Developing a great set of wheels takes years of hard work, thousands of repetitions and heavy, heavy weights. It stands to reason that this is why you see so many fit people with underdeveloped legs.
There are, of course, those genetic freaks that have massive legs but for the vast majority, developing great legs takes work. And, you can take it from me as I am descended from a long line of chicken legged people.
Over the years I’ve worked very hard to build up my legs. In fact, I’ve been known to train legs (calves included) up to three times per week. Certainly, I’m not sporting legs like Branch Warren or Kai Green but I have put a little distance between myself and my ancestors.
In the next few paragraphs and the accompanying video, I want to share with you a little information that might help you develop a sturdy pair of legs that you can be proud to show off.
Muscles of the Leg
When I set out on my journey to develop better legs, I decided to learn a little more about them. My theory was that if you go to war, you want to know as much about your enemy as possible.
The front part of the leg is called the quad. As the name implies this muscle group is actually comprised of 4 major heads:
- Rectus femoris – sits in the middle of the thigh and rests atop the other three muscles of the quad.
- Vaslus intermedius – sits in the middle of the thigh, but below the rectus femoris.
- Vastus lateralis – sits on the outer side of the thigh away from the groin.
- Vaslus medialis – sits on the inner part of the closest to the groin.
Anatomically speaking the quad, specifically the vaslus medialis, is responsible for stabilizing the knee cap and knee joint during running. The rectus femoris supports the knee but also connects to the pelvis and assists in hip flexion. All of this is a fancy way of saying that the muscles of the quad are responsible for a lot of important functions like walking, running, jumping and squatting just to name a few.
By contrast to the quad, the hamstring is less complex yet no less crucial. The hamstring or backside of the thigh is comprised of three primary muscles the bicep femoris, semitendinosus and the semimembranosus. Anatomically, the hamstring is a collection of tendons that connect to the hip and knee. These tendons are responsible for knee and hip movement and are engaged for daily activities like walking, running and jumping.
The Fundamentals of Leg Training are Important
Even though the legs are complex muscles there are several fundamental exercises which should be part of everyone’s leg routine. Broadly speaking these exercises include squats, squats and more squats. No, this isn’t a typo.
Squatting is by far the number one exercise for building killer legs. In fact, if you’re not doing barbell squats, then you’re doing yourself an injustice. In addition to squats I should also mention that the deadlift, leg press and walking lunges are crucial leg building exercises.
Volume & Variety Are Key
You have to throughout any notion of doing 3-4 exercises and 3-4 sets of 10 reps. Smaller body parts like biceps and triceps might respond to this level of engagement but legs are a completely different beast. Volume is the answer to leg growth.
I’ve been known to do 8-9 exercises, 5-10 sets of 15-30 reps in order to blast my legs. And, while we’re being honest, I have to tell you that training legs is one of my least favorite things to do. Okay, I hate it but I recognized that anything worth having is worth working for so I do it…twice a week…every week.
Your body is designed to adapt to challenges, so it’s a good idea to change your workouts every 6-8 weeks. By training the same way month after month, your body will adapt and once this happens it will stop growing. So, the answer is to change your workouts frequently to keep your body guessing.
Wheels of Steel (Leg workout)