When you’re on a fat-loss program, you’re really going to learn about the strengths and weakness in your legs. Your legs usually hold enough fat that you can’t see all the details and striations in individual muscles when you’re in off-season shape. And if you’ve never followed a strict fat-loss program before, then you may not be completely aware where your legs have certain weaknesses. But you’re about to find out.
For instance, you may know that you have strong or weak quads in comparison to your hamstrings—or vice versa. But you may not know exactly where the weaknesses lie. Dieting is going to reveal this. You’ll see which muscles don’t measure up, and which ones don’t have the detail you’d like. And you’ll also see your strengths, as well.
What’s great about training when you’re dieting is that you can make small adjustments in your program to bring up lagging muscles within groups. The anatomy chart will help you figure out how to do this, and I’ll add my thoughts on this as we get deeper into Operation Aesthetic.
Here’s an overview of the quads and hamstrings muscles:
*Rectus Femoris: This large muscle lies along the top of the front side of your leg, and it attaches your knee to your hipbone. You can feel this muscle stretch when you bend at the hip to perform moves such as squats.
*Vastus Medialis: This is the “tear drop” muscle that lies on the inside of your quads just above your knee. You can target this muscle through isolation moves such as leg extensions.
*Vastus Intermedius: Lying below the rectus femoris, this muscle increases overall quad thickness when trained.
*Vastus Lateralis: The outermost of the quad muscles, this one helps create the widening sweep when it’s developed. You can emphasize this muscle by choosing stances and foot positions that emphasize the contractions at your outer legs.
*Biceps Femoris: Your hamstrings connect your knees to your “sit bones” in your butt. The biceps femoris has two heads, and it is one of the most visible of the hamstring muscles. These muscles grow well with compound moves such as squats, as well as with isolation moves such as leg curls.
*Adductor Magnus: These muscles lie on the inside of your other hamstring muscles, attaching to the backside of your groin. The adductor magnus is a large muscle involved in rotation of your legs, helping you twist your feet inward and outward.
*Semimembranosus and Semitendinosus: The semimembranosus is known as the third “finger” of your hamstrings. The semitendinosus is the visible muscle in the middle of your hamstrings, next to your biceps femoris. These muscles support knee flexion, responding well to isolation moves such as leg curls.