There are many mistakes people make when it comes to leg workouts. The biggest mistake is of course failing to do any kind of leg training at all because nothing looks worse than a man who has a big muscular upper body with matchstick legs.
However people will often take a half-hearted approach with regards to the range of exercises that they do and the level of intensity, resulting in a distinct lack of muscle growth, whilst others will neglect to train certain parts of the leg, such as the calves, for instance.
So with that in mind, I thought I would share with you a complete workout that you can do in the gym that will train all areas of your legs, and will really get results if you continue to do these exercises week after week, and slowly increase the resistance / intensity as you do so.
There are six exercises in total, and you should be able to complete the whole workout in less than an hour based on my own personal experience:
The squat is one of the most popular leg exercises because it really targets your quads and glutes, and is also one of the most versatile because you can do bodyweight squats if you are a complete beginner, before progressing on to dumbbell squats and barbell squats once you have learned how to do this exercise with correct form.
I myself like to do 15 barbell squats (without any weights attached) just to warm-up, before doing 3 sets of 10 barbell squats using heavy weights, and because this is quite an intense exercise, I like to do it first before my legs get tired.
If you are looking for some serious muscle growth, the leg press is another exercise that you should include in your leg routine. With the assistance of an incline or horizontal leg press machine, you can use your legs to push some serious weight, and this in turn will help you develop massive quads over time.
You just need to make sure that you avoid injuring your back or knees because it is very easy to do some damage if you bring your knees together or lift your lower back of the back support when lowering the weight.
With this exercise you should start off with lighter weights, and keep increasing the weight slowly over time in order to see some growth. I personally like to do 3 sets of 10-15 reps, but if you feel more comfortable doing 8-10 reps, then that’s perfectly okay as well.
Forward And Backward Lunges
Once I have finished doing squats and leg presses, I will then move on to lunges because these can also be pretty intense. Some people prefer to do walking lunges across the floor of the gym, alternating from one leg to the other, but I prefer to do sets of forward and backward lunges because this requires less space, and won’t interfere with other people.
More specifically, I will grab a set of dumbbells and do 2 sets of forward lunges and 2 sets of backward lunges, and will do 10 reps on each leg for each set. So I am basically doing 40 reps on each leg in total to really hammer those quads and glutes.
By now, your legs should be feeling very tired if you have been using sufficient weight / resistance to really work them hard. So the second half of the workout consists of three exercises that are a little easier to perform, even if your legs are completely exhausted.
The first of these is the seated leg extension, which is another classic leg exercise that will really work your quads, and because it is generally very easy to perform, I usually aim to do 4 sets of 10-15 reps with as much resistance as I can manage.
Prone Leg Curls
As well as working your quads and glutes, it is also important to work your hamstrings as well, and the prone leg curl is one of the most effective exercises to develop the back of your upper legs.
This exercise is performed on a machine where you are lying on your front and curling the weight upwards using a leg pad above your ankles, and if you use sufficient resistance, you will really feel it in your hamstrings.
This exercise is not as intense as the squat or leg press, for example, so once again you should be able to 4 sets of 10-15 reps without too many problems.
Many people forget to work their calves because most gyms don’t have any machines that specifically target your calf muscles, but it is always a good idea to finish off with some standing calf raises to really target the back of your lower legs.
These are very easy to perform because you just need to stand on the floor or on a raised platform, and push yourself up on to your toes as far as you can. I usually stand with the front of my feet on one of the exercise machines for a greater range of motion, and do 50-100 reps whilst holding a heavy set of dumbbells to complete my workout.