Let’s face it, there is now a pandemic of Spongebob lookalikes at the gym, and the main offenders are guys. You know the type: upper body like a greek god and legs like bean poles. Not only does this look ridiculous, but you’re also sacrificing gains by ignoring your legs.

Despite all of these plus points, the majority of people still avoid training legs, or at least training legs to the level to stimulate growth. This is usually for one of two reasons…

1. The Sex Factor

Firstly, there’s the sex factor. Guys tend to focus on those body parts they see and that are on show year round, so the onus is usually on chest, arms, and to a lesser extent shoulders and back, with legs being lowest priority if not forgotten altogether.

2. The Fear Factor

Secondly, there’s the fear factor. Real leg training – the type that stimulates improvements in strength and size – is not most people’s idea of fun. Real leg training will leave you light-headed whenever you re-rack the bar or drop the dumbbells at the end of a set. If an arm pump is armageddon, then leg day lethargy is more like the end of the universe!

However, leg training leads to benefits beyond just increasing leg size and definition:

  • Build more muscle overall: training your lower body elicits a significant anabolic response by boosting natural testosterone levels. More testosterone means more muscle, and this applies to both upper and lower body.
  • Improved athleticism: almost all sports, not just track and field, rely heavily on your legs for speed, power and performance. Stronger glutes, hamstrings and quads will result in stronger performances on the playing field, in the dojo or on the track.
  • Sex appeal: out of proportion body parts, and especially legs, are not a turn on whether it’s on a guy or a girl. As a guy, you certainly don’t want to be that guy with smaller legs than your better half, and as a girl, toned legs and a peachy bum will turn more heads for the right reasons than a pair of stick-thin pins.

Now you understand the unmissable benefits of leg training, let’s look at training volume. You may already be training your legs, but you may not be training them enough. Unlike many of your upper body muscles, you’re using your legs every day. Walking, climbing stairs, sitting on the toilet – all of these activities use your leg muscles. With so much use day-to-day, it should come as no surprise that it takes a lot of volume to stimulate growth in the leg department.

With this in mind, you should now see why a few sets of squats each week are not going to cut it. Heck, one leg workout a week may not be enough to worry your trouser legs. Personally, we prefer to follow either an upper-lower split, with two upper and two lower body days per week, or a push-pull split, with dedicated days for pushing muscles (including quads) and pulling muscles (including hamstrings and glutes). Both these training splits will increase the volume of leg training, forcing them to adapt and grow.


Leg Workouts

We have created four high-volume leg workouts, each with a different focus.

You can incorporate these leg workouts into a body-part split, although we would recommend you integrate them into an upper-lower or push-pull program to make sure your legs are getting enough volume to grow.

Leg workout 1: Thigh Hard

Rest: 45-60 seconds between sets

  1. Barbell Front Squat – 4 x 10 reps
  2. Leg Press* – 50, 40, 30, 20, 10, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 reps

e.g. 50x50kg, 40x75kg, 30x100kg, 20x125kg, 10x150kg, 10x150kg, 20x125kg, 30x100kg, 40x75kg, 50x50kg

*Mega Pyramid Set: Start with a reasonably light weight (something you think you can complete 30 solid reps with) and complete 50 reps. If (and when) you fail during the set, employ the rest pause principle: pause for 5-10 seconds and take deep breaths, give your legs a quick shake, and then continue with the set. For subsequent sets, whilst the reps are decreasing, increase the weight, and when the reps are increasing then reduce the weight again (see example above).

Leg workout 2: Quadzilla

Rest: 60-90 seconds between sets

  1. Barbell Back Squat – 5 x 10 reps
  2. Short-Stance Static Lunge – 4 x 10 reps per leg
  3. Single-Leg Leg Press* – 3 x 15 reps per leg
  4. Leg Extension – 4 x 12-15 reps

*Triple-drop set (do this for each leg in turn): After you complete the last rep of the last set, reduce the weight slightly (by approximately 30%, we usually remove one set of plates) and then complete another set until you reach failure. Repeat this twice more, until you are using a comparatively light weight but it is still a real challenge.

Leg workout 3: Hammible

Rest: 60-90 seconds between sets

  1. Glute-Ham Raise – 3 x 10-15 reps
  2. Straight Leg Deadlift – 5 x 10 reps
  3. Walking Dumbbell Lunge – 3 x 10 reps per leg
  4. Barbell Hip Thrusts – 4 x 12 reps
  5. Swiss Ball Leg Curl – 4 x failure

Leg workout 4: The Glutinator

Rest: 60-90 seconds between sets

  1. Glute Kickback – 4 x failure per leg
  2. Sumo Deadlift – 5 x 10 reps
  3. Wide-Stance Squat – 4 x 10 reps
  4. Dumbbell Box Step-Up – 3 x 10 reps per leg

Where to go next?

If you enjoyed these challenging leg workouts, then take your physique to the next level with a full-blown training & diet plan. Our Ultimate Muscle plan has 12 more unique workouts for optimum upper and lower body development, plus a full tried & tested diet plan to ensure success is guaranteed.

Strength & Hypertrophy Plan