Lemme tell ya…
Of all the muscle groups in the body, legs are the group that a lot of guys just downright refuse to work.
Most guys just love to work upper body, particularly arms…
But so many neglect legs- maybe ’cause working legs HURTS.
(Damned if my knees aren’t burning and screamin most of the time…… )
That’s why you see so many unbalanced physiques….
………….. mooks with big upper bodies and lil bird legs.
Guys struttin around the gym looking like Purdue chickens, all breast meat.
Ok… well, that may not be the ONLY reason…..
Genetics plays a part, but genetics can be partially overcome with the proper work, diet, supplementation, and rest.
In the end, one must apply heavy force, while protecting the joints, if you want to strengthen and grow your legs and calves.
Form is vital –
’cause your joints take all the weight that isn’t properly balanced and folcumed.
But take heart.
You can love working legs. I promise.
I do – even though my knees hate me most of the week because of it.
Working legs separates the men from the boys…
And working heavy separates the strong from the wanna-look-strong.
‘Cause there’s no faking legs.
I always say – “If you’re scared- say you’re scared.”
The truth is, a lot of guys are scared of working legs heavy…
But, actually, your legs and calves are the strongest groups in your body-
they’re meant to take heavier weight than the rest of your body.
Of course, when you work legs, you’re working several other groups usually, too…
But the ones we’ll concern ourselves with in this discussion will be CALVES (soleus, etc), THIGHS (quads, etc), and BUTTS (gluteus, etc.)
No guy wants to admit to working his butt, but your butt (…Wait, am I stuttering?) is part of the whole leg package –
……. and strength here will help drive heavier deadlifts and other lifts, too.
Baby may got back, but you – – well, you want POWAH.
And you ain’t strong- unless your legs, butt, and calves are strong……
You gotta be able to put the power to the ground.
Before we discuss implements and movements, lemme tell you a couple things that you might want to consider.
Number One is the use of knee wraps.
I use them every time I work legs.
They are NOT a crutch.
They are NOT weight bearing.
They do NOT ‘cheat the weight’ (like a bench suit, etc.).
They simply provide support for the patella (knee cap) and the surrounding ligaments and tendons.
You don’t need to stress those bad boys to build powerful legs – if you do, you won’t be able to put the power to the ground when you need to.
And, no power to the ground means you might as well have them bird legs we were talking about.
Number Two is about how much weight you should use when working legs.
Remembering that I don’t want any of you burning out your wheels or blowing out your knees, and reminding you of my disclaimer at the bottom of this here post, I can tell you that the harder you work em, the bigger and stronger they’ll get.
Growth is nature’s way of coping with a recurring stressor of muscle fiber – especially those fast twitch fibers — and fast twitch fibers respond particularly well to short duration, high intensity work.
The wrong way to grow legs is to do high reps and low weight…. and that’s how most guys work em.
No wonder they won’t grow.
You’ll end with legs that look long and lean in running shorts, but them dogs won’t hunt.
So, how much weight?
Depending on the implement or movement, around 75% of 1RM for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
Number Three is knowing the difference between good pain and bad pain.
Good pain feels like pain, but you’ve gotten to know it as temporary , as a result of the pump, and the build up of lactic acid and ammonia from the application of force.
You should feel THIS pain every time you work out.
If you don’t , get the hell back in there and work some more.
Bad pain feels like pain, too… but it also feels like you’re tearing something up…. you know- like the difference between the usual grunt and growl of your V-Twin and the noise it makes when the damn thing is about to throw a rod.
You gotta learn the difference.
You do that the same way you learn to lift heavier weights.
You start slow, you pay attention to what it’s supposed to feel like, and then you build up… all the time asking yourself if you’re doing it right and everything’s still OK.
Again, high resistance , low reps…. rest about 3 minutes between sets.
You should need the rest – and you shouldn’t have much left after your 8 or 10- if you do, throw some more weight on that thing.
Slow and easy on the reps…. don’t ‘lock out’, and never go in the well unless you know how you’re getting out again… better yet, stay outta there.
