Who wants to be the guy at the gym that “skips leg day”? I can tell you who – nobody. No one wants to be embarrassed to take their sweats off in the heat of the summer because they’re afraid to reveal those chicken legs for wheels. This workout will not only be intense but it was reveal many weak areas within your leg workout regimen and cure those faults so you can get your legs to grow.
Exercise #1: Front Squat
People everyday throw on 315 onto the bar during a normal set of squats, use about a 30% range of motion and think they’re really something special. Wrong. There’s a happy medium between going to deep and not going deep enough. There’s also something said to those who have great balance and core strength to front squat a significant amount of weight, correctly. Front squatting incorporates the upper back, posterior chain, core as well as forcing the lower portions of the quads to do a majority of the work- the weak link in a lot of legs.
- Begin exercise by un-racking the bar in front rack position with the elbows high and the bar resting on your front delts
- Slowly lower the weight down ensuring that you are leading with the hips/glutes and not the back
- Force the knees out throughout the movement and then press back up to the top when just below 90 degrees
Sets and Reps: 4 x 10-12 (4 second negatives)
Top Tip: Keeping the weight and elbows high will help you to keep the tension on the legs rather than straining the lower back when pressing back up to the top of the lift.
Exercise #2: Glute-Ham Raises
This exercise may be a little gym-class to you but trust me, when done correctly this wreaks havoc on your glutes and hamstrings. This is a great way to get the glutes and hamstrings to fire correctly and to establish a strong mind-muscle connection without worrying about raising and lowering massive amounts of weight. Getting the two to coincide will translate to better abilities to run and jump as well.
- Start with your back on the floor with your lower legs resting on an exercise ball
- Press yourself up to where just your heels and upper back are touching the ball and ground
- Pike yourself up and contract the glutes/hamstrings to pull the ball up underneath you as much as possible
- Pause for a 2 second hold then slowly roll the ball back out and repeat
Sets and Reps: 4 x 15-20 (3 second negative)
Exercise #3: Single Leg Deadlifts with Barbell
This is not something you should try for the first time with the bar loaded up with your deadlift max. It will require extreme balance and coordination and great hamstring strength. Keep the form really strict on these or you’ll wind up on the floor with the weight on top of you and your gym partner just shaking his head!
- Start with about 30% of your normal deadlifting weight on a standard barbell
- Raise right leg back up behind you as you keep left leg straight and lower the weight to the ground
- Activate the hamstrings and glute to fire the weight back up to the top and alternate reps with the other leg as well
Sets and Reps: 3 x 12 (6 each leg)
Top Tip: If you find the barbell is too difficult for you, try using a light set of dumbbells to start with and get your balance down correctly.
Exercise #4: GIANT SET (Leg Press, Sissy Squats, Calf Raise 21’s)
Now that we’ve got all the easy lifts done in this leg workout, the fun giant set at the end is upon us! We’ve already smoked our hamstrings with two separate exercise so this will incorporate slow negative leg presses, sissy squats with just your bodyweight and calf raise 21’s where you’ll be hitting your calves from 3 different angles all in just one set! Hang in there and push yourself to the limit on this last go around of lifts.
- Start out with conventional leg press machine by slowly lowering the weight for a 4 second negative then return to the top
- Hop directly into the sissy squats where you’ll be up on your toes and forcing the knees over the toes just a bit to force the blood into the lower portion of the quad without injuring the joint from excess weight
- After annihilating the quads it’s time for the calf raise 21’s where you’ll perform 7 reps with your toes pointing straight, 7 reps with your toes pointing out and 7 reps with the toes pointing in.
Sets and Reps: 3 x 12-15 on leg presses and sissy squats and 3 x 21 on calf raises
Although your legs won’t grow overnight and are not where you want them to be right now, you have to start somewhere. Maybe incorporating more than 1 leg day per week (or month for some of you newbies) can help lead to greater muscle gains in a shorter time period with adequate nutrition and supplementation. Whatever your fitness goal, don’t be afraid of hitting your legs hard and correctly to achieve an overall balanced physique.