Is it true that for thigh mass, basic exercises performed in straight sets are best?
Any muscle, thighs included, grows not so much from exercises, sets and reps as it does from maximum stimulation.
Don’t Limit Yourself to a Singular Training Technique
Just as you cannot expect to attain maximum muscle mass without extremely heavy free weights and basic exercises, neither can you acquire maximum muscle mass by using only those same heavy free weights and basic exercises every time. They might provide the best stimulation and total fatigue of a major muscle, but if those exercises constitute the only workout you use for that body part, other muscles in it will be neglected; i.e., starting a workout with the same exercise every time fatigues the same muscle first every time, so that the others will never be fully worked.
To shock the muscles out of complacency, nothing works better than supersets. By pairing a heavy basic compound free-weight movement with a strict isolation movement, I simultaneously hit both the total muscle group and its isolated ancillary muscles. I also superset two heavy basic compound free-weight movements and even two isolation exercises. A cardinal rule of super setting is that there are no cardinal rules.
For example, I swear by straight-set squats, but squats are also ideal for supersets. No other position permits such a quick and easy transition from one exercise to another.
Not that you have to use squats every time you superset legs. Others are just as effective, particularly for specializing. If it’s front quads you want to target, combine extensions with hacks or front squats; if you want to hit your medial and lateral, pair leg presses with squats or hacks. Use your imagination, and take it from there.
Super Setting Antagonistic Muscle Groups
Many bodybuilders advocate super setting antagonistic muscle groups, such as quads and hamstrings, but that nullifies a sustained pump. If you want to pump and burn your quads, superset two quad exercises; if you want to pump and burn your hamstrings, superset two hamstring exercises. Fortunately, all quad exercises are excellent superset partners with each other. Squats, leg presses, front squats, hack squats, sissy squats, leg extensions, all except my parking lot lunges, permit easy transitions between each other while also allowing heavy powerful pump-building reps.
My most dramatic leg growth came during a period when I performed supersets every other workout, and not necessarily with squats as the heavier of the two exercises. Squats are just as effective as the second, or pump, a partner in a superset.
In the accompanying chart are two examples of leg superset workouts, but I expect you to experiment with your own variations. Remember, though, that you’ll need to develop pro-level cardio efficiency and dig even deeper into your endurance reserves in order to get the most out of superset training. This is not for wimps.