Both variations shown in the video are what you are looking for.

    If you want to go with the olympic variation, ditch the plates under the heels, get an oly shoe.

    Also another tip. Drop the weight and start over. Even if you have to use 135lbs. Focus on your quads throught the movement. Going heavy while trying to address the issue would mean your dominant muscle group (glutes) would always take over, being the strongest link in the chain.)


    I find Bulgarian Split Squat or Speed Skater Squat variations are effective at hitting my quads, whether I do them free bar, smith, or with DBs, but again the problem is I find it hard to progress on this exercise, so find it hard to judge if Im making gains.

    These exercises are also glute demanding... although I can see them as quad exercises depending on how you perform them. But again, they are working for you, so no need to drop them

    Again, forget about progress. There are several ways to determine if you are making progress or not. It's not about always adding weight. Did you do more reps ? Did the exercise felt easier ? Did you get a better pump ? Did the exercise felt "better" overall ? Where you able to do an extra set ? Of course you won't be able to add weight to these exercises, not a lot and not soon, ever see someone do a 400lb bulgarian split squat ? It ain't happening. Thrive on the fact that those exercises are getting the job done.

    I've tried smith machine squats with my feet quite far forward, and this has actually helped, however I have to be careful to find the perfect groove, as I keep getting lower back pain and pains in my hip flexors from this exercise, so it worries me a little bit.

    The more in front your feet are, the more you will hurt your lower back. My suggestion is to use a hack squat machine.

    Front squats I find don't really make a difference in hitting my quads more to be honest - in fact I find I naturally take an even wider than normal stance doing front squats, so in fact front squats could be WORSE than back squats for me in trying to hit my quads.

    IMO there's no difference between front squats and back squats when it comes to glute/quad/ham activation. Front Squats are a fuckton harder because they demand more stabilization

    I haven't really experimented with Leg Presses yet, but I plan on trying this next, perhaps with a close stance with feet pointed forwards and feet low on the platform.

    Try not to descend to low on these, since you want to avoid glute activation. For the sake of your knees try not to place your feet to low here, aim for the low-midpoint of the plate. The direction your feet are pointing doesn't really matter IMO.

    I find lunges are actually effective for me at hitting quads, but again, same story of struggling to progress on them.

    Same I wrote for the bulgarian split squat

    Sorry for this long post but I'm getting frustrated in trying to find something that works for me, so I'm open to any ideas please!

    Do I just drop squats completely and only stick to Rack Deads? Surely I cant do that can I - it sounds sinful just typing this?

    Rack Deads aren't really quad exercises. You sure can drop squats, other members here will advise agaisnt it, but if you absolutely can't get it to work for you, then ditch it, no point on beating a dead horse. Many people have built great legs without squats.
    Answered in red above
    Last edited by 0001Delta; 05-20-2014, 06:39 PM.
    "If you're ready to do DC, you're not gonna give a flying f*(k about fatigue from the previous exercise. You get under the bar and kill it, each and every time." - homonunculus

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    • #3
      Hacks and leg press BOOM.
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      • #4
        I would think stats and/or pics would help in determining a solution here.

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        • #5
          I dont have an ass but i always found most leg movements would leave my glutes sore rather than my quads (im just lucky my ass dont grow)!

          2 movements ive found work well for me -

          Single leg leg press. My preferred leg press is the Cybex hinged type. You have to really concentrate on getting body position just right and really pushing with just the quads. 20 reps minimum rest paused with no lock out. Start off light and just concentrate on really feeling the movement and progress from there!

          Hammer Strength V squat. Feet quite close into the machine, shoulder width stance and again no lockout, 20 reps rest paused. Start light and really have a mess around with foot position, ive found moving my feet a few inches forward or backward is the difference between really feeling it all in the quads or quads and glutes!

          Stew
          Some people are so afraid of dying they never actually start living.

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          • #6
            A lot of helpful tips and a lot of detailed answers here, so many thanks.

            Delta I watched the video, and I'm definitely more of an Olympic style squatter, but at the very bottom of the movement I pause for a second to ensure I've sank to ultimate depth as far I can go, before exploding out the hole. However, did I interpret the video correctly that once you go below parallel you're not actually putting any additional stress on the quads? So shoud I then only squat to parallel to isolate the quads more, or did I get that wrong?

            TheRoyMccoy and Anabolic2k, yeah I think your ideas kind of tie in with Delta too, so seems everyone's on the same page with what strategy I should take.

