I find it’s more common than not these days to see so many guys who don’t properly work their legs. It completely infuriates me and believe this is partly due to the rise in the physique culture where the focus is just on arms, and pecs. To me it’s the equivalent of sticking pram wheels on a high performance car! Strong proportionate legs will not only completed your physique but also hugely aid strength, performance, increase fat loss and prevent against injury. One other major benefit from leg training is your whole body will grow from training them. When legs are trained hard it encourages the body to release more testosterone and growth hormone so the whole body will grow indirectly from leg training. So in short a good leg session is the most important session of your training week and it only needs to be performed once.
Although legs are a huge muscle group the basics are way more effective than large volume complicated routines. As I say to most of my clients intensity wins of time and volume. A good muscle hypertrophy session should last no longer than 50 min. If time starts dragging on over that I would question intensity. Here is my recommendation for leg training for growth and to increase strength.
Exercise #1: Leg Extensions
Starting my leg routine with an isolation exercise really helps me warm up while stimulating the muscle. A strict movement like leg extensions also forces the quadriceps to work with little assistance from any other muscle group.
After warming up, perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions. On the last set, drop the weight by two pins then perform as many reps as possible.
TIP: Point your toes outward to work more of the medial part of the upper leg (the tear drop shaped muscle located above the knee and to the inside).
AVOID: Cheating or swinging throughout the movement or not working throughout the entire range of motion.
Exercise #2: The Squat.
The squat is really the best exercise to develop impressive power and muscle size in the lower body.
Perform 3 sets of 10, 8, and 6 repetitions respectively. After reaching failure on the last set, have your spotter decrease the weight my half and do as many reps as possible.
TIPS: With a slightly wider than shoulder-width stance; toes pointed slightly outward; keep your shoulders back, eyes looking slightly upward, and sit-back into the movement as if you were going to sit in a chair to keep your knees from coming out too far over your toes.
AVOID: Rounding your back during the movement or holding your breath.
Exercise #3: Leg Press
Perform 3 sets of 10, 8, and 6 repetitions, respectively. After reaching failure on the last set, have your spotter decrease the weight by half and do as many reps as possible.
TIPS: Keep your feet at shoulder-width with toes pointed slightly outward; push with your heels-instead of your toes-while pressing the weight.
AVOID: Rocking excessively or bringing the weight back too far in the movement-don’t let your lower back come off the support pad as your knees move towards your chest.
Exercise #4: Leg Curls
Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions. On the last set, drop the weight by two pins then perform as many reps as possible.
TIPS: Try altering your toe position slightly during this exercise to focus on the inside or outside of the hamstring. Try alternating leg curls with straight-legged dumbbell dead lifts, every other week for variety.
AVOID: Rocking or letting the front of your hips arch excessively during this movement. It’s easy to do.