T Nation

Is Splitting My Leg Training into 3 Days a Bad Idea?


#1

A long-time T-Nations forums lurker, who created an account to ask for some fitness advice.
I want to split my leg training into 3 days for Quads, Hamstrings and Glutes.

  1. On my Quad Day, the exercises I will do:
    -Trap Bar Deadlift
    -Front Squat
    -Leg Press
    -Dumbbell Lunge
    -Dumbbell Step-up

  2. On my Glutes Day, the exercises I will do:
    -Sumo Deadlift
    -Belt Squat
    -Hip Thrust
    -Cable Pullthrough
    -Smithmachine Glute Kickback
    -Single Leg Romanian Deadlift

  3. On my Hamstrings Day, the exercises I will do:
    -Hamstring Curls
    -Barbell Squats
    -Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
    -Bulgarian Split Squat
    -Regular Barbell Split Squat

On all of these days, I am also planning to do Calf Raises, because calves recover quickly.
I am planning to these days on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays respectively, giving myself time to recover.
I am NOT a novice lifter, I am 6’2’’ and 200 lbs right now. I have been working hard labor all summer, so I couldn’t go the gym as often or keep track of my nutrition. Last year, I was 218 lbs as my top weight. So I guess you could call me an intermediate lifter, starting his way to advanced. I am going back to school this Fall, so I will be going to the gym 6-7 days a week and will be having a proper nutrition

But I still need your advice about this, friends. There are just so many great leg exercises, that I feel incomplete not doing all of them. Better yet, if anyone can offer a better split for my leg training, I will be even more grateful.
This is my first thread on these forums.


#2

What are you currently doing?


#3

What is your goal/purpose behind 3 leg days a week?


#5

This never seems to work out. Not that I don’t think leg training is incredibly beneficial, but I’ve never seen big biceps as the results of squats.

Biggest thing with that many sessions and exercises is volume and intensity (% of max). Gonna need to start low and slowly build up.


#6

Honestly, I just want massive legs.
Big quads, glutes and hams.
I have done 2 leg days a week before and felt fine.
Also, putting lots of emphasis on training the biggest muscle groups should produce more testosterone and also make my body all-around bigger.


#7

Currently, I was doing 2 leg days a week. With the first focusing on hamstrings and the second one on Quads. 5 days of training in a row: Leg Day, Chest + Triceps, Back + Biceps, Shoulders + Traps, Second Leg Day.


#8

But do you think that massive legs are possible with this approach?
Obviously, these aren’t the ONLY days that I’m going to do. This is just my LEG training.
I will also have a Back + Biceps, Chest + Triceps and Shoulders + Traps days. And I’ll try to squeeze in the Core, Wrist and Mobility training in there too.


#9

Of course not. But this much lower body training will detract from training the rest of your body. Give and take, if you will.


#10

Sorry, I wasn’t clear enough with my point earlier. There is nothing wrong with the split. I wouldn’t do it and would never prescribe it, but that doesn’t make it wrong.

Rather than the exercise selection, the biggest factor in making this plan succeed or fail is the volume and intensity of each or the exercises. You could do one exercise or 20, but if the intensity and/or volume are too high for you, you will not progress.


#11

Well, I am planning to do 5 sets for the big compound exercises, which are Trap Bar Deadlifts, Sumo Deadlifts and Squats and 3-4 sets for the rest of them.

A regular training program would include the days I included above and only ONE Leg day. Do you think that the upper body would experience more growth by keeping it the same as above, but taking away the lower body training? Honestly, I feel like ONE Leg Day a week isn’t anywhere near enough to achieve leg growth in all areas. Since two Leg Days a week worked for me before and I didn’t feel overtrained, I will try to 3 Leg Days.
Hell, there is a program called “Squat Every Day” and it works for some people too.
So, if you don’t think there’s anything wrong with splitting Leg Training into 3 Days a week and there’s nothing wrong with the exercises, I guess I will get started on it. :smiley:


#12

Percentage of 1RM and reps per set?


#13

After the warm-up set, around 12 reps at 70% of 1RM and then gradually reducing the reps and increasing the % of 1RM to about 6-8 reps and 80-85% of 1RM on the last set. No, I am not planning to go very heavy and hit a 1RM PR with this split, that would be suicide. I am mostly concerned about hypertrophy and muscle size here. I do my PR’s maybe once every several months.


