Legs are your biggest muscle group – however they can often be the toughest area to put on size.
I regularly have clients come up to me complaining that they are not seeing any leg development despite the fact that they are diligently clocking in the hours at the gym.
There are usually, without fail, a number of reasons why this is the case.
So, without further ado, here are three simple areas which you can address to get your leg sessions up to speed.
More often than not, poor leg development can be attributed to one common issue: not working hard enough – or smartly enough – in the gym.
To stimulate lower body growth you need to be hitting your legs hard, often and from all angles.
Working out legs once a week with a leisurely 3 sets of 8-12 reps on leg press, leg extension and calf raises is not going to get the job done.
This workout does not qualify as ‘Leg Day’.
If you want to see results you need to forget those languid isolation exercises and put yourself through hell and back at the squat rack.
After all, as the legendary Tom ‘Quadzilla’ Platz said, “Uncomfortable is when you grow”.
And being your biggest muscle group, your legs can take an awful amount of punishment.
So hit them hard with big compound movements (squat and deadlift are the undisputed kings of weightlifting), hit them with high volume, hit them until failure, and hit them until you’re physically crawling out of the gym, seeing stars and retching your guts up.
Then come back and tell me that your legs aren’t growing…
Fact is, no matter how hard you hit your legs in the gym, they’re not going to really grow quickly unless you feed them adequately.
If you want to put on some serious quad size then you need to be consuming all the calories you can lay your hands on.
Before the advent of steroids, for instance, professional bodybuilders (such as John Grimek and Reg Park) would drink a gallon of milk a day (GOMAD) – often alongside a high rep squatting programme – to force their bodies to grow.
Make sure you focus on upping the intake of your three macronutrients (proteins, fats and carbs) – especially carbs.
A low carb ‘cutting’ diet will not cut the mustard here – this will not increase size AT ALL.
And be careful to avoid too much junk food, otherwise you’ll just end up getting fat.
Give your body the wholesome, nutrient-rich food it deserves - oats, for example, are a great clean source of quality carbs.
There’s nothing worse for hindering muscle gains than regular bouts of ultra-long steady state cardio (LIIS).
If your goal is size, then drop this form of cardio from your routine and instead introduce some HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).
This ‘sprint style’ cardio – which you can incorporate on a bike, running track, wherever - has been proven to be more productive and it also makes for a much shorter session, meaning it’ll be much easier to fit around your busy schedule.
Just make sure you’re hitting those sprint bursts with everything you’ve got!
So, there we have it, three explanations why your legs aren’t growing at the rate you’d like.
Correcting some of these typical issues should put you well on the way to growing a pair of trunks that wouldn’t look of place on the forest moon of Endor.
Now get to the squat rack and start shifting some iron!
About the author
Henry is a fitness author and trainer who has worked with a wide range of athletes from beginners to those of international standard. You can find him blogging about all things health and fitness over at GymTalk.