• Bigger Legs In 4 Weeks


      by Dan Trink T-Nation

      For the next four weeks let's put away the sleeveless shirts and give your beloved upper body a break. Cuz' you've got bigger priorities, friend. At least, you should have.

      See those two pale, sickly looking tent-poles poking out from the bottom of your shorts? Those are your legs, and it's painfully obvious to everyone that you've been ignoring them.

      Sadly, you're not alone. And guys have excuses galore for putting their legs on the back burner.

      In younger bros, it's usually a misguided attempt to attract the fairer sex the idea that developing massive pecs, a thick back, and (God forbid) six-pack abs will magically lead to a bevy of succulent silicone-enhanced fitness bunnies following them around like some spray-tanned Pied Piper.

      In the older, busier, or just plain deluded lifters, it's thinking that hitting the treadmill for 30 minutes twice a week and playing pick-up basketball every Thursday night is "all the leg work they really need."

      Finally, there's the fear factor. Real leg training the kind that produces results isn't fun. It can leave you lightheaded and nauseated, not to mention limping for days. Some guys become so afraid of the heavy bar that they can't sleep the night before leg workouts.

      It's all a crock. And to help make things right, here's a 4-week leg specialization program that will get your quads blowing up faster than Tom Platz trapped in a leg extension factory.


      So, Why Legs Again?

      A big upper body paired with anemic leg development is about the most ridiculous sight since suspenders with shorts, but if that still isn't enough to get you in the squat rack, then consider the following perks to leg training:

      Bigger everywhere. The movements used in serious leg training elicit a significant anabolic response that affects the whole body. So if a bigger upper body remains priority numero uno, you still want to make lower body training part of your plan.
      Improved athleticism. It's hard to think of a sport or activity that doesn't benefit from added strength and expression of power from the glutes, hamstrings, and quads.

      Babes. Those aforementioned fitness tarts hold a special place in their hearts for guys with thick legs. Trust me, I've done the research.

      Sound Advice From My Dad

      My old man used to always say, "You have to spend 6 hours at school, you may as well learn something." So, to paraphrase my Dad's advice, if you just spent 4 weeks following my arm specialization phase, you hopefully learned something, because we're going to use a lot of the same techniques in this program.

      Furthermore, I'm going to throw in some more tried-and-true yet brutal finishers to crank up the volume and muscle-damage even further. You're welcome.


      Step Away From the Preacher Curl, Amigo

      The key to success in any specialization phase is reducing volume in all your other lifts and focusing on the task at hand. In "4 Weeks To Big Arms" that was easy, as I was essentially telling you to back off the squats and lunges and focus on biceps curls and skull crushers. Boo hoo.

      Now I'm telling you to do the exact opposite, which is like telling you to get out of bed with Mila Kunis and start organizing your sock drawer.

      In any case, if you want to be successful in this program you're going to have to back off the other training (there will still be a one day per-week upper body maintenance workout) and focus on adding volume to your legs.


      Enough With The Jibber-Jabber, Let's Squat!



      In this program you'll train four days per week. Three of those will be "leg" days, with the fourth being a maintenance day for upper body lifts.

      Ideally your week will be set up with Monday, Thursday, and Saturday being the lower body days, Tuesday as your maintenance day, and Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday as off days. Of course, you can always move things around to suit your needs, but try not to schedule leg workouts on back-to-back days.

      We'll be using one of my favorite forms of periodization for hypertrophy, which is weekly undulating, meaning the sets and reps will change from week to week.

      Try your best to complete all the reps prescribed while having one or two reps left in the tank. This will insure you don't go to failure and burn out your CNS, a real concern when training the lower body this frequently.

      Also, it's critical for your safety (and your results) to use good technique and full range of motion on all lifts. If you can't do either, you're not ready for a specialization phase. Get good at the lifts and come back to this program when you're ready. There's no shame in knowing your limits.


