This is my first real post on the blog and its about a new variation of a portion of an exercise known as the Sissy Squat or 'Monty Wolford' after the gentleman who invented the movement.
A description of the exercise is comming up and was copied from http://www.ironguru.com
The "Monty Wolford" (named after the man who made the exercise popular in America) was a three-phase variation of the squat done with bodyweight only.
In the first phase, place your hands behind the neck, squat down 6 inches, then back up. Ten to 15 reps of these, then on to the second phase, the bottom half of a full squat for another 10-15 reps, starting with glutes practically touching the floor and thrusting hips forward to rise back up to parallel, but no farther than that. The third phase was a full squat for another 10 reps.
The image to the left is from an old cover of Muscle Power with Vince Gironda and Monty Wolford gracing it! Mr Wolford is on the right and you can clearly see his thick lower thich development.
It was however Vince Gironda that made the exercise more famous.
Vince performed it with a barbell across the front of the shoulders, resting under the hands with heels elevated on a platform to isolate the thigh muscle more.
Vince actually SWORE BY THESE for enableing the thigh to become the same measurement at the top and mid-portion [Area a few inches above the knee] and that no other exercise could make the thigh a more uniform shape and size.
I will discuss Vince Gironda in much more depth on a later post but for today we're talking about something I'm experimenting with on an old method.
The Sissy Squat was broken down into three portions, these are as follows.
#1 The Knee Drop [5 reps would be done in this position]
#2 Burlesque bump [5 reps done in this position]
#3 Flush Out[A complete movement of the above two and again for 5 reps]
In total thats 15 reps and one would do 3 sets with 5 being the maximum.
Now the Burlesque Bump portion of the movement and why I'm experimenting with this?
Ok well firstly let me quickly explain static contractions.
Static contractions applied in weight lifting are done usually on compound movements such as squats, bench presse's where many muscle groups are used but I have used them for isolation movements and have used static contractions in my routine for well over a year with fantastic success.
I wont go into too much detail here as again like the Vince Gironda topic, I will go into more detail later sometime.
Static contractions are done in a movements STRONG RANGE OF MOTION so therefore much more weight could be used and hence more stress placed on the muscle in a safer enviroment than when doing full range movements. Usually the last two inches under your reach is where you would start the exercise, so for shrugs it would be two inches above from where your arms have extended completly and with bench press its 2 inches under where your arms are completly extended out, where you would place the weight and ALWAYS in a power rack or smith machine.
Ok now with the bare basics out you can understand this better, I hope! but why this portion of the sissy squat? Well I feel that from my experience useing the sissy squat and many thigh exercises from Zercher squats, frontal squats, standard squats, hack squats, leg curls ......... that this portion of the movement is the most INTENSE thigh stimulation I've received, so I thought how could I make this more effective and productive than simply 'passing through' it in the sissy squat and thats when these static contractions done in this position alone came in.
I'm going to link a video on Youtube of the Sissy Squat being performed and point out where on this the burlesque bump is and where in the movement you want to be at and hold the static contraction.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRUZQYh4cEs Ok so at 20 seconds the burlesque bump has started, thats the position where one would start this movement, so take note. See below for this start position.
At 22 seconds you will see that the CGI character hass risen slightly but this IS the position you want to hold when you try this 'static contracted burlesque bump' so again please take note.
You can watch the entire video if you like but for the point of this post, you only need to get yourself used to where you start in the movement, which is at the 20 second mark and how far you need to rise and what that looks like to you in your mind when you do it .. see the 22 second mark.
Ok and now that you have that sorted in your mind, what else do I suggest?
Perform this in a smith machine for best balance and safety reasons and also set the safety catches to where your at in the start of the movement, so when the contraction has ceased you can come down without the fear of injury.
If you have no smith machine than try doing it manuelly with a barbell, but it will be tricky holding it for a duration of time without balance concerns.
Makesure you also place a board 2 x 4 and around 20 inches in length under your heels whenever you perform this movement [You will notice in the video that the CGI has a board under his heels] as it isolates the thigh muscle more than if it were not present and hence makes this more effective at what it does.
The weight I would start with doesnt have to be much ... infact you will find you cant lift hundreads and hundreads of pounds with this static hold as your in a weak portion of movement, and if this was a typical full range squat than this would be many persons weakest range and an area they struggle on, so DO NOT USE a large load.
I use 60 pounds on my first attempt and that was slightly too less and I could have got away with 90lbs or maybe 100lb but its a weight that I'm trying my MAXIMUM strength to hold against and not an easy weight, so bare this in mind!
Dont let your ego dictate to you what weight is used and remember you are ISOLATING the frontal thigh with this static movement like its never been isolated before. I dont care what anyone says regarding full range squats doing the samething, they only touch this area briefly .. so brief it doesnt exist and one needs to maybe perform a typical sissy squat to appreciate this portion of the movement and how productive it is.
So once everything is setup and your ready to go, begin the movement and REMEMBER to thrust the hips forward at the 22 second mark shown in the video and hold that position and count ... if you have a stop watch than great but its easier to count.
See below for a screenshot of the position you need to hold.
When you feel you can no longer hold this anymore, and that should be when you feel the legs shake and/or burn than your legs will lower on their own and you will need to terminate the set.
Its your choice how many sets you perform. I would suggest ONE set of these done with the maximum amount of weight you can handle in that position, so for me that would be around 90-100lbs but we all vary.
If you want to do more sets than its your choice but bare in mind the more you do the more your wind is taken out of your sails and the body needs to recover, compensate than recompensate and finally grow. I would suggest THREE sets at the most, if you must. Infact if this is all you do for your thigh work than that would be fine but if you do other exercises than be careful.
Note down how long you held the weight and when you do this again you will aim for longer times and higher poundages.
If you time held was 1-8 seconds I would recommend that you try the same weight again nextime and AIM for a higher count before moveing up in weight.
If the time held was over 8 seconds than increase the weight by 5/10% on your next encounter with the exercise and do the samething again.
In time you will notice BIGGER frontal thighs and that the taper a few inches above the knee and the area at the top of the thigh become either the same or very similer, which only a handful of men possess in the world ... many have thicker thighs at the top and slimmer towatds the knee which gives them the impression of a shorter body as the legs stop at the hip, but if you get the upper and lower thigh a similer to same taper than the legs appear to tavel upwards to the waist and give the illusion of longer legs and a more asthetically pleasing body.
Try this movement and let me know how it goes. Give it 6-8 weeks and perform it at least once per week in your routine. Have faith and believe, because this will give you results!
I'm currently trying it out myself and I'm noticing my frontal thighs much more fuller and thicker than they were before, and the area above the knee is getting more mass.
A special thank you to the following .....
http://www.ironbody.it/ [The makers of the video clip linked and hence how I obtained screenshots]
http://www.ironguru.com/ [Description of the Sissy squat 'The Monty Wolford']
http://www.youtube.com/ [Hosting the video]
Muscle Power magazine [For the front cover shot of Vince Gironda and Monty Wolford]