First off the bat, this article contains explicit content on how to build your legs to look like tree trunks. So beware of the content that can make you wobbly in your knees and your body questions your mind if you are going to put it through this. There will be a lot of information on how to train legs for maximum hypertrophy and make them cry for mercy!
There is no such mandate as to which exercise to start off with on a leg day. Mostly one can start with Leg Extensions to warm up the knees. These won’t be working sets (something that will be taxing), but something just to warm up the knees for the upcoming barrage of exercises. When you are warmed up with three sets of leg extension, hit the main compound movement for legs – the squats. Squats are considered the bread and butter of leg exercises.
KNOW THE MUSCLES
Before we move on to the main article, let’s get acquainted with the muscles that the legs are made of.
- Quadriceps: The front portion of the leg that itself consists of four muscles namely:
- Rectus Femoris
- Vastus Lateralis
- Vastus Medialis
- Vastus Intermedius
2. Hamstrings: The back portion of the legs which is an antagonist muscle to Quadriceps. These consist of the following muscles:
- Biceps Femoris
We can get an idea of the complexity of legs by looking at the number of muscles. Thus, it is but obvious that such complex muscle group requires to be hit with a lot many exercises with varied angles.
Here we will discuss on how exactly all these muscles can be differentiated and be hit with varied angles of any particular exercise.
DIFFERENT STANCE FOR DIFFERENT MUSCLE
Let’s take an example of Leg Press as a compound movement as it requires more than one joint to execute the motion. The contemporary style of leg press suggests keeping feet shoulder width apart with toes pointing out. Now, the slight twist that we bring to this is by varying the stance:
- Narrow Stance: Place your feet very close and you will feel the emphasis on Vastus Lateralis (Outer Head/ Quad sweep). This is a great variation to build the muscles on the outer head.
- Wide Stance: Place your feet wide apart and you will feel the emphasis on Vastus Medialis and adductors.
- High Stance: By placing the feet high on the pad, one can emphasise greatly on the hamstring group of muscles and the hip flexors.
All these variations can be implemented by anyone who needs to bring symmetry to a physique and balance the muscles. Also, these are not limited to legs and can be implemented on various muscles.
Now let’s talk about some ways of boosting the intensity of a working set on a leg day. The body is very dynamic and gets used to a particular set of routine that you tax your body with. So, it comes up with ways of overcoming the stress we are putting on it by adapting to it. Thus, the body needs to be fooled by giving it something it is not used to and make it respond. The many ways that are used in this pursuit are:
- Drop Sets
- Forced Reps
- Giant Sets
- Pre Exhaustion
- Occlusion Training
- Jump Sets
- Strip Sets
Now, that’s a vast topic in itself which will be dealt with in the second part of this article. Rest assured, the wealth of knowledge you will be gaining after reading it will not just multiply your gains but also your interest in learning more about your body.