- "The Best, Most Effective Exercises for Legs"
- "Strength Training Tips to Get Results"
- "Deadlift: Proper Form"
- "Nutrition Tips for Weight Loss"


The ability of exercises to target certain muscles. Remember, only limbs could be measured due to the Magnetic Resonance Imaging design. This week: LEGS.

Quick anatomy, the leg is composed of:

* quadriceps: the vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius, vastus and medialis, & rectus femoris (found above the vastus intermedius)

* adductor muscles: these "groin" muscles bring the leg towards the mid-line (adductor magnus and adductor brevis)

* hamstrings: biceps femoris, semi-tendinosus, and semi-membranosus

* calf: larger, higher gastrocnemius and the soleus (underneath the gastrocnemius)


* greatly stressed the 3 vasti muscles & moderately stressed the rectus femoris and adductors

* surprisingly little hamstring involvement

* FRONT SQUAT (the bar is in front of the body resting across the shoulders) showed the same pattern of involvement


* moderately stressed all 3 vasti muscles

* greatly stressed the adductors

* no hamstring or rectus femoris activity was shown (VERY SURPRISING!)

LEG PRESS (with the feet placed high on the platform)

* greatly stressed the 3 vasti muscles

* SURPRISINGLY, no hamstring involvement


* greatly stressed all muscles of the quadriceps

* changing the direction in which the toes pointed reduced the activity of some muscles, therefore it is safest and most effective to perform this exercise in a natural position


* moderately stressed the hamstrings and adductors


* only moderately stressed the hamstrings


* greatly stressed the semi-tendinosus

* AMAZINGLY, no stress on the biceps femoris

* thus, it appears the lying leg curl is more effective


* greatly stresses both the soleus and gastrocnemius

* pointing the toes in decreased the use of both muscles, therefore is less effective


* does not apply a significant stress the gastrocnemius!

* it only stressed the soleus (due to the bent-knee position)

* thus, the standing calf raise is a better exercise for the entire calf complex

Interpret these findings with caution. Some are extremely surprising and go against all previous beliefs although the technique seems pretty reliable...

As well, the gluteal (butt) muscles could not be examined. These would probably be predominant in lunges and leg presses with feet placed on the platform.



Every trainee wants to avoid "accommodation" (a plateau in performance). The plateau occurs when the response to a repeated stimulus decreases over time. For example, an individual that always does bench press for 3 sets of 10 reps may find that strength development is not occurring after using this exercise for several weeks. Therefore, it may be inefficient to use this exercise routine for extended periods of time. The plateau may be avoided by modifying the resistance (heavier) or by choosing a new exercise (be creative!).

Machines vs. Free weights

The source of resistance is often the source of great debate. Machines effectively train the specific muscle used in the exercise, so they are not worthless to any experience level. However, free-weights train both the muscle and movement pattern and appear better suited for athletes or functional training.


Ascending may lead to premature fatigue (ascending = adding more weight with each set). That is, by the final set, you may not be able to perform optimally, whereas if you started at a higher intensity, more work may have been possible. For example, doing squats with 135lbs for 10 reps, then 185 for 8, then 225 for 6. However, after a sufficient warm-up, the individual may have been better off to go to 225 and may have been able to do 3 sets of 8 reps to provide a better training stimulus.


Individuals with lower fitness levels will achieve greater gains with less specific exercises (when compared to advanced trainers). Individuals with more exercise or lifting experience may need to rely on more specific exercises to benefit. This refers greatly to athletic populations. For example, to increase jump height, a beginner to training may improve simply by doing leg presses, where an experienced b-ball player will require weight training and specific jumping drills.



      : do not let the back become rounded during this exercise

      : it is not necessary to perform this exercise from a step or elevation

: rounding the back can sprain the ligaments of the lumbar spine because it

  increases the stretch of the ligament while the ligament is supporting a load

: refrain from letting the bar go too low (this stretches the hamstring beyond its

  normal capacity and may round the low back)

      : consider this, the trainee may not have the ability to stretch far, BUT/

        adding weight helps the individual stretch further, BUT/ this increased

        stretch while in a loaded position may increase risk of ligament sprain

      : maintain a straight back as this makes the structures (muscle and ligaments)

  more efficient in dealing with forces of the resistance

      : also be sure to breathe properly (exhale on exertion for all lifts) and train the abs

  to provide muscular support

This exercises are awesome for building strength and training many muscle groups at once, therefore, learn the proper technique. Try to include squats and deadlifts in your training program.


What is necessary for safe weight loss?

A calorie deficit must be created through exercise and a small calorie reduction. This means more energy goes out than comes in. If it were only so simple!

Problem #1

Appetite seems to increase with activity level (therefore cancels out energy expended), this may not always happen.

Problem #2

The body will attempt to conserve weight during times of increased activity and reduced calorie intake (body becomes more efficient with energy).

Problem #3

Scales do not tell how much of the body weight is muscle, fat, OR water.

Problem #4

We all know someone who eats a lot (and eats a lot of "forbidden foods") BUT does not seem to gain a pound, while others eat very little and still have difficulty in altering their body composition.

Tip #1

You must use weight training to build muscle mass and increase metabolism and you must exercise consistently. The energy expenditure will help develop a negative caloric balance. 

Tip #2

Base your success on how you feel, how your clothes fit, and how well you perform in your sport/activity, NOT on how the scale reads.

Tip #3

Do not starve yourself. The body may shut down its metabolism and it becomes extremely efficient in saving/storing energy. Eat nutritious meals spaced evenly throughout the day to maintain the metabolism and provide energy for exercise. Reduce any unnecessary food intake. 

Tip #4

Remember you are trying to eat fewer calories then are needed to maintain weight. Aim to reduce the calories by a maximum of 20% (i.e. 200-400 per day), BUT/ never go lower than 1500 total daily calories. Reducing the amount of fat in your diet greatly helps in reaching a calorie deficit (because each gram of fat has 9 calories). 

Tip #5

Do NOT eat "fat-free" foods in excess. Remember the aim is a calorie deficit! There are no magic OR forbidden foods. Some are better than others BUT very few items need to be fully excluded from a diet. Allow yourself at least the occasional treat.

Tip #6

Choose water as your low-calorie fluid source, unless you need the nutrients that are provided by a glass of milk OR juice.

Be honest #1

Do you really need to lose weight? Losing weight often involves certain sacrifices, so determine if it is really necessary for health or performance and then make full commitment to the goal.

Be honest #2

Can you decrease your food intake without your health suffering? Try to reduce calories with your health in mind by reducing the foods with least nutritional value (i.e. processed foods, sugary drinks, excess sauces, and sugar). 

Be honest #3

Are you truly hungry when you eat? Are you just thirsty, bored, stressed?

Be honest #4

Are you active for only 30minutes (your exercise session) and then stuck in a chair for the rest of the day? Consider this before you justify an increase in caloric intake.

CB Athletic Consulting, Inc.
Copyright © CB Athletics 2015. All Rights Reserved