Killer Leg Training
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of leg training, I wanted to congratulate Gabe and Drew for their recent bodybuilding competition. Both guys are extremely easy to Coach, asking questions when they want to learn but never bitching. Drew made a 5 pound jumps from 2 years ago, a phenomenal improvement while Gabe took first in the open bantamweight division. Way to go guys!
With every thing that has been going on with my knee and leg, I was inspired by the young man that won the overall title, by virtue of his killer set of legs. See for yourself:
This gave me a visual of where I want my legs to be back to within 12-24 months and it reminded me of my old school leg training days. My legs were always my best body part, in part because of genetics, part desire to get them big and another dash of athleticism.
Most guys and athletes despise leg day. I have never figured this out other than the fact that it is physically painful. (I hate training arms, btw). Below, I will outline the principles that need to be in the mix to develop a pair of ‘ninja turtle like’ legs.
- Time under tension- This is a must if you are trying to put some serious muscle on the legs. This can be done by either setting the clock and going for the duration or setting your tempo and following if for a set amount of reps. This does not mean using pansy ass weight either. For example, I used to do sets of 20 reps with 300 pounds, the set lasting near a minute. It is painful, but a great way to put on size. I would only use this with athletes to need to develop lactic clearing abilities or need to put serious size on.
- Single leg work- The importance of single legged work has never been more evident to me than now, since I have been confined to my right leg only for the past 5 weeks. Keep in mind, I have not been doing any lower body lifts with my right leg and it has managed to put on half and inch!….while my left leg has lost 3.5″! You will develop the adductors and glutes to a greater degree when you incorporate this kind of work.
- Deep tissue massage and stretching- Our muscles are trapped in our fascia, kind of like chicken breast inside a plastic bag as I like to tell people. In order to ‘free’ them up, we need to affect the fascia. This can only be done through soft tissue work. Roll, pin and flex the desired muscle group between sets while on the foam roller and get some deep tissue work done by a masseuse. I remember I used to get massaged in contest prep to the point of bruising and actually having the guy try and ‘separate’ the different muscle groups and I believe this is one of the reasons I have very nice splits in my legs when I get lean.
- Dynamic work-By dynamic, I mean with speed. I believe to fully develop a nice set of wheels you must be jumping and sprinting in your workouts, usually placed nearer the beginning. But for the real ‘speed strength’ stuff you need to be squatting with sub maximal weights and exploding up on the reps. Very few reps and 8 sets or so with a short rest. This is allowing the nervous system to maximally recruit more motor units and faster twitch muscle fibers which will lead to more muscle gained down the road.