            Dakota.....you want pictures? of my ass....??? i dunno man, you seem like a nice guy and all, but I don't know how I'd explain to my non-gym friends that I sent pics of my bum to a guy on the internet. lol. As for stats, I'm 5'8 170lbs just under 10% body fat, once squatted just to parallel 400lbs, training for 11 years now if not longer in fact, 27 years old, fav colour is green, prefer bmw over mercedes but don't own either unfortunately, etc etc lol

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            • #7
              I've been having success with a routine something like this:

              Leg Press - Sets of 10 with a 5 count negative. I make sure to direct the stress/tension to my quads on the eccentric and then squeeze my quads really hard on the concentric as well (as opposed to just pushing). I work up to a difficult set where I can barely get 10 (or fall slightly short). I like to use bands on this as well.

              Sissy Hack Squats - Heels together, toes point slightly outward and low on platform. You won't be using heavy weight but make sure to keep constant tension on the quads. I like to do sets of 15+

              Occluded Leg Extensions - 4 sets of 15 with ~30s rest between (leave occlusion in place in between).


              Sometimes I'll switch up how I do leg press and do sets of 20, pumping style with constant tension, until I can barely get 20.

              I'll also somtimes throw lunges or bulgarian split squats in at the end, or prior to the leg extensions, and perform them in a way that places more of the tension on the quad instead of the glute/ham.

              I also sandwich my quad exercises with hamstrings, ie I start and end with a hamstring movement.

              Still approach everything with the progression mentality that Delta was talking about. Either more weight, more reps, more tension, addition of partials or drop sets, etc. for each session.


              2017 NPC National Championships Classic Physique, Class D - 4th Place
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              • #8
                Lol, Dont take a turn to homo st. Hear me out.

                Sometimes people start off with an impression of themselves, IE. small calves, small arms, big ass, and it never leaves them. I was just wondering if perhaps you were on the same track, and that separate unbias eyes might give you a different vantage.

                Its my opinion that a solution lay somewhere between; keep growing your legs then worry about the details to something like what Delta put down. Where your at on that interval would be based on how advanced your body is.

                400 lb squat is pretty decent at 170 so your wheels are probably up to snuff. Deltas notes are probably the right direction.

                Hope it all works out for ya and keep us posted.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by dakota1981 View Post
                  I would think stats and/or pics would help in determining a solution here.
                  Originally posted by Skinnyrunt View Post

                  Dakota.....you want pictures? of my ass....??? i dunno man, you seem like a nice guy and all, but I don't know how I'd explain to my non-gym friends that I sent pics of my bum to a guy on the internet. lol. As for stats, I'm 5'8 170lbs just under 10% body fat, once squatted just to parallel 400lbs, training for 11 years now if not longer in fact, 27 years old, fav colour is green, prefer bmw over mercedes but don't own either unfortunately, etc etc lol
                  I often do a search on the site, as many folks have introduced themselves early on, to get an idea about solutions.

                  For instance (from two years ago):

                  http://www.intensemuscle.com/showthr...286#post943286

                  To give a little background on myself, I'm 25 years old and have been lifting for about 4 or 5 years now.

                  I currently weigh 175lbs with low single digit body fat...
                  -S
                  The Book Has Arrived!
                  The Book Has Arrived!

                  Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a pristine, well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, used up, worn out, and shouting, "Holy #$&^%$^... What a ride!!!"


                  www.TrueNutrition.com

                  2012 NPC Master's Nationals HW 5th. Mid-USA HW & Overall
                  2010 NPC Jr. USA HW 4th, Pacific USA Heavy 2nd
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by homonunculus View Post
                    I often do a search on the site, as many folks have introduced themselves early on, to get an idea about solutions.

                    For instance (from two years ago):

                    http://www.intensemuscle.com/showthr...286#post943286



                    -S
                    So apparently 2 years in actual life translates into 5-6 years of training experience... I find that very very intriguing... :flypig:
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                    • #11
                      Oh SNAP.

                      This is exactly where I question everything someone says including a 400 pound squat at 170. I am not saying you can't do it, I am just saying that I now question your credibility.

