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Rob Andrews
September 26th 04, 10:37 PM
Hi everyone... I'm a relative beginner and have a few questions about
growing my legs.

I started working out around a year ago, and like many people, concentrated
solely on the upper body. My aims were (and are) very limited by BBing
standards, my long-term goal being to gain around 5-10 kgs of muscle mass (I
am currently 63kg, 5' 7"). My upper body has grown relatively easily, and is
now at the size I want (not big in any sense, but as big as I want it!). My
legs, which were skinny to start with, now look plain dumb! So I want to
grow them over the winter.

Reading various bits of advice posted here made me decide to focus on eating
lots, sleeping lots and doing squats. I am currently doing legs two days a
week and upper body one day a week, eating plenty and getting around 120g
protein per day. My leg workout is as follows:

Squats: 4 sets of around 15
Hamstring curls: 4 sets of 8-10
Standing calves: 4 sets of 12-15

What concerns me is that I don't seem to be getting stronger, certainly
nothing like as quickly as I did when doing upper body for the first time.
When starting out doing bench presses for example I found myself getting
stronger almost session-by-session and also growing very easily. Leg already
seem different. I'm neither growing much or getting stronger.

Admittedly, it's only been a month, but the comparison with my previous
experience is stark and worrying.

Any tips would be deeply appreciated!

Yours,

Rob.

Donovan Rebbechi
September 27th 04, 04:40 AM
On 2004-09-26, Rob Andrews > wrote:

> Squats: 4 sets of around 15
> Hamstring curls: 4 sets of 8-10
> Standing calves: 4 sets of 12-15
>
> What concerns me is that I don't seem to be getting stronger, certainly
> nothing like as quickly as I did when doing upper body for the first time.
> When starting out doing bench presses for example I found myself getting
> stronger almost session-by-session and also growing very easily. Leg already
> seem different. I'm neither growing much or getting stronger.
>
> Admittedly, it's only been a month, but the comparison with my previous
> experience is stark and worrying.

Getting the technique right on the squats is pretty tricky. Use google and
also read Krista's site http://www.stumptuous.com

You'll need to do some eating if you want those squats to translate into
increased mass -- squats recruit the largest muscle masses in the body (glutes
and quads) and then some (lower back, and most of the other muscles in the
thigh)

One thing about squats -- they are a really tough exercise if you perform them
with a challenging weight. Once you get the technique down, you've got to be
willing to push reasonably heavy weights on that exercise. A lot of people
don't go anywhere near heavy enough on the squats, because they're afraid that
they won't know what to do if they get "stuck" at the bottom. It's useful to
learn how to bail out and dump the bar -- on a light weight of course -- so
that you know what to do if it comes up. Not that it's likely to, but it's
important that you're not afraid to exert yourself.

It's difficult to measure strength on calf exercises because the number of
reps you can perform depends on range of motion, so you can always do a heavier
weight by reducing ROM, and it's hard to know whether you increased in strength
or reduced ROM. Just keep consistent on these.

I'd recommend looking at stiff legged deadlifts for hamstrings (instead of
curls). Do these in such a way that your butt moves back a long way, your back
is flat (again see Krista's website), and the bar stays against your shins.
Keep your legs straight, but not locked.

Cheers,
--
Donovan Rebbechi
http://pegasus.rutgers.edu/~elflord/

Rob Andrews
September 27th 04, 01:54 PM
Thanks a lot Donovan.


> You'll need to do some eating if you want those squats to translate into
> increased mass --

I'm eating a lot and am gaining weight week-on-week, but mostly fat (I
think). I'm not to bothered by that, I guess it at least means I'm getting
enough food. I'm eating 5-6 meals a day.


> One thing about squats -- they are a really tough exercise if you perform
> them
> with a challenging weight

Your point about squats is spot on: I am finding it hard to 'push myself'. I
am using a device which allows me to effectively drop the bar and not get
hurt (a cage?) so I'm not worried about that, but I do find it hard to keep
good form when I push myself. This makes me a little hesistant to make the
kind of all-out effort I do when benching, for instance. I'm working on it!


One further point about (beginning) legs vs. upper body: I've noticed that
the number of reps I can do to failure is much less sensitive to weight with
legs than with upper body. Say I can do 8 reps with X kgs benching, if I
drop the weight a bit I can do more reps. With legs I find I have to drop
the weight a *lot* to do more reps. Some neuromuscular adaptation thing?

Thanks again!

Rob.

Lordy
September 27th 04, 02:36 PM
"Rob Andrews" > wrote in
:

> One further point about (beginning) legs vs. upper body: I've noticed
> that the number of reps I can do to failure is much less sensitive to
> weight with legs than with upper body.

On a slightly different topic. Do you train to failure regularly?

Lordy

Rob Andrews
September 27th 04, 02:52 PM
> On a slightly different topic. Do you train to failure regularly?
>


Actually, no. I've done so on a few occasions just to see how far I get, to
'calibrate' if you like, but I generally stop short of failure.

Rob.

Donovan Rebbechi
September 27th 04, 03:11 PM
On 2004-09-27, Rob Andrews > wrote:

> Your point about squats is spot on: I am finding it hard to 'push myself'. I
> am using a device which allows me to effectively drop the bar and not get
> hurt (a cage?) so I'm not worried about that, but I do find it hard to keep
> good form when I push myself. This makes me a little hesistant to make the
> kind of all-out effort I do when benching, for instance. I'm working on it!

I think a hesintancy about dumping the bar, or a fear of falling over
backwards tends to cause some to let their knees drop forward when they're
doing difficult squat reps. It's important to learn to "sit back into it".

> One further point about (beginning) legs vs. upper body: I've noticed that
> the number of reps I can do to failure is much less sensitive to weight with
> legs than with upper body. Say I can do 8 reps with X kgs benching, if I
> drop the weight a bit I can do more reps. With legs I find I have to drop
> the weight a *lot* to do more reps. Some neuromuscular adaptation thing?

Don't know. When you squat, you're also lifting your body weight, so at lighter
weights, this may change the way the curve works.

Cheers,
--
Donovan Rebbechi
http://pegasus.rutgers.edu/~elflord/

Hugh Beyer
September 28th 04, 02:33 AM
"Rob Andrews" > wrote in
:

> Your point about squats is spot on: I am finding it hard to 'push
> myself'. I am using a device which allows me to effectively drop the bar
> and not get hurt (a cage?) so I'm not worried about that, but I do find
> it hard to keep good form when I push myself. This makes me a little
> hesistant to make the kind of all-out effort I do when benching, for
> instance. I'm working on it!
>

Don't sacrifice form for weight. When you can increase weight without losing
form, do so.

Hugh


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