A few tips on how to balance the strength and increase of muscle mass within the legs

In the early years of bodybuilding, symmetry reigned supreme. 

We had Steve Reeves in the ’60s, Frank Zane in the’ 70s, Ley Haney in the ’80s and Lee Labrad in the’ 90s. However, in recent years, huge monsters like Ronnie Coleman and Jay Culter, whose arms are larger than the circumferences of their heads, dominate the scene of professional bodybuilding. The bigger one is better, which results in a bizarre presentation that affects the trend of popularity of this discipline. 

The purpose of the last years in the modern powerlifting is to find a technique that would allow the player to lift the heaviest while overcoming the shortest distance. Bridging during extrusion, lying down, or using gymnastic ballets to a deadlift are examples of methods that help shorten the way a bar must go. However, this squat experienced the most dramatic transformation. 

Due to the further improvement of the auxiliary equipment and the relaxation of the rules of how low the players have to bend the knees, the squat has evolved to a variation of the slope with a barbell held on the neck of the so-called. good morning, with a wide leg spacing, which really only minimizes the participation of quadriceps muscles in the thigh. As a result, powerlords try to eliminate their legs from squats! Due to the excessive use of this technique, the squats develop asymmetrically in the quadriceps muscles (I refer to the so-called structural imbalance), which increases the risk of injury. It’s not everything. 

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In order to create training units specific to a given sport discipline, general development training trainers often plan training programs in which there is no exercise for all muscle groups in their full range of motion. For example, a volleyball player or figure skater would concentrate on plyometric exercises, and thus overstimulated the lower stage of the squat, which would improve their power, with a relatively small increase in muscle mass, and as a result would improve the jump. An interesting idea, but the lack of structural balance in muscle tissue with this type of training will increase the risk of problems with ligaments in the knee joint. Indeed, when I started working with the National Team of Canada in women’s volleyball, each player suffered from inflammation of the ligament of the right patella. In addition, the aforementioned type of training causes a significant increase in the injury of the anterior cruciate ligaments among the female population.

 

As my contribution to the correction of the aforementioned muscle imbalance disorder, I will present a program focusing on the medial head of the quadriceps muscle of the thigh (VMO – extensive medial muscle). Paraphrasing the words of Norma Schemansky, the American weightlifting trainer. While working on VMO, you will not only make the athlete more beautiful, but you will do a fantastic job! 

VMO belongs to the front group of the thigh muscles and is shaped like tears. The muscle passes through the knee joint and therefore plays a key role in stabilizing the knee joint. I devote a lot of attention during my PICP 2 seminars on testing the strength of this muscle and specifically selected exercises to improve its strength.

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You can read also: Why should you train legs?

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When you study the construction of these athletes, who rarely bend their knee joints to a level, such as for example volleyball players, you will notice increased muscularity in the upper thighs and the lack of a shaped VMO. However, in the world of “iron” sports, weightlifters (who perform squatting to the bottom of the pit often deepening it by making a rebound in this position) are characterized by a better development of the VMO muscularity than the tricyclists. Like bodybuilder Tom Platz, who made 23 repetitions of a full ATG squat with a weight of 539 pounds (during an exhibition in Germany in 1993 with an ovation of 10,000 spectators). The development of his amazing VMO considered the best in history. 

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