T Nation

For Legs... Just Squat?

I’ve been checking out many full body beginners workouts lately and I noticed that almost all of them have only squats for the lower body.
I know that these workouts are designed by pros but,just one exercise for the legs is enough ?

I recomend adding leg press, and calf raise for
a more complete legs devellopement

You’d wanna work your hammies as well, so deadlifts (any variation) are integral.

Well technically squats can build everything in your legs that you need except for calves(unless you do a squat variation. Its good for glutes, hamstrings, quads, and every other muscle I forgot to mention. But if you want more work done like extra hamstring work like he said, you can add deadlifts.

[quote]Horazio wrote:
I’ve been checking out many full body beginners workouts lately and I noticed that almost all of them have only squats for the lower body.
I know that these workouts are designed by pros but,just one exercise for the legs is enough ?

[/quote]

If you Squat and Deadlift thats enough in my opinion.

Depends on your goals. If you’re just interested in gaining all-around strength then yes, I see no reason to do much else besides squats and deadlifts. If you train for aesthetics, then I’d seriously consider adding at least some calf work, like already mentioned.

Squats, lunges, calf raise, stiff legged dead lift.

It think it depends on you. If your legs arn’t your strong point then I would had leg press or what ever else you think you need work on. If you think your good with leds all you need then is calf

Why would he just do calves? I bench 400 on the bench but if I stopped benching, I’d lose it so why would he only need calf work? He still has to lift to maintain if his legs are strong.

I’d say squats and deadlifts are plenty for the legs.

For a beginner quality squats is enough unfortunately very few beginners can do a heavy squat with quality. Sometimes even intermediate trainees will cheat just because its hard to maintain that desire to use correct form with all that weight on you. Or maybe you just dont’ feel like loading yourself with alot of weight.

[quote]Airtruth wrote:
For a beginner quality squats is enough unfortunately very few beginners can do a heavy squat with quality. Sometimes even intermediate trainees will cheat just because its hard to maintain that desire to use correct form with all that weight on you. Or maybe you just dont’ feel like loading yourself with alot of weight.[/quote]

I agree, cheating is usually an issue. If you can get the person to put their ego aside and just use proper form, then I’d say just squats are fine for a beginner. If a person develops a good base technique wise with squats that should carry over to other movements later.

I’m not a trainer, but I’ve helped a few beginners and I’ve found teaching front squats to be the best since it’s harder to cheat. But if I wasn’t there with them I don’t think they would have had the discipline to just put 15-25lbs per side on the bar as opposed to 2 BIG PLATES on the leg press.

Bottom line, it depends on the discipline of the person.

If for some reason I had to do only one leg exercise it would be trap bar deadlifts. They seem to hit both the quads and hamstring/glutes.

I’d rather do it properly though, and for me that means one squat variation, one deadlift variation, and one calf exercise. Some conditioning work like sled dragging wouldn’t hurt either.

the exercise has so many variations besides the traditional back squat, you can’t let yourself get stuck feeling it’s just one exercise.

Besides it’s what your legs were designed to do in the first place. otherwise they’d have leg wrestling.

Cheating is a big issue. I was talking with my step brother the other day, and he was telling me that he had just started squatting. I was amazed at how much weight he was using, especially since he had just begun, and i felt a bit bad because he was squatting mroe than me. So i asked him to show me his form, and it turns out he wasn’t even doing half-squats… he was barely dipping down. And when i asked him about it, he said that he kept plates under the back of his heels, and because he did that, it was just as good as deep squats, if not better. I was like… wtf dude? (He also leaned way to much forward… reminded me of good mornings…

What does the program look like?

If you’re squatting 3 days a week then you probably don’t need to be doing any Deadlifts or Lunges.

The most simple 20-rep squat template I ever saw was Mon/Wed/Fri

20-Rep Breathing Squats
20 Dumbbell Pullovers
3 sets of Pull-ups to Failure
3 sets of Dips to Failure
3 sets of Abs to Failure

That’s a pretty good program. If you don’t believe in training to failure then make it 3 sets of 15-25.

[quote]sphaw wrote:
(He also leaned way to much forward… reminded me of good mornings…[/quote]

Is he leaning far forward enough to be doing a real goodmorning? It would be hella funny if he was really doing legit 315lb goodmornings as a beginner.

[quote]FightingScott wrote:
What does the program look like?

If you’re squatting 3 days a week then you probably don’t need to be doing any Deadlifts or Lunges.

The most simple 20-rep squat template I ever saw was Mon/Wed/Fri

20-Rep Breathing Squats
20 Dumbbell Pullovers
3 sets of Pull-ups to Failure
3 sets of Dips to Failure
3 sets of Abs to Failure

That’s a pretty good program. If you don’t believe in training to failure then make it 3 sets of 15-25. [/quote]

There is another excellent thread on the Bodybuilding forum that discusses muscle strength imbalances. To avoid ailments and injuries later, I feel it is important to make sure muscles around the major joints are trained almost equally. So, the good routine listed above include push and pull movements, but I don’t believe squats really do adequate justice to the hammies (again, just my opinion based upon my own training experiences).

When I first started out training, I didn’t work legs at all. Big mistake. I eventually “saw the light” and started adding in alot of squatting. Guess what? After 6 months of this, my knees began to hurt. It wasn’t due to the squats…it was due to quads being stronger than my hammies. As soon as I corrected this by adding in stiff legged deadlifts (well, not really stiff…maybe I should call them knees unlocked deads) my knee pain magically disappeared.

Again, just my opinion based upon my own training experience…my 2 cents worth.

[quote]Superman Prime wrote:

I eventually “saw the light” and started adding in alot of squatting. Guess what? After 6 months of this, my knees began to hurt. It wasn’t due to the squats…it was due to quads being stronger than my hammies. As soon as I corrected this by adding in stiff legged deadlifts (well, not really stiff…maybe I should call them knees unlocked deads) my knee pain magically disappeared.
[/quote]

So you recomend to combine squats+deadlifts OR squats+leg curls ?

[quote]Horazio wrote:
Superman Prime wrote:

I eventually “saw the light” and started adding in alot of squatting. Guess what? After 6 months of this, my knees began to hurt. It wasn’t due to the squats…it was due to quads being stronger than my hammies. As soon as I corrected this by adding in stiff legged deadlifts (well, not really stiff…maybe I should call them knees unlocked deads) my knee pain magically disappeared.

So you recomend to combine squats+deadlifts OR squats+leg curls ?

[/quote]

My opinion: squats+deadlifts. But I won’t belittle leg curls and leg extensions like some hardcore trainers might (and yes, I consider myself a hardcore trainer). The point is to make sure the major muscles around a joint are trained equally.