Insane Leg Workout for Explosive Growth
We’ve all seen that guy at the gym: His arms are huge, his chest is barrel-sized, and his back is like a brick wall. This peak of perfection of the upper body is supported by a disproportional-sized lower body that looks like it could cave in at any moment. Chicken legs are every guy’s nightmare, and long gone are the days when you could get away with big biceps. Now it’s all about proportion and people are quicker to notice those chicken legs than how shredded your arms are.
If you want to bulk up those legs, we have the perfect recipe. Let’s take a look at the muscles to focus on, the best exercises for size, and an insane workout that’s sure to spark growth.
Target These Muscles for Growth
Before we jump into how to make your legs grow, it’s important to discuss the actual muscles you’ll need to focus on. This will help you develop a mind to muscle connection, which is essential for proper activation and growth.
Quadriceps: There are four heads, or sections, to the quadricep muscles located on the front of your legs, and they are all critical for performing basic walking, jogging, or running movements.
Hamstrings: Found on the back of your thigh, the hamstrings are the counterparts to the quadriceps, supporting walking and running, and leveling the workload.
Calves: The first thing people notice when you wear shorts, the calves are on the back of the lower leg. They are divided into two sections: the large gastrocnemius, and the soleus, which is located beneath the gastrocnemius.
Hip Adductors: These are the muscles located on in the inside of the thighs close to the groin.
Hip Abductors: Can you guess where these are? The hip abductors are the counterparts to hip adductors, located on the outside of the thighs, next to your butt.
Glutes: Your butt muscles complete the puzzle pieces of muscles you need to focus on if you want to develop giant tree-trunk legs.
Best Exercises for Every Muscle in Your Legs
Now that you’re familiar with the muscles you need to activate, it’s time to learn about the best exercises to inspire growth.
Quadriceps - Front Squats and Leg Extensions: In order to activate all four heads, you’ll want to divide and conquer by using both a compound exercise and an isolation exercise. Front squats have been shown to trigger greater quadricep activation than back squats along with the hamstrings, calves, and glutes. Not to mention, they don’t put your back in danger.
Leg extensions isolate the quadricep muscles, and you can point your toes in different directions to emphasize the different sections of the quads.
Hamstrings - Romanian Deadlifts: If you want true size in your hamstrings, Romanian deadlifts will help you get there. They are a hip-hinge movement that place an incredible amount of tension on to the hamstring muscles.
Calves - Seated Calf Raise: You need full extension and contraction with calves (because they’re so damn stubborn), and the best way to do this is with extended isometric pauses during the seated calf raise.
Hip Adductors - Cable Leg Swing: It’s all about balance. You can’t focus on the front and back of your legs and expect the proportional size and shape that you are looking for. What’s more, neglecting the full range of leg musculature will increase your risk for over-compensation, which boosts your chances for injury.
With that said, you’ll want to work those hips. Let’s first focus on the inside of the hips with the cable leg swing. Not only will this help to increase size, but it will also improve performance in other exercises especially the squat and Romanian deadlift.
Hip Abductor - Seated Knee Push: Let’s move to the outside of the hips. The seated knee press or knee push is a great way to use a progressive overload technique to really strengthen and reinforce the musculature around the thighs.
Glutes - Cable Pull Through: Donkey kicks are great to work the glutes, but we prefer developing a strong hip-hinge movement for functional purposes. The cable pull through helps to build up those glutes while reinforcing the muscles needed for compound movements like the back or sumo squat.
Insane Leg Workout for Tree Trunk Legs
You’re locked and loaded with the exercises you need to see growth. What about the number of sets, repetitions, and times per week? No worries – We have you covered.
Acute Variables: A periodization program works best when it comes to promoting size and strength. We would recommend spending one week on each of the following cycles (Endurance, Hypertrophy, and Strength), then starting again from the endurance cycle.
- Sets: 2 to 4 sets
- Repetitions: 12 to 15 repetitions
- Tempo: 3 seconds lifting the weight / 1 second pausing at the top of the movement / 2 seconds lowering the weight
- Resistance load: 50% to 65% of your one-repetition maximum (The greatest amount of weight that you can lift one time with perfect form.)
- Rest Period: 90 seconds of rest
- Sets: 2 to 4 sets
- Repetitions: 8 to 12 repetitions
- Tempo: 2 / 0 / 2
- Resistance load: 65% to 75% 1RM
- Rest Period: 60 to 90 seconds of rest
- Sets: 3 to 5 sets
- Repetitions: 4 to 7 repetitions
- Tempo: 1 / 1 / 3
- Resistance load: 75% to 90% 1RM
- Rest Period: 2 to 3 minutes of rest
Exercise List: Now, let’s put all of this together to give you the insane workout for growth. Here’s an example of your workouts during the endurance cycle.
Front Squats: 3 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions
Leg Extensions: 2 x 12-15
Romanian Deadlifts: 3 x 12-15
Seated Calf Raise: 3 x 12-15
Cable Leg Swing: 2 x 12-15
Seated Knee Push: 2 x 12-15
Cable Pull Through: 3 x 12-15
Times Per Week: Complete this workout twice per week.
What Is Your Most Stubborn Leg Muscle?
Do your calves refuse to grow? Are your quads still looking more like chicken legs? What leg muscle are you most eager to bulk up? Let us know in the comments below!