The Secret To Building Huge Legs
The Secret To Building Huge Legs
This article is going to cover in brief detail the steps you should take to maximize your leg training sessions to ensure maximum hypertrophy.
A lot of people struggle with bringing up their legs, and I too have struggled with this in my eternal quest for the “Greek God” physique.
There was definitely a lot of learning about my body, as well as about training before I was able to find a method that worked as great as the one I currently use now which has substantially helped increase the muscular development of my legs, and now I finally have a set of wheels I am proud of.
Over the years, I’ve tried tons of different training styles, and I find I respond the best to this type of leg training specifically.
I’m not going to say this will work best for everyone, but in general I think it is a style of training that will result in a great level of hypertrophy for most (if not everyone) in contrast to opposing theories/methods.
You Don’t Build Big Legs With Big Weights
There is a common myth that “a bigger muscle is a stronger muscle.”
While in some cases this may apply, it certainly isn’t always applicable, otherwise every professional bodybuilder would be able to blow strongmen out of the water in strength in every exercise, but you know as well as I do, this is never the case.
It is rare to see a pro bodybuilder ever put more than 3 or 4 plates max during squats or deadlifts, meanwhile you have strongmen without even close to the same muscular development throwing down 800 pound + lifts.
If you are interested in maximizing the size of your legs specifically, you will want to train them with MODERATE weight, with LOTS of volume and high reps.
Driving blood into the muscle with higher reps (I usually do anywhere between 15-30 reps per set for leg exercises) will stretch the fascia, promoting muscular hypertrophy and maximizing your development.
Granted, you obviously need to be doing an adequate amount of work in the gym and hitting the legs from all angles to achieve this maximum growth, but as a general rule of thumb, low rep ranges with crazy high weights will benefit you far less size wise than the method I mentioned.
All doing low rep squats with stupid amounts of weight did for me was give me tendinitis in my knees and get a few stares from impressed gym bros who would oggle how many plates I had loaded up on the bar.
Keep in mind when you are at the gym, and you see a gorgeous fit girl with a perfect ass and unreal quad sweep and leg development, do you think she’s throwing 4-5 plates on the squat rack to get her legs looking that amazing? No chance!
She got them by doing super light weight (relative to what gym rats consider heavy).
Leave Your Ego At The Door
In my first few years of lifting I used to feel like I had to prove something every time I went to the gym. I was always trying to get stronger each week, and I would get validation from lifting heavy from my friends that made me feel good and made me do some really dumb shit.
By dumb shit I mean lifting WAY heavier than was necessary to grow adequately. When I was 20 years old I would consistently deadlift as high as 550 pounds every single back day, and squat as high as 500 pounds on every single leg day.
My rep ranges would be as low as 4 reps, and sometimes even maxing out with 1 rep, and I risked injury every single time I did those lifts. I got lucky and the only notable injury I ever had as a result of training like a moron for a couple years straight is persistent knee tendonitis (which I still have to this day).
I changed my training style once I was finally able to accept that I am at the gym to make my body as aesthetic as possible to WOMEN, not to impress the local bodybuilders and my friends with feats of strength.
After finally being able to leave my ego at the door, which is harder than it seems for some people to do, I stopped getting training related injuries completely, and my muscular development actually improved at a quicker rate.
Here’s a picture of my legs on the left when I would squat 400-500 pounds each leg day, and then to the right of that here’s a picture of my legs now. Guess how much I squat now? 225 pounds.
Yup, only 2 pizzas on the squat rack, I must be a pussy. At least that’s what I would’ve said a few years ago.
Not only will lifting with moderate weight encourage hypertrophy, it will drastically reduce your chance of injury, which in itself is obviously a huge obstacle to physique development.
Not to mention, if you lift heavy your whole life, you will likely encounter longevity issues and eventually not even be able to train properly because of all of the nagging injuries you may have to deal with down the line in a couple decades from irresponsible lifting in your youth.
Lift Weights Only Heavy Enough So That It Won’t Negatively Impact Your Form
This is self-explanatory. If your form is compromised by the weight in any capacity, you aren’t breaking down the muscle adequately while minimizing the chance of injury. Only lift heavy enough that you can still complete your set with good form.
If you want to go work through failure on an exercise, get a spotter to help assist you, DO NOT alter your form to allow yourself to get a few shitty cheat reps out that could very well injure you and take you out of commission.
The reason bodybuilders seem to lift so light in real life isn’t because they’re so hopped up on drugs they can be lazy, it’s because they contract and squeeze the hell out of the muscle each rep to ensure they still get maximum hypertrophy, while eliminating the chance of getting a career ending injury.
If a pro bodybuilder tears his chest doing a 5 plate bench press max-out, there goes his income out the window.
Simply not worth it.
Usually the only time a pro bodybuilder will lift heavy is for the cameras if he needs to make a training video or a fan video for furthering his career.
