The first thing you must do in order to build good legs is train them. Duh, you say, but when I say train them I mean completely destroy every muscle fiber in the quads and hammys. If your leg workout consists of leg extensions, leg curls and a few sets of leg presses then you have never really trained your legs. Well good for you that is what this article will be about.
So let's touch base on all the wonderful quad destroying exercises.
Squats - This is the mother of all exercises. If you really want to develop huge quads it all starts here. Look no further for the best mass building exercise. I have had some emails come to me over the last few weeks from people taking issue with what I preach about squats. These people always say that it's too hard an exercise for tall people to perform and that leg presses and hack squats will add the same amount of mass. Well to all these people you are wrong. Those are great excuses for not doing squats and that's the bottom line. If you are tall yes it will be harder for you at first but you will become accustom to performing them.
There are three different ways I like to perform squats: deep squats, partial squats and different stances.
- There is no other exercise I like more than good deep squats. I like to go well below parallel to the floor. By doing deep squats you hit every part of the thigh, even your hammys come into play, a little.
- By doing partial squats I am able to really nail the tear drop of my thigh really well. Partial reps also allow me to use much more weight than I would be able to use if going real deep. I perform partial reps by going only 25% of the way down.
- Using different foot positions allows me to hit each and every part of the thigh. I love using a wide stance to hit the inner part of the thigh really hard (talk about sore the next day, wow). Over the last few months I have really been trying to develop the outer sweep of my thighs more so I use a really close stance and my position my feet so they are pointed inward.
Hack squats - behind squats this is one of my favorite leg movements. This really hits the quads really good. I feel it more in the area around my knee than I do anywhere else. You can use different feet positions, just as the above two exercises, to hit the leg in different areas. These should be performed by going really deep.
Lunges - I really like this movement a lot. Proper form on these is easy. Just lunge forward and let your knee almost touch the ground before pressing back up. This is a great leg shaping movement this one hits just about every head of the leg similar to squats.
Front squats - these are performed by keeping the bar on your chest instead of your shoulders. They hit the front part of the quads great. I recommend that you use a smith machine if you are new to this movement. Having the bar on the front instead of your shoulders does take some getting use to.
Leg extensions - I really don't use these for much more than warming up. I use different feet positions on this as well such as: toes pointed out, toes pointed up and toes pointed in. I see far to often people doing really fast reps and are out of control. This exercise should be performed by going very slow and controlled. I like to warm up with 3 sets of 20-25 reps.
Leg Curls - This hits the hammys of course. Like leg extensions I see way too many people performing these out of control. These should be performed slow and controlled by going all the way up to peak contraction and then going all the way down. Leg curls can be performed either lying or standing doing one leg at a time.
Straight legged deadlifts - For me this has been the best hammy exercise I have ever done. They are performed just like a deadlift but you don't bend your knees. You just raise the weights up and down, like good mornings. This exercise can be done with either dumbbells or with a barbell. Just make sure you get a good stretch at the bottom.
Now there are many more great leg movements you can do but I just wanted to touch the ones I like and use with almost every leg workout. Here are a few different leg workouts that I really like to use and I feel will produce the legs you are looking for.
Work out #1
This workout is pretty much my bread and butter workout. It's basic and gets the job done.
- Leg extensions - 3 sets: 20
- Leg curls - 3 sets: 10, 8, 8
- Straight leg deadlifts - 3 sets: 8
- Squats - 4 sets: 10, 8, 6, 6
- Hack squats - 3 sets: 10, 8, 8
I do this one when I need to change things up a bit. It's crazy, so be warned!!
Warm up thoroughly.
Squats: 20 sets - 20,19,18,17,16 all the way down to 1 rep. Gradually increase the amount of weight used each set. You wont be able to walk for days after this one.
Work out #3
This is a volume training style workout but each set is performed with heavy weight.
- Leg extensions - 2 sets: 8-10 reps
- Squats - 2 sets: 6
- Leg press - 2 sets: 6
- Front squats - 2 sets: 6
- Hack squats - 2 sets: 8
- Lunges - 2 sets: 10
- Leg curls - 2 sets: 10
- Straight leg deadlifts - 2 sets: 8
Well what are you waiting for, get out there and destroy your legs and become Quadzilla!!