4 Tips to Building Massive Legs - With Bonus Workout
Are you tired of people making fun of your chicken legs?
Do you skip leg day because it's too much work?
Well say goodbye to those skinny legs, your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves are about to get a permanent makeover.
When we talk about lower body development, most of us shy away. There are a lot of tips out there to building massive legs, but unless you put them to use, you'll never see results.
Related - The Only Leg Workout You'll Need
So what does it take to build strong legs?
There are a few ways to build stronger legs — you actually go to the gym for leg day, you do heavy compound lifts, or you could be overweight your whole life so your legs are used to carrying a load.
I've been heavy my whole life, but never realized how strong my legs were until I started lifting. I showed up to the gym and killed it.
Now it's your turn.
No matter if you are new to the gym or have been lifting for years, this article will address a few tips and include a bonus leg workout for you to start making progress on those wheels.
How to Build Big Legs
Tip #1 - Do Your Squats and Deadlifts
Unless your doctor says you can't squat or deadlift, learning how to properly perform these exercises will pay off huge.
These will be your only lower rep moves you do for your lower body, but sometimes lifting lighter with more volume will help spur growth, too.
When we squat and deadlift, we are putting heavy loads on our spines — forcing our nervous system to perform better.
Our quads respond to volume, so doing leg extensions or leg presses in the three to five rep range simply won't cut it.
Lifting heavy is great for building muscle and building strength, but hammering your slow-twitch dominant quads with low reps won't cut it. That's why athletes that require a lot of time under tension on their legs usually have massive legs.
Speed skaters, hockey players, downhill skiing, and cycling all create massive quads.
So when doing squats and deadlifts:
- Learn proper form first, then start adding weight.
- Train squats and deadlifts in the five to eight rep range — other times you should aim for 8 to 12 reps with a lighter weight for more volume.
Don't Forget Your Glutes
It's no secret that the key to big arms is largely dependent on your triceps. The same goes for your glutes and hamstrings — they determine how large your legs will be.
Squats and deadlifts are great, but you need to add in a little more work for your glutes.
Building your posterior chain takes a lot of work, but you'll see athletic improvements in and out of the gym.
Here are a few posterior chain exercises that many overlook:
- Reverse Lunges
- Reverse Hyperextensions
- Romanian Deadlifts
- Single Leg Deadlifts
- Glute Kicks
- Barbell Hip Thrusts
- Good Mornings
The trick about training your posterior chain is that you need to concentrate on perfect form. Anyone can manage to barbell thrust a bunch of weight, but they are likely "doing whatever it takes" to do it instead of doing the exercise properly.
Tip #3 - Train Outside of the Sagittal Plane
Most leg training programs have you working in the sagittal plane.
Without diving into the science, we are moving in the sagittal plane on every exercise mentioned in this article so far. When we are walking we are moving in the sagittal plane, but if we were to walk sideways where our legs cross, that is moving laterally.
While this doesn't sound like a big deal, if we jump out of training in the sagittal plane and start incorporating lateral movements, your knee stability will increase and you will start building massive legs.
These exercises don't take a lot of weight to notice benefits, which is great. It means you don't have to tax your body for hours to enjoy the benefits of stronger, more stable legs. Moving in a lateral motion, that means we are moving side to side.
Here are a few lateral movements that help build stronger, bigger, and more stable legs:
- Lateral Lunges
- Cossak Squats
- Side Lying Adductions
- Band Resisted Abductions
There are also many machines that you can use for your adductors and abductors, along with many exercises you can do at the cable cross machine.
Adding a few sets of some of these exercises will make a huge difference. You can use these as a warmup or finisher in your leg day.
Tip #4 - Try More Than Just Squats and Deadlifts
Now that your leg day has the basics nailed down — doing some squats or deadlifts, glute work, adding in some quad volume, and training a little in the lateral plane — we need to add in a few bodybuilding exercises.
For these exercises, choose two to three to add into your leg day. These will help your lagging body parts, increase your overall strength, and help you break some personal records.
Adding in some single leg training will improve your knee stability, balance, mobility, and coordination. This all adds up to bigger and heavier squats and deadlifts.
Pick a few bodybuilder exercises and add them to your arsenal:
- Leg Extensions
- Leg Curls
- Hack Squats
- Goblet Squats
- Leg Presses
- Single-Leg Dumbbell Deadlifts
- Pistol Squats
Bonus: Effective Leg Workout
Want to take your leg day to the next level?
Try this bonus leg workout and let us know how you feel.
- 1.) Squats - 4 sets of 5 reps
- 2.) Goblet Squats - 3 sets of 12 reps
- 3.) Leg Presses - 3 sets of 8 reps
- 4.) Side Lying Leg Adduction - 4 sets of 10 reps
- 5.) Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlifts - 4 sets of 15 reps
- 6.) Abductor Machine - 3 sets of 15 reps
Wrapping It Up
Building massive and strong legs takes time, effort, and volume.
If you strictly stick to machine work and a bodybuilder style workout without adding in squats and deadlifts, you're not making the most progress that you can. Train smarter, train harder, and make sure you do not neglect exercises.
Building a well-developed lower body takes some variety in your movements, progressively overloading, and patience.