How do we increase upper thigh mass, without low thigh mass?

How do we increase upper thigh mass, without increasing lower thigh mass?

Sprinters have high mass in the proximal areas, and low mass in the distal areas of the limb.
The problem with weight training is that the middle distal parts of the limb experiance increased mass, without an equally proportional increase in the proximal areas.

If you put half an inch on your lower thigh, and half an inch on your upper thigh, you have put proportionatly more hypertrophy on your lower thigh. This will not help the physics of high speed sprinting, and may even slow it down.

Is upper thigh mass (compared to lower thighs) and thigh shape, completley dependent on your genetic disposition?

So, how do we significantly increase UPPER thigh mass?

How about deep full squats without rising fully up to the standing position? Like, just doing partial reps, in the deep end. Would that do it?

Has anybody on the forum experianced significant glute and upper thigh hypertrophy, without too much lower thigh hypertrophy?

Just regular squats seem to develop my thighs in the middle to upper part, moreso than lower quads, but that might just be because of my build or squatting style (fairly upright). Vince Gironda used to claim this about back squats and he usually didn’t like his trainees (bodybuilders) doing them.

You could always just do isolation exercises using machines! :smiley: Really I don’t think you have anything to worry about.

Romanian deadlifts, reverse hyper complex, reverse leg press, deep squats, cleans and snatches all seem to work the glutes pretty hard and the tie-in between the glutes and the hamstrings. This contributes to upper thigh mass. You can also look at using EMS at targeted locations.

However, I think the real answer is “don’t worry about it.” If you are training properly, these things seem to have a way of working themselves out.

I think what you are talking about is mostly genetic.

As a matter of fact, Charlie talks about this:

I Want a Sprinter Bod!

Q: Sprinters as a group have the most esthetically pleasing bodies in sports. Do they become great sprinters by developing their bodies or are they great sprinters because of their genetics? It’s kind of a “chicken or egg” dilemma. If it’s because of the weight room, what kind of routines and splits do they follow? Do they use high or low reps? Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

A: This comes under the old heading, “Looks right, flies right.” In other words, coaches soon learn to identify the body type that will “succeed for speed.” Aside from the most obvious attribute (long legs) the sprinter must have high mounting points for the muscles to give him the mechanical leverage he needs to generate high frequency and power.

The high mounting points also give the sprinter the characteristic pleasing shape you describe. So in that regard, it’s genetic. Of course, these characteristics can be greatly enhanced by the correct selection of exercises, such as reverse hypers, squats past parallel, cleans etc? The rep and set schedules are highly individual, depending on their sprinting schedules and level of development, but the emphasis is usually on low rep, high-intensity lifts.

I’ve commented on this before, and here are some details.

Read this paper:

J Appl Physiol 88: 811-816, 2000;

Sprint performance is related to muscle fascicle length in male 100-m sprinters

Kenya Kumagai1, Takashi Abe1, William F. Brechue2, Tomoo Ryushi1, Susumu Takano3, and Masuhiko Mizuno4

Origin of architectural differences. The remaining questioning regarding these data is the origin of the architectural differences among sprinters. It is quite possible that greater fascicle length and altered muscle shape are genetically conferred, which predisposes individuals to sprint performance. However, a second possibility is that fascicle lengthening and muscle shape are specific adaptations to high-intensity, sprint training and/or high-intensity resistance training used by sprinters. The possibility of muscle fascicle lengthening in humans as a result of muscle enlargement and/or chronic and acute stretch is still only speculative, although there is evidence of fiber lengthening in animal models (15, 22, 31). Recently, our laboratory (20) reported that fascicle length is significantly greater in cross-section of Japanese sumo wrestlers compared with untrained Japanese male controls. The muscle enlargement in the sumo wrestlers was associated with greater fascicle length (significant positive correlation between muscle fascicle length and isolated muscle thickness). In the present study, we also found that fascicle length is positively correlated to isolated muscle thickness for all selected leg muscles in the 100-m sprint specialists. The relationship between fascicle length and increased muscle thickness lends intriguing support to the possibility that fascicle lengthening may occur in humans as an adaptation to training (21), but more data are needed. Regarding muscle shape, Narici et al. (26) reported nonuniform changes in cross-sectional area along the length of the quadriceps muscle after high-intensity resistance training. They suggested that each of the muscles of the quadriceps group may have varying degrees of hypertrophic responsiveness. However, differences could be simply related to specific motor unit recruitment patterns involved in the specific type of training. Regardless, it appears that differences or changes in muscle shape, especially in the quadriceps and hamstring muscle groups, are associated with sprint performance. The possible genetic or training-specific origin of these architectural differences will require further study.

The Narici (1996) paper is this one:

Acta Physiol Scand. 1996 Jun;157(2):175-86.

Human quadriceps cross-sectional area, torque and neural activation during 6 months strength training.

Narici MV, Hoppeler H, Kayser B, Landoni L, Claassen H, Gavardi C, Conti M, Cerretelli P.

In the paper, they used squats, six sets of 8 at 80% 1RM. And they show specific hypertrophy in the upper thigh only, and essentially no increase at all in the lower thigh, which seems to be related to improvements in sprint performance.

As you might have already inferred, this information is not new. I actually do it this way, and John Smith does something similiar (3X10+3, with the 3 only done a long time before comp). My version is 4X8 @ <=80%, leading to 3X8 @80%, then 2X10 at the same weight (I do not go below 8 reps at all). This DOES work for both thigh development (without development in the lower thigh) and sprint performance–and my explosiveness in CMJ and SLJ has gone up since converting to this from 4X3 at higher %1RM.