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Vastus Medialis

Although I am more concerned about fitness and strength, I am having trouble developing the teardrop muscle on my legs. I was hoping people could give some examples of exercies that really isolates it that I could do at the beginning of my workout. I do lots of squats(below parallel), Romanian deadlifts, Bulgarian split squats, step ups, deadlifts. But that muscle just doesn’t seem to respond (I realize Romanian deadlifts don’t affect that mucsle, just giving you my leg workout). I can’t stand doing hack squats so I am at a loss here. I know this muscle stabilizes the knee and I really want to develop it fully. Any suggestions?

If you want an isolation excercise, there’s a special way to tweak the way you do leg extensions. You’ll be doing only the top half or two thirds of the range of motion, first of all. Sit upright on the machine, as opposed to leaning way back against the backrest. Keep the toes pointed upward throughout (i.e. up toward your knee, as if you were stretching your calves), and slightly inward (toward each other).

Doing just the opposite (leaning back, doing full range of motion, pointing the toes down and outward) stresses the outer quads (vastus lateralus).

I thik you mean the vastus lateralis, which mainly contributes to the teardrop.

The fact that you can’t stand doing hack squats may be an indication that they are an exercise that you need. Who sticks to exercise that they like anyway? Other than the frat boys doing pushdowns, curls, and bench that is.

Brad,

dont just squat below parallel, go ass to grass (or floor as it may be). Add variations of lunges to that and you should be fine.

Chad Waterbury recommended doing bottom feeder squats for the VM in a Today’s training tips article. You can find the article here…

http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=510727

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I know you said you hate hack squats, but are you doing them on the hack squat machine, or are you doing them with the bar on the floor behind you? I hate the machine hack squats, but don’t mind the real hack squats at all.

Brad,
DD90 gave good advice, I think it has been proven that the two primary muscles that get you out of the bottom position or the vastus medialis and the glutes. Another variation of the squat that you might want to use is the cyclist squat, which is just squatting with your heels elevated, or you could do 1/4 squats. These are done by going all the way down, come up 1/4 of the way, sink back down them come all the way up and that is one rep.

I was talking about the barbell hack squat, I just hate it. I am not sure why and normally I like to go after weaknesses but I just can’t get into that one. But thanks for the all the suggestions! I will try all of them.

Squat with your heals on a block

Crowbar

Vastus lateralis does not contribute to the tear drop in the inside of the knee.

Many of the mentioned methods should be useful for developing the medialis.

[quote]ChrisKing wrote:
I thik you mean the vastus lateralis, which mainly contributes to the teardrop.

The fact that you can’t stand doing hack squats may be an indication that they are an exercise that you need. Who sticks to exercise that they like anyway? Other than the frat boys doing pushdowns, curls, and bench that is.[/quote]

I hate the leg extension machine. Ever since I had bad knees, I thought it was the squat that was bugging them. I stopped doing leg extensions and everything seems like its getting better.

Also, I’ve done some research and lots of doctors/orthos don’t recommend the leg extension because it does put unwanted stress on the knee.

Just my .02 :slight_smile:

Naturalatlas82,
From what I have read and experienced you are correct. The leg extension does put more stress on the knee joint than the properly performed squat. I would say that the reason most people hurt there knees squatting is changing direction to quickly. Take a slight pause and then come up, your knees will feel much better.

[quote]BradS wrote:
I was hoping people could give some examples of exercies that really isolates it that I could do at the beginning of my workout. … Any suggestions?[/quote]

Two best exercises for VMO

  1. Petersen Step-ups
  2. Triple Jumpers Set-up

[quote]bamit wrote:
Naturalatlas82,
From what I have read and experienced you are correct. The leg extension does put more stress on the knee joint than the properly performed squat. I would say that the reason most people hurt there knees squatting is changing direction to quickly. Take a slight pause and then come up, your knees will feel much better. [/quote]

Or squatting with their feet too close. Thats what I used to do. It was really stupid of me. When I was 16, I used to squat with some heavy poundage with my feet no more then 8-10" apart (sometimes even closer). As stupid as I was, I thought “real lifters” squat with their feet closer, which makes it harder. Then I realized I was the stupid one :frowning:

[quote]smallnomore wrote:
I know you said you hate hack squats, but are you doing them on the hack squat machine, or are you doing them with the bar on the floor behind you? I hate the machine hack squats, but don’t mind the real hack squats at all.[/quote]

I agree with this anecdotally. Barbell hack squats work very well.

Try doing lunges onto a six inch box. This variation will recruit the glutes and vastus medialis more than conventional lunges. Another good exercise is sled pulls facing backwards if you have access to a sled.

Isolation of the Vastus Medialis Oblique Muscle during Exercise
It has long been suggested that the vastus medialis oblique (VMO) muscle is important for medial tracking of the patellae during knee extension (in particular, terminal knee extension). Due to the fact that the majority of tracking problems are from lateral tracking, there has been a search (and hope) that there was a specific exercise that would focus on the VMO while decreasing the participation of its reciprocal partner, the vastus lateralis oblique (VLO). It has been assumed that by externally rotating the hip, the VMO would be placed in direct line with gravity (muscle on top concept) and therefore would require more activity. Past studies have not shown this relationship,1,2 and a more recent study confirms this.

Mirzabeigi E, Jordan C, Gronley JK, et al. Isolation of the vastus medialis oblique muscle during exercise. Am J Sports Med 1999;27(1):50-53.

Electromyographic (EMG) evaluation of the activity of muscles about the knee was performed on eight uninjured athletes (mean age 26.5). The following exercises were performed with EMG monitoring:

? isometric knee extension with the hip in neutral; ? isometric knee extension with the hip in 30 degrees external rotation; ? isometric knee extension with the hip in 30 degrees internal rotation; ? isokinetic knee extension through a full range; ? isokinetic extension in the terminal 30 degrees of extension; ? side-lying ipsilateral and contralateral full knee extension; and ? stand and jump from a full squat.

None of the exercises demonstrated selective increases in VMO activity over other muscles. Ironically, the commonly held belief that the VMO is challenged more with hip external rotation was not supported. In fact, it was found that there was a decrease in VMO activity compared to the VLO. Ninos et al.2 demonstrated in their EMG study of squatting that turn-out of 30 degrees also did not increase VMO activity. The authors of the current study state that both isometric and isotonic exercises showed predominance of the VLO over the VMO.

References

  1. Cryzlo SM, Patek RM, Pink M, Perry J. Electromyographic analysis of knee rehabilitation exercises. JOSPT 1994;20:36-43.

  2. Ninos JC, Irigang JJ, Burdett R, Weiss JR. Electromyographic analysis of the squat performed in self-selected lower extremity neutral rotation and 30 degrees of lower extremity turn-out from the self-selected neutral position, JOPST 1997; vol. 25, no. 5.