Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Isolation After-Shock Quad Training - Steve Holman

Note: "Most of the time I suggest a one-second lift and a three-second lower on most exercises. Some stretch-position moves in the Positions-of-Flexion mass-training protocol may require a slightly slower cadence and more controlled turnaround, as the danger is elevated; for example, flyes for chest, overhead extensions for triceps and stiff-legged deadlifts for hamstrings. When in doubt move slower, never faster."
 - Steve Holman

Without a doubt legs are the most under-trained bodypart in every gym. Stick-like appendages jut out of training shorts and somehow manage to support massive torsos. Why do so many people choose to ignore lower body training?

Because growth producing leg work is excruciatingly hard -- often painful to the point of nausea. Nevertheless, you can minimize the impending regurgitation with effective science-based training -- a direct quad hit with no wasted effort. All you have to do is pick the best exercises for the job, the ones that max out fiber recruitment, do them hard for a few sets and then get out of the gym so your legs can grow.

Try the isolation after-shock quad blast to get the growth you deserve for your seat and hard work -- and you can stop wearing sweatpants to the gym in the middle of summer.

Here are the reasons this program produces great results:

1) It uses the most effective exercises. According to the book

the movements in the isolation after-shock superset hit the target muscle structures completely, rather than focusing on certain areas. You will superset the following two exercises after doing straight sets of a big compound movement.

Sissy Squats. This exercise puts  maximum stress on the entire front thigh -- the vastus medialis, the teardrop muscle above the knee on the inside of the thigh; the vastus lateralis, the large muscle on the outer thigh that creates sweep; the rectus femoris, the linear muscle that runs between the two vastus muscles; and the vastus intermedius, a large structure that lies underneath the others close tothe bone. While you can't see the vastus intermedius, it can go a long way toward giving your thighs more size. You get total target muscle stimulation with one efficient exercise. 

Sissy squats can be somewhat awkward at first, so you man be wondering if hack squats will accomplish the same efficiency. Back to Muscle Meets Magnet. Hack squats, both the feet-forward variation and the feet-under-the-hips variety, neglect the rectus femoris and the vastus medialis, so choose sissy squats over machine hacks. 

Leg Extensions. Do these with your feet parallel to each other and you'll hit the entire front thigh musculature. No muscle structure is left unscathed. If you turn your feet inward on this exercise, you tend to focus more on the outer thighs, the sweeping vastus lateralis muscles, while the inner thigh muscles, rectus femoris and vastus medialis, are somewhat neglected. With your feet angled out, you hit the inner thigh muscles hard and somewhat neglect the vastus lateralis. 

To put it another way, turn your feet out to hit the inner teardrop; turn them in for more sweep. If you want to hit all the front thigh muscles equally hard, keep those feet parallel.

2) The myotatic reflex, or pre-stretch, helps max out fiber recruitment and also helps stretch the fascia, or fiber encasement, to allow for more growth. In this case it's the sissy squat that puts the front thigh muscles into total elongation. This triggers an emergency response from the body and the activation of more muscle fibers to prevent trauma from the stretch. It also stretches the the fascia which can constrict the fibers' growth if it isn't stretched periodically. After you hit the stretch position and induce this hypercontraction mode, move to leg extensions and peak contract your front thigh muscles to the extreme to get item 3 below. 

3) Better pump and burn. New research suggests that supersetting helps lower the blood pH, which can force more growth hormone release. Those findings may verify what bodybuilders who have been instinctively chasing the pump for years have believed all along: It may be a growth stimulus. Research shows that this type of training not only increased GH levels, but it also increased GH receptors located on the trained muscles. In other words, it increases the trained muscles' sensitivity to growth hormone. So much for the no pain-no gain maxim being a hoax.

4) Synergy for maximum power and output. Neither the sissy squat nor leg extension brings in other muscle groups, so prior to supersetting them, do two sets of a big compound movement, such as squats or leg presses? Why? 

Compound exercises are those in which there's movement at more than one joint, and they involve muscle teamwork. In other words, you get a number of muscles working together, as Mother Nature designed the body to function optimally, and you can push extreme poundages -- which overloads the target muscle fibers, gets the blood flowing and primes the target for the blast furnace superset to come. 

Here's the routine: 

Squats or Leg Presses*, 2 x 8-10
Aftershock Superset - 
   Sissy Squats, 2 x 5-7
   Leg Extensions, 2 x 5-7
Squats or Leg Presses, 1 x 8-10
* Do two warmup sets with 50 and 70 percent of your work-set weight first. 

Notice that you do straight sets of squats or leg presses, then the supersets, and then you come back and do squats or leg presses for one final set. The concluding blowout set ensures that you totally annihilate the front thighs. It's a take-no-prisoners set that will have your quads pumped and screaming.

What does Muscle Meets Magnet say about the squat and leg press? 

Both exercises work the majority of the front thigh muscles, with the exception of the rectus femoris, the linear muscle that runs between the two vastus muscles. The two compound exercises also train the adductors on the upper, inner thigh, which sissies and leg extensions don't hit. And, of course, you also get glute work from leg presses and squats. So you can see how these exercises complement one another for a total front thigh assault.

5) More recovery for accelerated growth. You stimulate each target muscle to the maximum with only seven sets, which means you have more recovery left for hypertrophy. Remember, the more sets you do, the more you deplete your system's ability to recuperate from intense exercise, so efficiency is key. Obviously, this is a  very efficient leg building program, as you fatigue as many fibers as possible with as few sets as possible.

How should you use the Isolation Aftershock quad routine for best results? An every-other-day split is the program that will help most intermediate bodybuilder make the best gains.

Here's a sample:

Workout 1: Quads, hamstrings, calves, chest, triceps.

Workout 2: Back, delts, biceps, abdominals.

Always take a day of rest between workouts and you'll have a recovery oriented split that will produce impressive size increases. 5 to 7 all-out work sets per bodypart does a nice size building job for most intermediates.

If you prefer a Monday/Wednesday/Friday approach with weekends off, focusing on legs as the specialization bodypart, try the following program:

Squats, 2 x 8-10
Leg Extensions, 1 x 8-10
Leg Curls, 2 x 8-10
Standing Calf Raises, 2 x 12-20
Seated Calf Raises, 2 x 12-20
Bench Press, 2 x 8-10
Pulldowns, 2 x 8-10
Bentover Rows, 2 x8-10
Dumbbell Upright Rows, 2 x 8-10

Compound Aftershock quad routine and abdominals.

Same as Monday, but delete the squats and leg extensions.

With this program you only train quads twice a week, on Monday with a basic squat/leg extension routine and on Wednesday with the full isolation Aftershock program. You can do a few more sets on Wednesday because you won't train the quads again until the following Monday. You could probably get away with 3 sets on the first exercise and 2 on the last. And because you're only working quads and abs, you can really pour your heart into the Wednesday session. Show those quads no mercy!





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