The amount of ‘Leg Day’ posts you see sprawled across the internet in recent times is testament to the importance of TRAINING YOUR LEGS! Legs are quickly becoming the ‘in’ muscle to train in part because of the stigma attached to not training them, but also because a well constructed and defined ‘Quad Cleavage’ (as the bodybuilders like to call it) looks pretty damn impressive in the summer.
As the summers become longer and hotter, you’re going to want to wear tracksuit bottoms and jeans less and less, so here are 5 steps to helping you achieve a QUALITY QUAD CLEAVAGE…
STEP 1: Train legs… cos they ain’t gonna grow by themselves guys (we love stating the obvious). However, this somewhat ‘obvious’ element is all too often overlooked by the general public. The legs need to be trained, and they need to be trained intelligently and hard! Aimlessly performing leg extensions will only go so far to developing well proportioned and muscular legs, plus the relatively large size of the quad muscles compared to the rest of the body places more hormonal stress on the system, meaning relentless training of the legs will increase metabolic stress. Ensure you have a balanced leg routine that includes the hamstrings as well as the quadriceps. Remember, your quads consist of 4 main muscles that are the Sartorius, Vastus intermedius, Vastus lateralis and the Vastus medialis, so developing a solid quad cleavage requires training them all.
STEP 2: Back Squat… no other exercise will develop your glutes (backside) and legs as a whole than the humble squat. There are some subtle differences between the back and front squat with regards to the bar placement. The bar is rested on the trapezius when performing a back squat, compared to the front squat which see’s the bar rested on the shoulders running along the clavicle. The back squat recruits more of the hamstrings and glutes when lowering into the squat, but does bring the quads into action when rising from the squat position.
STEP 3: Front Squat… When performing a front squat, the bar naturally tries to pull the body forwarded meaning the lumbar (lower back) and quads compensate to keep you upright, resulting in a good workout for your quad cleavage! The starting position of a front squat places more emphasis on your Vastus medialis (tear drop muscle) and Vastus lateralis…the key muscles comprising a quad cleavage. Word of warning, be prepared to have to scale back the weight a tad when front squatting, you won’t be lifting the same as you do when back squatting!
STEP 4: Isolate the quads… Compound moves such as the back and front squat will hit the quads, but we’ve established that this only goes so far. To really sculpt a well rounded quad cleavage you’ve got to isolate the two stars of the team, the Vastus medialis and the Vastus lateralis. To do this aim to perform hypertrophy set and rep ranges of approx 4 sets of 10-12 reps on the leg extension machine. When performing leg extensions remember that the Vastus medialis (tear drop muscle) isn’t recruited fully until the final few degrees of the leg extension, so next time you’re doing this exercise be sure to lock the leg out at the top of the movement.
STEP 5: Get the nutrition right… We all know the importance of getting nutrition right when trying to lose weight and fat, as well as gaining total bodyweight. However far fewer people realise the importance of adequate nutrition when trying to develop muscle. Nutritional composition is key here i.e. consuming a diet that is relatively high in protein is key when leg growth and a quad cleavage is what you’re after. Seeing as the leg muscles are the largest group of muscles in the human body they demand the most amount of protein in order to promote growth. A good rule of thumb for protein is approx 1.5-2g per kg body weight, combine this with around 3-4g of carbs per kg body weight and 1-1.5g fat per kg body weight per week (approx 45% carbs, 35% fat and 20% protein).