Carved, huge, rippling legs are one of the most impressive sights to behold. They send a message of strength and demand respect. I am a rugby player and an ice hockey goalie, so it is extremely important for me to have strong legs. When I started weight lifting, I had decent legs but nothing out of the ordinary.
After lifting regularly for about a year and a half I fell in love with it and began bodybuilding. Last summer I began a quest to add mass and strength to my legs. I figured this would benefit my bodybuilding efforts and my athletic endeavors.
Was I ever right? By the end of the summer the improvement of my speed, strength and endurance on the ice was very noticeable. And off the ice my legs were looking very massive and ripped in my rugby shorts. Needless to say the massive and ripped look was also very beneficial to my bodybuilding aspirations.
Why Are Your Legs So Important?
Many people give their legs a weak workout at best or skip over them completely in favor of training their arms or chest more. This is a costly mistake to make. Not only does training legs help pack on lean mass it also helps keep of fat. When you do a heavy, intense leg workout your growth hormone spikes.
Thus creating an anabolic environment, which equals muscle growth throughout your whole body. Because you can add several pounds of muscle to your legs, this will help you keep weight off. Muscle mass takes calories to maintain, so the more muscle you have the more calories you burn, therefore keeping fat off.
As if those are not two good enough reasons to take leg training seriously, one of the biggest eye sores I can think of is an unbalanced physique. You know what I'm talking about, one with a huge upper body but tiny chicken legs.
Building Tree Trunk Legs
Here is the workout I designed at the beginning of my crusade for better legs. If you stick to it, lift heavy, and keep the intensity level high, and eat right, your legs will grow like weeds. I ALWAYS use strict form. You can lift heavy with your legs, so it is extra important to use proper form because the heavier the weights are the more damage they can do if you drop them on yourself.
I always choose a weight that is heavy enough to make me reach failure at the last rep of each set. But beware, you don't want to go so heavy that you can't get all your reps in. I do this workout once a week. If you do it intensely enough it will take about five days for the soreness in your legs to be completely gone.
In my leg workout I use a few techniques to shock my legs. They are very commonly used in bodybuilding, but for those of you that may be new to this here is an explanation of each.
PYRAMID SETS - This is when you add weight after every set you do. For example for squats I might start with 165 lbs. and do my first set with that. Then I would add 20 lbs. (or however much you choose) and complete the second set. I would continue adding weight with each set until I complete the total number of sets required.
DROP SET - For this you start with a weight you can do for about 10-12 reps. Once you reach failure with that weight immediately switch to a lighter weight (do not rest between) and do more reps tell you fail with that weight too, continue dropping down to lighter weights until you finish the number of sets you desire. Always use proper form, if your form starts to get sloppy it is time to drop to a lighter weight. These should burn like crazy!
1 set of 10 reps, 1 set of 6 reps
(drop 3 times)
(drop 3 times)
- As I said before and cannot say it enough... ALWAYS USE GOOD FORM!
- For the isolation exercises like the hamstring curls, leg extensions, and calf raises, always make sure to get a peak contraction. Do not swing the weight around, move slow. These isolation exercises should burn really good. For leg extensions I lock out to get an awesome contraction, but be careful because this can be hard on your knees if you don't do it in a slow and controlled manner.
- A lot of people say to never lock out, but I have bad knees and have never had a problem with locking out as long as I do it slow and controlled.
- I place my feet as far out as possible on the ends of the pads for the leg extensions. This hits the Vastus Medialis more and will bring out that teardrop shape.
- For squats always go to parallel. If you want big wheels you have to go deep, it stimulates many muscles fibers, stretches the quads good, and it hits the gluts and hamstrings good.
Thanks for taking time to read my article and good luck with growing your self a wicked-nasty pair of legs.