For this leg workout, we will give you an advanced exercise distribution and volume scheme, which is created so that it targets and develops your lower body musculature in every aspect, as the goal of this program is to increase strength, strength endurance and therefore improve the size and shape of your legs.
This program includes two training days per week, as one of them is focused around high-intensity principles (heavier weights) and the other is focused on higher density and moderate intensity (more reps, less rest times)
Workout 1- Intensity
This workout begins with 10 minutes of warm up- Light cardio like fast walking, rope jumping or jogging, followed by additional 5 minute warm up for the knees, ankles, hip joints and lower back.
Rest times in between sets are up to 90 seconds and up to 120 seconds between exercises.
Barbell squats- 5 sets of 10 repetitions
- Get under the bar, placing it comfortably in the middle of your traps and holding it slightly wider than shoulder width
- Un-rack the bar and step with your feet at shoulder width
- Keep your back straight and knees slightly bent
- Squat down until your legs are parallel to the ground
- Move up slowly, maintaining tension on the quadriceps, without locking out the knees at the top
Romanian dead-lift- 5 sets of 10 repetitions
This next exercise will target the quadriceps’ antagonist- The hamstrings, along with the glutes, while the calves are being stretched out.
- Load the barbell (Preferably with smaller disks to increase range of motion; e.g.- instead of using one 20 kg disk per side, use two 10 kg disks)
- Place the barbell in front of you and step with your legs at shoulder width or narrower, with your toes pointing forward
- With your knees slightly bent and back straight, lean forward and grab the bar with overhand grip at shoulder width
- Lift the barbell up slowly, without overextending your torso at the top. Glutes can be contracted at the end of the movement.
- Let the bar down slowly, without letting it touch the ground in order to maintain tension on the working musculature
Leg press- 5 sets of 10+ repetitions
This is your next compound movement, which is an especially good pick when the goal is high intensity, as this is an exercise which allows the use of really heavy weights, due to its compound nature.
- Lay down and tuck your butt on the seat and lower back on the backrest- Torso MUST be static
- Place your legs on the platform neutrally- Feet are at shoulder width with toes pointing forward
- Un-rack the sled and keep the knees slightly bent to maintain tension on the quadriceps
- Grab the handles
- Rest your head on the backrest to avoid putting pressure on your neck muscles
- Let the sled down slowly
- Push up explosively, without locking out the knees
- Hold the sled at the top for a split second
Abductor machine – 4 sets of 15 repetitions
Normally, the abductors and adductors get enough of a load from exercises like squats and leg press, however, squeezing them out at the end of the workout will prioritize them and grant development.
- Sit down and place your legs comfortably
- Grab the handles
- Open your legs out slowly
- Let the weight down, but not all the way down, in order to maintain tension on the abductors
Adductor machine- 5 sets of 15 repetitions
- Sit down comfortably, resting your back and head on the backrest
- Place your legs on the pads and keep your back straight
- Adduct the thighs to get them closer together and contract the groin muscles
- Hold the contraction for a split second, then let the weight down to open up the legs and stretch out
The exercises in this workout are supposed to be done with a significantly heavier weight, that will allow you to nearly reach failure by the end of the last repetition. However, it should be noted that the weight used MUST NOT get you out of the proper execution of each exercise- Do not compromise form for weight- We’re looking for constant tension and optimal contraction here.
After you are done with the workout, you can finish it off with 10 minutes of light leg activity like walking, light jogging or rope jumping, followed by 10 minutes of stretching for the leg musculature.
Workout 2 – Density
The goal of this second leg workout is to work on your slow muscle fibers, through higher volume (higher reps, lower rest times and therefore, moderate intensity).
The workout begins with the same warm up as in Workout 1.
Barbell lunge – 5 sets of 15 repetitions per side
- Place the bar on your trapezius muscles so that it sits comfortably- hold it at shoulder width or slightly wider, if you feel like your arms are excessively tensing
- Keep you back straight and look forward
- Take a big step forward and lunge down, without touching the ground with your knee
- Get back up to the initial position and proceed to repeating the same movement on the opposite leg
Sled hack squat- 5 sets of 15+ repetitions
- Get under the pads and place your back comfortably on the backrest, while also comfortably resting your head on it too
- Place your feet on the platform, close to one another (narrower than shoulder width) with the toes pointing forward
- Un-rack the sled and keep your knees bent
- Squat down slowly
- Move up explosively. Again, no knee lockout
Leg extensions – 5 sets of 20 repetitions
This isolated exercise will help you squeeze out the last bits of energy from your legs.
- Sit down comfortably so that your upper body is static
- Place your legs behind the pad so that the pad is at around ankle level
- Extend the legs, contracting the quadriceps- Avoid sudden knee lockout, as that may damage the knee joints
- Let the lever down slowly, maintaining the tension on the quadriceps
Lying leg curls – 5 sets of 20 repetitions
- Lay down comfortably and grab the handles
- Place your legs under the pad, so that the pad is at around heel or ankle level- Here, the legs can be placed very close to one another
- Curl the lever, contracting the hamstrings
- Let the lever down slowly to stretch them out
If these exercises are not enough for you, you can add 3 sets of Romanian deadlifts, abductor and adductor machine, as in Workout 1 but with significantly higher number of repetitions- 3 sets for each exercise, consisting of 20+ repetitions each set.
Due to the nature of this second workout (high volume), you’re supposed to take less rest times in between sets and exercises, so, instead of 90 seconds and 120 seconds respectively, you’ll be taking no more than 40 and 60 seconds- More weight moved for less time = bigger volume.
Again, the workout ends with light lower body activity and stretching.
Rest times in-between workouts
It is recommended that you take at least 3 days of rest after finishing Workout 1, before proceeding to Workout 2 and then another 2 to 3 days of rest before starting over again.
This workout is suited for intermediate and advanced athletes, who have at least a year of experience in the gym.