article is for those of you who have always struggled with growing your legs! I
can’t even keep track of the countless hours of heavy squats and pure
disappointment when all I had to show for it was sore knees. I tried everything
you could think of: 20 rep squats, the 10 sets of 10 reps method, and of course
squatting as heavy as possible. After all of these methods my legs hardly grew
and I just felt as though I was not engaging the proper muscles whatsoever.
That was until about a year ago when I decided to completely reinvent my leg
routine and was determined to grow some wheels!
I started by laying off the heavy squats and not using squats as a primary exercise. I used to begin every workout with squats but then decided to start squatting midway through my workout when all of my muscles were warmed up and firing properly. I also began to incorporate much more accessory exercises such as leg press and hack squats. I now make sure to begin every workout by warming up my quads with leg extensions and my hamstrings with lying hamstring curls.
I jump right into my primary exercise the leg press. I usually aim for 4-5 sets
of 10-12 reps and have been incorporating a close stance to focus on the quads.
I focus on controlling the weight and feeling the pump through my quads. Then I
move onto the Hack squat and I normally aim for 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps for this
exercise. I also try to use a close stance and will occasionally point my toes
outward to focus on the lateral portion of my quads.
Now that my legs are feeling like jello, I move onto the squats! Doing this allows me to fully feel every muscle working and forces me to check my ego and lower the weight. I tend to stick to 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps and use a wider stance to focus on the hamstrings and glutes before moving onto stiff-legged deadlifts to finish them off! It’s extremely important to maintain good form on this exercise and just slightly bend the knees to put maximum tension on the hamstrings. I will then add in some calves, usually on any sort of machine or a standing calf raise. I aim for 4-5 sets of 15-20 reps and use various foot positions to hit the calves from every angle.
I move onto leg extensions and hamstring curls to put the finishing touch on
this killer leg workout! This last portion of the workout is critical because
it’s one final effort to push as much blood into the legs as possible. I
usually do 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps, putting a huge emphasis on squeezing out
each rep. Control of the eccentric or downward portion of the exercise is also
extremely important. If you’re feeling extra savage you can add in some drop
sets! I have included a sample workout from one of my Leg Days and some
progress pictures from using these methods to GROW MY WHEELS!
- Leg extensions / Lying Hamstring Curls- (Warm-up) 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Leg Press- 4-5 sets of 10-12 reps, close stance
- Hack Squat- 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps, close stance and point toes outward
- Squats- 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps, wide-stance
- Stiff- Legged Deadlifts- 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps
- Calf Raises- 4-5 sets of 15- 20 reps, various foot positions
- Leg Extensions/ Hamstring Curls- 2-3 sets each, 10-12 reps, Squeeze!