One of my coaches once told me that my genetic gift is my legs. I am lucky that I am blessed with long, naturally lean legs. However, they once attached themselves to the typical “white girl butt”…flat. They were also “skinny” once the body fat was stripped away. I used to buy into the belief that training heavy would make me bulky, so I did light weights or bodyweight exercises whenever I trained legs. When I decided that I wanted to transform my physique into that of a figure competitor, I was told repeatedly that I’d have to grow my legs and start lifting HEAVY.
I have since become a huge fan of heavy leg training and high volume to achieve lean muscle growth. I like a keep-it-simple approach, basic, compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups at a time. Effective. Efficient. In my opinion, the foundational exercises of a solid leg routine include: the squat, straight-leg deadlift and leg press. I build my leg training around those foundational exercises, focusing on strict form, high volume and heavy weight. I always cringe when I see women on the abductor and adductor machines doing light weight and high reps. I feel compelled to enlighten them and lead them to the squat rack, but I resist the temptation.
I’m also not a big fan of machines for any kind of training, but especially for legs. I think that barbells and dumbbells can provide an extremely effective, efficient and challenging leg workout. However, I still make use of the leg extension or leg curl machine from time to time.
I like to eat higher carbs on the days I train legs. I will typically increase my starchy carbs by 50-75 grams and always follow the workout with a protein shake made with Dymatize Elite Whey and 2 tablespoons of Gatorade powder. During contest prep, this usually changes with less carbs before the workout and I’ll substitute Xtend in the post-workout shake for the Gatorade.
My female clients love this workout and always happily complain that they can’t sit down for a few days afterwards. The following leg workout is one that, if done right, you only want to perform once a week, giving your body ample recovery time before hammering the legs hard again the next week.
- Squats - I typically do back squats (I do not use a Smith machine and don’t recommend it if you can use a squat rack or dumbbells) but there are several variations you can substitute to change things up.
- Squat and Leg Curl Supersets - Rest 60 seconds between each squat and leg curl superset. For example, perform 10 reps of squats immediately followed by 10 reps on leg curls. Rest 60 seconds, then perform this superset again. By the time you finish your 20 sets of squats and leg curls your legs should be pretty fried. I like to finish off the workout with 10 last sets of lighter weight exercises to finish off the legs.
Keep the rest periods short and the weight as heavy as you can go without sacrificing form. I like to keep rest intervals at 60 seconds-2 minutes max!
|The Butt Builder|
|The Butt Builder|
|Squat (Superset with Leg Curls)||10||10|
|Reverse Barbell Lunges||4||8 to 10|
|Dumbbell Step Ups||3||12|