T Nation

Confused about How to Get Bigger Legs


I'm 6'5 and have pretty skinny legs.
I've been reading many articles online and on here but am still
Confused on how to add some decent size to my legs.
Some say heavy squat is the only way to go, others say low weight but high reps....what is it? And if high reps, what is high? And how many sets? Just so
Much conflicting information on the web



I'm guessing you're pretty skinny and pretty weak on the squat.

Squat 3x per week -- 3 sets of 5 adding 5lbs every session. When you can't do that any more switch to 2x / week, one heavy session (5x5) and one higher rep session, maybe a max set of 20 reps. Or just do the 20 rep squats program.

Eat enough food.


Everyone responds differently so you really need to find whats best for you. Pick a program and stick with it for a consistent extend period. If it isn't working after some serious dedication then try something else until you can find something that works for you. This might be a place to start.



With squats, the weight should always be heavy. The load will just vary depending on the amount of reps you're aiming for-- but it will always be heavy. It should never be light. It is absolutely pointless to have a "low weight" on the bar for your work sets if your goal is to get bigger and/or stronger.


Sets of 6-15 for size is where it's at for size IMO...when you plateau sprinkle in some sets of triples & quintruples to get your progress moving again.


High reps for quads. I'm talking sets of 20+.

5x5s aren't going to cut it. Get a burn in 'em


Haha we're kind of giving him conflicting advice and perhaps confusing him more. Though I'd say everyone responding is right and it's all good info.

In my opinion it depends a lot on your current level and training plan. A beginner who still needs to develop good form and motor control and general strength on the squat would not be advised to try to bust out sets of 20 reps. It also depends how often per week you're going to squat. 1x per week, and you can really max out -- heavy squats in the 5-8 rep range and then maybe hack squats for really high reps and a huge pump. And it depends on overall strength in terms of hypertrophy potential -- a guy who can't yet squat bodyweight for 10 reps or so should be focusing more on lower reps (5-10) and strength adaptation before trying to maximize hypertrophy in my opinion.

Bottom line: the squat movement pattern is your best bet for leg size. Use a lot of volume -- relatively -- but still start with something manageable and increase it gradually over time. Don't just start with really high volume relative to your recovery.


Heavy weight, high VOLUME.


jesus, what a load of blah blah blah. "hypertrophy potential" "focus on strength adaptation before trying to maximise hypertrophy"... I just threw up in my mouth

OP - take my advice. Sets of 20 for your squats. If, by the end of the squat workout your legs are on fire and you feel sick, you did it right.

That'll really maximise your hypertrophy potential activating the mTor pathway forcing metabolic adaptations to the sarcoplasm and scientific sounding words words words sdfoksdfsd ;aokg ladfjkgn ld


I agree that the OP just needs to work his legs hard. Sets of 20 can work. I'm tired of the hypertrophy vs strength debate for beginners too. If he can't even do 10 body weight squats then it would be more beneficial to get better at that over the short term than heavy sets of 5-8 with weights.

OP- Form breakdown can occur with high reps, high intensity and anything in between. Learn to brace your abs and most things will be taken care of.


Lift and get better in all rep ranges. It doesn't really matter. Singles, doubles, triples, 5's, 8's, 12's, 15, 20's, beyond...

All we give you bigger, strong legs. The legs will respond best to hard work. Not anymore complicated than that.


This. No need to complicate things. Add a little common sense (that this will take years and not a 6 week blast) and you'll be right.

Also remember there is no one exercise. Strong is strong. I watched a strongman who doesn't bench do 315 for 16 the other day.



You can chase "strength", neural adaptations, maximize your leverages or whatever to improve your 1RM on the low bar squat or deadlift and one day you're going to learn what real strength is the hard way when a naturally stocky fellow who doesn't lift crushes you on the rugby field.


And Craze 9 advice is wrong why? Hes not telling the Op never to use higher reps. Hes telling him in a nut shell he might want to focus on focusing on his form starting out. Having someone a beginner focusing on high reps (20) is a pretty good way of developing very bad form habits. IMO.


Just learn to barbell squat. If you're doing it correctly, you'll DEFINETLY add mass to your legs. The quantity is dependant on many factors but the bottom line is you will add way more than (probably) doing other leg exercises.

Also try the leg press. Just push the damn thing in good form.

So squat and leg press.



On a side note, it blows my mind how learning these movements and getting strong in them FIRST is not the focus of beginner advice. There is zero point in skipping ahead to high rep squats, TUT techniques, etc when someone doesn't even have decent strength in the basic squat.


Daltron....you hit the nail on the head!! You can never focus on form enough on a beginners.


Worth perhaps noting that this is also true for returning lifters. For me, atm I'm building my squat strength back up (my new usertag will give a hint as to why the layoff...), and I'm doing a fairly vanilla 5x5 or 6x6 protocol until I get back up to 405, at which point I'm going to go back to doing things I used to do like high rep squatting and such.

With the squat specifically, remember that it is a total-body lift. So your whole body really needs to get conditioned to be doing it.


Focusing on form is definitely required. Waiting until you can squat 405 before you can start doing high reps is ridiculous.

Progressive resistance is key for hypertrophy. The resistance itself is immaterial.


minusthecolon you stated

[With the squat specifically, remember that it is a total-body lift. So your whole body really needs to get conditioned to be doing it.]

most people talk about the squat as just a leg builder when i work squats my whole body feels toasted so i kept thinking i must be doing something wrong,glad to see someone state it is a whole body lift