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How Do You Train Your Legs?

Hi everyone,

How do you organize your legs sessions?

  • 2 days (one for quads and the other for hamstrings)
  • all quads then all hamstrings (or the opposite)
  • 1 quads exercise the 1 for the hamstrings,…

What works best for you?

I dont.

Just kidding lol,i train my legs once a week hams and quads together.

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Quads one day and hamstrings another.

I front squat then do assistance work, and then I deadlift and do assistance work. So my goal is not to work quads and hams, rather to work certain movements and the muscles that assist those movements, but it basically ends up being like that.

I do glute-ham raises every day though, just to bring my hamstring strength up, so I do a tiny bit of hamstring work before front squatting. John Meadows recommends doing lying leg curls to warm up the knees before squatting. I really feel great when I do that and recommend it, but I typically work out in my garage and don’t have that machine to do them with. If you have access to it though, try it out.

Depends on the goal. Currently doing power cleans and Romanian deads one day, front squats and reverse lunges another day.

If the focus is on size, training quads, hamstrings, and calves in the same session seems best, especially playing with supersets to fit in more total volume without spending 3 hours training. Unless you have a specific weakness that needs special direct attention, then splitting up a quad day and a ham day can make more sense.

For “general” training or more athletic/sport-based work, it’s super-easy to turn sessions into full body workouts by supersetting a leg movement with something for upper body. Front squats and dips, Romanian deads and pulldowns, leg curls and hammer curls, whatever.

I also think high-rep leg presses are under-appreciated. 20-30 rep sets deliver some big TUT that’s pretty much entirely focused on the legs with minimal back stress. It also lets you play with constant tension/avoiding lockout or add rest-pause more efficiently than squats can.

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3 times a week, quads and hams. One volume day, one double stimulation, one strength day.

It depends. I mostly just work everything as a unit according to my lifts. Deadlift and Squat days I will work legs how I see fit. Either from accessory or main lift stuff. Between 3-4 times a week, or however many days of deadlift and Squat are cycled in.

My preference is in cut off jeans. RDLs with a pause at the bottom and split squats for the outside possibility of some cheeky scrotum exposure - also paused at the bottom… to get some swing time at the bottom.

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i do quads with calves one day. i train hams with shoulders.

for quads i do 4 sets of 20 rep back squats. i finish them off with ez bar isometric leg extensions for 3-4 sets of 20 seconds.

for hams i do lying dumbbell leg curls for 4 sets of 10-12 reps and finish them off with 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps swiss ball leg curls.

unless all you do is use very specific machines, I don’t see how you can have a separate hamstring day and a quad day. And why would you even want to? That’s like having a bicep day and a tricep day.

All variations of squats, leg presses, and even many deadlift forms involve the quads. If you want to have a quad day and a ham day, you have to eliminate all of these.

When I’m healthy, I squat once a week, and I deadlift once a week. I don’t train muscles, I train movements. On squat days, I’ll usually work up to some heavy back squats, and that will take up most of my training time. I tend to like hamstring curls and reverse hypers as accessories to back squats. On my deadlift days, I like front squats or ssb squats in a higher rep range as accesory movements. I also do stone lifting and heavy carries, so that works my legs as well.

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In absolute terms I agree with you, but when you say that it would also mean that you can not have a “chest day” because the triceps and shoulders are solicited?

Again, do I have to eliminate the bench press from my chest training because this exercise also targets the shoulders and triceps?

Beyond all that, I understand your point of view in relation to your way of training, it is quite coherent to work the movements and not specifically this or that muscle.

Pretty sure Flip’s point is that while you could in theory have a chest day, ‘why would you want to?’. Instead have a Push day, or a Horizontal plane Push/Pull day. Like if the question was Back instead of Legs, it would be so weird to have a Lat day and a separate Rhomboid and Trap day. But it is not uncommon to see a vertical push/pull day(chins and OHP for ex) and another horizontal push/pull(bench and row). Yes back gets hit twice, and while focus of one day hits one part of the back differently, the whole back still gets worked.

To OP, Flip’s response is pretty similar to mine. I view legs in movement patterns as well. Squat/Quad dominant movements, DL/Hip dominant movement, and Lunge are really the three main movement planes. I do one ‘quad dominant movement’ day and one ‘hip dominant movement’ day. Lunge/Single leg work and variations of cleans I will do on both days as assistance depending on the load and volume of the main lifts.

Bret Contreras and Brad Schoenfeld did some research study on Internal vs External focus.

Or, thinking in terms of movements (hinge, squat, press) and outside cues (squat fast, drive the bar, explode)

vs thinking about individual muscles and internal cues (squeeze your glutes, pinch your shoulders together).

Or to put it another way, squat and deadlift day vs hamstring/quad day.

