Have you ever squatted until your back gives out, but you felt that your legs still had something left in them? Or you might just want to do a little extra because you know that as soon as you get home your wife will put you to work around the house.
I've had both of these problems, so I decided to incorporate some special assistance exercises to extend the length of my leg routine in order to boost my squat poundage.
In general, my preference lies in the area of high rep movements. Along with the high reps, I like to be handling a graduated amount of weight as my strength and conditioning increases. The following assistance movements for the legs are ones I've used previously and ones that I encountered specific problems with.
One legged squats worked my frontal thighs tremendously. If you stay with the one legged squat you can work into high reps in no time. However, adding more resistance is very awkward because of balance problems.
Later I tried front squats, which seemed to be the answer for a while. Then I found that I had difficulty in breathing when I performed many reps in training.
Hack squats, a bodybuilding type movement, also worked my thighs very well for a while. But once again the problem of adding weight cropped up as it made the movement awkward and a strain on the ligaments of the knees developed.
Noticing that Olympic lifters usually squatted with elevated heels, I realized that their backs were much straighter than a powerlifter's back generally is. The raised heels and straight back employed by Olympic lifters was obviously placing a greater strain on the legs. I also determined that the muscular development of the Olympic lifter around the knee area was more prominent than that of the powerlifter. The reason being most powerlifters neglect this region of the thigh in their workouts. The powerlifter usually has better developed hips and upper thighs, because the most emphasis is placed on them in a powerlifter's routines....