Train Legs Twice Per Week
While this isn’t necessarily something I encourage for everyone per say, because some people simply train hard as fuck and some guys simply don’t.
If you don’t go balls to the wall during your weekly leg day, hitting your quads, hamstrings and calves from all angles and completely wreck yourself to the point where you can barely walk back to your car after your workout, you would probably benefit from two leg days per week if they are a weak point for you.
I would recommend either doing the first leg day as a heavier leg day (obviously still keep the weight reasonable as mentioned above), and the second leg day would be more of a light weight cardiovascular style leg day (even higher rep with a focus on driving a ridiculous amount of blood into the muscle) doing exercises you neglected to do on your first leg day.
If you opt for two legs days per week, make sure you at least have a few days between them, and don’t train a big supporting body part the day before either of them like back.
This will only hinder the recovery of your legs and impede their growth if you don’t spread out the workouts adequately.
Another method that I recommend is having one day a week dedicated to quads, and another day in the week dedicated to hamstrings and calves.
It’s technically doing “legs” twice per week, but you can put more of a focused effort into each individual part of the leg on the separate days, and hit them harder by themselves.
I personally find that after I do squats or leg press my hamstrings tend to get pretty tired so I am not able to train them with as much intensity as I would be able to if I did a separate day later in the week dedicated to them.
Once I started splitting them up I noticed much more growth in my hamstrings, which was definitely a weak point for me.
If you are training legs hard twice per week, make sure you take a rest day at some point each week.
Legs are a huge body part, and demand a very intense level of focus, energy, and effort to sufficiently complete each work out. Consequently, training them balls to the wall takes a toll on your Central Nervous System, and I definitely encourage you to take a full rest day each week.
Wear A Weight Belt
There are some people that actually believe you’re a pussy if you use a weight belt because you’re not lifting the weight “raw.” I could care less about if I’m lifting the weight “raw” or not, and frankly I find it kind of ridiculous that someone would put themselves at risk of injury simply so they can feel like they are more masculine than someone who uses a belt.
I’m not going to make a myriad of points as to why you should use a belt too or why it’s stupid to not use one, but I’ll tell you this. With a heavy weight on your back, a belt will drastically reduce your chance of an orthopedic injury by reducing stress on the spine and creating better body biomechanics (no brainer already in my opinion), and it will also improve your lifting performance.
I remember reading research conducted by Weider Research Group to actually determine if it increases performance or not and they found that on average, every person who participated could squat 10 pounds heavier while wearing a weight belt than they could without it.
The study was done on 12 trainers who had at least 5 years experience of squatting.
Research has also shown that wearing a lifting belt during squats increases the level of muscle activation in the quads and hamstrings, consequently promoting better muscle growth.
There are a million belts out there, this is the one I use and it works well for me and has lasted several years.
Its’ price is decent in comparison to most other high quality belts and it is higher quality than most belts too.
I probably am not in a wheelchair thanks to this thing (you will see what I mean when I upload a few of my old 500-600 pound Deadlift videos to future article publications). If you want to check it out or order it for yourself I linked it HERE for you.
Tweak Your Diet On Leg Day Accordingly
Depending on how your diet is, you can likely allocate your macros differently on leg days to increase your recovery and performance.
By this I mean, allocating days of higher energy or carbohydrate usage to your leg days on purpose, in order to maximize your opportunity to build your legs up each week.
For example, if you do a carb-cycling diet, this would mean allocating your “high carb” days strategically on your leg days. Or if you do a different style of dieting perhaps you have a cheat day/meal you allow yourself each week, you could allocate this to your leg day.
These little diet tweaks will provide extra benefit for your leg day recovery.
You certainly don’t want to be having your lowest calorie or lowest carb day on the day you are hitting your biggest body part which demands the most nutrients for recovery, that would just be illogical (in my opinion).
To give a real-world example of this, when I was trying to build my legs up I would always ensure my high carb day occurred on leg day. I would also increase my intra-workout carb intake accordingly to expedite my recovery, and encourage maximum growth.
On a day like shoulders or arms I might only have 2 scoops of Intra-MD intra-workout (contains 60 grams highly branched chain cyclic dextrins), but on an intense leg day I would double my intake and drink 4 scoops Intra-MD intra-workout (120 grams HBCD’s) to minimize post-workout soreness, and get my legs recovered as quick as possible so I can hit them a second time that week without being inadequately/only partially recovered.
This product is by no means mandatory; I’m simply explaining how I would go about favoring my weekly macro allotment towards my leg workouts to encourage their continuous progress.
You could do the same process with whatever your diet is comprised of already and simply tinker with your macro percentages to favor your leg workouts each week.
Increase your training frequency (do more leg workouts), leave your ego at the door and train smart with moderate weight, higher reps and perfect form to encourage stretching of muscular fascia for hypertrophy and avoiding injury, adjust your diet accordingly to favor your recovery after your leg day training sessions, and train hard as hell.