The Ultimate Leg Workout for Building Muscle

The Ultimate Leg Workout for Building Muscle
Leg day…
Many people run for the hills when they hear those words or quickly start curling some dumbbells or pumping out some bench presses to try to forget what they think they just heard.
Not you though.
You love doing legs, or don’t like doing them but suck it up, grind your teeth and do them, or maybe you have mutant powers where you don’t feel pain and leg day doesn’t phase you…or
I should say the day after leg day!
I would probably group you in the mutant power group…
Just kidding, but skipping leg day comes with dire consequences.
Everyone skips leg day now and again or has been guilty at one time or another, but if you skip leg day every day you’ll end up like that guy!
As long as you repent for your sin of skipping leg day and don’t skip it again you’ll be forgiven by the leg gods.
Besides the pain and inconvenience of not being able to walk up any stairs after a good leg session, leg exercises are some of the best exercises around!
If your goal is to gain muscle, not just leg muscle but rock solid muscle on your chest, arms, shoulders, or anywhere, hitting legs is vital!!
Working your legs gives your upper body a “base” to build off of and not only looks better but triggers more hormones in your body to tell your whole body to “grow”!!
The sheer size of the leg muscles and the surface area they cover can lead to more hormones such as testosterone and other growth hormones being released throughout the body when they are worked with good form! (1)
This will lead to greater gainz in the legs department and the upper body as well (as long as you are working it and progressively overloading over time)
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Common Leg Day Mistakes


1. Doing the wrong leg exercises.

Many people focus too much on machine and isolation exercises, which should be seen as supplementary work, not the core of your leg workouts.
Squatting, deadlifting, and lunges should be the main focus and make up the bulk of your leg day.
They suck and they’re hard, but doing them will lead to more mass gains and strength gains.
After you are done with the big lifts for legs you can move onto other lifts and machines to isolate and target certain areas.
**Looking on the bright side of things you usually never have a problem finding an open squat rack! (Unless there are only 1 or 2 in your gym or you go to the gym at 5pm)

2. Doing too many reps

This mistake applies to all muscle groups of the body. The body builds the most muscle after being put under high stress.
Lifting heavy (with a safe amount of weight and proper form) will help you reach your goals faster if you’re lifting in the 4-7 rep range and doing 3-5 sets (or more sets if you are crazy!)
Lifting 80-85 percent of your 1 rep max is the ideal weight you should be using.

3. Squatting/Deadlifting with incorrect form

Correct squat form is a funny thing. Everyone seems to have a different way of doing things.
Some think only going down ¼ of the way or ½ of the way is enough and others think if you don’t touch your “ass to the grass” you’re doing it wrong.
I’ll tell you right now going down ¼ of the way or ½ or the way is NOT low enough.
Going down parallel or a little past parallel is low enough. If you’re going all the way down to the floor just think of that as extra credit.
If you need a definitive guide for squatting, check out this excellent post by my friends over at stronglifts.

If you need a definitive guide for squatting, check out this excellent post by my friends over at stronglifts.
There are also loads of other mistakes like rounding your back, bowing your knees in, and “buttwinking”.
Just make sure you’re using great form and a safe amount of weight in a nutshell.
There are also tons of mistakes people make when deadlifting as well!
Many people squat the deadlift, bounce the bar, don’t touch the floor with the weight, and worse of all, round the lower back.
Here’s a definitive deadlifting guide from stronglifts that gives you more than enough info. On how to deadlift!
Now that you know the benefits of leg day and proper form it’s time for the working out part!!

The Ultimate Leg Workout

This is one of my favorite leg days to do!

1. Barbell Back Squat

The Barbell Back Squat is considered by many and myself as the king of leg exercises.
Squats work your quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, adductors, abductors, and hip flexors!! + any other muscles I missed in the legs arena…
The point is that they work all of your legs!! But the main focus is on the quadriceps and the glutes.
But there’s more.
Brace yourself for some crazy news.
Squats are not only a great leg exercise, but they are also a great EVERYTHING exercise!!! Squats engage your whole body!! (except your chest and a couple other muscles)
Engaging more muscles fires more muscle fibers, and firing more muscle fibers will lead to greater gains!!
Drop the mic….
*Pick the mic back up
Make sure you’re using good form and a safe amount of weight like I mentioned before!
*Gently set the mic back down
5 sets 5 reps

2. Romanian Deadlift

If squats are the king, deadlifts are the queen or squire or some other royal connection of leg exercises!
Deadlifts mainly focus on the hamstrings, hips, glutes, and lower back, and like the squats, target loads of other groups in the legs and the upper body!
Deadlifts are also one of the most feared exercises in the gym.
They are considered by some as a “high-risk lift” because so many people have claimed their backs are never the same after doing them.
But they are not.
Deadlifts are amazing and will benefit your greatly as long as your form is on point.
I know I probably sound like a broken record by now talking about form, but correct form is
VITAL for the deadlift.
Also your back will thank you later in life for using good form.
Here’s a link to the definitive guide for deadlifts.
Here’s a link to the definitive guide for deadlifts.
5 sets 5 reps

3. Calf Raises

If you’re trying to get bigger calves, then read this post I wrote.
If you’re trying to get bigger calves, then read this post I wrote.
On my leg day I like to throw in some calf raises to target the calves and soleus.
There’s not much to say about calf raises…
They target your calves and that’s about it…
4 sets 8 reps

4. Step up lunges

All of these lifts on this list so far are functional movements. But step up lunges are even more of a functional movement and are applicable to the real world and sports.
Step up lunges are a great way to target each quad and leg individually.
When squatting sometimes one leg will lift more than the other leg.
With step up lunges, there is no place for the weaker leg to hide.
3 sets 10 each leg

5. Body Hamstring Curls


Leg curls are a great way to target the hamstrings, calves, and glutes.
I prefer to do the body-weight/weighted leg curls over machine leg curls.
Doing the body weight/weighted curls engages the core/abs and other muscles that you don’t get with doing machine leg curls.
Deadlifts engage your hamstrings by using more of a “pulling motion” and leg curls have your hamstrings use a “curling motion”.
I like to have 2 different types of lifts that emphasize the hamstring because working your muscles in different ways will work different muscles in the same area in unique ways and help create a balance.
If these are too hard to do, then an alternative way of doing these is to lie on the floor on your back and use a yoga ball like so.
3 sets 8 reps

6. More calf raises…or calf press…or something else that works the Calves

3 sets 10 reps

7. Leg Extensions

Leg extensions are a fantastic way to work the quads.
Similar to how leg curls work your hamstrings differently, leg extensions work your quads in a unique way.
Many people say that leg extensions are bad for your knees or cause pain in the knees.
But if you follow the golden rule you’ll be fine.
If they hurt when you’re doing them don’t do them and do something else. Or if your knees or anything hurts in a bad way a day after, then next time try not doing them and see if it feels better.
If you don’t feel any pain while doing leg extensions then do them!
3 sets 10 reps
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