As a bodybuilder, you might have thought about why most people don’t have leg development parallel to their upper body?
Leg muscles are hard to grow because you use them more than any other muscle in the body. Due to which hypertrophy can’t be achieved easily.
To grow your legs, they need to be forced to grow. A shredded physique can never be complete without having strong legs.
Table of Contents
- Importance of Training Legs
- Leg Exercises to Engage Your Core Muscles
- Muscles of Leg
- 1. Barbell Squat
- 2. Quads Exercise: Superset
- 3. Hamstring Exercise Superset
- 4. Barbell Hip Thrust
- 5. Calve Raise Exercise
The majority of bodybuilders fear leg day because it requires more time for recovery. As the legs consist of a variety of big muscles, the results also take time as compared to the upper body.
If you think that your leg development is plateaued or you can get that pump after the workout, then here is the best leg workout you need for massive gains.
Importance of Training Legs
Training your legs is a crucial aspect of whole-body fitness. They are an integral part of your overall bodybuilding journey that builds strength, endurance, and stability.
The legs workout supports overall athletic performance as it engages major muscle groups as well as supports the health of organs.
As legs workouts engage the major muscles of the body, they are highly beneficial for boosting testosterone levels. A higher testosterone level is very important for building muscle mass.
Testosterone has a large range of benefits other than increasing muscle growth. A higher testosterone level is needed for strengthening bones and increasing cognitive function.
Leg workouts also stimulate the growth of other hormones such as HGH and endorphins.
These hormones increase the fat metabolism in the body, boosts the immune system, and helps you fight stress.
Burn Extra Calories
It is a rule of thumb that the larger muscle you train, the more calories you will burn.
As you train large muscles of your body, they will require an increased amount of energy for continuing the work.
Legs consist of the largest muscle group in your body. The harder you train them, more will be the energy needed by them.
For providing these increased levels of energy to your body, more calories will be burned.
So, if your goal is fat loss then don’t forget to add some basic exercises for training your legs.
Leg exercises effectively engage your core muscles, especially the single-leg exercises can help you in improving balance and targeting your abs.
Doing a hundred crunches a day or holding a plank for several minutes is not the only way for getting abs. Through compound leg movements, you can develop abs without specifically targeting them.
You must keep the mind-muscle connection with your core if you wish to develop abs from leg exercises.
If you feel the burn in your core after the exercise, it means that you are effectively engaging the core during the leg workout.
Leg Exercises to Engage Your Core Muscles:
Muscles of Leg
To efficiently plan workouts for developing your legs properly first you need to know your legs.
The legs consist of multiple muscles, you only be able to target them if you know what angle and which exercise will hit which muscle of the leg.
Quads: The muscles on the front side of your leg above the knee, work when you extend the knee.
Hamstrings: Muscles on the backside of your leg above the knee, work when you bend your knee.
Glutes: The muscles of your buttocks are worked when you extend the hips.
Calves: The muscles below your knee are called calves, they are worked when you extend your feet.
You can’t just train any specific muscles of your leg for getting fully defined legs, you need to have a variety of leg exercises at the gym.
1. Barbell Squat:
Squats are the fundamental exercise for developing your legs. Anyone in the gym will advise you to do squats if you ask them for exercise for your legs.
The squats engage hamstrings, glutes, and quads all in one go. You can imagine the impact on these muscles by doing squats while holding a heavyweight on your shoulders.
That’s where the barbell squats step in, this is a highly effective compound exercise if you need those massive legs.
How To Do It
Stand hip-width apart and hold the barbell behind the back of your shoulders.
Keep your head up and elbows tucked in.
Bring yourself down by bending your knees to a 90-degree angle.
Make sure that you control the barbell and bring it down in a straight line.
Lift yourself back into the standing position.
Bring yourself down by engaging your core, this will prevent you from swinging.
If you want to lift heavy, go for doing barbell squats on the smith machine.
