"What work outs r good to develop legs including mass and muscle? I work my legs but they're still skinny"
Sidenote: I've been getting a lot of questions that have fermented into blog posts. If you have a question or blog you want me to write about, shoot me an email @ firstname.lastname@example.orgRule of thumb #1: For building strength and mass, do more sets, few reps, heavier weights. Ex: instead of squatting 3 sets of 10 reps with 145 lbs, do 5 sets of 3-5 reps with 190 lbs
Rule of thumb #2: For tone, definition, fat burn and lean mass gain, do high reps with less weight. Ex: squat 3-4 sets of 25 reps with your own body weight and or 100-125 lbs.
Sidenote: Don't sleep on calesthetics. You can build some serious muscle, strength, definition, mass and lose a lot of weight by just using bodyweight exercises.Rule of thumb #3: You need enough water, protein, calories and nutrition to support your muscle growth. Cant stress nutrition enough. Building muscle mass without protein is like putting up a concrete building without cement (architectural nerd moment - eff you Denisha! :)). Water is the same as water in the analogy. If your caloric intake doesn't meet or exceed your workout, you'll get skinnier and end up losing weight or muscle mass [hint for ppl trying to lose weight, just invert that theory]. Simple workout formula: calories in vs calories out. Whichever one is greater, wins.
Rule of thumb #4: Don't HALF-ass the workout. Get the FULL ass....I mean, workout. What does that mean? You hear the cliches "slow and controlled lifts" and after that ppl tend to just drop the weights. Think about this, if you lift a sofa up a flight of stair, do you do it "slow and steady" then drop it when you're done? NO! For more strength and favorable results, lift fast/quickly (but still controlled) and on the drops, return the weight, slow and controlled (these are called negatives). Focus more on the negatives. I promise you, this will cut your max in half for any workout at first, but long term you will see waaaaaaay more results than the "jerk and drop method" that you see most ppl do in the gym. Reason being, you exercise, work and develop the FULL extent of your muscles and tendons and more important in both directions. It will do you no good to lift something if you cant hold it for very long. Not to mention your entire body strengthens as you struggle for stability.
Rule of thumb #5: For building strength and mass, free weights trump machines, hands down. Some exceptions, like bowflexes, cables and other machines, are equally effective.....or almost as.
Using this philosophy, here are some of the best leg workouts I found....rather, most effective for quick results as well as long term muscle, strength and endurance gain.
As much as I hate them, no leg regimen is complete without it. This is also probably one of the greatest total body workouts and along with the bench (great for abs, and back as well), should be the cornerstone of your workout routine. I recommend you start with bodyweight squats until you've perfected your form and body alignment. Caution is key bc this is probably the easiest workout to seriously injure your self doing. Easy when goin up in weight and when you get into heavy weights (180 and up) I strongly recommend investing in a good pair of work out gloves and a good lifting belt. You dont need a bar for this. You can get a great workout with dumb bells, plates or any type of weight (I used to do sumo squats with paint buckets or cinder blocks). For increased challenge and resistance, eventually graduate to one legged squats.
Hands down my least favorite. I stopped bc my thighs and butt were getting too big and I need my slacks to fit, so ladies, yall can have this one. Another workout that can be done with body weight until balance is perfected, then upgraded to bells or a bar. Once you're body weight becomes too easy, challenge yourself by resting one leg behind you on a chair (imagine you're stepping down from a chair but one foot is still caught on the chair) and do one legged lunges.
Sidenote: When I star gaining weight in places I don't want it, I refuse to buy bigger sizes. That subliminal psychological acceptance is the beginning of the end. 2 lbs here......2 lbs there.........then you wonder where that 20 lbs came from? Doesn't happen over night....I digress.Deadlifts
This is one where you absolutely need weights and unless its 80lbs or more, you're wasting your time. there are 2 types, one where you keep your legs straight and lift with your back solely. It's important to keep your back straight and never curl the spine. Second, you keep your back straightened and lift with your legs.
Standing Calve Raises
Moreso to isolate and develop the calves. Great for developing your calves to balance out your build and symmetry. I'd recommend 3 sets each with your calve pointed straight forward, in, then out.
Last rule (for mass gain) do not waste your time with seated leg exercises. Three reasons, first, when do you ever have to use your legs while seated unless you plan to kick the dog or cat across the room? For more effective workouts, stick to exercises that emulate real life actions (picking someone up, lifting a sofa, carrying a person, pulling something up). Personally, imagine things like body slamming ppl, pulling myself up from a cliff or pulling someone off a ledge, lifting a fallen beam, being on the Sprartan front line in "300," or any other action flick type, rescue, superhero stuff. :)
Second reason, extending your legs with resistance while seated add unnecessary unnatural stresses on your knees. Try this, sit down and press your palms tightly on your knees then try to extend it. If you feel a click or discomfort, that wobbly thing (your patella) is not supposed to move in that motion and that's what you're doing with weight (like leg extensions).
Third, its ineffective for strength bc it doesn't take into account your full body weight and your cores ability to balance and stabilize the weight. Seated squats (a lazy mans joke) will never compare to standing squats. Not to mention while seated you're pushing off you back and arms and adding back stress that's normally not there. I can seat squat 400 lbs 10x no problem but my max standing was around 300 without any of the knee problems I got with seated machines. The worse hands down is the seated calve raises or as a trainer once called them "a worthless inefficient workout that will give you enough of a pointless burn to make you feel like you actually accomplished something."
Sorry for the essay, but its not a simple question and there is no simple answer. Time, consistency and discipline are the final factors. Without them all this text is useless. I'll leave off on the last most important note: Become a student, and RE-learn every exercise. I learned most exercises in my teens and mostly with inaccurate or bad form. To avoid some serious, severe, irreparable damaging injuries, take some time online watching videos that teach you the correct form and RE-LEARN every exercise..........no matter how well you think you already know it.
I recommend www.BodyBuilding.com supersite - http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/index.html
ps, Leg exercise also increases your libido [GIGGITY!!] bc of the increase in testosterone production in your lower body. Also, it will radically improve your build and upper body strength. I didn't believe this trainer when he told me it would help me increase my bench, but it did.
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