      Week 1


      Workout A Legs

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Barbell Back Squat* 4 8-10
      B1 Walking Lunge* 3 8-10
      B2 Lying Hamstring Curl* 3 8-10
      C1 Pull-Through 3 8-10
      C2 Standing Single-Leg Calf Raise 3 8-10
      Holding a dumbbell in your right hand, place the ball of your right foot on a low step with your unsupported left foot behind you. Your left hand should hold the side of a squat rack for support. Perform all sets of calf raises for the right side before switching and repeating on the left.
      D Two Minute Leg Press 1 2 min.
      Set up a leg press machine with 70% of the weight you'd use for 10 reps. Set a timer for two minutes and try to bang out as many reps as possible in that amount of time. Try not to stop for rest and avoid completely locking out at the top, keeping tension on your legs the entire time.
      * Drop Set. After you complete the last rep of the last set, rest for 15 seconds, reduce the load by 30-50%, and try to match the amount of reps with the new weight. So if you performed 10 reps with 225 pounds on the last set of back squats, drop the weight to 180 pounds and try to get up to 10 reps.

      Workout B Legs

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Sumo Deadlift* 4 8-10
      B1 Dumbbell Split Squat* 3 8-10
      B2 Hip Thruster* 3 8-10
      C1 Leg Extension 3 8-10
      C2 Hanging Knee Raise 3 8-10
      D 20-Rep Squat 1 20
      Using your 10RM, perform 20 reps of the squat. Given that the reps exceed the weight you can handle for one set, you'll have to take significant pauses in-between reps towards the end of the set. Use caution with this technique. If you can't maintain solid form, end the set and try to beat that number of reps next week.
      * Drop Set. After you complete the last rep of the last set, rest for 15 seconds, reduce the load by 30-50%, and try to match the amount of reps with the new weight. So if you performed 10 reps with 225 pounds on the last set of sumo deadlifts, drop the weight to 180 pounds and try to get to 10 reps.

      Workout C Legs

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Front Squat* 4 8-10
      B1 Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift* 3 8-10
      B2 Dumbbell Step-Up* 3 8-10
      C1 Glute-Ham Raise 3 8-10
      C2 Seated Calf Raise 3 8-10
      D Farmer's Walk Medley 3 50 yds
      Grab as heavy a set of dumbbells that you can Farmer's Walk for 50 yards. Once you complete the 50 yards, grab a second set of dumbbells that are 25% lighter and walk 50 yards. Finally grab a third set of dumbbells that are 25% lighter than the second pair and walk 50 yards. For example, a pair of 100's, 75's, and 60's. Once you've walked with all three sets of dumbbells, the exercise is over.
      * Drop Set. After you complete the last rep of the last set, rest for 15 seconds, reduce the load by 30-50%, and try to match the amount of reps with the new weight. So if you performed 10 reps with 185 pounds on the last set of front squats, drop the weight to 125 pounds and try to get to 10 reps.

      Workout D Upper Body


      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Chin-Up* 4 8-10
      B1 Incline Barbell Bench Press* 3 8-10
      B2 Single-Arm Dumbbell Row* 3 8-10
      C1 Seated Overhead Press 3 8-10
      C2 Seated Cable Row 3 8-10
      D Pallof Press 2 10
      * Drop Set. After you complete the last rep of the last set, rest for 15 seconds, reduce the load by 30-50%, and try to match the amount of reps with the new weight.


      Week 2


      Workout A Legs

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Barbell Back Squat* 5 6-8
      B1 Walking Lunge* 4 6-8
      B2 Lying Hamstring Curl* 4 6-8
      C1 Pull-Through 4 6-8
      C2 Standing Single-Leg Calf Raise 4 6-8
      D Two Minute Leg Press 1 2 min.
      * Double Drop Set. After you complete the last rep of the last set, rest for 15 seconds, reduce the load by 30-50%, and try to match the amount of reps with the new weight. Once completed, rest for another 15 seconds, drop the weight by an additional 15-30%, and then get as many reps as possible, making sure you maintain proper form.

