Epidemic no more

Posted on by Connie K

 width= Friends, there is a great problem facing the fitness and bodybuilding industry. It's up to us to spread the word to help stop it. I'm speaking, of course, about Top-Heavy Syndrome. We've all seen it - the apparently hulking weightlifter with an amazing shoulder span, decent arms and huge chest wearing "MC Hammer" pants, hiding legs that would rival a flamingo's. I'm not sure if they're scared of the squat rack, or if perhaps a leg extension machine hurt them when they were younger, but no need to fear! I can show you how to embrace "that other part" of the gym, and help build a balanced physique. You need not be a hulking bodybuilder like the poor brute in my example to benefit from a good leg routine. Whether you're just in the gym to tone up, or if you do happen to be an aspiring or competitive bodybuilder, working legs should be a standard in your routine.  The lower body contains some of the biggest muscles in the body, and working these muscles regularly has been shown to increase growth hormone production in the body (you know, that hormone that helps with skin repair, keeps us looking young, that type of thing). Leg training also helps raise metabolism as the body requires more to repair these larger muscles once they've been trained. The following routine has been great for me as an offseason bodybuilder to add size. Ladies, you can follow this routine too, even if you're not a bodybuilder! Just take lower weights and higher reps, and you'll get a nice sculpted look. Calf Raises (bodybuilders) Go heavy on these - you walk all day long, essentially light weight, high reps. If you want your calves to grow, give your body something it has to adapt to: 3 x 6-8 (toners / shapers) 3 x 20-25 Leg Press (bodybuilders) 4 x 6-8 (toners / shapers) 4 x 20-25 Hack Squats (narrow stance) (bodybuilders) 3 x 6-8 (toners / shapers) 3 x 15-20 (bodybuilders can superset with) Squats (wide stance) (bodybuilders) 3 x 6-8 (toners / shapers) 3 x 15-20 Leg Extensions (bodybuilders) 2 x 6-8 - 1 x Drop Set (toners / shapers) 3 x 15-20 If I'm feeling really crazy, for a final exercise, I'll do a widowmaker set of front squats, either narrow or wide stance. A note about working legs;  be sure you're aware of your body positioning at all times, especially on the squats and presses. Your knees should never extend past your ankles.  If they do, you either need to position your feet higher on the press, or take a step forward in the squat rack. Also, don't lock your knees - doing so puts unnecessary stress on them and can lead to serious injury. Finally, push through the heels of your feet.  The balls of your feet and your toes should have absolutely minimal stress on them.  If you can't keep good form through the exercise, drop the weight. Feeding an ego is not worth the injury, plus with proper form, you'll make faster progress. Thanks for your time, and remember, only together can we help stamp out Top-Heavy Syndrome!  width=Wayne is a former “IT” guy who decided to take his love for fitness and turn it into a new career.  Now a personal trainer by trade, Wayne spends his spare time hitting the weights and learning all he can about bodybuilding and nutrition.  He stays true to his IT roots by staying active on Twitter and several online games.