If you have been following this mess I call a blog at all for the last 5 months you may have heard me whine and whine about my knee. If not, you’re in luck because here I go again. 5 months ago I was getting ready for my first ever MMA tournament. I know,… shut it! But anywho, I was gonna try. Here’s a shocker: my 42-year-old butt got tore up by a 19-year-old monster. I tore my medial meniscus and sustained a 90% tear to my MCL. I was devastated, but now I’m back and I want to not only return to competing, I want my quads bigger and stronger than ever. The area I want to focus on for this workout is the Vastus Lateralis, the largest and most outer portion of the thigh.
How to Improve Your Sweep
How do we isolate out the vastus lateralis muscle, or as we call it in the physique world, “the sweep”? Vastus externus or vastus lateralis, depending on your A&P professor, is the largest of all the quadricep muscles. The action of this muscle is to extend the tibia or shin bone at the knee, but I’m here to help you learn how to perform knee extension to isolate out the other muscles that synergistically aid in this action. In sculpting, it is very important that we learn isolation. Whether we are a bodybuilder, a bikini competitor or a stay-at-home mom that wants to scult their body, we can all use these principles to learn to sculpt nicer legs.
Fat burn or spot reducing fat can not be limited to specific areas of the body, no matter what ”bogus science” and pills tell you. However, sculpting most assuredly can be reduced to a single area, action, and in some cases, specific fibers of a specific muscle – all based on how we execute the exercise. You don’t need a degree in kinesiology to learn these principals, just a little common sense is all.
So, how do we excite and fatigue the fibers of our outer quad to hypertrophy our SWEEP?
Ok, so here is one exercise you should be narrow-minded about. Narrow is better when we talk about our stance to accentuate or facilitate the contractile tissue of the outer quad. So lets think narrow when doing squats and leg extensions. Whatever exercises you do, stand with a more narrow stance (feet together). You may stop and ask, does that mean if I stand wide, I will work my inner thigh and medial quads? Yeppers! Now you are getting it. (another blog perhaps) Moving on…
With leg extensions, it’s all about being self-centered – literally. If you point your toes outward, you are working the vastus medialis, the tear drop shaped muscle on the medial side (inside) of the legs close to the knee. Since we want to work the opposite side of the legs, then (yes, you guessed it) we want to point our toes in the opposite direction, pointing toes together. Note: this doesn’t work by just pointing the feet from the ankle down, the whole leg must internally rotate to the center to excite the appropriate muscles.
Here is an example of my own leg workout where I use these same principles to improve my sweep.
Yesterday’s Leg Workout
Warm up: 4 sets / 20 reps
Deep weighted walking lunges (35-50 pound dumbbells) 45 seconds rest btw sets
Couplet: Leg Press & Leg Extension Super Set
(zero rest between super set, 1 minute between sets)
#1 Heavy leg press
5-8 plates each side, narrow stance (4″ apart) and push only on your heels
10 sets / 15 reps
#2 Moderately heavy leg extension
Moderately heavy leg extension (130lbs-160lbs) internally rotate your femur’s in (toes are pigeon-toed), and squeeze your outer quad in terminal extension.
10 sets / 12-15 reps
Repeat Super Set 10 Times
Puke and repeat for 10 rounds(sets) with 1 minute rest between (rounds) sets
Here are some pics from my last show, the Daytona Classic, just 10 days after getting hurt.
I created this mantra, featured on DetourBar.com today, to remind people that all your workouts have a lot of benefits, outside of just appearance. Even though getting “picked first” is not the reason I train hard, training has affected my overall athletic performance – and it affects so many other areas of my life too.
When you are in the gym, training your guts out, don’t just focus on how your muscle looks or even how you feel in that moment. Think of all the opportunities your new fit body gives you – to be a better athlete, employee, spouse, parent and friend.
CLICK HERE to get the full-size mantra.
If you are taking the time to read this you probably are somewhat of an exercise enthusiasts. Or at least someone who is willing to invest some time researching and reading other people’s feelings and philosophies about training. This blog is just some insight into purposeful training. We should all train with a goal in mind. Mindless, pointless, goalless training is just a waste of time.
Don’t get me wrong, Saturday nights I go to my club after hours and workout like a fiend (had help to spell this by the grammar police) for no other reason than to spill my guts talking out loud to all my multi-personlaities. My point, however, is for us to meet our goals, our training should have purpose.
Recently, I decided to train for three different events. In the next few months, I will compete in bodybuilding, triathlon, and MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). Many exercises cross over within each discipline. Obviously, if I want to walk on stage for the Bodybuilding Show with six-pack abs, I will have to spend some time doing sit ups. Also, if I want to sweep or switch positions when ground fighting I will have to work my abs doing sit ups as well.
The purpose of doing sit ups when I am fighting is to get up powerfully and fast, and the purpose of doing sit-ups for a bodybuilding show is completely for aesthetics. Training abs for a triathlon will no doubt be helpful to strengthen my core for swimming as well. The difference is the purpose behind the exercise.
The purpose of doing the exercise based on the goal will change the rhythm, the intensity, the repetition, the rest period, and almost every other aspect of the exercise. I will train abs completely different for each contest, but I will still employ many of the same exercises.
How I do the exercises will be determined by what my goal for doing them shall be. Before training, determine what it is you want to get out of the exercise. Do some research and then execute the routine. Don’t just randomly go for a run. What is it you want to get from “your run”. Weight loss, increased speed, increased endurance, or just to clear your head? The why will determine the how.
FitFluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign. All opinions are my own.
