So you want bigger legs but can’t seem to get those stubborn twigs to turn to tree trunks. The time is perfect – with summer here it’s impossible to rely on jeans to cover them up. You are not alone, believe me I have been there, and that’s why I can talk from experience and give you advice I know will work. Obviously, you are still going to have to put in the work, and you will have to be patient (it’s impossible to get bigger legs in 2 weeks), but I guarantee that this plan will give you the results you desire.
Exercising breaks down the muscles, and food and rest repair them and make them bigger and stronger. With legs it is no different. If you are a skinny guy, and want to grow, believe me, you need a lot of food (more than you think). Your metabolism is already in warp speed, so there is no need to worry about counting calories for now. Ditch the skim milk, egg-whites-only breakfasts and low-fat yogurts. Instea go for whole milk, whole eggs and lots of protein. You need real food.
On the other side, be sure to still eat healthy, and try to stay away from the dirty bulk (the muscles won’t grow thanks to all the trans fats you get from the French fries). It’s paramount to get enough protein and carbs (eat carbs for the love of toast!), and good fats if you want to force your body to grow.
The second part of this equation is sleep. Living in the modern world, chances are you are probably not getting enough of it. The key is to try (as much as your job allows you) to sleep for at least 7 hours every night, if possible around the same time day to day. If you don’t get enough quality sleep, cortisol (the stress hormone) can spike, and it can both hinder protein synthesis and stops fat burning processes. So be smart about it, and go to bed early tonight.
Not all exercises are made equal, and in no case has this been truer than when talking about leg exercises. Nobody wants to have thin legs and big upper body, but somehow the leg day is the most hated day of the week. That’s why people tend to opt for easier exercises while the squat rack remains vacant.
Believe me, stay away from the leg extension machine if you want to grow bigger legs. Or, at least do them in the end of the workout, as assistance work. Of course you can target the quads directly that way, the same way you can target your hamstrings with a leg press or leg curls. But leave that work and the calf machine work for later, and do the things we all know needs to be done.
Of course, I am talking about squatting and deadlifting. There is just no better way to kill your legs than by doing these basic compound movements. Not only will they help you grow your legs, but they will also fix your posture, and make you stronger in general, as they recruit a huge number of muscles in your body.
Many people are afraid of the squat which is understandable as, well, there is a barbell on your neck, and if you can’t get out of the bottom position (if you reach failure), it can be frightening. This is easily solvable if you just remember to find a spotter, bring a buddy to the gym, or (for all of you introverts out there) at least a squat rack with safety catches.
There is a caveat for both squat and deadlift, though. Please, by all means, lift only what you can handle. If you can’t pause at the bottom of the squat and hold it for 2 seconds, it’s too heavy for you. If you lift the weights you can fully control, not only will you stay safe of injuries (lower back pain and patellar tendonitis come to mind), but you will also grow bigger legs, as you are now using the muscles the muscles you were targeting all along, instead of compensating along the kinetic chain, and using muscles that are really not meant to take the load.
OK, say you are doing all of things I have said so far, but you are still not seeing results. It might be the classic case of falling into a rut. When it comes to legs, even people who are doing it right rely mostly on squats, deadlifts, and walking lunges after which they do calf raises if they feel like it. At one point, it becomes impossible to add weight to the bar, so what we do is do more and more sets until we hit a plateau.
There is a simple solution here, and it’s going to do wonders to all you guys trying to get bigger legs at home. Do explosive work. I don’t care how much you can squat, I don’t care if you can deadlift 600lb, there is always a way to surprise your legs with an exercise they didn’t see coming.
Some of my favorites are flying lunges (same as jumping lunges but with as much air time as possible), pistol squats, levitation squats, high jumps, knee jumps to box jumps, etc. Not only that you can do these exercises anywhere, but they provide a stimulus that regular barbell work just can’t.
As you can see, training legs is hard, as it is a big muscle group which requires a lot of energy. On the other hand, it is so worth it, and skipping leg days is one of the biggest mistakes you could make, not only because of the body disproportions you might develop, but because of the strength aspect. You can’t be really strong if you can’t generate force from the ground up.
So remember to hit the legs at least once a week, base your workouts on heavy compound lifts, include some explosive work, and, for the love of the world, get your beauty sleep. You will look better, and, more importantly, you will feel strong like never before.
Hey! My name is Paul Sheldon. I live in Nashville, TN and I love all things related to sports. Naturally I love workking out and I do it every day. If you want to talk feel freee to hit me a message or if you happen to be in Nashville we can get a coffee, I know a great place. Peace!