                      Skip


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                      • #12
                        Just messing with you Dakota, I know that's what you meant about photos been helpful

                        Homon, Mental, in that old thread you brought up I was referring to my time training purely for bodybuilding, not including the years spent lifting before that for hockey. The reason why I saw it necessary to include that time spent lifting for hockey in THIS thread, is because I'm trying to emphasize that I've been squatting for a long long time, even if for the inital years it was for athletic performance.

                        Skip, I threw out that I "ONCE" squatted 400lbs as a quick reference, and never expected anyone to jump on to the details of it, otherwise I would have been more specific and said "a few years back when I was at my peak strength and power as a hockey player, and at a heavier weight and higher body fat percentage too, I once grounded out a 400lbs squat just barely breaking parallel"....etc, which is what it was.

                        I wasn't trying to brag, or deceive anyone, or pretend I've been traing for a thousand years or God knows what else, I only started a thread here (which I rarely do) for a bit of training advice. And for those who have offered their advice I am very grateful, thanks.

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                        • #13
                          Fair enough. I appreciate the clarification.

                          Skip


                          Facebook: Skip Hill
                          Instagram: @intensemuscle
                          YouTube: TEAMSKIP
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Skinnyrunt View Post
                            Just messing with you Dakota, I know that's what you meant about photos been helpful

                            Homon, Mental, in that old thread you brought up I was referring to my time training purely for bodybuilding, not including the years spent lifting before that for hockey. The reason why I saw it necessary to include that time spent lifting for hockey in THIS thread, is because I'm trying to emphasize that I've been squatting for a long long time, even if for the inital years it was for athletic performance.

                            Skip, I threw out that I "ONCE" squatted 400lbs as a quick reference, and never expected anyone to jump on to the details of it, otherwise I would have been more specific and said "a few years back when I was at my peak strength and power as a hockey player, and at a heavier weight and higher body fat percentage too, I once grounded out a 400lbs squat just barely breaking parallel"....etc, which is what it was.

                            I wasn't trying to brag, or deceive anyone, or pretend I've been traing for a thousand years or God knows what else, I only started a thread here (which I rarely do) for a bit of training advice. And for those who have offered their advice I am very grateful, thanks.
                            SR,

                            You missed what is more important here (the other thing I highlighted, in bold vs. underlined):

                            You've only gained a few pounds, and I can't tell quite how much you've gained in terms of FFM.

                            But you make (re-emphasize) a good point, too. You've not gotten stronger on the squat (perhaps) if that PR was years ago.

                            So, in a very simplistic way, you're not progressing in terms of strength or overall muscle weight (fat free mass), which will be a cornerstone for bringing up weak muscle groups.

                            -S

                            P.S. I wasn't looking to call you out, actually, but sometimes when things like a large discrepancy in years training show up, it's worth looking into. (I dig around to get useful info...) In this case, you've been doing that same exercise for a LONG time and not getting better at it, so it was actually relevant b/c (as you note) squats are an exercise you HAVE been doing for 11 years (not just 4-5).
                            The Book Has Arrived!
                            The Book Has Arrived!

                            Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a pristine, well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, used up, worn out, and shouting, "Holy #$&^%$^... What a ride!!!"


                            www.TrueNutrition.com

                            2012 NPC Master's Nationals HW 5th. Mid-USA HW & Overall
                            2010 NPC Jr. USA HW 4th, Pacific USA Heavy 2nd
                            2009 NPC Mr. Arizona HW & Overall, Jr. Nationals HW 16th, Smoked at USA's

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                            • #15
                              Hi Homon, I know you weren't finger pointing, and yes I can see how I came across the wrong way.

                              But yeah, I did miss your initial point in bold. After re-reading, am I right that you are suggesting its more of an issue of having not gained significant size and strength? Because yes, it is true that I have been stuck at around this weight for years despite tracking all my food, and I have kept slowly increasing my food over time to the point that for at least the last 6 months I have been force feeding over 5k cals daily, but my body doesn't seem to gain weight (muscle or fat). The strength gains I make are always tiny increases that I have to fight and fight for.

                              Logically(and it sound negative I know) it makes me think that I could have maxed my naturak potential for my body, so seems like could be a more worth while strategy to attack weaknesses (such as lagging quads vs dominant Glutes) as opposed to chasing size that I just don't seem to have luck with. I'm not a very big guy at my height and weight, but the reality is that for the time I've devoted to putting on size, the little results I've had haven't justified the time spent (though I do love training, so it will always be worth it in that sense).

                              Long post here, and I'm not even sure if this is the direction you were hinting at haha

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