Legs for Days
The world can be divided into two camps: Those who do legs and those who skip leg day. If you’re in the second camp, trust me, we know who you are—perhaps you should consider switching camps.
Those in the first camp, are headed in the right direction, but it’s easy to get in a rut and stop making progress. Your legs contain some of the largest muscle groups in your body. Compared to your upper body, it’s difficult to get them to grow. Depending on your weight, those muscles are used to hauling around between 100 to 250 or more pounds. You can’t get on the leg press, put a 25-pound plate on and think you did something.
Whether your goals are to have sexy, thick legs or lean and toned legs, you need three components. First, you need proper muscle stimulation. Second, you need the right macro-nutrients, and third, you need optimal hormone balance.
You need a targeted routine to get you in and out of the gym quickly, while still hitting those legs hard two to three days a week. Since legs are made of different muscles that work as one, they need stimulation on all sides for good even development. The weight you use should make the reps demanding. Use the lower end of the rep range for thickness and the upper end of the rep range for lean muscle mass. Alternate A & B day.
Squat 4 sets 6-15 reps
Smith Machine Split Squat 4 sets 6-12 reps
Step Ups 3 sets 12-15 reps per leg.
Romanian Deadlift 3 sets 6-12 reps
Smith Machine Front Squat 4 sets 6-12 reps
Smith Machine Squat 4 sets 12-15 reps
Lying Leg Curl 4 sets 12-20 reps
Leg Extension 4 sets 12-20 reps
After tearing up your legs, you need to feed them right to help with healing and recovery. The most essential nutrient your body needs at this time is protein. You should look for a protein blend with whey, casein and egg protein to give your muscles the most well-rounded feed. The whey, a milk-based protein, digests quickly and is high in branch chain amino acids which are the building blocks for muscle growth. Casein is also from milk but because it is absorbed much slower, it gives the body a steady feed for hours after your workout. The egg protein provides all nine amino acids your body does not naturally create. Egg protein is a great alternative for those who have lactose intolerance, but still need to get their muscles fueled.
Keeping your hormone levels optimized is as important as the time spent working hard in the gym. Without well balanced hormone levels, you’ll never achieve your maximum goals for muscle growth. If you are 35 or older, make sure your testosterone levels are normal. Your doctor can easily run a panel of blood work, but even if your levels come back in the normal zone, they may not be optimal. You may not need Testosterone replacement, but you will want to look at supplements that optimize what you have.
Testosterone is the pivotal hormone for energy levels, mood, and of course muscle gain, but another supplement that will help your muscle gains is IGF (Insulin-like growth factor). IGF which is a hormone that plays an important role in growth through a series of chemical reactions that builds molecules from smaller components.
Studies show that IGF promotes bone and muscle growth and protects against muscle wasting. If you are in weight loss or cutting phase, it’s critical that you maintain muscle mass. Calorie reduction will cause muscle loss unless protein levels are high and hormone levels are optimized.
Don’t be a chicken. Get in the gym and get those legs for days!