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If you are a car fanatic then you’ll appreciate the importance that a nice set of wheels has on the overall look of a car. Take a Dodge Ram 3500 and add small station wagon wheels, and its dominance factor has just plummeted through the floor.

Take a “top heavy” guy with incredible hulk-like arms and add small Chicken Little legs, and it becomes blatantly obvious that he has fallen victim of skip-legs-day-itus.

For the ladies out there, those toned legs only come by overloading them. And do not fear — squatting heavy weights will never make your legs “big and chunky.” Period. Unless you are taking steroids, you will never be at a level playing field to a guy in terms of testosterone levels — the primary hormone responsible for muscle growth.

Remember, do not focus your time and attention on isolation or machine exercises. The “core” component of your leg workouts MUST include the following.

Core Exercises

The following exercises are embedded links to demonstration videos.

Training Strategy

The strategy is simple and is in line with tried and true strength training programs such as Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe and Strong Lifts 5×5.

  1. Focus on progressive overload (getting stronger every week by gradually adding weight)
  2. Focus on lifting heavy weight in your workouts
  3. Getting enough protein (0.8–1.0 g per LB of body weight per day)

For the next 6 weeks, you will structure your leg training workout using the following as a guide.

Note: You will always start your leg training session with either the barbell back squat or barbell front squat.

Core Exercises (Pick one)

  • Barbell back squat

3–4 sets @ 5–7 reps each set

  • Barbell front squat

3–4 sets @ 5–7 reps each set

Optional Exercises (Pick one)

  • Leg press

3 sets @ 5–7 reps each set

  • Lunges

3 sets @ 5–7 reps each set

  • Hip thrusts

3 sets @ 5–7 reps each set

  • Standing or seated calf raises

3 sets @ 7–10 reps each set

For example;

You may program your leg training day as follows;

1. Dynamic warm-up sets

2. Barbell back squat (4 sets of 6 reps each)

3. Leg press (3 sets of 6 reps each)

4. Standing calf raises (3 sets of 9 reps each)

There is a total of about 10 working heavy sets! That’s it!

But…it will be hard. If it’s not hard, the weight is not heavy enough.

Rest between sets

You will give yourself anywhere from 2–4 minutes between sets to rest. Yes. I know this is a lot more time than what is usually suggested but we are training for strength and muscle growth, not endurance. Ignore what everyone else says.

Once I hit 7 reps for any particular set, it will be time to increase the weight by 2.5 kg (5 pounds) to stimulate progressive overload. By doing this, the number of reps I will be able to perform will drop down to 5 reps. I will then continue to try and achieve 7 reps at the new weight. Once I achieve 7 reps at the new weight (hopefully by the following week), I can then add another 2.5 kg (5 pounds) to the bar. I repeat this cycle.

After 6 months of doing this, the rate of progression will slow down where you may only be adding 1.25 kg (2.5 pounds) to the bar every week.

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