Fitness: Squat Your Way to Ripped!

Mark Moon

LEGS are the biggest, strongest muscle in the body! They have the ability to activate a large amount of muscle fibres and burn heaps of calories, which will help improve overall strength, size and definition. Building lean muscle should be a priority for everyone, no matter what sex, how old you are, or what your overall goals are for that matter. So having said that, this article is written to explain the importance of incorporating legs into your training program for overall strength, definition, performance. The other aspect of this article is to bring your attention to the hormonal effect that comes with training big muscle groups, especially the legs. The hormonal effect or the metabolic effect as you may have herd it referred to, is where the getting ripped come into play.

You can make the most of the hormonal response to exercise by some clever workout design that uses high exercise volume. This means using a moderate repetition range (8-12) with heavy workout loads (80 percent or above) with short rest periods between sets (45-90 seconds). Keep in mind that the hormonal response to exercise is related to the amount of metabolic stress that is created during the workout, so be sure to choose compound exercises that recruit a large amount of muscle fibres. This is where the term “metabolic effect” comes from, and simply means that workouts which are structured using a high volume and intensity with short rest periods will maximize the body’s natural ability to stimulate a hormonal response.

Front Squats, Back Squats, Split Squats (lunges) Deadlifts and varieties of these movements performed at a high intensity are essential for stimulating a hormonal response. Designing your leg workouts to include these exercises using heavy dumbbells or barbells with a variety of repetition ranges and super sets with plyometric jumps will get best results.

Numerous studies have been performed to demonstrate the relationship between an increase of circulating anabolic hormones in the bloodstream and gains in muscle strength. Obviously the more muscle strength you have, the greater you lean muscle will be, therefore your ability to train harder will increase. The following is an extract from an experiment performed by a group of scientists in Denmark (Hansen et al.2001). To start with, the scientists tested the arm strength of a group of subjects, and then divided the subjects into two groups. Group one (A group) trained only their arms, while group two (AL group) trained both arms and legs.

Across the study, both groups spent the same amount of time training their arms; however the AL group also spent extra time training their legs to increase the amount of circulating anabolic hormones (testosterone and growth hormone) in the bloodstream, due to larger muscles being exercised. At the end of the experiment the results showed that group A had an increase in arm strength by nine percent while the AL group that trained both arms and legs had an increase in their arm strength by 37 percent. Therefore the study clearly shows the importance of recruiting a large muscle group into your training to activate the anabolic response.

Therefore the greater your overall strength, the harder you can train. The harder you can train, then the greater your results. The take away from the article is to appreciate the value in leg training to not only help deliver and increase overall strength, but to appreciate the hormonal or the metabolic effect that can help increase circulating testosterone and growth hormone levels in the body. This in turn will help increase lean muscle and reduce body fat to reveal great definition, the product of your hard work.

As with any training program it’s important to keep variety constant so your body isn’t adapting to the workouts. This doesn’t always mean using different exercises, but simply changing the order you perform your exercises and the repetition range you use can make a huge difference.

The following leg workout uses a combination of isolation and compound exercises. You can find a PDF of workout variations at my website www.MarkMoonFitness.com/Legworkout

1a. Seated Leg Extensions 15 reps
Rest 15 seconds
1b. Dumbbell Front Squats 10 reps
Rest for 60 seconds, and then repeat four sets through.
Recover for a total of three minutes at the end of all four sets, before moving onto the next set of exercises.

2a. Seated Leg Hamstring Curls 15 reps
Rest 15 seconds
2b. Stiff Legged Deadlifts 10 reps
Rest for 60 seconds, and then repeat four sets through.
Recover for a total of three minutes at the end of all four sets, before moving onto the next set of exercises.

Mark is one of today’s leaders in health and wellness, with more than 15 years’ experience from across the globe. As a celebrity trainer with a continued national and international presence, Mark promotes his well-balanced, holistic approach to fitness and lifestyle through media platforms worldwide.

Mark has created his own online health, fitness and lifestyle brand Get Fit Fast The Complete Workout System with workouts, meal plans and workout schedules available for download at www.markmoonfitness.com Mark is also a resident trainer on USA digital workout platform Fit Fusion, USA based iPhone application Go Flaunt It, and his home workout DVDs range is distributed through the USA by Watch It Now Entertainment at www.markmoonfitnessusa.com


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