Many lifters in the gym make a critical error when it comes to overall body development. They will utilize movements such as bench press, deadlift, rowing, curls, skull crushers, and presses in order to build their upper body muscles – with great success. But when it comes to leg training, their simple option is to go running a few days per week.
Don’t make any mistake – running is a very healthy activity which can provide some muscle building effect, as well as terrific cardiovascular and health benefits. However, aside from toning up your hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, and calves, you are not going to be able to build much muscle using running as your primary leg training methodology. If you want thick slabs of beef on your legs, then you are going to want to employ the use of compound exercises. These are the movements in the gym which depend upon the use of heavy metal. You stimulate multiple muscle groups when using compound movements, as opposed to isolation movements which will target only individual muscle groups. Let’s look at a sample leg training day using heavy compound lifting for building leg muscle.
Start your day with five sets of squats, every single time. Your repetition range should be 20, 15, 12, 8 and 6 in order to adequately stimulate all the slow and fast twitch muscle fibers available in your glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves.
At the conclusion of your squatting, strip the bar down to 135 pounds and engage in four quick sets of lunges. This will expand upon the squatting you’ve done by stretching the trained muscle groups and drawing more blood into their fiber sets.
At this point, your stabilizer muscle will begin to fail. Your legs should be torched from waistline to toes, so balancing a bar at this point will be risky. Move to the leg press machine and complete three to four sets of 6-10 repetition range leg presses.
Stiff Legged Deadlift
It’s time to hit hamstrings, and nothing does this quite like six slow and painful sets of stiff legged deadlifts! Don’t waste time with leg curls when you can torch half your body with this movement. Repetition range should be 20, 15, 10, 10, 8 and 8 for this exercise. Be sure to stretch between each set!
Smith Machine Calf Raise
Finish your day with calves – and some heavy metal while doing it. Don’t opt for the standard seated calf raise when you can engage half your body in the movement by standing in the Smith machine with hundreds of pounds upon your back, with your calves twitching as they work to move the weight!
You can spend your days running or using isolation movements, but your legs will always look about the same as they do today. Or, you can target them with tons of heavy iron for compound movements, and watch them grow like never before!