Aaron Clark’s Wheels of Fortune
At just 23, Virginia’s Aaron Clark accomplished a dream that many amateurs never realize: earning an IFBB pro card. Here’s how he went from punk to powerhouse, building some of the sickest legs in the biz.
Start: Adjust the seat so your thighs are fully supported. Hook your feet under the roller, feet flexed, and grasp the handles on either side of your hips.
Execution: Extend your knees and lift the roller in a smooth arc, squeezing your quads briefly at the top. Lower back to the start slowly, under complete control.
Aaron’s Advice: “Because this is essentially a warm-up move, I do my negatives really slowly. You have to get your muscles ready to work in both the eccentric and concentric portions of the rep for maximal development, and to best avoid injuries and tears. I primarily do this move one leg at a time. I know that I have a strong side and a weak side, and singling them out means they get equal work so I can build balanced quads.”
Power Pointer: While this is a common exercise to warm up the knees, it can also be used as a pre-exhaust move to fatigue the quads before doing multijoint exercises such as squats and leg presses. The advantage is that you can use lighter weights on those follow-up moves, which is kinder to your joints.
Start: Step underneath the bar and balance it across your traps and shoulders, then lift it off the rack and step back until you’re clear. Space your feet hip-width or slightly wider apart, and turn your toes out slightly. Stand erect and take a deep breath.
Execution: Push your hips back and bend your knees to squat toward the floor, keeping your chest lifted and your shoulders pulled back. Descend until your thighs are parallel to the floor or slightly below. Explode out of the hole without bouncing, quickly extending your knees and hips to power back to the start, stopping just short of locking out your knees.
Aaron’s Advice: “I like to do ass-to-the-grass squats in which I go significantly below parallel. I like the deep stretch that gives me, as well as the extra contraction of the glutes and quads as I power out of the bottom. If I’m going heavier than 405, I’ll also wear a belt and wrap my knees for a little additional support.”
Power Pointer: Because everyone has different limb lengths, biomechanics are individual. Vary the spacing and angle of your feet until you’re most comfortable. In general, taller squatters need a wider foot placement.