In this week’s edition of Workout of the Week, I’ll break down the legs day routine being performed by our model.
Before we get into that, however, we’ll address some common mistakes people make when training lower body. I will also go over how to remedy those shortcomings so you can effectively grow some defined and glorious tree-trunks.
Mistakes People Make With Legs Day Training
Perhaps one of the most common mistakes that’s universal to all lifters is prioritizing weight over form.
I’m not simply referring to tempo either. When it comes to lifting legs, especially with compound movements, lifters often fail to place enough emphasis on recruiting specific muscles for the desired results.
This can range from utilizing too much glutes in a leg press, too much quads/hamstrings in a squat, and so forth. The easiest way to remedy this mistake is to shift your mindset before hitting legs. Know exactly what you want to target most during any exercise, and adjust accordingly.
For example, if you’re on the leg press and your main goal is to bring up quads, then adjust your foot placement to place more emphasis on the quadriceps. This can be done by placing your feet lower down. And if you want to target glutes/hammies more, then you’re typically better off with your feet higher up on the platform. You can even switch depth and range of motion, as well as how narrow your stance is. So experiment!
Common Legs Day Mistakes Guys Make:
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:
- Not enough intensity: For the love of Platz, don’t treat legs day like an active recovery day. If you do active recovery, just do cardio. Legs are epic. Hit them accordingly. With intensity techniques, varying reg ranges, volume, and creativity.
- On the note of rep ranges, feel free to throw in super high volume and rep ranges. An athlete friend of mine (you might know him since he’s a frequent guest star on our channel, Mike Symkoviak) has crazy awesome leg development, and he performs something like…an astronomical rep count per legs day.
- EGO: I get this one. Hardcore. You’re self conscious about not squatting enough plates, or lifting heavy enough because you don’t want anyone to think you’re one of those guys who doesn’t train legs. So, to compensate, you do more weight than you should, and yada yada we’ve all been there. I know that for me personally though, it wasn’t until I listened to the aforementioned Mike about indulging in that sweet, crippling quad pump that my legs actually started growing. Although it’s true that many muscles in the lower body are predominantly fast twitch muscle fibers (meaning that on average they respond to heavier rep ranges), it’s critical that you develop a muscle mind connection when training legs. Especially hamstrings (but I’ll get into that in a second).
Common Legs Day Mistakes Females Make
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.
Muscle-Mind Connection For Thigh-Enlightenment
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.
Now, obviously there’s nothing wrong with sticking to the traditional movements. If you’re new to the gym it’s especially important to get those movements down — for your own safety.
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…
Hamstring Beauty for the Lower Body Beasts
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:
- Slow Reps — Time under tension: take out all momentum, making sure never to “jerk” the lower half of something like a leg curl. 4 seconds positive, 1 second squeeze contraction, 4 second negative (lowering)
- Isolation:Overload supersets: Perform lying leg curls to failure, immediately followed by something like RDLs (but do the RDLs pretty light, nice, and slow like for safety reasons)
- Overload:Isolation superset: Same thing, but opposite
- Drop-Sets for freaking days! Start with a weight you can do for around 8-12 reps with good form, then try switching between either doing five drops at 20% each subsequent drop, or one drop where you lower the weight by upwards of 60% and go until that burn might incinerate your legs
- Burn-Outs: Contrary to what you might think, when it comes to isolating high-threshold muscle groups, the answer might not be to avoid training the low threshold muscles. In fact, it could be the opposite. So, try burning out those glutes or calves (like, 2 massive drop sets, not just warm up sets) prior to hitting hamstrings so the dominant muscles are too scared to show up and take over during your hamstring exercises.
- Training them while they’re sore: I know this seems counter-intuitive. I’m huge on recovery too, but if you can’t feel a particular muscle group, then chances are you are leaving gains on the table. Training them while sore allows you to have a higher awareness and attunement to said muscle group. (I’ll give an example of how to employ this one at the end of this article)
The Legs Day Workout (As Shown In Video)
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:
- Ultra muscle-mind connection
- Muscle confusion
- Delivering quality nutrients
- Crippling pump (the best kind)
- A solid fat-burning sweat session
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|
Supplementing for Leg Growth Success
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.
Legs Day Part One:
- Pre-workout: You can’t go wrong with any Bucked Up Pre here. Whether it’s WOKE AF, BAMF, Bucked Up, or BLACK, the choice is yours.
- Intra-Workout: The Original BCAAs, because you obviously want to delay muscle fatigue, accelerate muscle recovery, and increase protein synthesis.
- Post-Workout (Directly After):
- 45-60 minutes Post-Workout:
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.
Legs Day Part Two:
I want you to go absolutely berserk on this workout.
- Pre-workout: Combine the following supplements
- BAMF or WOKE AF (the BLACK versions of these is definitely acceptable)
- PUMP-OCALYPSE: you gotta get prepped for a high volume day, and the PeakO2 adaptogenic mushroom blend in this caffeine free pump enhancer can help the body deal with stress as well as increase strength
- 1 serving RAW Beta-Alanine: You’ll want the added help with stamina, trust me. Plus, more tingles will help you train like a serial killer on a spree
- 1 serving L-Glutamine: Cellular hydration, and help with overtraining prevention
- Intra-Workout: I’d say go with RACKED for this one, since this revolutionary BCAA formula can help your body utilize its fat stores for energy (so they can be burned, of course)
- Post-Workout (Directly After):
- All Bulk No Bloat to further accelerate muscle recovery, sky rocket protein synthesis, optimize hormone function, and maximize nutrient utilization.
- 45-60 minutes Post-Workout:
- My favorite quasi-effective cheat meal:
- A massive amount of home-cooked shredded chicken breast layered over a Little Caesar’s Pepperoni Pizza…just make sure to get your Digestive Enzymes in too.
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.