Although my main objective to lifting is to build as much mass as humanly possible, however my strength will also increase. I have never been someone who cared about how much weight I could lift. I just throw on as much weight as my body can safely handle for the amount of reps I require myself to do. When I’m out at the grocery store or the malls people stop me and are amazed at my size, and the first thing they ask is, “How much can you lift?” or “How much can you bench?” jokingly I response to them by saying “well about two Winnebago’s and a Volkswagen”. To me it’s not the number I can lift or bench, it’s the quality of the set. But who has the time to explain this to an inquisitive teenager. However for those inquiring minds, I’ll mention the weight I use for each set.
Part of becoming a bodybuilder it is essential that every body part is trained respectively and with strict form; every body part is created equal. The muscles on my upper body are trained just as hard as the muscles on my lower body. This is one of the many secrets to creating a freaky but symmetrical, pleasing physique.
Take for example quads. No progress will be made unless heavy strict movements are utilized. This is true with every muscle. The movements involved are squats, leg press and leg extensions, respectively in that order. I start with squats, because it’s my strongest movement and I want to utilize as much weight to build the mass I want. However, on days that I want to shock my quads, I start out with drop sets of leg extensions to pre-exhaust them, then move on to squats.
For the past 13 years of bodybuilding, I have used every training strategy there is, and believe me by far my quad workouts has given me tremendous shape and size.
GOAL: Overall size and mass to the entire upper leg.
TECHNIQUE. To get the blood flowing to my quads I start my squats with a light warm-up set of 225 pounds for 15-20 reps. All my rep schemes range from 8 to 12, however, warm-up sets are the only high rep sets I will ever execute in my workouts. I stand underneath and position the barbell high on my traps before lifting it off the rack. Once I get a comfortable fit on my traps, I lift the bar and step away from the rack. I position my feet about armpit width keeping my knees slightly bent and toes pointing slightly outward. Once I am comfortable I execute the movement. Keeping my back as straight as possible, I bend my knees, lowering my buttocks as if I’m sitting in a chair until my thighs are slightly beyond parallel to the floor. Once I have reached that position, I drive the weight back up in a controlled motion pushing through the barbell keeping constant tension on my quads and buttocks and feet flat on the ground. In the finish position, I never lock my knees, instead I keep a slight bend to them, this keeps constant tension in my quads.
VOLUME. I execute this movement for four to five sets with 8 to 12 reps increasing the weight every set up to the low 500’s. Of course when I increase the weight, my reps drop to about eight reps.
GOAL: To develop and strengthen the gluteus and upper leg.
TECHNIQUE. My leg press movement is pretty basic. I position my feet so that they are six inches apart with my toes straight and about two inches from the edge of the platform. With my back flat against the chair I drive the sled forward, unlock the handles and grab onto the bottom of the chair or the grip handles for stabilization. I bring the weight down slowly so that my quads are parallel to the platform. Once my quads are parallel I raise the platform by driving as if I’m trying to push through the platform, keeping my feet flat and a slight bend to my knees at the finish position. Keeping the knees slightly bent in the finish position allows constant tension in the quads and a nice burn as well.
VOLUME. Since my quads are already pumped and warmed up, it is not necessary to do a warm-up set. Instead I go straight into the heavy sets. My first, second, third, and forth sets I’ll use a little over 1100 pounds (approximately 12 45’s on each side).
GOAL: To isolate and build strength and size to the quadriceps area.
TECHNIQUE. I adjust the machine to a sitting I am comfortable with. I make sure that the leg extension arm is right below my tibialous anterior muscle, or shinbone. I start at the bottom position slowly lifting the arm (about two seconds), extending my quadriceps in a lock position as hard as I can so that all three muscles (vastus laterals, medius and erectus fumerous) are separating with every rep, then controlling the weight back down (three seconds). Each time I do a rep I flex as if I’m on stage showing my audience and the judges the separation and cross striations in my quads.
VOLUME. This is always exercise number three, however on days that I want to pre-exhaust my quads before moving on to squats, it’s exercise number one. On sets one through four, I’ll do reps of 12 with the whole stack, sometime with a plate or two added. Occasionally when I’m with a workout partner, I might go as high as 15 reps.
MITCH McIntyre’s MASS AND STRENGTH BUILDING
Note: On days that I want to pre-exhaust my quads, I’ll alternate this workout by doing leg extensions first before doing squats. Hamstrings are done on another day.
*Begin exercise with a warm-up set of 15 to 20 reps.