Building your legs is important, even if they're often covered by jeans or board shorts. Legs are the base of your strength and include the biggest muscle groups in your body. No matter which type of enthusiast you are—bodybuilder, physique athlete, or weekend warrior—training your legs is a must.
This great workout will promote growth and detail. Most guys just focus on their quadriceps, but this workout hits your calves, hamstrings, and glutes as well as your quads. With it, you'll create bigger, more carved legs and a better-balanced physique—something judges, women, and the mirror can appreciate.
Be prepared to do a variety of training methods. We'll pre-exhaust, do supersets and dropsets, and move heavy weights. It'll be hard, strenuous, and definitely fun.
The Legs XXL Workout is designed for anybody, from beginner to advanced lifter. Add weight and select rest periods depending on your fitness level and goals. If you're a beginner, use lighter weights and give yourself more rest time.
If you've been in the gym for a few years, you might be better off adding a plate or two and resting for only 45 seconds. Whatever you choose, make sure to challenge yourself.
Legs XXL Workout
Warm Up: Treadmill, Stairmill, or Elliptical
Do cardio before your leg workouts because odds are you've been sitting most of the day, or if you do it in the morning, you've been in bed for the last eight hours. Today, we'll be lifting heavy, so you want your body to be 100 percent warmed up.
Do the Stairmill at a slow to moderate pace. Focus on contracting your leg muscles to prepare them for the work to come.
Exercise 1: Leg Extension
(4 sets of 10 full reps and 10 partial reps)
Pick a weight you can do for no more than 25 reps. Keep your back flat against the back pad and focus on contracting. The point of doing leg extensions first is to pre-exhaust the smaller muscle groups so your hamstrings and glutes are better utilized during squats.
Exercise 2: Barbell Squat
(3 warm-up sets, 4 working sets of 8-10 reps)
The reason to squat early in the workout is to get the hardest part out of the way while you have the most energy. Squats involve all your leg muscles, plus your core. It's the movement that requires the most strength and form.
The warm-up sets should progressively get heavier so you can stretch into the movement and get your muscles ready for the weight. Start wherever you're comfortable and then work up to a heavy set of 8. Keep in mind that you should be able to get more than 10 reps on your first set, but no more than 8 reps on your last set.
Exercise 3: Superset Single-Leg Press / Leg Press
(4 sets of 10 reps per leg/4 sets of 20 reps)
Unilateral training is effective because it stops your dominant leg from getting any bigger or taking over the lift. When doing leg press, keep your feet high and close together on the pad. In this position, you'll better activate your glutes, hamstrings, and outer quads.
Exercise 4: Superset Triple-Drop Smith Machine Squat / Standing Calf Raise
(4 sets of 7 reps per drop/4 sets of 10 reps per foot position)
For Smith Machine squats, I like to go down from 315 pounds to 225, to 135. The bar should be set slightly below your traps. Walk your feet forward and set your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width and point your toes out. Keep your back straight. The purpose of the squat is to fail. Your last set should feel just as heavy as your first set.
After the squat, stand straight up and go immediately into calf raises. The first 10 reps should be done with your toes slightly out, the second 10 with your toes facing forward, and the last 10 with your toes angled slightly in.
Exercise 5: Superset Seated Leg Curl / Seated Calf Raise
(4 sets of 10-15 reps)
On the leg curl, focus on the negative portion of the lift. It's just as important as the positive. You don't want the weight to control the movement, make your legs do the work. You're creating detail and getting a great pump.
During the calf raises, don't lean forward or pull back on the handles. Come down until you feel a great stretch in your calves, and then press up.
Exercise 6: Walking Lunge
(4 sets of 8 reps per leg)
If you've done the workout right, your legs should be swollen and tired. Some bodyweight lunges will be more than enough to finish you off. I don't like to tap my knees, so I start to press upward about 2-3 inches short of the ground.