Stuck on upper body training? Time to change that. We’ve got the legs workout for mass you need to learn for a better body.
Your body is usually broken up into two separate training groups: Lower and upper body. Under most workout programs, the upper body is further broken down into several training days while the lower body has only one legs day. You know the kind. They tend to focus on a lower body lift.
Do you want to have chicken legs or keep your confidence high with a total body fitness physique?
Below are the top lower body lift exercises you should be incorporating into your training program when it comes to your legs and glutes.
Legs Workout For Mass, Two Leg Training Days A Week
As mentioned, having only one legs day a week is pretty useless if you are training five days a week. Having only one lower body lift exercise day won’t cut it. This is referred to as inefficient exercising. As well, you should be rotating your training cycles every two to three months so your body is always experiencing something new.
The start of your training has always brought amazing results. Fat dropped significantly and your muscles began to pop out more than usual. People began to notice and made comments to boost your confidence.
Then, all of a sudden, the gains began to diminish no matter how hard you tried or increased your loads.
You hit a training plateau. This often occurs when you fail to change up your total body fitness program. When you first started, your body was inefficient in the exercise movements and the basic use of progressive overloading worked very well. But then your body became effective in the training process placed on it. At this point, it needs something new to change things up for better gains.
This concept applies to your legs day training.
Once a week is okay, but why not insert a second day in there?
The common defense is you need time to rest your leg muscles. Your body only needs 24 to 48 hours of rest to successfully repair its muscles and allow growth. Beyond this timeframe is not needed. Think about it. Some people believe this concept, yet they do a shoulder workout day following a chest workout. Your triceps and shoulders are getting significant muscle recruitment two days in a row!
With that being said, your weekly total body fitness program to master your legs workout for mass presented later should look like this:
Monday – Chest and Triceps
Tuesday – Legs and Glutes
Wednesday – Shoulders and Triceps
Thursday – Back, Abs and Biceps
Friday – Legs and Glutes
Saturday – Rest
Sunday – Rest
As you can see, you always get 24 hours of rest for each muscle region to get enough time for recovery.
You Can Boost The Leg Training Process Even Faster
Now this is not a statement or add that a supplement is needed, although they can be great for muscle growth. Instead, this is referring to increasing your leg training through what is known as specialized training, which is becoming a commonly practiced routine in this day and age.
Specialized training refers to focusing on one particular spot much more than any of the others. In terms of your leg day workout, you would now be doing three training days instead of just two. This allows you to shock your muscles and encourage boosts in muscle growth.
Your specialized training program would look like this instead:
Monday – Legs and Glutes
Tuesday – Chest, Back and Triceps
Wednesday – Legs and Glutes
Thursday – Shoulders, Abs and Biceps
Friday – Legs and Glutes
Saturday – Rest
Sunday – Rest
You still get plenty of rest time for recovery even with a third day of lower body training being included.
There Are Benefits of Lower Body Fitness and Training
Lower body exercises are not just great for curing chicken leg syndrome and getting strong legs. Instead, some of the moves can help provide another effective benefit, as the focus on your lower body is quite effective for a lot of upper body movements as well. Let’s look at a compound leg lift exercise for a bit.
Compound moves use multiple muscle groups and joints to perform an action. For example, squats focus on your legs and glutes the most, but your abs and back muscles receive a workout as well. However, this type of move is also a little special because it releases hormones. Research shows that compound lifts such as the squat allow the release of free testosterone, growth hormones and other types that boost your performance.
On another note, the other reason you want your legs to be stronger is because they are your foundation for all standing exercises. Think of your legs as the trunk of a tree. Without the strength to hold up that mass, the tree would fall over and be helpless. The same applies to your workouts using exercises such as the standing barbell press and deadlifts. Your lower body strength provides equal stability and prevents you from falling over.
You Need To Master These Lower Body Exercises
Are you ready to start including exercises in your training program that are essential for leg growth and strength?
If so, then try each of these exercises. Master them. Then use them with an effective workout.
#1 Barbell Squat (Back and Front)
Yes, barbell squats are on this list. Why? Simple, they are the setting point for your foundation to do many exercises. Plus, they are one of the best lower compound lifts you can do.
