Leg training can be hard for some people to get into. Part of the issue is that legs aren’t a “showy” body part like chest or arms. But, hard work on your legs provides you a base to stand on and will carry over to gaining size and strength in your upper body so it pays not to neglect them!
This leg program is designed around a three-day training split where legs are worked on their own day. Ideally you won’t want to do cardio after this workout and should probably take the following day off for rest. In a perfect world if you are doing cardio on the same day it would be done in the morning with this workout coming after it or at night.
Are you ready to build some muscular legs? Let’s get to it!
Beginner Leg Training
Make sure to do a nice 10 minute warm-up for the legs with light cardio to get the blood flowing. Then stretch lightly before you start lifting.
- Squats – 5 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions – Squats should always be done in a rack with the pins set high enough for safety. Weight should only be added when the form has been mastered at light weight. Squats are a fundamental exercise but needs to be done right. The back should stay flat, during the motion you lead with your glutes going back and down until your thighs are parallel. Hitting the target muscles is more important than how much weight you lift.
- Stiff-Legged Deadlifts – 4 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions – This is a great exercise for the back of the leg. Your back stays flat, knees unlocked but legs straight. You should lower the barbell in front of your legs until you reach maximum stretch. Use nothing larger than 25lb plates to ensure you can get the best range. Ideally you bend over until your back is parallel to the ground.
- Leg Press – 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions – For this exercise keep your feet closer together and higher up on the platform. This will work both the hamstrings and quadriceps at different angles than covered in the previous two exercises. Do not overload on weight. You should be able to lower the sled until your knees come close to touching your shoulders. If not, lighten up the load and get the full range of motion and not partial range.
- Lying Leg Curls – 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions – Balance is important so we need to do enough hamstring work to evenly develop the muscles. Make sure to get a nice squeeze at the top range of the exercise.
- Standing Calf Raises – 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions – Keep the knees unlocked but straight. Don’t overload on the weight. Stretch down to the bottom and hold for a two count then raise up slowly and hold the top contraction for a two count.
- Seated Calf Raises – 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions – Don’t overload on the weight. Stretch down to the bottom and hold for a two count then raise up slowly and hold the top contraction for a two count.
Make sure your workouts are brief but intense. Get in, get out, and get to recovering. Many new lifters train longer than they need to and then end up overtraining. Take minimal rests between sets, focus on the work, and then recuperate to gain maximum size and strength in the shortest amount of time.