Updated on March 6th, 2018
You’ve probably heard people talking about the importance of not skipping leg day, or not letting friends skip a leg day, and for very good reason too.
Although leg training can be absolutely brutal, it is also extremely beneficial and for anybody looking for bigger legs, it is a necessity like no other.
To properly work your legs, you need to be strong, both physically and mentally, because one thing’s for sure and that is the fact that if you are training legs properly, you are going to be sore as hell for the next couple of days thanks to those infamous legs DOMS that gym rats love yet hate simultaneously.
In terms of an aesthetic physique, a set of powerful bigger legs are absolutely essential as they will make or break any aesthetic body, leaving people with chicken legs, feeling inadequate and self conscious. A set of bigger legs and more powerful legs, however, really help to bring the entire physique together. If you’re looking for like Jeff Seid legs, but don’t know where to start, take a look at these six exercises that are guaranteed to pile on the mass like never before.
1. Barbell squats
When it comes to leg training, barbell squats are considered king of the hill, and rightfully so. It is barbell squats that have been found to give leg training such a reputation for being so gruelling and hardcore, because this exercise is not for the weak of heart. When barbell squatting, it’s important that you go as deep as possible.
Most commercial gyms will recommend going parallel in which your knees form a 90 degree angle, but in reality you want to be going even deeper than that, as that is what will really stretch out those muscle tissues and fibers. For a little variation, many experts recommend mixing things up slightly so that when you are at the very top of the squat, you bring your heels off the ground so that you are now standing on the balls of your feet.
Doing this means that you are able to target your quadriceps and core simultaneously. Obviously, if you’re training super-heavy you shouldn’t try this, but if you’re going for volume training I.E lighter weights and more reps, give it a try and you’ll feel one heck of a difference.
2. Kettlebell swings
People often assume that Kettlebell swings are mainly for working the back and core, and whilst they do indeed target those parts of the body, they are also fantastic for working the legs as well. The reason for this, is that when you go heavy and perform them correctly, multiple muscle groups will be incorporated, forcing the body into a wider stance, which puts more emphasis on the legs. The wider your stance and the heavier the weight, the more your legs will benefit, especially the hamstrings.
3. Squat jumps
Another variation of the dreaded squat is the squat jump, which we’ll be focusing on right now. Basically, as the name implies, you will perform a standard squat, except that, on your way back up from the bottom of the squat, you will jump into the air.
Obviously you should only do this with a very light load barbell across your shoulders, although if you aren’t comfortable you can even perform squat jumps with just your body weight and nothing more. By jumping and performing explosive movements, more muscle fibres are activated, which then encourages more explosive power, which will benefit you in other leg exercises as well.
People commonly think of deadlifts as purely back exercises, when in reality, they are arguably more beneficial for the legs, especially if you take a wider stance and perform what is known as a “sumo deadlift”.
In order to deadlift correctly, keep the bar as close to your shins as possible, never round your back, keep your head up, and make sure you never bend your arms as you could potentially tear a bicep. By taking a wider stance and grip, your legs will be forced to bear even more of the brunt of the exercise, so by the time you’ve done, they will feel as if they’re on fire.
5. Leg press machine
The leg press machine is arguably the most beneficial leg machine you could utilize in the gym, due to the fact that it is very safe, and allows you to pack some huge weights on there in the process. If performed correctly, your quads and hamstrings will be the two primary targets, though it can be difficult to get your form right.
A common mistake that people make with this machine, is to get too cocky and try to lift too much weight, which theoretically, they may be doing. For example, they may place 4 or 5 plates on each side of the machine, and indeed be able to bring the weight down before locking their legs out again.
The problem is that instead of bringing their knees, back as close to their chests as possible, they may only bring them back a few inches, which basically makes the lift worthless. If you can’t bring your legs as close to your body as possible before locking them out again, the weight is too heavy, so lose the ego and strip off some plates.
6. Walking lunges
For people trying to work on their calves, quads, and hamstrings, and get bigger legs in general walking lunges are ideal, and what’s more, they don’t require any heavy weights or special equipment. Simply lunge forward with your front leg, lowering your back leg down until the knee touches the ground, hold for a second and then repeat, switching legs.
Some people will hold a dumbbell in each hand, or have a barbell across their backs to add extra resistance, though you should only do that if you’re confident that body weight lunges are too easy.