I’ve heard it said, “One of the biggest keys to success, is to surround yourself with like minded people that are successful”. This statement alone, is ambiguous at best. Successful at what, and to what extent, and to what cost? Is it equally important to surround yourself with others that share your feverence for success and the drive to reach the same goals? I think it takes both, and then some. Sometimes this means redefining your belief systems, redefining your self-worth, and sometimes even redefining… you!
Listen to what I’m about to say…. No matter your drive, no matter your will, you will still fail. It isn’t enough to know what you want. It isn’t enough to just know how bad you want it. Even if you believe you can truly achieve it, you WILL still fail - UNLESS…You surround yourself with people who have walked this talk before you, and not only achieved what you strive for, but continue to live it out daily. Take money for instance. Many have achieved wealth, but to what cost. Losing marriages, family, years of life, for this dream of wealth… is that success?
Now for my expertise, health and wellness, many people aim to get fit and change their lives forever but again, to what cost? Are they hating every rep of every exercise? Are they whining at every brussel sprout they swallow? Are they miserable in the pursuit of “happiness”? We must seek out friendships, mentors and teachers that can give us the direction, discipline and accountability we need to stay the course. Allow me to give you a few extreme examples I witnessed first hand.
Reality TV: Formula of Success
In 2oo7 I was the trainer for a summer weight loss reality show called “Fat March” that aired on ABC. A year later I was cast as the trainer for VH1′s “Bridal Boot-camp”, another weight-loss reality show. Working in this “reality genre” game gave me a firsthand look at the lengths production companies will go to making sure the environment created will not only produce results, but sensationalize the outcome. Take other weight loss reality shows into consideration as well. The formula for success is the same, and in all of these shows, the weight loss was truly amazing. Even the production companies, that know absolutely nothing about real weight loss still know, Iron sharpens iron.
When the cast was surrounded by people with like-minds, trainers who can help them reach their goals, taken away from temptation, and emerged in accountability 24/7, yes, the outcome was amazing… but so was the complete devastation of seeing it all unravel once they returned home. Except for just a few, the entire cast gained all of their weight back upon returning home.
So what happened? The one thing these “reality shows” do not teach is how to cultivate and control an environment that will perpetuate this new fit lifestyle. These people finally changed their lives forever – or so they thought. Some of them losing almost 200-300 pounds, only to return home and gain it all back again. Tragic! And it could all have been avoided.
If you suddenly quit drinking, would you lose any friends? If you wanted to save money and quit going shopping, would your friends finally quit calling? If you want to lose weight and stopped going out to eat, would your “bro’s” support you? The first problem is giving in… You might go to the bar the first time to hang out, and order water, but eventually your good intentions will fall prey to “just one”… shopping?… “oh it’s just an afternoon and, I haven’t seen my girls in so long”… OR.. “what could it hurt, I’ll go with the gang and just order a salad”.
LISTEN TO ME… Surround yourself with like-minded people who understand your drive as much as your weakness, ones who will pull you along just from the momentum they have in their own lives. People who will help you stand and lovingly hold you accountable. People who understand the depth of your commitment means more to you than the instant satisfaction of the moment. It’s the only way.
Whatever it is you are striving for, surround yourself with people who know the depth of your desire and are living it. It will be easier to stay on course and you will be strengthened in the process. You will know you are successful when someone is looking up to you too, the same way you were once looking up to others.
The temporary pleasure of sin will never out weigh the devastating long term consequences, as the temporary pain of training will never out weigh the amazing long term consequences!
Bonnie and I were both brought up in the south, and for many of us that means that we were in church everytime the doors were open. One of the phrases you hear a lot in the church is “we really hate SIN”. Don’t tune me out, I’m about to make a point. As much as church, Bon and I in our adult lives spent a lot of time in the gym as well. One of the phrases we hear all of time at the gym is “I love my workout”. So “we hate sin and love our workouts” hmmm
Hate Sin? Not at all.
We love sin, its exciting, feels good, it’s attractive, it taste good, it’s a total rush… No we don’t hate sin. What we hate is the consequences of our sin. Sin can lead to drug addiction. divorce, obesity, disease, or even death – not to mention total seperation from the Dude who created you. (another blog, another time). But to say we hate sin, well, that just isn’t true – but to truly hate the devastating affects of sin is such a huge reality it isn’t a lie to say “I hate sin”. Hold on, here it comes…
Love your workout? Not truly…
Right now I am doing 315 pound shruggs. I think I just popped every vertebrae in my back, just ripped a callous, my legs are trembling and I have sweat in my eye and a charlie horse in my calf. Love my workout? …not so much.
HOWEVER, I absolutely love the consequences that I experience from working out. Health, aesthetics, energy, increased self esteem, confidence, the ablility to defend myself and my family against danger, and vitality are all considered bliss – directly related to the suffering and drudgery of the afformentioned workout. Knowing the amazing results of hard training, I can honestly say, “I love my workouts”!
The same way a person who has been caught up in SIN becomes so hurt and disgusted with that lifestyle, another can honestly say they love working out becuase of the amazing results and positive influence, that it can acutally be said, “I love my workout”
In short...The temporary pleasure of sin will never out weigh the devastating long term consequences, as the temporary pain of training will never out weigh the amazing long term consequences!
How do we change our belief system to be able to honestly say… “I love training”?
2. Visualize the prize (end game) seeing the goal as if its complete.
3. Make a plan that is realistic and effective to meet your goal.
4. Grow a pair. Dont be afraid to “gut it out”. Know it will be worth it.
5. Start over a million times – but dont quit, not even once!