The primary areas of focus are your quads. This is the larger muscle on the front of your upper legs. The barbell front squat actually recruits this muscle more than the back squat. Not only that, but it also boosts your core strength more since you have to keep your balance from the weight pulling forward.
Barbell back squats are important because they are easier to master and recruit plenty of muscles to give your body the workout it needs. Both styles are okay to use with lower load settings. But, increasing it to moderate or heavy is more often beneficial for muscle growth. Do not be afraid to use some weight!
#2 Bulgarian Split Leg Squat
Over the past 10 years, this has become a popular exercise. You can use dumbbells or the barbell for similar benefits.
You do a Bulgarian split leg squat by placing one foot behind you on something like a flat bench with the top of your foot against the padding. Then you have one leg forward as if getting ready to lunge. Simply squat and feel your leg muscles hard at work to maintain balance and contract against the resistance.
Core muscles are also activated since your body is put into a position where it can fall off balance. You can increase the core muscle benefits by only using one dumbbell per set. For example, use your left hand first to grasp the weight and then alternate hands. Do the move with both hands. At that point, you then can note that one set has been completed.
#3 Stiff Legged Deadlift
Deadlifts are better known for upper body focus, but your legs are also used a lot during this exercise. This variant, known as the stiff legged deadlift, is even more focused on your legs. Sure, the exercise does target your lower back pretty effectively. But, your hamstrings receive a lot of resistance if you master this exercise and start to increase the resistance.
The hamstring activation comes from slower, more focused movement. This means you should not just fly through each set. You need to allow that tension to occur within your hamstrings. The barbell is often the main type of equipment used. With that said, dumbbells can also work if that is what you want to use.
#4 Seated Calf Raise
The standing version of the calf raise is the most widely used type. Sadly, it sometimes can take away from your calves.
Instead of using the standing heel raise machine, dumbbells or the barbell, you should consider the seated version. This is a common piece of equipment found in most gyms. It is also one of the best ways to actually squeeze your calves and make sure they get a good workout.
However, if your gym does not have this equipment you could use dumbbells instead. Grasp the dumbbells while seated and rest one end down on top of the meaty area above your knees. This could cause pain if you are trying it for the first time, but you get an equally effective focus of resistance on your calves.
#5 Goblet Squat
The goblet squat likely gets its name from the way it looks like you are holding a goblet while doing a squat. Strength and conditioning coaches love this move for boosting your leg strength and power. You will probably like it because your lower body muscles will feel a nice burn while you train.
Be careful with using too much weight. Why? With too much weight, you may fall over or increase the chances of the weight falling on your foot. You need to squat down deep if you truly want to master this exercise and allow for better muscle potential.
#6 Single Leg Extension
Leg extensions mainly focus on your quads. Usually you see this done with both legs. But, if you sit down and use only one leg you get a lot of muscle targeting. The single leg type is just the same as when you use two. This will get your quads built up to keep putting the mass on. Slow and steady movement is the best method you should consider while focusing on your lower body.
You most likely do not want to stack too much weight on the machine. Why? The reason is because you can easily hurt your calves or even upper leg muscles. Use the grip in the middle of your machine if you need help moving the weight from the down position. Don’t worry. This is quite common. Just do not chase the pump and most everything will be fine.
These Lower Body Moves Work
You have been given six exercises that you are supposed to master and start getting into your workout routines from time to time. This is what allows you to move on to more advanced exercises, or consider increasing your progressive load settings to support the new muscles starting to form. Finally, you should consider including these exercises into your training routine as well. Remember, food is needed to support your body’s natural ability to repair and recover properly. This is what truly leads to muscle growth in your lower body region.
Start off doing the exercise provided with lower load settings. You will come to notice that this is one of the only ways to get proper form down. Afterward, feel free to start adding more weight onto the bar once you have perfected the move and feel confident.
You don’t want to look imbalanced. You want total body fitness. To achieve that, you need more than one legs day where you do lower body lift moves. These leg workouts for men and women will work. But, your growth and success is up to you.
Bigger gains ahead!
By Brian Pankau, CPT