It’s all fun and games until you wear shorts. Give this leg workout a try to catapult muscle growth!
Legs. Once the pants come off, there’s no hiding the fact that you either have them or you don’t. All the memes and jokes on the internet support the fact that legs are usually left to the last day in your workout split..and sometimes skipped – all because we wear pants 90% of the time.
With as much effort as we put into our upper body, we have to work even harder at legs. The simple reason for this, without getting too scientific, is that we workout our legs daily and we don’t even realize it. We use this massive muscle group to do almost everything. So in order to get them to grow, we have to work them even harder than our other muscle groups. In fact, where most upper body exercise programs max out at 12 reps, legs don’t even start to really grow until you hit 15 reps or more.
Now, there’s going to be a ton of people that say, “What about strength training?”. That definitely has it’s place and we are all about incorporating strength training for legs. That’s one of the only ways you are going to get stronger. However, when you plateau with size and growth is when volume training comes in. Let’s shock those legs muscles for an incredible burst of lean muscle growth.
You will notice in the workout below that standard back squats are not included. This workout was designed specifically to avoid back squats. It’s not that we don’t want to do them but some of us simply have injuries that prevent us from performing that specific exercise.
Personally, my injury is a damaged IT Band in the right leg. My IT Band injury is basically severe tendinitis. So severe though, that I thought I had torn my quad. This injury, if continually aggravated will never heal. I’ve chose to perform exercises that don’t cause pain and let that tendon heal up.
All this to say that if you are experiencing lower back pain or have an aggravated IT Band, this workout will definitely help you!
Also, to avoid injury, we always recommend using a weight belt when squatting or cantilevering weight in front of you. This allows you to contract your core and stabilize your spine and surrounding muscles during these lifts – reducing the possibility of injury. If you’re a serious powerlifter doing competitions, you may want to look into Inzer. Otherwise, our team just uses the Harbinger belts. They’re inexpensive and they get the job done. You can see Gabe wearing his in most of the photos below.
Volume Leg Workout
Front Squats: 10 sets of 10
This specific exercise is, well, uncomfortable. It’s a mass builder for sure though. Proper form for this movement includes setting the bar at about chest high and holding your arms out in front of you. Step underneath the barbell so that it rests on the shelf of your front delts and collar bone. Hook one arm under and lightly grasp the bar. Then hook the other arm under and lightly grasp the other side. You MUST keep your elbows up or the shelf the bar rests on will disappear and you will be holding the bar with your hands, which is considered breaking form. As you lift the bar off the rack, it should balance on the shelf you’ve created and you shouldn’t need to use your hands to do anything but stabilize the bar slightly.
Tuck your hips under, in line with your spine, and keep your head looking straight ahead. Proper form for front squats will make it feel as thought the bar is just about to choke you. Yeah, fun, I know
Lying hamstring curls
Make sure that you set the lower pad at the base of your calf, not at the ankle base. This will protect your Achilles tendon and shift the location of the stress more to the bicep femoris. Keep your hips planted firmly on the pad and do not let them rise off of it. The goal here is not to just “move the weight” but rather focus on development of the bicep femoris.
Move your legs so they are close together with just enough spacing to point your toes inward and have them touch. Also, at the lower portion of the movement, be sure not to straighten your knees. This will keep the bicep femoris (hamstring) engaged the entire set. It’s much more difficult but will result in significantly more muscle growth and development. You should really feel this on the lower, inner part of your thigh – a location that is notoriously hard to target.
Seated quad extensions
Heavy and high reps for the ultimate pump. You should literally have to peel yourself off the seat when you’re done with these. Have your training partner assist you with the last few reps, if necessary – focusing on the contraction at the top and the negative movement of the lift at that point.
Walking barbell lunges
Although not in the original workout, we added this exercise for a little extra punishment. It’s important to keep your back straight, chest, up, and head straight when doing this exercise. Try not to let your upper torso lean forward or allow yourself to hunch. This is breaking form and takes the targeted stress off of the glutes and hamstrings and puts it directly on your quad – as will as adding extra strain on your knees. You WILL work your quads when doing this exercise but the purpose is to bring up your glutes and hamstrings and work on the adductor sweep at the same time.
By the time you get to this exercise your legs should be extremely fatigued and exhausted. It won’t take much weight on the leg press to get an intense burn and reach failure quickly. Shoot for the full 20 reps at a weight where you may need slight assistance for the last 5. As an example, if I’m leading with the leg press early in my leg workout, I can easily bang out reps with 12 plates on each side. At this stage in the workout though, I’ve cut the weight in half due to the fact that my legs are literally fried and simply can’t push that type of weight. It’s about “the pump” right now in the leg workout.
Make sure when lowering the weight you get to at least a 90 degree angle in the bend of your legs. In fact, we always go slightly past that. I don’t recommend going all the way down to where the sled bangs at the bottom. Once your butt begins to rise out of the seat, you’ve gone too far. Stopping just past the 90 degree angle will cause you to decelerate the lift and requires much more strength than banging the sled at the very bottom.
On the last set, perform a drop set. This is where you will complete the reps at your heaviest weight, then lock the sled into place and drop the weight by about 25% (or more, if needed). Perform the next set without any rest and then again drop the weight by about 25% one more time without any rest. If done properly, you should have to roll out of the leg press because your legs are so spent that you literally can’t stand.
|12 (drop set)
|20 (drop set)
|20+ (drop set)
Summary and nutrition tips for your leg workout
Use this leg workout to hit them hard, heavy, and with high reps. This is a recipe for muscle growth. Keep in mind though that no matter how much you work those legs,they won’t grow without the proper nutrition at the proper intervals throughout the day. If you aren’t eating 5-7 times a day and you haven’t seriously looked at your caloric intake or your macros, I highly recommend looking at our 12-week Genesis program:
If you like this workout, you need to try our 12-week program:
- GUYS – build muscle and get shredded*
- GIRLS – get ridiculously toned and lean*
- FULL 12 week program instead of just 30 or 45 days
- Easy to follow workout plan
- Shredding diet written by a Master Sports Nutritionist
- Includes supplement guide & recipes.
- From beginners to advanced fitness enthusiasts
- All our secrets for staying lean & building muscle
- Downloads as 3 PDFs for a 100% digital experience!
- Workouts integrate with Gym Genius App
- BONUS: “Kick-off” motivational video ONLY available to customers
Watch the short, 60 second video and see what the Genesis program is all about
Actual clients shown below*