#14

This would beat me down bad. Front squats, TBDL, Sumo deadlift, and back squats all in the same week, with that rep scheme is a ton of work. Only way to know is to try, but I’d assume this won’t be sustainable.


#15

Well, I guess I will find out. I have already done those except Sumo Deadlift in a week. Maybe I will reduce the % of 1RM to decrease intensity.

In the meantime, do you know any good programs for massive legs? I mean, I’ve read nearly all the articles on this website, but I’ve yet to see any feedback from people.
Maybe you know of a great leg-building program, which would be better than the split I chose for myself?


#16

The squat will build your quads and glutes well (to be fair it also works the hamstrings very well with deep Olympic squats) . You could do these to warm up. Often you will need a specialisation programm to build up the hamstrings. I used a sled for year (injured knee) then deadlifts and glute ham raises and high pulls.
High pulls will build the hamstring like nothing else. You need to target the fast twitch mucle fibres. That means speed work , ballistic type work running (jumping , Olympic lifts ) and very heavy max strength work 5RM and under .

Looking at your scheme - Front squat on one day (these will probably be light to begin allowing you to add an exercise I would do high pulls then Clean deadlifts after them ,with a reasonable weight a weight you use easily for 5 reps. So control the tempo and save you back . (no need to tbdl) save your back

, back squat on another day then more high pulls ,

Presses and push press , jerk on another day (if you have the skill to do so)
and hamstring curls on a machine until you can use a glute ham raise
also perhaps push a sled or prowler. Try also sprinting up a hill for 30 mins and repeat.

You can do many different programms 20 rep squats (using a 10 rep max not a true 20 rep max and pausing to rest after rep 10 until you complete 20 reps. This uses the fast twitch fibres too as a form of rest pause training . Personally I find it too dangerous as the squat is dangerous to begin with .
I used it with success while using a heavy sandbag (in fact it was my first squatting programm with sandbag shouldering) .
Westside is another good system for massive legs , as the Bulgarian , Chinese (Russian systems).
That’s only if you are young and healthy.


#17

Really? Because everywhere I read, it is a shoulder exercise… Even looking at it, I cannot fathom how I’m gonna use it to target my hamstrings. It will take me a while to the hang of the technique.

The only type of speed work I’ve done so far is high rep speed deadlifts to target the fast twitch muscles. Never done any running or jumping, or even Olympic lifts.

I actually have snatch-grip deadlifts on my Back + Biceps day, because I believe they target upper back more than legs.

Why not? I don’t do conventional deadlifts anymore to save my lower back. Which is why this exercise was split-up into two: a Quad dominant TBDL and a Hamstring-Glute dominant Sumo DL.

Oh man, I’ve never done any Olympic lifts, to be honest. It could take a while for me to learn the technique, let alone use those exercises to target my legs. Plus, I don’t think I will be able to to heavy weights with these exercises from the start, so I don’t think they’ll be effective for me.

Yes, that’s a good idea, I can do some heavy sled-pushing.

I am 22. Getting old, but still on the younger side. I will check out those programs you listed.
Thanks for the reply, much appreciated. I will see if this split works and adjust it accordingly with time.


#18

“I am 22. Getting old”… :slight_smile:


#19

You’re basically spinning the “bro” split on its head. Usually 4-6 days devoted to upper body training one part per day and then 1 leg day. Usually only one leg day because people do not like training legs (hard work), and /or not a “showy” enough muscle on a day to day basis, and/or laziness.

Given that below the waist contributes to 50% of your body (probably even more in terms of muscle volume given that this area houses some of the largest muscles in the body), I can see the logic in breaking the leg component muscles up, as many would do with upper body.

What I would say though is, like upper body, watch out for too much overlap.

Perhaps go for a split isolating 1. Quads, 2 Hams/Glutes, 3. Calves/Adduction/abduction.

Obviously it is impossible to totally isolate especially when using compound exercises.

Hope this helps.

Gazz


#20

Exactly! Unlike the “bros”, I am completely opposite and want to do as much hard work as possible. I want to build the most “non-showy” muscles, the ones that you don’t see in the mirror, as my priority.

Yes, that is true. Because many hamstring exercises also work the glutes and I don’t want to overtrain.


#21

All of your main movements will use the grand majority of your leg, especially quads. Why would you use compound movements if you’re worried about overlap?