Don’t make the mistake of shirking leg day to focus on your pecs and biceps instead.
The legs are your key source of power and strength.
Big arms, huge shoulders, wide chest and narrow waist. The classic V-shape. What’s not to love?
However, whilst they may not be as glamorous (or as easy to show off via a tight t-shirt) it’s important that you do not neglect your legs when committing focussed time on the weights.
Always make time to train your legs. They are your strength foundation.
Embrace your leg workouts
If you want to build serious power in the gym, then you cannot afford to scrimp on your legs. It’s as simple as that.
Add to that the fact that most lower body training demands work from other areas of the body like the back and core, and you can see why leg training should be a central part of your strength and conditioning program.
Painful but effective, lunges are a great accompaniment to squats. Vary your stance to work adductors and abductors and use either a loaded bar across your shoulders or dumbbells held by your sides. You can even put one leg up behind you on a bench.
Deadlifting works the hamstrings, back, glutes and entire posterior chain, leading to better posture, stronger legs and increased lower body power. Try a variety of deadlifts like sumo, straight-legged and Romanian.
Best performed with a free bar or Olympic bar, squats are undeniably one of the best ways to build strength, size and leanness in the legs.
Load the weight up and go deep: the deeper you squat, the more you’ll engage your glutes. There’s nothing like the sight of an athlete performing heavy squats with perfect technique.
The leg press machine gives you the chance to get a deep range of movement whilst staying in control. You can also use the leg press machine to work your calves by hanging your heels off the bottom edge of the plate.
Vary the width of your stance to hit your legs from all angles.
there are various ways to hit your hamstrings (get an experienced lifting coach to show you how to perform a ‘good morning‘ with great technique and you’ll soon feel those hamstrings switch on!) and most gyms have a ham curl machine.
Make sure you’re set up and aligned properly then you’re good to go. Try pulsing at the top of the movement for a little extra work.
Often used in partnership with the ham curl (try supersetting the pair of exercises), this machine is great for quadricep development.
Just don’t use the machines exclusively. Always include free weights and the big lifts which use the Olympic bar (unless you have an injury or another physical reason not to).
Supplements to consider
Training your legs is hard work and demands a lot from your body, so make sure you remain ‘protein positive’ at all times.
Look for supplements that release protein gradually over a long period of time to feed muscles the essential amino acids they need to grow.
Also consider taking creatine daily to give yourself more explosive power for better workouts, enabling you to push through that final set.
In addition, for really hard, full looking glutes, quads and hamstrings, consider a nitric oxide booster like this one, which boosts levels of nitric oxide in your body naturally, causing lasting muscle pump.
Do not however, under any circumstances, take part in the current craze for dry scooping your supplement intake. This practice is inherently dangerous and could leave you with serious health issues.
If you struggle to put on muscle then supplements are a part of the solution for gaining mass. Read our analysis of how to recognise if you’re a ‘hard gainer’ and what to do about it.
And for an interesting read into what a serious weight trainer takes as supplements this is worth the time.