Well, yes and no. I’ll put you out of your misery now, the secret is hard work and consistency. Some of the population are genetically gifted in the legs department while others will find in extremely difficult to add even an inch to their legs. The vast majority though will be able to build a reasonable set of wheels with the correct training volume and intensity.
If you train legs ‘properly’ it’s very taxing on the body and you’ll usually suffer killer doms for the next few days. Some of us don’t mind this but others dread the repercussions of leg day. So, you could say there’s a definite love hate relationship with leg training. But it’s extremely important for not only leg growth but over-all growth. Ask yourself the following questions to identify gaps in your leg training:
1. Do I train my legs often enough?
2. Is there enough volume in my leg training?
3. At what intensity level do I train?
4. Do I put much focus on hamstrings?
5. Do I put much focus on glute activation?
6. Is my nutrition right?
7. Do I quit when it gets hard?
8. Do I make excuses?
9. Am I serious about my training?
10. What am I going to do about it?
We’ve been doing this long enough that we can pretty much predict the answers most of you will give.
1. No, you don’t, you need to be training your Quads, hamstrings and calves a minimum of once per week and training them hard.
2. No, there isn’t enough volume in your training, a couple of sets of leg presses, hack squats and leg extensions with a token effort in the calf department isn’t going to cut it. Per week you want to aim for a minimum of 16 sets for quads, 16 sets for hamstrings and 10 sets on calves. If this means splitting your leg workout up throughout the week then do that.
3. Your intensity is too low, too long between sets, not pushing hard enough, not using correct load. Most of you will be lucky to be hitting a 60% intensity level. First things first, enough with the 5 minute chats between sets, next is get off Instagram and Facebook it will still be there when you finish, the only thing you should be using your phone for its stopwatch to time your rest. Loading the leg press up to 600kg and doing a 6-inch press at best doesn’t equate to intensity, you just end up being “that guy”.
4. Nope, you neglect hamstrings. Your hammies make up a big chunk of your leg size, when you see the pros on stage from the front and side with those ridiculously thick legs tell me that they don’t make hammies a priority in their training. Hit you hamstrings as hard as your quads.
5. Glute activation?? How do I do that and why? All leg training should start with some sort of glute activation, it’s pretty much the foundation to being able to grow your legs, so much of the power in your legs comes from the glutes. Activate the glutes and lift more, simple as that. Lift more and grow more.
6. Not really, if your nutrition isn’t on point then neither will your recovery. If your legs are still sore after a week, you either haven’t adapted to the increased volume and/or you aren’t eating enough of the right food. You have to eat to recover and grow. It’s more than just a post workout shake.
7. Yes, yes you do. Everyone could always train harder. Everyone does it, you get half way through a leg session and thoughts of “I’m done”, “I’ve had enough for today”, “I’m pretty tired”, “that’s good enough for today” start creeping in. You have to push through if you want results. If you always do what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you always got.
8. Yeah of course, everyone does. “I don’t feel mentally right for legs today”, “I’m going to be on my feet all day tomorrow so ill skip legs today”, “I’ll double up next week”, “the leg section is too busy today”, “I just can’t be bothered”. The list can go on and on, there is never a legitimate reason, just excuses. Enough with them, just do the work, it’s a short-term pain for a long-term gain.
9. Are you??? Probably not serious enough.
10. This is up to you, if you want what you don’t have you’ve got no choice but to do something about it.
It’s time to stop the BS and hit it hard! It’s the only way, there’s no shortcuts just hard work, discipline, determination and consistency. Don’t back down!
Thanks for reading,
Schembri PT Team