The legs is a big muscle group and it needs rather a lot of time to recover. That’s why the majority of athletes workout legs only once a week (or even more seldom: once each 8-10 days). The hamstring (thigh biceps), however, recovers faster after each workout session and it means that you can train it more often.
In spite of the wide-spread opinion that it’s better to workout legs by means of many-repetition (20 or even 30) sets, the leg workout routine including only 8-12 reps brings brilliant results as well. All depends on the nature of fibers prevailing in your leg muscles and on your endurance level. Legs represent the biggest and strongest muscle group; so, spare all efforts to load them.
The hamstring is engaged in all cases when we change the angle between our thighs and torso meaning in all kinds of wide stand workout (squats and wide feet position leg presses). So, when performing all these exercises muscles of hamstrings are either engaged very significantly or suffer a substantial indirect load. You can feel it very easily when performing Leg Presses if you set your feet against a higher part of the platform.
Leg workout specialization
The majority of beginners think about leg workouts as a kind of necessity; only few of them enjoys it, especially in comparison with training of ‘lovely’ muscles (chest, abs, arms). Still, all sportsmen understand that it’s not possible to build a big and strong body without Barbell Squats.
If you try to analyze the level of defines of different muscles in several gyms, legs, most probably, will appear the one of the less trained group. Any gym has such ‘athletes’ who move their huge bodies from one bench to another by means of two ‘macaroni’ legs sticking out of their workout pants. But why does it happen? – You may laugh but the main reason lies in the fact that the absolute majority of sportsmen wear pants that cover this body part. As soon as you put them off you start considering possibility and necessity of leg workout.
If you already have power ‘basis’ and wish to improve your front legs (Quads) but don’t want to get ‘big glutes’ and broad waist in addition to this, it could be reasonable to attack your legs with supersets workout (exercises are performed one after another without rest intervals):
|Barbell Squats: 4X12 Leg Curls: 4X12|
|or (for hamstring workout ):|
|Deadlifts: 4X10 Leg extensions: 4X12|
Let you not be surprised by 12 reps in a set for leg workout: it’s been proved many times that underparts react better to the quantity of reps that’s no less than 8. But since 8 reps is a regular comfort regime when performing a general complex, when we do legs workout specialization we need to ‘rock’ them all to the mustard.
Try to increase basic barbell weights when performing Barbell Squats. Your maximum aim is to do 12 reps with two your body weights (for example, for a 180 lbs athlete it should be 360 lbs and 12 reps). I assure you, if you manage to achieve this result you’ll need no leg specialization: your legs will be very strong and big.
When composing your split you need to take into consideration that intensified leg workout ‘eats’ a huge amount of energy; that’s why it’s necessary to load other muscles less than usually; otherwise it will lead to over-training.
Legs workout. Some pieces of advice:
Squat maximally deep; don’t cut down the amplitude.
Always use a belt and perform lots of reps: this will protect your waist from undesirable growth.
Don’t forget about hamstring development. Workout these muscles in the beginning of your trainings if they are behind in comparison with your quads.
Emphasized calves workout. Many programs do not accent this small muscles, unfortunately. I advise to train calves in the very beginning of your leg workout session.
LEG WORKOUT ROUTINES
Your leg routine appearance depends on you general workout program. E.g. the more rest between training sessions, the more exercises you can perform during your leg workout. On the other hand, the more your experience, the more loads need your legs for growth, the more exercises you can perform and the more rest your muscles need. It is the circle.
You can have separated day for leg workout or you can train leg with other muscles during one training session (last variant is very popular for beginners because of quickly recuperation for first time)
It can be workout programs like this (leg + another muscle):
|workout program # 1||workout program # 2|
|Legs, Back =Rest= Chest, Shoulders, Arms =Rest=||Legs, Shoulders =Rest= Chest, Back, Arms =Rest=|
|workout program # 3||workout program # 4|
|Chest, Triceps Back, Biceps legs, Shoulders =Rest=||all body =Rest= all body =Rest=|
In all these cases you have to limit your leg exercise quantity because lack of time and energy (you train not only legs in working day). That is why you need to choose only most effective leg exercises for your workout routines. When I speak about most effective leg exercises I mean first of all compound ones, which involve few big muscles in work.
|The most effective leg exercises|
|SquatsLeg pressStiff leg deadliftStanding calf raises|
|Leg CurlLeg extensionseating calf raises|
For every beginner is enough only one exercise for first few months. This exercise is the King of all muscle building exercises. I mean Squats, of course.
|leg workout routine for beginners|
|2 warm up sets (20 reps with light weight) + 3 – 4 working sets (8-12 reps)|
It is your complite leg workout for first 2-3 months.
Then you can add workout loads. Haw? For this add two exercises: Stiff leg deadlift and Standing calf raises
|leg workout routine (pre – intermediate level)|
|Squats||2 warm up + 3 – 4 sets X 8-12 reps|
|Stiff leg deadlift||1 warm up + 3 sets X 8-12 reps|
|Standing calf raises||1 warm up + 3- 4 sets X 8-12 reps|
When you achieve intermediate level, you can add Leg Curl and Leg extension. It will be good for you leg workout, but for this you should separate you leg training from other muscles groups. Because your training sessions became too long.
In this case your workout program can be look like this:
(full day for leg workout)
|workout program (intermediate level)|
|program # 1||program # 2||program # 3|
2. Back, Shoulders
|Legs Shoulders =Rest= Back, Biceps Chest, Triceps =Rest=||1.Back|
And your leg workout routine will be look perfectly:
Make notice, that we begin our workout with biggest muscles and heaviest exercises. It is rule. Start workout with big ones and finish with little ones.
Quads – Glutes – Hamstring – Calves
|Leg workout routines (intermediate level)|
|routine # 1|
|Squats Leg extension Stiff leg deadlift|