Leg day, some people love it but many hate it! Unfortunately many people neglect building leg muscles because they think it’s going to hurt and prevent them from walking for a few days after. However if you want good all round muscle balance then building bigger legs is essential!
I also used to fear leg day until I committed myself to building a good all round muscular physique, and strong legs and good glutes became a must! The thing is once you actually start to build up your leg muscles you begin to enjoy leg day, it’s satisfying seeing your legs grow, filling out a pair of jeans and actually looking good in a pair of shorts!
I now actually look forward to my leg workout because it’s the most intense workout of the week and probably the most beneficial in terms of calorie burning, metabolism improvement and muscle growth!
This is the True Health Diary leg workout and our 6 best exercises to build bigger legs:
- Leg Press – we aim to get the biggest heaviest workout out of the way first, so leg press (preferably vertical leg press) is best to load up the weight. We start on a low weight to begin with to warm up, then adding weight each time for a total of 5 sets and 8-10 reps. Although we’re going for big weight here we still want good form so be careful not to loud it up too much. Another thing to be careful is with leg press is locking your legs after each rep – DO NOT DO THIS. We’ve seen some horrific videos circulating online of injuries occurring because of this, so please just aim for good form and don’t do yourself any damage.
- Squats – squats have become famous recently due to the popularity of building bigger legs, but many people are simply doing them wrong! Many people try to build big legs by loading up as much weight on their squats as possible which is nowhere near as effective for targeting the muscles that matter! A good squat will target your quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves as well as your core. We aim for 5 sets and 8-10 reps, with the first 4 building up the weight and the final set at a lower weight and higher reps as a finisher!
- Quadricep Extension – Now that the big exercises are out of the way, it’s time for a more focused targeted exercise to build the quads. At this point we’re feeling the effects of the leg press and squats so this isn’t focused on big weights, we’re aiming for medium weight, 3 sets at 8-10 reps.
- Hamstring Curls – another targeted exercise, this time focusing on building the hamstrings. Again, we aren’t aiming for big weights here because we’ve already gone heavy, so a medium weight aiming for 8-10 reps and 3 sets.
- Calf Raises – the final targeted exercise focuses on calves. The other exercises will still have worked them but its always good to throw in some targeted exercises to build better calf muscles. You can use a calf raise machine or we often use the leg press machine – use a medium weight and 14-16 reps of 3 sets.
So these are the main exercises to build bigger legs, and if done right with the right intensity you should really be feeling it right now. If you’re really looking for an intense leg workout to build bigger leg muscles then it’s always good to throw in a finisher.
This leg workout finisher is what makes my leg workouts so intense and have helped build good shape and size over the last 2 years. So for the finisher, head over to the workout mats to give yourself a bit of space.
- Sandbag Squats – we take a heavy sandbag of around 25kg and perform 12 front squats, focusing on good form going deep to really work your glutes, hamstrings and quads. Repeat 3 times but in between each set of squats, perform the following:
- Walking lunges with weights – take an appropriate weight, anywhere between 10kg and 20kg and perform walking lunges (we do this for the length of the floor space, so about 30 feet each way). We perform 3 sets after each set of sandbag squats.
- Repeat without weights – the final part of the finisher is to repeat the above but without the sandbag and weights, at this point your legs will feel like they’re on fire and there are few more effective ways to finish a leg workout and build your leg muscles!
So that was our leg workout and the best exercises to build big strong legs! If you’re used to hitting the gym and working out your legs then by glancing at these exercises you probably don’t think there’s actually that much to it. You’re partly right. End of the day there are only so many exercises you can do to build bigger legs, and most of it comes down to form and intensity.
If you do these exercises but only do it half heartedly and not really push yourself then like anything in life you’ll get mediocre results. However done correctly you’ll know you’ve worked hard because you’re legs will be in pieces by the end of the finisher!
If you’re trying to build bigger legs then there are other factors you need to consider. You can’t let your workouts stagnate, that means mixing your workouts up each week to keep your muscles guessing, so vary your routine! Another factor is of course nutrition, like any other muscles you can’t expect to get bigger legs if you aren’t eating the right foods, so nutrition plays a huge part, and make sure you get some rest – you’ll need it!