Don’t be that guy. You know that guy who alternates from chest to arms, then back to chest then arms. That guy suffers from a disease that is almost incurable. That sickness is called CLS – Chicken Leg Syndrome. It is curable, but it takes hard work and dedication.
If you want massive tree trunk legs, there are some rules to follow.
#1: The Almighty Squat: Do Them Early, Do Them Often
The fact of the matter is that you have to squat. There is no way of getting around this. I would even go as far as to say that you should start your leg workout with barbell squats. As with any major muscle group, it makes more sense to hit the most challenging moves early in your workout when your energy is abundant. Squats are single-handedly the best exercise for getting those massive gains in your legs as well as many other body parts.
#2: Squat the Right Way – Deep
The same guy who suffers from CLS has a method to his madness though. He overcompensates his lack of leg training by overloading the barbell with too much weight to make it appear as if he trains legs with the best of them. Once the lift begins, he squats a quarter of the way down and springs back up.
Getting the full range of motion on your squats is crucial as it maximizes potential gains and works the entire muscle. Half reps work about less of the muscle. That is not to say that partial reps are not worthy of being done towards the end of the set.
#3: Avoid Locking Out Your Knees
We all strive for a complete range of motion, but that does not mean that we need to extend the leg completely straight where we are locking out the knees. Finish the movement right before your knees would lock and save yourself a lot of knee pain later on.
#4: Play With Your Foot Position
The smallest alteration to your foot position can have a massive impact to the muscles worked on that movement. I have always preached doing narrow leg presses and wide leg presses since each exercise specifically targets a different part of the quad muscles. For power moves, you want to keep your legs shoulder width apart with your toes angled slightly outward.
As you strive to break through plateaus, vary your foot position to feel the same exercise targeting different parts of the muscle. Narrow stances hit the outer sweep of the legs while a wider stance targets the inner thigh. This type of switching applies to squat, leg presses, hack squats and more.
Speaking of leg presses, do not forget to alter the height of your feet on the deck. For the most part, I like to keep my feet low, but I switch it up every once in a while.
#5: Split Squats
Sure, squats are king for mass, but if you are looking to define the teardrop if your quads, split squats are the key. This under performed exercise seems to get forgotten on leg day because of the balance needed to perform them, but they work, so do not forget them.
As a side note, I also like to use partial single leg extensions to add more definition to the quads.
#6: Vary the Movements For the Calves
While some do calves at the end of leg day, I prefer to train them on their own twice per week. On leg day, they tend to be the forgotten exercises squeezed in to end the workout, but that should never be the case. You cannot simply do a few sets of standing calf raises and call it a day.
Perform two types of calve movements during your workout, one standing and one seated. No, they are not the same. Seated calf raises more effectively work the soleus. You should always perform one of each of these exercises.