1. Sports
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

What Are The Best Bodybuilding Exercises For Legs?

By

Lee Labrada Performing a Hack Squat

Lee Labrada Performing a Hack Squat

Lee Labrada
Question: What Are The Best Bodybuilding Exercises For Legs?
I work extremely hard at the gym and periodize my workouts which consist of: spinning 4x week, stairclimbing 2x week and I am currently working one body part per day. I weigh 132lbs have 16.3% body fat and take in 2,200 cals a day. The main problem I have concerns my legs, no significant changes are occurring. Could the problem be that, because I do so much cardio, they are not getting sufficient recovery time?
Answer: Keep in mind that growing a muscle is not just a matter of choosing the right exercises. We also have to ensure we have the right bodybuilding diet and the right training program. That being said, let's find out how to make your legs grow.

How To Get Your Legs To Grow

The following tips will ensure that you get those legs moving in the right direction.

Bodybuilding Diet Tips
  1. Ensure Sufficient Protein: Make sure protein intake is adequate. A lot of cardiovascular exercise without enough protein burns them out. So make sure that you have between 1 gram to 1.5 grams of protein for each pound of bodyweight. In your case this comes out to between 132 to 198.

  2. Ensure Sufficient Carbohydrates and EFA Intake: Based on the fact that you want to increase your leg size I would make sure that you do a caloric intake that is a bit over your maintenance level to support new muscle growth.

    From the looks of your program, I'm assuming that you want to lose some body fat too so therefore, I would take in between 1-1.2 grams of complex carbs per pound body weight and do not forget to include some Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) in your diet. You can get these by either using EFA capsules, eating Wild Atlantic Salmon or consuming a couple of tablespoons of fish oils or flaxseed oil throughout the day.


Bodybuilding Training Tips

  1. Separate the Leg Workout from the Cardiovascular Workout: On your leg days, split your cardiovascular workouts and weight training sessions by performing them at different times. Cardio right after a leg workout does affect my leg size, so I'd suggest that you separate the sessions in order to ensure better recovery. As a matter of fact, many bodybuilders do not even like do cardio on their leg days, unless it is done first thing in the morning prior to the leg training session. Therefore, if you don't have enough time to come to the gym twice on leg days, then do not perform cardio on those days.

  2. Separate One Day To Train Quadriceps and Another Day To Train Hamstrings: Having a quadriceps dominant workout and a hamstrings/glutes dominant workout separated by 2-3 days of rest in between ensures that each muscle group in the legs is given special attention. While training the whole leg at once works well for beginning and intermediate bodybuilders, as one gets more advanced, separating the quadriceps and the hamstrings starts to yield much better results, not only for the added recovery but because you will be stronger by just focusing on that specific part of the leg. Please refer to the sample leg training schedule I included below.

  3. Focus On Really Squeezing the Muscle You’re Training: Top bodybuilders and figure professionals know that focusing and squeezing the muscle is much more important than the amount of weight used. Therefore, concentrate as you perform the movement, use less weight is you cannot feel the exercise and take advantage of techniques like the Zone Tone Method, which serve to create an even better mind-to-muscle connection.

Bodybuilding Supplementation Tips

  1. Have Some L-Glutamine After the Workout. This amino acid is very helpful in reducing cortisol levels and possibly increasing growth hormone levels so it will definitely have a positive effect on your leg development. (Read more on L-Glutamine)

  2. Use Creatine Before and After the Workouts. Creatine has shown over and over again that it works in both the lab and the real world. Taken before a workout it will increase your ability to lift more weight, perform more repetitions and recover quicker in between sets. Take after the workout it will help you with the recovery process. (Read more on Creatine)


Sample Leg Training Split to Improve Leg Development

Monday - Quads
  • Squats Superset: Squat (medium stance) & Wide Stance Squats 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps (90 sec rest)

  • Leg Press Superset: Leg Press (close stance) & Wide Stance Leg Press 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps (1 minute rest)

  • Leg Extensions (performed w/ toes straight) 4-5 sets of 15-20 reps (1 minute rest)

  • Inner and Outer Thigh Machine Superset 3 sets of 15-25 reps (1 minute rest)

  • Seated Calf Raises 4 sets of 50-100 reps (1 minute rest)


Friday - Hamstrings/Calves

  • Standing Leg Curl & Stiff Legged Dead-lifts Superset 4 sets of 10-12 reps (1 minute rest)

  • Lunges (pressing w/ heels) & Lying Leg Curls Superset 4 sets of 10-12 reps (1 minute rest)

  • Seated Leg Curls 4 sets of 15-20 reps (1 minute rest)

  • Calves Triset: Calf Raises on Leg Press Machine (Toes Pointing In, Toes Pointing Straight, & Toes Pointing Out) 4 sets of 15-20 reps (1 minute rest)

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.