If you’re reading this one of two things is going through your mind right now.
Either you’re about to train legs and are looking for a challenge…
Or legs has been a serious issue for you and you’re looking for a workout program to help bring them up.
Either way, this Larger Stronger Legs (LSL) workout is going to leave you sore tomorrow and satisfied in four weeks because of the results you will see.
The Idea Behind The LSL Workout
The main priority is hypertrophy but we also want to increase strength. Instead of doing your traditional order of exercises, this workout will be different because of the exercise order and how the sets are done.
While this will take a physical toll on your lower body, your head must be in this. Your focus and attention to detail is crucial for this to be successful. Your rest between sets for all exercises is 60-90 seconds.
The LSL Workout Program
|1. Seated Calf Raise||3||15*|
|2. Single Standing Leg Curl||3||20, 15, 10|
|3. Deficit Deadlift||4||12, 10, 8, 6|
|4. Lying Leg Curl||3||12**|
|5. Paused Front Squat||4||12, 10, 8, 6|
|6. Hack Squat or Leg Press||3||10, 15, 20|
|7. Single Leg Extension||3||20|
|8. Standing Calf Raise||3||30 Secs|
*3 second holds at the top and 3 second stretches at the bottom.
** 4 second negatives.
Seated Calf Raise
This workout is book ended with calves. You will start the workout with them when you have the most energy so you can hit them hard. Later on, you will finish with them so they have to work while you’re fatigued. This will help you reap the rewards of both methods.
When doing these you shouldn’t go extreme with weight. The goal with this is to feel the muscles contracting and stretching. A 3 second contraction and 3 second stretch means that you’ll be performing each rep for six seconds. For 15 reps that is 90 seconds of tension. Your soleus will have no choice but to adapt and grow.
Single Standing Leg Curl
Most leg days start with quads but this means that the hamstrings are neglected more often than not. So we’re going to start with them. We also want to make sure there is balance in both development and strength so we’re going to start with a single leg movement.
Whichever leg you feel is the weaker leg is the one to start with. Use a weight that will leave you a rep or two short of failure. You want to work but not fail.
This is where we’re going to go heavy. Performing these “elevated” means you should stand on a box or plates so you can lower the weight further than if you were standing on the floor. This deeper stretch and longer range of motion will help the hamstrings grow. This will also help your deadlift if that is a priority to you.
Keep your legs mostly straight but don’t lock your knees. Focus on pushing your glutes and hips back as you lower the weight. Once you’ve stretched as far as you can, return to the starting position and repeat.
Lying Leg Curl
This will be the last move for hamstrings. 3 sets of 12 appears simple but how you do them will be the challenge. When you curl, explode and lift the weight up as fast as you can to a contracted position. Generate as much power as possible.
On the descent, lower the weight to a count of four. Once you reach the bottom of the movement, perform that next rep with the same explosion and intensity as you did the last one.
Pause Front Squat
Now we’re shifting to quadriceps and we’re starting with our heavy lift. Front squats place more emphasis on the quads since the weight is in front instead of on the back of your shoulders. If you’ve done front squats in the past, be advised you will not be as strong because of the fatigue of your hamstrings. Go lighter than you normally would but find that number that gets the job done.
When you go down into the hole, stop for a count of one before coming up. When you go to stand, power up as fast as you can. This is where strength is the priority. You shouldn’t fail on the final rep but you should be close. You should notice improvement in strength here after a few weeks.
Hack Squat or Leg Press
I know there are gyms that don’t have hack squat machines so if you need to use a leg press, go for it. If you do have a hack squat machine, opt for it instead. We will flip the script here and start with the heaviest weight for 10 reps followed by 15, and finally 20.
This is going to challenge your strength in a different way. Muscular endurance is as important as muscular strength. Having a balance of both will help you both as an athlete and with your physique.
Single Leg Extension
Here we are going to focus on each leg again for balance. The leg extension is a controversial move because of the way you’re positioned and the toll it can take on your knees. As long as you focus more on the muscle working and not the weight on the stack, you should be fine.
Don’t lock out your knee at the top. Keep a slight bend so the tension stays on the quad. Smooth and controlled reps here is what matters the most. All we are doing is working each side and getting blood to the muscles.
Standing Calf Raise
Instead of counting reps, you’ll be counting seconds. This is emphasizing overall time under tension.
Tension matters for the calves. Instead of trying to do the stack or packing on a bunch of plates, keeping tension on the gastrocnemius will be what leads to success.
If you must stop before the 60 seconds is up, take five seconds and then get back to work. On your next set, lower the weight.
LSL Program Summary & Tips
Here are some extra tips to maximize your potential with this program.
If you do cardio post-training, either do something that focuses on the upper body like boxing on the heavy bag or skip cardio for this day altogether.
When you make your split for the week or work this program into your personal routine, make sure you plan a day off after this. That extra time to recover is paramount to your long-term results.
Do this workout once every five days for eight weeks.
Keep a log of how you perform with each workout. Next time you train, make it a goal to either do more weight or one more rep with each set. These small improvements serve as the building blocks to help you achieve the larger and stronger legs you want.