Legs are rightfully included in the three largest muscle groups along with the back and the chest. Their good development will visually make you larger and your muscles stronger. You can divide your legs into several zones:
- Front of the thigh (quads)
- Back of the thigh (hamstrings)
- Lower leg (calf and soleus muscles)
- Pelvic region (buttocks)
Quadriceps are the muscles of the thigh.
This is a large muscle group located on the front of the thigh and consisting of 4 heads:
- Rectus muscles
- Lateral wide
- Medial wide
- Intermediate wide
They all perform one common function, namely leg extension at the knee joint.
Hip biceps or biceps
This muscle is located on the back of the thigh and consists of two heads:
Their main function is hip extension and flexing at the knee joint. That is, they perform the opposite function of the quadriceps.
Calf and soleus muscles
These two muscles are located on the back of the lower leg. The calf muscle occupies a large part and it is this muscle, that makes up the massiveness of this part of the leg. These muscles have two heads:
The soleus muscle is flat and has one head. Located under the calf (reminiscent of biceps and brachialis, don’t you think?). Their function is to flex the ankle and stabilize the body.
This muscle consists of three paired muscles:
- Big. It is the largest and occupies almost the entire region.
- Small. Which is under the gluteus maximus.
- Average. Located just above the gluteus maximus.
It is considered one of the most powerful muscles in the human body. Together they perform one major function, hip and trunk extension. They also stabilize the body.
Also, there are many small muscle groups. But it is not advisable to perform specialized exercises for their development. Since while training the large muscles will also be worked.
ERRORS IN TRAINING LEGS
Before you start training your legs and choose the best exercise for yourself, you need to sort out the mistakes that many make. By avoiding them, you can achieve tremendous results without injury and in less time.
PREFERENCE FOR ISOLATED EXERCISES
Everyone knows the fact that in order to build a large muscle mass, you need to perform heavy, multi-joint basic exercises. But many athletes avoid them and prefer isolated movements. The reason is that all basic leg exercises are very hard and not everyone has the motivation to do them. This is your right, but if you want to achieve results, then isolation is not the best approach.
LACK OF WARM-UP
Warm-up is a very important part of any workout. It will help to prevent many injuries and warm up the muscles before the hard work begins. It can be done with lightweight and 1 or 2 warm-up sets before each exercise. Or choose a special complex aimed at one or another muscle group.
INCORRECT EXECUTION TECHNIQUE
This is one of the most important ingredients in the entire workout. It is the correct technique that will allow you to achieve great results, as well as eliminate any risk of injury while performing a difficult basic exercise. Therefore, do not neglect it! Instead, take a few extra workouts and hone your technique to perfection.
Check out these errors. If you do not allow them, then you will succeed in this difficult task. But if you neglect them, then at best, your leg muscles will remain weak and thin forever. And at worst, you can end up with an injury that will forever block your way to the gym.
WHAT DO WE NEED FOR PROPER LEG TRAINING?
- Correctly selected exercises. We have already decided that basic exercises will be a priority. They will help build muscle mass.
- Load progression. In order to avoid stagnation in muscle growth, we will need to constantly add working weight. Let it be a little by 1 kg, but the progression should be constant. Of course, by no means approach this point with great fanaticism. Add weight gradually as you train.
- Warm-up at the beginning of the workout. This is a very important component of the training process. Warming up will help warm up their muscles for hard work. The same goes for warm-up sets.
- Stretching at the end of your workout. Remember once and for all, stretching is done only at the end of the workout! But why? Because during stretching, the muscle relaxes, which contributes to its early recovery and minimizes muscle pain the next day after training. And also, it stretches the muscle fibres that remain in a tired state after hard work on the legs in the gym. If we stretch at the beginning, then we will relax the muscles and they are unlikely to be able to work out to the maximum.
- Periodization of loads. That is, alternating workouts for fast (BMF) and slow muscle fibres (MMF). What is the difference between them? BMWs are white and designed for hard work, but tire quickly. Therefore, they are trained with high weights and low reps from 1 to 5. The MMV is red. On the contrary, they are designed for long-term work, but with much less weight. We will train them for high reps with light weights for 15-20 reps.
- Keeping training progress. Of course, you can skip this point if you have an excellent memory and can store a large amount of information. But for me, it’s easier to write it down. For this, a training notebook will help you. In it, you will write down your controls, weights, approaches and the number of repetitions. Also, the parameters of your body. Then after some time, for example, a month, you can assess your progress. In my head, it would be problematic to track it without my notebook.
LEG WORKOUT PROGRAM
Of course, ideally, it’s better to set aside a separate day for leg training. Since this is very difficult and painstaking work. It will be hard to give all the best, knowing that there is another muscle pumping ahead. But if this is not possible, then swing a small muscle second. Biceps, triceps, or shoulders (deltoids) are perfect for this role.
BASIC LEG WORKOUT
- Lower body warm-up: 5-10 minutes;
- Barbell Shoulder Squats: 1 warm-up set and 3 working sets with 10-12 reps;
- Bench press lying in the simulator (for a start, a neutral setting of the legs is recommended in the middle of the platform, slightly wider than the shoulders), 1 warm-up and 3 working sets with 12-15 reps;
- Romanian Deadlift: 1-2 warm-up sets and 3 workouts of 10-12 reps;
- Leg curl in the simulator: 3 working sets with 10-15 reps. Try to pierce the hamstrings as much as possible;
- Rise on toes (the option that you have chosen) 1-2 warm-up approaches 12-15 times and 2-3 working sets for the maximum number of times. If more than 20 reps come out, then increase the weight;
- Stretching at the end of your workout, try to stretch your muscles well for at least 5-10 minutes.
This training program is designed to develop all the muscles in the hind and front legs. If you train 3 times a week, with 2 muscle groups in each workout. For example, chest-biceps, back-triceps, legs-shoulders, then it is better to transfer the raises of the socks to some other day.
TARGETING THE QUADRICEPS MUSCLE (QUADS)
- Warm-up: 5-10 minutes with an emphasis on working muscles;
- Front squats: 1-2 warm-up sets and 3 working sets with 10-12 reps;
- Bench press in a simulator with a narrow stance of the legs: 1 warm-up and 3 working sets with 12 reps;
- Dumbbell Lunges: 3 working sets, 12-15 reps;
- Calf raises: 1 warm-up and 3 working sets for the maximum number of reps;
- Stretching: with an emphasis on the quads, 5-10 minutes is needed.
This training program is designed to work out the quads in detail. If you wish, you can remove the sock raises and replace them with the Romanian deadlift. Then the hamstrings will also be involved, albeit to a lesser extent.
TARGETED TRAINING OF THE BACK OF THE THIGH (BICEPS) AND BUTTOCKS
- Warm-up: with an emphasis on working muscles for 5-10 minutes;
- Squats with a barbell on the shoulders in the style of sumo (wide stance): 1-2 warm-up sets and 3 working sets with 10-15 reps;
- Bulgarian lunges (hind leg on a hill): 1 warm-up and 3 working sets with 15 reps;
- Romanian Deadlift: 1 warm-up and 2 working sets with 15 reps;
- Machine Leg Curl: 3 sets with 15 reps;
- Stretching: targeting the back of the thigh for 5-10 minutes.
This is a great workout that girls will appreciate. After all, it is they who seek to pump up these muscle zones. But this workout is also suitable for men, especially if alternated with the previous one. The calf muscles are not included in this training program, as they act as stabilizers in the Romanian Deadlift and Bulgarian lunges. But if you have the strength and desire, you can turn them on.
Do not forget about the periodization of the load, work both for a large number of repetitions and for a small, but with a large weight. All success in your training!