      Workout B Legs

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Sumo Deadlift* 5 6-8
      B1 Dumbbell Split Squat* 4 6-8
      B2 Hip Thruster* 4 6-8
      C1 Leg Extension 4 6-8
      C2 Hanging Knee Raise 4 6-8
      D 20 Rep Squat 1 20
      * Double Drop Set. After you complete the last rep of the last set, rest for 15 seconds, reduce the load by 30-50%, and try to match the amount of reps with the new weight. Once completed, rest for another 15 seconds, drop the weight by an additional 15-30%, and then get as many reps as possible, making sure you maintain proper form.

      Workout C Legs

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Front Squat* 5 6-8
      B1 Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift* 4 6-8
      B2 Dumbbell Step-Up* 4 6-8
      C1 Glute-Ham Raise 4 6-8
      C2 Seated Calf Raise 4 6-8
      D Sprints 3 150y
      100y
      75y
      Perform 3 sets of sprints: 150 yards, 100 yards and 75 yards, resting as much/as little as possible between sprints. You can use a treadmill or a track or field.
      * Double Drop Set. After you complete the last rep of the last set, rest for 15 seconds, reduce the load by 30-50%, and try to match the amount of reps with the new weight. Once completed, rest for another 15 seconds, drop the weight by an additional 15-30%, and then get as many reps as possible, making sure you maintain proper form.

      Workout D Upper Body

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Chin-Up* 5 6-8
      B1 Incline Barbell Bench Press* 4 6-8
      B2 Single-Arm Dumbbell Row* 4 6-8
      C1 Seated Overhead Press 4 6-8
      C2 Seated Cable Row 4 6-8
      D Barbell Rollout 3 8
      * Double Drop Set. After you complete the last rep of the last set, rest for 15 seconds, reduce the load by 30-50%, and try to match the amount of reps with the new weight. Once completed, rest for another 15 seconds, drop the weight by an additional 15-30%, and then get as many reps as possible, making sure you maintain proper form. If needed, use a lat pull-down machine to complete the double drop set of chin-ups


      Week 3


      Workout A Legs

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Barbell Back Squat* 4 10-12
      B1 Walking Lunge* 4 10-12
      B2 Lying Hamstring Curl* 4 10-12
      C1 Pull-Through 3 10-12
      C2 Standing Single-Leg Calf Raise 3 10-12
      D Two Minute Leg Press 1 2 min.
      * Rest-Pause. After the last rep of your last set, rest for 10-15 seconds and then attempt 2-3 more reps. Rest another 10-15 seconds and try to bang out another 1-2 reps.

      Workout B Legs

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Sumo Deadlift* 4 10-12
      B1 Dumbbell Split Squat* 4 10-12
      B2 Hip Thruster* 4 10-12
      C1 Leg Extension 3 10-12
      C2 Hanging Knee Raise 3 10-12
      D 20-Rep Squat 1 20
      * Rest-Pause. After the last rep of your last set, rest for 10-15 seconds and then attempt 2-3 more reps. Rest another 10-15 seconds and try to bang out another 1-2 reps.

      Workout C Legs

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Front Squat* 4 10-12
      B1 Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift* 4 10-12
      B2 Dumbbell Step-Up* 4 10-12
      C1 Glute-Ham Raise 3 10-12
      C2 Seated Calf Raise 3 10-12
      D Farmer's Walk Medley 3 50 yards
      Try to use heavier weights than in week one.
      * Rest-Pause. After the last rep of your last set, rest for 10-15 seconds and then attempt 2-3 more reps. Rest another 10-15 seconds and try to bang out another 1-2 reps.

      Workout D Upper Body

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Chin-Up* 4 10-12
      B1 Incline Barbell Bench Press* 4 10-12
      B2 Single-Arm Dumbbell Row* 4 10-12
      C1 Seated Overhead Press 3 10-12
      C2 Seated Cable Row 3 10-12
      D Reverse Crunch 3 12
      * Rest-Pause. After the last rep of your last set, rest for 10-15 seconds and then attempt 2-3 more reps. Rest another 10-15 seconds and try to bang out another 1-2 reps.


