Believe it or not, the legs make up for most of the muscle mass in your body. The legs are very important for overall strength and don’t even call yourself a real lifter if you skip leg days. You would be surprised, but many people actually skip leg days or they just don’ t attack their legs with the same intensity as their arms. There are hundreds of ways to build bigger and stronger legs, but today I will be showing you one that has been working well for me.
HIT YOUR LEGS WITH A VARIETY OF REP RANGES TO TAKE YOUR LEGS TO THE NEXT LEVEL.
Many people have leg programs that look like this:
Back squats 5×5
Romanian Deadlift 3×8
Leg press 3×10
Hamstring curls 3×12
Back extensions 3×12
The program above is good, but if you want to take your leg training to the next level then try hitting your legs with different rep ranges. This is a routine that I have been doing lately and I’m gaining some size.
Front squats 5×5
Romanian Deadlifts 3×8 + Hamstring curls
Bulgarian split squats 3×12
Leg Press 3×20 + Weighted Back extensions (Glute emphasis) 3×20
Belt squats 2x failure
Belt squats are a great exercise that take your lower back out of the equation, this is one of the few exercises where going to failure doesn’t have much of a risk. Although I like to do these for 20+ reps at the end of a workout.
As you can see with my program above, I hit many of the different muscle fibers for the legs. I got my low rep strength work first with the front squat. I got my medium rep work for hamstrings and higher rep hamstring work afterwards. The hamstring curls are also good for getting more blood into my hamstrings so that I feel them more when I do my RDL’S. Single leg work is also important for lower body programs because it doesn’t load the spine that much and it fixes some imbalances from leg to leg. I like to do single leg work for 8-12 reps, no more and no less. Going too heavy on single leg work could aggravate the knees and single leg work for reps that are too high could result in losing balance so I like to stick in the 8-12 range for Bulgarian Split Squats. Some people hate on the leg press because they say that it’s not a functional exercise, I don’t necessarily agree with that, but that’s another article altogether.
Leg presses are a great tool for people trying to increase leg size and strength. Some people like to do it for lower reps, but I personally see better results when I do 15-20 reps on the Leg Press. The back extensions are great for higher reps too, I like to do these with a glute emphasis and drive up with my glutes, the pump is incredible, these work the lower back too.
Last but not least I will finish with some belt squats, I don’t always do because usually I am too exhausted and drained at the end of the workout, but I am starting to incorporate them more and more. Belt squats are especially good if you are rehabbing a lower back injury and still want to hit the lower body with intensity. If you don’t have access to a belt or a belt squat machine, then you can skip them altogether or grab a dumbbell and do goblet squats for high reps, try it out for yourself and let me know what you think. The quadriceps have many fast and slow twitch fibers and many people get great results from doing low reps and other get good results from high or moderate reps. See what works for you, I personally like hitting my legs with different rep ranges to ensure that I hit all of the muscle fibers. Getting stronger in different rep ranges could also help you break plateaus.