The squat will activate muscle fibers within the quads, hamstrings, glutes, adductors, abductors, abs, lower back, and to a smaller extent the calves. So with just one set of squats, you can activate not only the muscles stimulated with the adductor machine, but many more to go along with it. Considering this point alone, it’s easy to see why focusing a program on an exercise such as squats could be beneficial for a female trying to improve her lower body.
Another very common mistake among gym members in general, but women new to the gym especially, is not using sufficient resistance to prompt the muscle to adapt and grow. It can be easy to go through the motions and to stop a set once any type of discomfort becomes apparent. However our bodies are extremely adaptive to their environment.
To go along with that, muscle tissue is very metabolically expensive to the body - meaning it takes a lot of fuel to build and maintain muscle tissue. This being the case, past the minimum required for everyday activity, your body will in a sense be very “stubborn” when prompted to add more muscle tissue it would then have to consistently fuel and maintain.
This is where you have to step in and give it a little encouragement! In order to add new muscle tissue, a trainee must provide enough resistance to force the body to adapt by adding new muscle tissue to keep up. For readers of this article, this means that being willing to push yourselves each workout to lift more weight, or more repetitions, is imperative for developing new muscle tissue and improving the appearance of your legs over time.
A second point to consider is that of muscle fiber recruitment. Above we discussed the effect of exercise complexity in recruiting more muscle fibers. Another determinant of muscle fiber recruitment is, you guessed it, sufficient overload.
Whether it’s through lifting a heavier load for low reps, or a lighter load for more reps, a variety of rep ranges has been shown to positively influence muscle growth if performed with adequate intensity1. However a common characteristic among essentially any training program is taking each set to absolute, or close to absolute, muscular failure.