To build thigh strength and size, try honing in on your quads and hamstrings with these two supersets from trainer Jay T. Maryniak.
In the quad-focused superset, which doubles as a drop set, Maryniak performs heel-elevated narrow-stance squats, first with a load, then with his bodyweight. Elevating the heels shifts some on the onus onto the quads while reducing how much ankle mobility you need to get low. That said, every guy's ideal depth will be different based on your hip mobility. Stick to your comfortable depth and don’t try to get your hips to move in ways for which they aren’t constructed—doing so could contribute to bone and soft tissue injury.
For the loaded squats, Maryniak follows a 2:2:1 tempo. “Honor that 2 second pause” at the bottom, he says. That beat will take your muscles’ elastic components out of commission so that all work goes to the muscles’ contractile units. Lowering into each squat slowly over the course of 2 seconds will increase the eccentric time under tension for even greater gains.
He then quickly knocks out the bodyweight squats, keeping an even cadence with zero pause at the stop to fully fatigue the quads.
In the hamstring-focused superset, Maryniak performs conventional deadlifts to burpees and then horizontal, heels-elevated hamstring curls.
We’d recommend cutting the burpees, especially since the point of the superset is to strengthen your hamstrings. Maryniak says, it’s incredibly easy to compromise your deadlift form as fatigue accumulates. If you do include the burpees, take the time to reset for the deadlift that follows. Before starting each deadlift, your hips are below your shoulders, the tension is in your hammies, and your lats are engaged. “Strive for perfection on every rep," Maryniak says.
The trainer finishes with horizontal hamstring curls with his heels on a high mat and holding onto rings. You can also use TRX straps and a bench or box.
Whatever equipment you have, focus on keeping your hips fully extended and all movement coming from your knees. “Keep your hips up, pull through your heels, and squeeze your hamstrings on every rep,” he says.
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