Want Bigger Legs?

Want Bigger Legs?

Building Bigger Legs!

Let’s first get this statement out of the way-- if you can’t and/or don’t push yourself in the gym on leg days, it doesn’t matter WHAT workout plan you try to execute…they will not grow. Leg days are difficult. To be quite honest, they SHOULD be the most difficult of all workout days. Why? Because of the sheer amount of muscle that is found in our lower body which therefore, requires large amounts of stimulation (heavy weight, high volume, tempo variations, drop sets, etc.).

To get the best results from your leg training, you need to work them just like you work muscles in your upper body: from various angles and positions.Despite the intricacy of our legs, most of the time we train them the exact same way/angle/position during our leg sessions. If anything, we should add the MOST variety to leg sessions regarding angles, feet positions, volume and load.

Furthermore, the lower body can technically be split into two different components: quad-dominant and glute-dominant (posterior chain). [Mind you, this is a brief overview and simplistic way of thinking about the lower body].

  1. Quad- dominant: This refers more to knee flexion/extension. Exercises related to the quadriceps—squats (specifically front squats), leg extension, Bulgarian split squats, box squats, leg press, etc.
  2. Glute- dominant: This refers more to hip flexion/extension. Exercises related to the glutes and hamstrings (a.k.a. posterior chain)— deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, good mornings, leg curls, lunges, etc.

**It is important to note that the EXECUTION of most of these exercises is very important and can shift the emphasis to/from quadßàglute emphasis. Even more of a reason to learn and perform different feet positions, body angles, and always be aware of the ‘mind-to-muscle connection’. **

The Meat and Potatoes… When training your legs you need to go heavy, perform a lot of volume, and execute each exercise with specific intention. The lower body encompasses SO MUCH MUSCLE that compound movements (squats, deadlifts, etc.) coupled with isolation movements (leg extension, leg curl, etc.) are BOTH necessary for maximal growth and development.

 

Here is a simple leg routine that will hit BOTH the quad-dominant and posterior chain:

 

  • . Wide-Stance, Toes-Out Squat
    5 sets of 12, 12, 20, 20, 20 reps
  •   Narrow-Stance, Toes-Forward Squat
    3 sets of 25, 25, 25 reps
  •   Wide-Stance Romanian Deadlift
    3 sets of 15, 15, 15 reps
  •   Wide-Stance Goblet Squat
    3 sets of 15, 15, 15 reps
  •   Leg Extensions (With femur and toes rotated slightly in)
    3 sets of 25, 20, 20 reps
  •   Leg Extensions (With femur and toes rotated slightly out)
    3 sets of 25, 20, 20 reps
  •   Standing Leg Curl (With femur and toes rotated slightly out)
    3 sets of 25, 20, 20 reps
  •   Standing Leg Curl (With femur and toes rotated slightly in) 
    3 sets of 25, 20, 20 reps
  •   Bulgarian Split Squat
    3 sets of 12, 15, 25 reps

 

John Hornung, MS, CSCS, SCCC