In your early days in the weight room, training legs was simple. You knew to always start with squats, and train ass to grass. After destroying your thighs going below parallel on those, you would limp over to the leg press machine. After five grueling sets over there, it would be time to choose between the hack squat machine or the lunge corner. From there, you knew it was time to finish them off with leg extensions.
Things change over time. You build up the foundation of the thighs, and you are very happy with them. However, as you compete more and more, the weaknesses in your thighs – delivered through your own training of the grace of genetics – become to become more apparent. Soon they are talked about by your competitors, your critics, and yes, even the judges at the shows you are competing in. It’s time to diagnose your leg deficiencies, then address them through the use of exercises which target the different areas of your thighs.
Getting an opinion on your thighs will be easy. The average person you see in the gym may tell you that your legs are huge, and that you have nothing to worry about. The trained eye of a veteran competitor or a judge, however, may tell you things you don’t want to hear. Maybe your sweep is weak. Perhaps your outer thighs are poor. Maybe the teardrops just don’t flow like they should. Once you have an expert opinion or two, you should be ready to immediately add new movements to your workout regimen to help rectify this weakness as soon as possible. If you haven’t used the particular movement before, the introduction of it may have some immediate and noticeable effects. Let’s look at the movements which target each of the major weaknesses of the quadriceps.
Sissy squats performed without weight will increase with front quad sweep. Hack squats using an elevation (a board placed under the heels to help lean forward) are also useful.
The adductor and abductor machines are very popular among professional bodybuilders for targeting this muscle group. Intermediates and beginners tend to avoid this machine, which is a mistake. While it may carry the stigma of a fitness foo-foo machine, it’s actually quite effective for developing the hip and inner thigh muscles.
Placing your feet close together on any squat, hack squat, or leg pressing movement will target the outer thighs for growth. Additionally, they are also stimulated in a secondary manner from the use of the adductor machine.
Your teardrops just aren’t dripping, baby! Leg extensions with a focus upon fully extending and holding the leg out at the point of maximum contraction are very useful for helping to isolate the lower front thigh area. This will help your teardrop to emerge. Also remember that many bodybuilders will not see much of a teardrop in the off-season. When they diet down, they will appear out of nowhere with 2 to 4 weeks to go before the show.