A considerable percentage of people looking to put on muscle often overlook their lower body. It is not uncommon to come across individuals with well-built arms and chests donning less impressive legs. Stability and strength are the primary characteristics of a well-developed body. As such, the legs should be the primary focus of any bodybuilder.
Before you can embark on any workout program that targets your legs, you have to consume more calories that you burn. Failure to do so will result in no muscle growth at all. This being said, the bulking up process must be undertaken with caution. You must not consume everything in sight since this strategy leads to weight gain in the form of fats instead of lean muscle.
There are tons of different leg workouts out there. In this article we’ll go through what we think are the best exercises for increasing leg muscle mass. There are three muscles which your workouts should target. The quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.
By far the best exercises to increase the size of your quadriceps are squats. There are numerous variations of the squat but the best place to start is the barbell full squat. Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart. Your legs should be flat on the floor after lifting the barbell off the squat rack. With your head facing straight ahead and spine neutral, lower your body by flexing the knees to the point where your thighs are parallel to the ground. Then lift yourself back up with a similar but reverse movement.
The other effective exercise for big quads is the leg press. Position yourself on the machine with your legs shoulder width apart on the platform. Once you have lowered the safety bars, lift the platform up until your legs are fully stretched. Aim to make a 90 degree angle with your legs and torso. Then gradually lower the platform until your knees are just above your chest.
In order to develop your hamstrings, the recommended workouts are stiff legged dead lifts and clean dead lifts. For the stiff legged dead lift, start by grabbing a barbell with a pronated grip (palms facing down). With your upper body straight and legs at shoulder width, bend at the waist and lower the barbell towards the front part of your feet until you feel tension on your hamstrings. Raise your torso by extending your hips until you are at the starting position.
To perform the clean dead lift, begin by standing over a barbell with your legs at hip width and feet slightly facing outwards. Grab the barbell with a double pronated grip at about shoulder width and squat downwards to the bar. Your back should be straight and your shoulders in front of the bar. Lift the bar while maintaining your back’s position. As the bar passes your knees, extend your knees and hips driving your pelvic area into the bar.
The calves are the minor muscles of the legs but are nonetheless important. A highly rated workout for the calves is the simple dumbbell cross legged calf raise. Hold a dumbbell on your right hand and cross your left foot behind your right leg at the ankle. Then raise your right leg until you are standing on the balls of your foot. Lower the leg then repeat with the left leg.
To achieve maximum gains, you should alternate between the various variations of these exercises. Always choose a weight that will allow you to get at least 4 reps, but no more than 8 reps. If you can comfortably get past 8 reps with a given weight, it is time to increase the load. Most importantly, remember to provide adequate recovery time for your leg muscles to avoid injuries.
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