They found that outside movement focus is better for performance and inside muscle focus is better for muscle gains.

Focus-of-Attention2

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This is fascinating me right now. On one hand, it’s kind of a no brainer. Squeeze and pump and look at yourself admiringly on the preacher curl, Explode and drive to through the top on a competition lift for a max. Go slow under control for bird dog glute clenches and cable laterals and fast on clean and jerks.

But a little deeper, think of all my bros who push/pull/squat and hate doing curls and other isolation work. The first time they think about feeling individual muscles is when they start Rehab after an injury.

Or my physique bros who want big legs. But they hurt there backs whenever they try to squat because they focus on their quads during the movement. Or the kid who is struggling and stuck, worried about deadlift “form” and trying to feel it in the right spot.

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That’s crazy. On programs I’m familiar with, Jim Wendler would call these “widowmaker” sets, and have programs with one set of 20 squats per week (other squatting too, but only one set of 20). In Paul Carter’s Simple but Brutal routine, he has the lifter perform 1 set of 20 3x a week (once each workout). Having done widowmaker sets for squats before, I can’t imagine possibly doing a set of 20, then getting under the bar and doing three more rounds of that.

As some above have said, I prefer to train movements of squat, hinge, push, pull. I never think: it’s chest day, or arm day.

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Really just for straight-up bodybuilding with muscle size as the number one goal, especially competitors who need to focus on weak points.

A hamstring session could be something like leg curl 4x10, RDL 4x8, hip thrust 3x12.

Quads-only could be single-leg extension 3x12, front squat 4x8, stationary lunge 3x12, close-stance leg press 2x20

I slightly misspoke in terms of “splitting up a quad day and a ham day”, since just training quads and hams separately is different than having a quad day and a hamstring day. Training back and hams together or chest and quads together isn’t unheard of.

Again though, for bodybuilding specifically, some guys train upper back separately from lats. Clay Hyght talked about that approach here. There’s some general overlap, but the emphasis of the session is still on the particular muscle group/s. Hitting traps directly on shoulder day instead of back day isn’t unusual either.

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I get it, but that doesn’t mean it is effective, especially for someone who is unassisted.

Arm days consisting of 3 isolation exercises for bis and then tris is extremely common. For a natural trainee who can’t do 10 strict rep pull-ups, I don’t think it would be the best method.

Most of what you described does happen, but is all too reminiscent of Joe Weider mag body part splits and really maybe only effective for bodybuilders at an advanced stage and potentially chemically assisted. But I guess that is also the point you are making.

I’m not totally sold on that. I’m pretty sure @The_Mighty_Stu was a fan of having a day just for quads and a day for hams/calves, and not just when he was advanced. The upper back/lat thing, meh, I can see that more as fine-tuning or addressing specific weak points. A “pulldown day” vs “row day” gets to the same basic point.

It all comes back to the best training for the goal. I definitely understand where guys like Waterbury and Rusin are coming from with that type of standard, but I disagree with it in some situations.

If someone wanted to build big arms, I’d focus more on designing an efficient arm workout as part of their weekly routine rather than building their pull-up strength. I’d probably work on improving pull-ups on back day, but arm day doesn’t have to be avoided.

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I feel dumb because I don’t know how to quote on here. For the sake of this debate, I remember back in '05 when Cosgrove’s The New Rules of Lifting dramatically changing my view point on this topic. In relation to the arms, focusing on an arm specialization before or during the same time someone cant perform the previously mentioned example of pull ups reminds me of a builder trying to work on the second floor lighting accents before or during pouring the first floor foundation. As as Wendler puts it, “Mastering in the minors”. Someone who already has the foundation and is looking to enhance or specialize on one particular body part or accent? Yes, I agree with your approach.

This is also my personal opinion, but I feel strongly that the vast majority of people, without regard to their specific goal, would get more out of viewing the body as a cohesive and interdependent unit rather then just the some of its parts.

All I do for my legs:

Back Squat
Front Squat
Deadlift
RDL
Lunges
Split Squats
Sprints
Farmers Walk

Legs are thick and athletic.

MY favorite sessions are either:

Session 1: Back Squat + RDL
Session 2: Deadlift + Front Squat


Highlight (click/drag) the text you want to quote, then the Quote feature should appear.

I wouldn’t say having a basic arm day is the same as an arm specialization, as I see specializations to mean focused periods where a bodypart is given higher priority (more frequency/volume/intensity) than the rest of the body.

But there are definitely outliers where an arm day is an inefficient use of time and energy. Very skinny lifters trying to put on size and very fat lifters trying to drop fat, for example.

I’d agree that most people most of the time would do fine with upper/lower or full body splits, but goal will always be a significant factor in program design.

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