Way too many beginners skip out on training their legs, or just do a half-ass job, and build an unattractive imbalance in their physique. This throws off the symmetry of their body and just looks plain ridiculous as the gap between the size of their upper and lower bodies increases. If you’re new to bodybuilding, try out the following 3 leg workouts to put on mass and ensure you aren’t “that guy” with the toothpicks for legs.
Anatomy of the Legs
Your legs are a complex muscle group, but for the sake of simplicity you can break them down into 4 core muscles that need to be consistently trained. They are:
- Hamstrings (back of the upper leg)
- Quads (front of the upper leg)
- Calves (back of the lower leg)
- Glutes (butt)
Best Leg Workout for Mass 1: Squat
To promote maximum leg growth, you can’t go wrong with the full barbell squat. No other lift activates as many muscle fibers than squatting, since it targets your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. This makes the barbell squat the most commonly used exercise when attempting to increase leg mass. Since it is a compound lift, you should try to do the barbell squat as the first lift on your legs day and then move on to isolation exercises.
How to do the Barbell Squat
- Position barbell on back of shoulders and grasp bar to sides.
- Dismount bar from rack.
- Bend knees while allowing hips to bend back behind, keeping back straight and knees pointed same direction as your feet.
- Lower until knees and hips are fully bent.
- Extend knees and hips until legs are straight.
- Repeat the motion.
Tip: If you have lower back problems, you might want to try doing leg presses instead. The leg press machine allows you to keep your back straight against the seat while performing the movement.
Best Leg Workouts for Mass 2 : Dumbbell Lunges
Dumbbell Lunges are great because they not only add mass to your primary muscles but also incorporate balance into your leg workout. Your legs consist of a number of stabilizer muscles that help you keep balance when walking, running and pretty much any other movement while on two feet. Dumbbell lunges will help strengthen those muscles while also targeting, and adding mass to, your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes.
How to Perform Dumbbell Lunges
- Lunge forward with first leg.
- Land on heel then forefoot.
- Lower body by flexing knee and hip of front leg until knee of rear leg is almost in contact with floor.
- Return to original standing position by forcibly extending hip and knee of forward leg.
- Repeat by alternating lunge with opposite leg.
Best Leg Workout for Mass 3: Calf Extensions
The calves are one of the smaller muscle groups in your legs. So, you should be fine doing only calf extensions for a few sets. But, you can also train your calves by running, doing box jumps or any form of plyometric. But remember, your legs have a lot of muscular endurance, your calves especially, so don’t worry too much about overtraining them.
How to Perform Calf Extensions
- Position back of shoulders under barbell with both hands to sides.
- Position toes and balls of feet on calf block with arches and heels extending off.
- Raise heels by extending ankles as high as possible.
- Lower heels by bending ankles until calves are stretched.
- Repeat the motion