Sounds crazy doesn't it? Of course you have to train legs properly to gain weight and build a balanced physique. Regardless, you might be amazed by the volume of e-mails that I get from trainees around the world that do little or no leg training. Many of the trainees that do leg training make the mistake of focusing on leg curls, leg extensions, leg presses etc. They avoid the exercises that pack on a lot of weight rapidly such as deadlifts and squats.
Why? Probably due to the fact that both squats and deadlifts are difficult exercises. In addition, both exercises send many trainees running to the bathroom to lose their lunches. As hard as exercises such as squats and deadlifts are, one or the other is necessary to increase leg size tremendously in the minimum amount of time. Here are two leg specialization programs to get you started.
The Twenty-Rep Squat Routine
The twenty rep squat routine was used abundantly many years ago by serious trainees that wanted to gain size rapidly. In addition, coaches often had their athletes do high rep squats to transform them from boys into men. The twenty rep squat program was re-popularized by Randall Strossum a few years ago in his outstanding book, "Super Squats." Here is how it works. Take a load that you can squat ten times with solid form and get in a squat rack. At the top of each rep, take in three deep breaths and then descend into a deep squat. That is right, I want you to do full squats. No partial squats or stopping at parallel (Be sure to clear this with your doctor if you have any existing knee issues).
Using this breathing pattern will allow you to do more than ten reps. If you are stopped at 14-15, no problem. Just stay at that weight, until you can do twenty full reps. Once you can do that, increase the weight by ten pounds. Make sure that you have a good spotter when doing the twenty-rep squat program and be sure to do the squats on an empty stomach. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that your pre-workout meal is taken a minimum of two hours before your workout. Do this squat workout two to three times a week and place the rest of your workout on maintenance mode. Try the twenty-rep squat program for six weeks and be sure to up your caloric intake tremendously.
|For more information on Randall Strossum's Super Squats program, go to www.ironmind.com.|
EDT (Escalating Density Training)
Recently, I read a great book by top strength coach Charles Staley, entitled: "The Ultimate Guide To Massive Arms: Escalating Density training." Yes Sherlock, I am well aware that the book is about how to pack on some size on your arms. However, the EDT philosophy can be applied to any body part (well just about any part) for massive gains. Here is how it works, take two antagonistic exercises such as squats and stiff legged deadlifts. Squats focus on the quads and stiff legged deadlifts focus on the hamstrings (at least when done properly).
Do both exercises back to back for as many reps as possible in a fifteen-minute period. Now I am not telling you to use some puny poundage and go for fifteen minutes straight without resting. Take a weight that you can do ten times in solid form and do five reps. For a solid leg program, do five reps on barbell squats, rest thirty seconds, then do five reps on stiff legged deadlifts, rest for thirty seconds and so forth. As fatigue kicks in, take longer breaks and do less reps. At the end of the fifteen minutes, record how many total reps you did for each exercise. Write down that number in your training journal (if you do not keep a journal, start doing so right now).
Your goal at the next workout is to beat that number. Avoid going to failure when doing EDT and take two days off between each EDT workout. Again, place your upper body work on maintenance mode and place all of your energy into bringing those tooth pick legs of yours up to a respectable level. Here is an EDT program that you can follow for four weeks:
15-Minute Zone One
Once the fifteen minutes are up, take a break for five minutes and then proceed to
zone two for ten minutes.
10-Minute Zone Two
- A-1: Dumbbell Squats (hold a dumbbell on each site and squat until the dumbbell
touches the floor) - View Exercise
- A-2: One arm Dumbbell swings (Swing a dumbbell between your legs, quickly
reverse the position taking the dumbbell overhead and driving through with
Both the Super squats program and EDT are very intense and I recommend that you apply a few active recovery methods to maximize results. First, make sure to have a protein shake after each workout that has both a good amount of protein and carbs (no fat). I would suggest 25-30 grams of protein and 40-50 grams of simple sugar carbs will do the trick. Second, take a cold-hot shower after each workout. Start off with thirty seconds of cold water followed by one minute of hot water. Go back and forth for about ten minutes. Finally, take advantage of ice treatment otherwise known as cryotherapy.
I like to use a product called a "Cyrocup"(Call 1-800-ICE-6722 for more info) to ice muscles after a workout. Finally, get a deep tissue sports massage twice a month or every week if you can afford it.
Okay stop wasting time on the computer and get started on your leg workout. Who knows, after a few months you may be able to finally wear shorts without looking like a chump!
About The Author
Mike Mahler is a strength coach and a certified kettlebell instructor based in Santa Monica, California. Mike has been a strength athlete for over ten years and designs strength training programs for athletes, law enforcement, and fire fighters. Mike is available for phone consultations and personal training in the Los Angeles/Washington DC area. For more information, visit Mike's site at www.mikemahler.com or email Mike at email@example.com.
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