It’s too rough on your joints for so little return.
Number Four: Blocking is an important technique especially when squatting.
Basically, this means sucking in some air, pushing your chest out, your shoulder in, and flexing your abdominals.
This supports your internal structure, and gives you more stability and concentration of power.
Here’s how Delavier describes it:
” The chest expands with compressed air, which supports the rib cage and prevents the chest from collapsing forward.
Contracting the abdominal muscles during compression supports the core and increases the intra-abdominal pressure, which prevents the torso from collapsing forward.
Arching the lower back by contracting the lumbar muscles positions the spinal column in a strong and proper alignment during extension. “
——————————————(Frederic Delavier, “Strength Training Anatomy”)
and Number Five:
I’m not gonna go back over all the stuff you need to know about how important your hormone levels and proper supplementation is to your gains… see my posts on supplementation for more info….
—- the proper diet, supplements, and rest —
are just as important as working hard!!
Now…. on to brass tacks.
Movements and Implements
Works all parts of the quadriceps and gluteus. I like to use the Smith Machine, and position the bar between the traps and the posterior delt – you may be more comfortable with the bar resting on the traps. Stay outta the well. When your quads are parallel to the ground, that’s plenty good. Don’t flex your spine during your squat, and remember your natural arch and blocking. Breathe in before going down, breathe out coming up.
Works most of your thigh muscles and your erectors in your back, as well as your gluteus. You can target your hammies by keeping your legs straight. Don’t do these while incarcerated or at the beach in Key West.
Works all parts of the quadriceps and gluteus. Make sure you keep your back flat to the pad, and your butt on the seat. You can change up where you place your feet, and how far apart they are, to target more specific groups… for instance, high and wide hits the glutes and hammies harder… low and close hits the quads harder. Vary it up and see which spots are the sweet ones fer you.
Works the glutes and the bicep femoris. Don’t extend any further back than is comfortable. Slow movement back and forward is the key here.
Works all parts of the quads. Decline the seat more to work the outside quad (the rectus femoris).
Works the hammies, biceps femoris (no- not the biceps in your arm…) and the gastrocnemius (back of your calves). Go to 12 oclock and stop- don’t bounce – and then back down.
Works the hammies, abductors, and your G-Spot if you got one. I hate these, and I don’t do em. If you want to, be sure to keep your natural arch and don’t go too heavy. They’re great for building inner thigh strength- just in case you’re a female assasin and meet James Bond in the shower.
Works the gastrocnemius and the soleus in your calves. I love these, and do them on a Smith Machine so I can get more range of motion. Don’t be afraid to go heavier!!
Works the soleus… keep your patella at the end of the pad, and don’t go ape shit on the weight here… that’s a small group.
Works the quads, hams and glutes. Ok… I hate these too,,,, and I’ll usually do more squats and skip these for the sake of my knees. However, Ronnie Coleman loves them, he used to go very heavy on em… and he’s not exactly a small guy, legs or anything else. He used to do these in the parking lot of the Metroflex Gym in Dallas, rain or shine, hot, hotter, or hottest- with 400 pounds of chains around his neck. Step longer to get the hammies, shorter to hit the quads.
Well, there you have it.
This leg split you can do once or twice a week, and you’ll start seeing results in 6 to 8 weeks.
Don’t be tempted to break these up into separate days, cause that’ll cut into your rest and recovery, and these groups need it.
Just pick the ones you like the best (spread the groups around, though, and stick with your push-pull rotation when possible) and do them first, then pickup the rest as your endurance allows.
And, Hey — lemme know how you’re doing !!!
Disclaimer: any and all commentary contain herein is for entertainment only, and does not constitute advice- which can only be given under the up-close and personal supervision of a personal trainer who can watch you closely to make sure you’re doing the stuff right and not hurting yourself. see your medical professional before entertaining any ideas of using the entertainment contained within this entertainment for your own entertainment. Yeah, and tell him I said ‘hey’.