Reps: 12RM-10RM-8RM-5RM (Increase weight on each set)
2. Quads Exercise: Superset
To overload the stress on your legs, you need to perform supersets. The most prominent feature of your legs is the quads so it’s important to train them hard.
The benefit of doing supersets is that they save time and allow you to increase the intensity of the workout by overloading the muscle.
The superset we will be doing to train quads is leg extension and leg press. The leg extension is an isolation exercise whereas leg press is a compound exercise.
Super setting isolation exercises with compounds can be very effective that’s why we have put this exercise on the list.
2.1 Leg Press
How To Do It
For doing leg press follow these steps:
Load the leg press machine with weight.
Place your feet hip-width in the middle of the deck.
Release the cable from the handgrip.
Bend your knees to lower the deck of the machine.
Push it back by extending your knees.
2.2 Leg Extension
As you complete one set, don’t take a rest and head onto the leg extension machine.
Sit on the lever machine with your feet behind the padded bar.
Lift the weight by raising your legs pushing the padded bar.
Lower the weight back to the starting position.
After doing the leg extension set, take a rest for 1-2 mins.
Don’t lock your knees while doing both exercises.
Keep your back straight, don’t arch it as it will put stress on your lower back.
While doing leg press keep your hands on the handgrip so you can lock it immediately if you can’t lift any heavyweight.
Sets: 3 for each
3. Hamstring Exercise Superset
For doing superset for hamstring, we will be doing weighted Bulgarian split squat combined with machine lying leg curl.
3.1 Machine Leg Curl
How To Do IT
We will start from the machine lying leg curl machine.
Adjust the ankle pad according to your height so that when you lie down, your knees will line up with lever arms.
Lie face down on the machine with your ankles against the pad.
Grip the machine’s handgrip firmly.
Squeeze your hamstrings by bending your knees.
Hold the position for one second and then release slowly.
Complete one set and head on to a bench for doing weighted Bulgarian split squats.
3.2 Bulgarian Split Squat
Hold a dumbbell using both hands
Extend the right leg behind your body and rest your toes on the bench.
Slowly lower your right leg keeping your upper torso straight.
Lift yourself to the starting position.
Do the required reps and repeat for the other leg.
While releasing the lever in the leg curl machine, don’t lock your knees.
Make sure to grasp the handles on the front firmly so that you keep your body safe from jerks.
When doing split squats, engage your core to keep balance.
Reps: 12RM-10RM-8RM (for leg lying machine curl)
12RM-12RM-12RM (for weighted Bulgarian split squats)
4. Barbell Hip Thrust
This exercise is best for developing the shape of your butt. As we have done squats in the beginning and activated the glutes, now it’s time for isolation exercise.
How To Do It
To start, set a barbell with weights and a bench.
Lay your barbell across the front of your hips (on quads)
Rest your upper body on the bench.
Push your lower body up, squeeze your glutes until your upper body and thighs are in a straight line.
Hold this position for one second and feel the squeeze in glutes.
Lower your body and return to starting position.
Reps: 12RM-10RM-8RM-6RM (increase weight after each set)
5. Calve Raise Exercise
The calves may be the small muscles in the legs but they have huge importance. Your calf muscles support the lower limb of your body,
They are responsible to help the knee in bending and lifting your heel, they help you in walking and running.
Other than that, shredded calves just look great when you are wearing shorts.
How To Do It
Stand hip-width on an elevated surface, only your toes should be on it.
Hold dumbbells in both hands.
Lift your body using the toes and squeeze your quads.
Lower your heels and return to the initial position.
Most beginner bodybuilders skip leg days because it’s very tiring and recovery takes time. They think that their legs will be hidden inside the jeans for most of the time so training legs is of no use.
But it is always recommended by professional bodybuilders to train legs at least once a week. You wouldn’t want to have chicken legs with those big biceps and rounded shoulders.
Try this workout and you will feel the pump, try it for 3 weeks and you will see the results. Make sure to train your legs in compression bottoms for better performance.