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This is hard. See, it’s nearly impossible to say what mistakes most guys make when training legs because in order to make mistakes you actually have to, you know, try. Seeing as how so many dudes neglect leg training completely…well…you get the idea.
For those guys who do train legs, I’ve seen the following mistakes far too often:
Listen up ladies, a legs day is not the same thing as a glutes day. I know, I know, having a plump booty is all the rage (for good reason), but some of ya’ll be looking as silly as those dudes that never hit lower body at all.
It’s awesome having strong glutes, but there’s been this strange trend over the years of ladies building “squat” booties, but building them on top of chicken legs.
If that’s your thing, by all means, you do you, but if you really want a symmetrical, proportionate aesthetic to your physique (as well as just all around functionality) then you gotta hit quads, hamstrings, and of course, calves.
Legs are an interesting muscle group in that there’s a wide variety of compound movements that are all effective in developing lower body, and even small stance adjustments (width, further forward or back, etc) can provide massive benefits in targeting different heads of the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus, calves.
Obviously this is true with the upper body as well, but a lot of individuals I’ve seen with big but unshapely legs tend toward sticking to the same traditional movements, as well as focusing too much on moving the weight rather than contracting the muscle against resistance.
That being said, when focusing on improving the legs, imagine how you want them to appear when spring/summer comes around and you’re wearing either a bikini or some neon training 6” inseam shorts (still waiting for summer to bring those back).
Do you want a physique that looks architected and designed? Like it was done by a master artisan. Or do you want it to look like one of those fantasy clay golem constructs, as if some demented wizard simply packed on mass without care?
This is where muscle-mind connection is critical. Check out the article on the topic to learn more. In the meantime, I’ll briefly touch on what I consider the most commonly underdeveloped muscle group in the legs…
I know. You totally thought I was going to launch into something about calf training, but…I’m admittedly not an expert in that area. I got genetically modified at a young age by super secret doctors to make it so that my calves just kinda grow whenever I ask them to. And I’ve seen guys who blast them with proper form, high volume, higher intensity several times a week and never see an inch of growth. So, I’ve put calf training into the same category as what makes breakfast burritos the greatest post-workout cheat meal ever: Universal Mystery.
I’m referring to hamstrings.
The thing with isolating hamstrings to achieve that nice peak and all those striations as well as a stellar glute-ham tie-in is that unless your hamstrings are naturally dominant, then it’s highly likely that another muscle group will take over during hamstring movements.
This is due to something called the excitatory threshold. Which is essentially just how much stimulus is needed to recruit any given muscle group. This varies from person to person. For example, my hamstrings have a low excitatory threshold whereas my glutes have a high excitatory threshold, so I have to dedicate much more focus into isolating and recruiting my glutes so that my hamstrings don’t take over when doing even just regular squats. For some (females in particular), glutes are dominant. Because of this, a lot of people have underdeveloped hamstrings, and as a coach it’s almost always easy to spot why an individual might be struggling with hamstring development simply by having them perform lying hamstring leg curls.
Tip: if you can’t ever connect on hamstring curls or feel like either lower back, glutes, or calves are doing a lot of the work (robbing you of your precious balanced gains) then some tricks worth experimenting with might be:
Pretty standard legs day. Again, for a lot of people, this is perfect. Gotta get those practice reps in.
I’ll put the rest times and what not in a useful table for you to screenshot.
|Barbell Squat||3 x 12||45-90 seconds|
|Romanian Deadlift||3 x 12||45-90 seconds|
|Walking Lunges||3 x 12 (each side)||45-60 seconds|
|Leg Extension||3 x 15||30-45 seconds|
|Hamstring Curl||3 x 15||30-45 seconds|
|Calf Raises||3 x 20||30-45 seconds|
And, for those of you overachievers, I’ll issue a challenge. On the following day, take a rest day or lift a smaller muscle group like arms. Then, take advantage of the tenderness two days after.
So, if you do the aforementioned legs day routine on a Monday, take Tuesday off (or hit arms), then proceed into Wednesday with the following workout routine. This super high volume legs day workout is designed to provide benefits such as:
Note: the first set of every exercise is your warm-up set. Every set following that should be taken until failure (except maybe squats and RDLs, for obvious reasons)
|Leg Extensions||6 x 30||20-30 seconds|
|Hamstring Curls||6 x 30||20-30 seconds|
|Romanian Deadlifts||6 x 30||30-45 seconds|
|Front Squats||6 x 30||30-45 seconds|
|Walking Lunges||6 x 30||30-45 seconds|
|Calf Raises||6 x 30||15-30 seconds|
For those who dare take on that two-part legs day routine, it’s imperative that you are getting enough quality recovery, as well as enough external motivation if you want to reap the benefits of putting those legs through the ever-taxing but enjoyable fun.
Day Between Legs Days
Focus on intaking all the quality, clean nutrients to recover. Also, drink more than enough water! If you are lifting on this day, don’t go your hardest, and if you have to lift something other than arms, that’s fine, but for the sake of your Central Nervous System, health, and gains, do not for the love of buck train back.
If saunas are open near you, that would be a stellar activity to make the most of this recovery day.
I want you to go absolutely berserk on this workout.
Warning: if you can’t walk the following two days, I will not be held liable. Just load up on more Buck Feed, Original BCAAs, and ALL BULK NO BLOAT.