Let's talk a little about one of the most neglected muscles by teen bodybuilders, the legs. No matter where you go, you'll see a lot of guys with well-developed upper bodies, but pigeon legs. Legs are your source of power, and your strongest muscle. When I see someone with bigger legs than me, I'm almost always intimidated.
The first and foremost exercise that should be included in each of your leg workouts is the
squat. Now, I don't want to hear any crying about "I'm afraid of hurting my back" or "But my knees are weak". No, that just won't do. If you can train your legs, you can do squats. Squats will turn your legs from saplings to great oaks.
The most important aspect to keep in mind when squatting is your range of motion. You must, and I repeat, you must use a full ROM. It is imperative that you go down to parallel. Anything less and you will only be cheating yourself. Never load up the bar trying to look like a bad @ss.
Another great thing about squats is that they put so much stress on the body it causes you to release natural androgens and
growth hormones. What, natural androgens? Yes, natural androgens, and as you know, the higher your
testosterone, the faster you will gain.
After squats come
leg presses. Leg presses are a great compound movement, and they give you a little more control over your legs than squats, however, they are not a substitution. With leg presses, I like to go slow, and squeeze real hard at the top. Again, make sure you bring your knees to parallel. A good substitution for leg presses is
hack squats. Both leg presses and squats work the entire thigh.
Next, we'll move into some isolation exercises. First for the quadriceps are
leg extensions. Leg extensions allow you to concentrate on simply the quads. They work wonders to create separations in the thigh, and can also work to pre-exhaust your quads before squats or leg presses. When doing extensions, make sure to use a slow rep speed, and squeeze hard at the top.
For the hamstrings are
leg curls. While your hamstrings get a lot of work out of all the compound leg movements, leg curls are often needed to finish up. With these, you can target your hams, to make sure that they grow. Again make sure to squeeze hard at the top.
And lastly, to finish off the package is calves. Calves are not difficult to train. They can be hit quite easily through three different movements. Two are
standing calf raises. Have your toes pointed out for the first exercise, and then in for the second.
seated calf raises, these will hit below the actual muscle in the soleus (I believe). Again, on both, it is important you squeeze real hard and the top, and go to failure.
Most of my leg workouts are as follows:
- Squats: 3 x 8-10 reps
- Leg press: 2 x 8-10 reps
- Leg extension: 1 x 8-10 reps
- Leg curl: 2 x 8-10 reps
- Calf raises: 1 set for each movement x 10-12 reps