How to Get Big Legs – Most guys at some point, start to want big legs as well as a big upper body. There is a moment where most guys realize a developed set of wheels says more about hard work than biceps ever can. The question is though, how to get them? What exercises do I need to do, and how heavy should I go? How often do I need to train legs? Should I be sore after training legs?
In this article, I will give my thoughts on a few of those questions and can let you know what has worked for me, and what I have used to get results with some of my clients. I can say in short summary that there is no one size fits all approach to successful leg training and that it is about finding out what works best for you.
How heavy do I need to train? – If you are just starting out or coming back after a layoff, then I suggest starting light with movements which will allow you to master form.
The reason for this is that typically if you go heavy on a movement you haven’t performed or done for a while, your body will do it the best way it knows how regardless of how good the form is. This means you increase your risk of injury greatly and are unlikely to actually efficiently hit the muscles you want to train.
This can be seen in many examples of guys just trying to lift the heaviest weight they can and undoubtedly placing their joints, tendons, and ligaments under alot of strain.
This video demonstrates what not to do when performing a deadlift, which can be a great exercise for developing the leg and back when performed correctly, but unfortunately here, is placing the poor chap under a high risk of serious injury.
Don’t be this guy unless you want to recover from horribly herniated lower back disks. Instead, start with a weight you can control, and then practice feeling the muscles you are trying to work and mastering the technique. Correct technique is far more important for building muscle than lifting the heaviest weight any way you can. Correct technique is how you apply force to the right parts of your body, and, this will help you progress the fastest.
By the way, this video me and my friend Alex Hooper created will show you alot more about correct exercise technique in the deadlift.
What Routine Should I Do?
One of the other biggest mistakes you can make if you are starting out is trying to perform a routine suggested by advanced bodybuilders – For Example
5×20 leg presses
2×15 leg extensions/leg curls
3×30 calf raises
This may seem simple enough of a workout to complete, the problem is that the body has to learn how to handle and recover from this amount of work. If you jump in at the deep end, it’s likely that you’ll be sore for a week, or worse, pick up a serious injury. My tip – Don’t be this guy.
I suggest picking a routine with a low amount of total work for the legs to begin per workout.
One good example I benefitted from in my early years of training was the Strong Lifts 5×5 program. Another example is a beginner program I include in this article.
I suggest getting a good coach to show you the lifts to make sure your form is spot when learning new exercises.
What Exercises Do I Need To Do? – Effective leg training is about finding the exercise variations that suit your frame best. Take squats as an example. Some people will find this a great exercise for leg development and can easily feel their quads working, whereas others may find, due to individual leverages, that the squat activates the lower back more than the legs. With this in mind, it’s important to understand not all exercises are created equal for everybody. Find the exercises that you feel that best activate your leg muscles.
Whether it’s a squat, step up, leg press, or a deadlift variation that suits your body best, find what works best for you to hit the muscles you want to contract, and then spend time getting stronger in that movement.
I recommend you to find your own best exercises that work best for your frame.
How Deep Should I Go When Squatting – Experiment with the range of motion when it comes to leg training. Many people are told they have poor mobility because they cannot squat to parallel or below (the point where the hip is level or below the knees), however, in my opinion, this is straight up nonsense. The idea of a squat having to hit ‘depth’ was borrowed from the sport of powerlifting, whereby they needed an objective way to judge whether a squat is good or not. If it goes above parallel then it is judged a bad squat, below parallel and it is good.
Due to the influence powerlifting has had in the fitness industry, many coaches are forcing clients to go below parallel in squats, whether or not that is an appropriate or safe depth for clients to squat or not.
One thing that massively influences the ease at which you can hit parallel in a squat is how long your femur is (upper leg bone). The longer the length of your femur relative to the rest of your body, the harder a time you will have hitting ‘depth’ in a squat, this is because you will have to fold nearly in half to get your hips below your knees. At the point you start to drive back up, you have to activate your lower back massively to get out of the bottom compared to a shorter femured athlete you can maintain a far more upright back angle out the bottom of a squat.
So if you are an athlete with long femurs, then instead of focusing on going all the way down on a squat, and folding in half like an accordion, experiment with the range of motion where you get the best quality leg contraction.
Not squatting as low as you can, might be in your best interests if you want to maximize leg development.
In this video, I run through a few of these points.
How Often Should I Train Legs? – When it comes to leg training frequency, I recommend erring on the conservative side and doing a level of work you can recover from before your next workout so you can slightly increase the load, reps or total sets you did last time.
This might mean training legs once per week and to begin with four or five sets total. Over time your recovery abilities should improve and you can increase the frequency of your training. Personally, I like to train legs 2x per week. Once with heavy loads, and once with lighter, higher rep sets. I find this gives me the combination of size and strength I like
Should I Be Sore After Training Legs? – Soreness is not an indicator of progress, but getting stronger is, or improving form is. Also, ironically, recovery speed is an indicator of progress. The less sore you are following the days after a workout often is means the faster you are recovering which means you are more capable of handling greater training loads.
Thanks For Reading/Watching Guys
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