Let’s be honest: leg training is awful. There are those out there who enjoy the torture that unfolds while training legs, but for the most part, it is not nearly as enjoyable as training our beach muscles. Leg training plateaus are even worse because not only do you go through this rigorous defilement, you don’t see any growth from it. Here are six ways that you can spur on some new leg growth, and while this may not make it any more pleasant, at least you will get a worthy return from your investment.

1. PROGRESS COMES FROM PLANNING


Unfortunately, no leg workout lasts indefinitely, not even the one that has blown your legs up to their current size. You need to adapt just as your body adapts to your leg training. Follow a well-thought out, planned program to change things up instead of just randomising it and hope for the best.

You can opt for a structured strength program with differing stages of volume and intensity. Once you have finished this program you can then return to your favourite leg training program (if there even is such a thing), and you will see how much more weight you can load up which will spark that new muscle growth.

2. PRIORITISE YOUR SQUAT


The squat is second only to deadlifting in terms of intensity over the body. Proper execution of the squat is a heavy task on the legs, and in fact the whole body, so make the squat your first exercise during any leg routine you do. This is where your energy levels are the highest, the quads and hamstrings haven’t fatigued over other movements, and you will be able to lift heavier weights than previous squats. The heavier resistance will force the muscles in your legs to work harder, creating new muscle growth.

3. TO GET DOWN YOU MUST WARM UP


Warm ups are essential for performing multi-joint movements properly and for keeping joints and muscle tissue healthy. Without a proper warm up, the joints and muscle tissue will not be elastic enough to expand and contract to give you the full range of motion. This also causes an imbalance in glute and quad strength, which can hinder your ability to use heavy weight or the weight required to activate hypertrophy.

4. OVERLOAD, AND THEN OVERLOAD SOME MORE


Intensity boosting techniques are some of the best ways to ignite new muscle growth. Some you have probably already heard of; drop sets, forced reps, supersets, and pre-exhaustion, but here are some that you possibly haven’t used before:


  • Reverse movements for squats which be done in the squat rack with ease
  • Heavy Volume Training which is a higher rep range with heavy weights
  • Isometric Training is great because it allows more isometric force production over concentric force production
  • Resistance bands, or chains, force strength build-up over the whole movement

5. GET CREATIVE IF YOU GET STUCK


When we get in a rut, or plateau if you want to be fancy, the worst thing we can do is to keep doing the same thing and hope for a different result. In fact, that is Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity. So not only is it not helping you, it’s actually insane. It is more important to change how you perform a movement rather than changing the amount of weight you use or the rep range.

The problem with changing your entire leg programme is that some movements are not as effective as others, which means you could waste a bunch of time in the gym. These are some changes you can make that will still be effective:


The width of your foot placement can make a huge difference in shifting the load between your inner thigh (wider foot placement) or the outer thigh (narrow foot placement).
Adjusting your foot position on a platform can shift the load between your quad or glutes. Moving your feet lower on a platform will increase quad activation because it increases the movement around the knees. Your feet being higher on a platform will increase glute activation because it reduces movement around the knees.
Perform the front squat instead of the back squat. This shifts your centre of gravity forward and places more stress on the quads rather than the glutes.

6. POSTERIOR CHAIN


The hamstrings are often not worked as much with most leg training regimes because they are not as dominant as the quads or the glutes. But they are just as important because not only will they leave you looking asymmetrical but the weakened hamstrings could place unnecessary strain on the knee and cause instability. The ideal strength proportion should be 3:2 between the quads and the hamstrings. The quads do need to be stronger because they are the dominant muscle group in the thigh and they are a larger group of muscles.

One of the most effective movements to use in order to strengthen the hamstring is the Romanian Deadlift. They work the hamstring from the hip so they are a perfect balance with knee-flexion movements. Make sure to get your form right on this because you could be doing Stiff-Legged Deadlifts which work completely differently, thinking that you are doing Romanian Deadlifts.

No matter what you do when it comes to legs, lifting heavy weights will put strain on the knee. It is recommended to use a joint support supplement to encourage joint protection before they get damaged and to prevent injury. Incorporate these into your leg training and watch them grow like tree trunks.




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