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8 Methods To Murder Legs In The Gym

The legs are easily the most ignored of all muscle groups. Those who ignore their legs tend to have some creative excuses and rationalizations for not doing so.

But the real reason clear: leg exercises can be painful. Unfortunately, there’s no way around this, except to grab your nuts and man up.

The long-term results are more than worth it. And let’s not forget the benefit of experiencing an endorphin rush following an intense lower body workout. Who knows – you might be one of the “freaks” who absolutely loves leg workouts.

Play Nice – Staying loose is super important in training quads. That means elongating the muscles first by stretching. You don’t often see a lot of huge guys stretching, but pros like Mike Matarazzo and Flex Wheeler made stretching a part of the beginning of each leg routine. Not only does it elongate, it engorges muscles with blood. The more you stretch, the more blood goes in. Start with quads and then move to hamstrings.

Get Beat Up! I don’t care how you get amped up. Just do it. When I used to workout in my basement with my friend, we would take turns getting slapped in the back of the head, punched in the abs and swatted across the back to get ready for heavy deadlifts (don’t worry, nobody got hurt). It worked like magic. My intensity effort and strength went through the roof. I realize this may not be your cup of tea. but don’t knock it till you try it!

Squat For Strength And Power
“For bigger leg muscles, general muscle definition and leg power, you will not find a better exercise than the squat. When you are squatting well it feels great but if you’re struggling it can feel like a horrendous exercise. In particular, when you do lots of repetitions it really starts to bite.
"To build strength and power we try to vary the exercise a lot. So we might do three sets of ten squats, a one-rep max, or explosive squats with lighter weights during which the aim is to produce as much power as possible.
"The most important thing is to get your technique right. I personally focus on keeping the weight on my heels, keeping my chest up, staying in control on the way down, and being explosive on the way up. But you should get a trainer to make sure you get it right. During a gym session I will do 10 squats with a 145kg barbell.”

Push It To The Limit
– Eight reps is essential for growth. Always go heavy enough that you can try to exceed eight reps (but no more than 15 reps total) and don’t go so heavy that you can’t achieve eight reps. People who say they are done in three reps are just cheating themselves, and those that pound past 15 will never grow. So whether super slow, HIIT or otherwise, you can’t grow outside of the acceptable range of 8 to 15.

Move Around. Pace around your area, jump up and down – whatever. This helps you keep blood flowing and can be surprisingly helpful for gaining a focus. Some people might prefer to get their game-face on, while standing up or sitting down; but you’ll often see powerlifters or Olympic weightlifters pace around the floor right before performing a lift.

Control The Negative Reps. This is especially important for leg exercises because of the knee and lower back involvement. As you probably know, the knee and lower back are two areas that are more vulnerable to injury. One surefire way to induce one of these injuries is by going out of control when lowering the weight. This can put too much stress on these relatively fragile body parts, and potentially sideline you for a while. Handle the weight, don’t let it handle you. Lower the weight if you can’t handle it.

Learn & Use Good Form. “Practice makes perfect” is a lie – The saying should be “perfect practice makes perfect.” Actively critique yourself even if you think everything is correct. I was too arrogant to do this when I first began training at 15. I knew technique was important. But I had convinced myself that my form was flawless, despite never actually assessing it. I was soon humbled by an unpleasant lower back injury while squatting. In practice, your form won’t always be perfect, but it should always be good enough to prevent an injury.

Keep It Simple – Effective leg workouts are more about technique than they are about the exercises themselves. Sure, you have to choose exercises that address the quad from its most basic anatomy, but apart from that, using sound training principles is key. That means keeping it simple. Jury-rigging equipment just isn’t necessary. Squats, leg press, hack squats, front squats and leg extensions are what to focus on. Following workouts, if your legs are rubbery, sore or weak, walk it off for 10 or 15 minutes. Your recovery will be much shorter when you do this.

The Best Leg Exercises

Here’s my top 5 picks for the best leg exercises:

Barbell Squat
Barbell Step Up
Dumbbell Lunge
Leg Press