      Week 4


      Workout A Legs

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Barbell Back Squat 2 15
      B1 Walking Lunge 2 15
      B2 Lying Hamstring Curl 2 15
      C1 Pull-Through 2 15
      C2 Standing Single-Leg Calf Raise 2 15
      D Two Minute Leg Press 1 2 min.
      Workout B Legs

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Sumo Deadlift 2 15
      B1 Dumbbell Split Squat 2 15
      B2 Hip Thruster 2 15
      C1 Leg Extension 2 15
      C2 Hanging Knee Raise 2 15
      D 20-Rep Squat 1 20
      Workout C Legs

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Front Squat 2 15
      B1 Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift 2 15
      B2 Dumbbell Step-Up 2 15
      C1 Glute-Ham Raise 2 15
      C2 Seated Calf Raise 2 15
      D Sprints 3 100y
      75y
      50y
      Workout D Upper Body

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Chin-Up 4 15
      B1 Incline Barbell Bench Press 2 15
      B2 Single-Arm Dumbbell Row 2 15
      C1 Seated Overhead Press 2 15
      C2 Seated Cable Row 2 15
      D Kneeling Cable Crunch 2 15

      A Few Program Notes



      Tempo, rest, and time-under-tension are all things that should be paid attention to during a hypertrophy phase. Make sure the eccentric (lowering) phase of all movements is done with control and always try to perform the concentric (lifting) as quickly as possible.
      Rest periods can be a bit longer for the compound "A" lifts (75 to 90 seconds) and between 45 and 75 seconds for the remainder of the program. While complete recovery between sets is great for a strength training program, it's not ideal for hypertrophy, so don't extend the rest periods.
      If you're keeping the tempo of the lifts as prescribed above, your sets should last between 40 and 60 seconds ("D" finishers not included). That's what you should be shooting for.
      For the Two Minute Leg Press goes, you should try to increase the amount of reps you can accomplish from week to week, so keep track. Also, the compressive forces of the leg press are often underestimated due to the backrest, but they can be significant. Manage this by keeping a natural arch in your lower back for the entire set (easier said than done).
      The 20-Rep Squat set is brutal, especially after crushing your legs with the amount of volume in the program that precedes it. Be sure to keep your ego in check. If your squat form starts to break down to the point of being risky, end the set and come back to the lift another day.
      To say rest, recovery, and nutrition are critical in this phase would be to underestimate how important they are. We're talking about serious volume in some major lifts throughout the week. I'd suggest upping your protein, getting between 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and trying to minimize other athletic activities for the 4 weeks.
      I also highly recommend getting on board with a very good peri-workout protocol. This program can lead to very rapid gains in lower body mass, but only if you have the raw materials available to build muscle and recover for the next session. It's going to be an exhausting four weeks anyway, so why not get the most out of it?

      Time to Train

      Heroic pecs and massive arms are wonderful things, but at some point you have to give those body parts a break and start addressing your foundation. And if you want to get results efficiently and dramatically, few things work better than a focused specialization program.

      However, I'm not going to lie; training legs in this manner can suck, and there will be times when you'll want to quit.

      But stick with it, train hard, and see it through. You never know, you may just meet that Mila Kunis lookalike who finds thick hamstrings and sweeping quads irresistible.

      Source: http://www.t-nation.com/readArticle.do?id=5446475
      Comments 4 Comments
      1. nicoacademia's Avatar
        nicoacademia -
        carrot sticks always make me laugh
      1. ballerj63's Avatar
        ballerj63 -
        Damn, sh!t does look intense. Will give it a try after a few months of my push, pull, leg routine.
      1. wtmdcg91's Avatar
        wtmdcg91 -
        As a girl i prefer big wheels than mini rails!!
      1. HardCore1's Avatar
        HardCore1 -
        Damn this is not for pussies

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