There is no question when it comes to bodybuilding
and building a great physique you have to have powerful looking legs. Without impressive tree trunks you’re simply another gym rat who lifts weights and takes up space in the gym. Many people hate training legs, it is true; training your legs can be one of the most brutal things on earth. There is no other body part that can bring out your pre workout meal to the floor like a hard session of leg training, but there is no other body part that is as important then legs themselves.
Go to any national level show, there will be hundreds of competitors and they will bring them all out by class and make eliminations very quickly. If you find someone who is on a national stage one thing is for certain, to some degree they will have an impressive upper body from the front. They will carry with them at some level an impressive set of pecs and arms, their shoulders will have some level of impressiveness about them; this much is a given. As the competitors stand on stage the first thing most judges will look at is who doesn’t have the legs to be on that stage on that day. Of course the next aspect they often look at is who doesn’t have a back to match, but it’s the legs and more importantly the quads that stand out first.
Even so, many will still neglect their leg training, for many it’s simply too much work. But they are really missing out; they are short changing themselves in a way that is detrimental to their physique.
Think about it, your legs make up half of your body, because of this when we train legs, the largest muscle group in the body, we release more hormones in our body that affect us in a positive way then we do when we train any other body part.
The point being, train your legs, train your legs hard and watch the rest of your body grow and improve... for example:
There was a man at the gym a few years ago who was in his 40’s. He had been lifting for several years, not a competitor but he simply enjoyed the lifestyle and simply loved the feel of the weights that can be so addicting to us all. He rarely trained legs and if he did he rarely did so with any force.
This man approached me one day and told me he had been stuck for a long time with his gains. He was constantly changing things up, mixing in new training routines for the upper body, trying and doing anything he could to improve. He so badly wanted his arms to gain more size, he wanted to be able to push more weight on the flat bench but he had been stuck for months.
I asked him about his training routine and quickly learned he hardly ever trained legs; that was all I needed to hear. I quickly urged him to get back under the squat rack, to start training his legs with the same intensity and drive that he trained the rest of his body. I told him to continue training the rest of his body just as he had been; he had that part down perfect. I explained to him what I have here about the hormone release in our body when our legs are trained, I didn’t expect him to take me up on my claims; most don’t, but he was determined and took my advice.
Fast forward two months down the road; I talked to the gentlemen again. He had been training his legs religiously for 2 months and was very excited about the gains he had made overall. He told me he had done just as I said and kept the rest of his training the same as before, his diet also remained the same; the only change was that now he trained his legs and did so with full force. In a two month period his arms had grown almost an inch and a half and he had increased his bench press by 50 pounds. Nothing else had changed!
So what’s the point in this story? Is it that hard to see? In short, train your legs and watch all of your body improve. If you are new to training legs or have been training legs for a long time, the following information will help you a great deal. Whether or not you enjoy your leg training, when it comes to training itself we all have days when we’re short on time. Be it a deadline for work, a meeting with the boss or our family obligations, “real life” often takes away from our time at the gym. When time is short for our scheduled leg training this doesn’t mean we skip the body part or even the gym; what we do is simply adapt to our schedule and make the most of our time.
Granted, the routine I’m about to share should not be the main stay of your leg training; it’s a fantastic routine that will give your quads a massive boost, but nothing on this earth will or should replace your standard quad training, nothing is ever going to beat getting under a bar and hitting squats or walking step after step with heavy weight performing set after set of lunges. This routine is simply set up to save us some time when we need it but still get in a good training session and the needed stimulation to our quads. If you’re already training hamstrings on a separate day then you have nothing to worry about here; if you typically train hamstrings with your quads you’ll need to set a time later on in the week to make room for your hamstring training. This is simply a quad routine, nothing more.
One giant set performed 3-4 times, that’s all and then we are done.
- Hack Squats
- Bosa Ball Squats
- Leg Extensions
For your hacks and bosa squats you will perform 15-20 reps each. On your leg extensions you will perform 50 reps each.
You will start with hacks, immediately go to the bosa ball and complete the set there. Once you are done with the bosa squats head immediately to the leg extensions and perform your set.
That’s one set, you now have 2-3 more to complete. After each set rest for 2-3 minutes. Make sure you get your breath back, have a little water and you may want to stretch a little bit in between. A good hurdlers stretch held for about 30 seconds on each side will suffice. After that it’s time to go again.
For your hacks, make sure that the weight is light enough to be able to complete the set, but you still want to be moving heavy weight. No, we’re not lifting for absolute failure, but even on the first set you should be struggling with the last few reps. True, you may get 20 reps on your first set of hacks, and you may fall short of this number on the next set, but do your absolute best to reach the set number of reps each time. You may feel tired, your legs may be screaming, but don’t stop, struggle through it and gain a sense of accomplishment after each set.
Bosa Ball Squat
Many bodybuilders may scoff at the idea of performing these, don’t let your pride get in the way of what could be a very successful training session. A bosa ball is a half rounded ball, a round ball on one side and a flat level platform on the other. It will require a lot of balance to perform these which will stimulate muscles in your legs that often get neglected. If your gym doesn’t have a bosa ball, ask them to get one, most gyms will carry at least one of these. If they don’t have one and refuse to buy one, you’re going to have to get creative and find something else. You may simply have to do these standing flat on the floor; you’ll still get a good burn but you will be missing out a little.
Simply stand on the ball with your feet about 6-10 inches apart. Hold a weight in your hands against your chest, for many of you a 45lb plate will work fine and squat all the way down until your rear end touches your calves. Sounds easy doesn’t it? I know what you’re thinking, sounds like some sort of Jane Fonda plan. I can guarantee you Fonda wouldn’t touch these, especially after a brutal set of hacks. Give it a try.
You should know how to do these, if not odds are you’ve never been in a gym. If that happens to be you simply check out the exercise tutorial video’s here at probodybuilding.com to see the proper way to perform this and all exercises.
You’re going to be shooting for 50 reps on each set, maybe that sounds easy, if you bounce and jerk the weight it will be, please don’t be that guy.
On each rep use a full range of motion; do not lock your knees at the top but squeeze your quads hard at the top and hold for just a second. Your legs are going to be screaming after this set, and once you’ve completed one or two sets you will find it very hard to even stand up if you did them correctly.
There you have it. An effective way to hit your quads hard and an effective way to do so when time is short. If you’re training alone or with a partner this sessions should not take any longer the 25-30 minutes tops. If you really hump it you should be able to finish in 20 minutes.
As you should always do before training your quads, warm up thoroughly. Whatever it is you do to warm up on any leg day do so on this day as well.
If you find yourself in a position where you need to train quads and need to do so quickly, I urge you to give this a try. Once you do, tell us about how it went for you and post your experience on the message boards here at probodybuilding.com