T Nation

Leg Emphasis With Squats

I have decided that I really need to focus on my pathetic leg strength and growth. As a result I am squatting 3X a week using different parameters (following CW’s advice with reps/sets). I would be interested in any routines others have used to facilitate leg size and strength. Currently I probably only max out at 250 pounds for a complete squat. My goal is to be at 300 pounds by August 31. Any advice is appreciated…

I am currently doing Christian Thibaudeau’s Pillars of Strength. It’s in the article library. It’s is mainly a hypertrophy program, but you train different strength qualities and there is a “heavy” day. I think you gotta build the size and the strength will come! Killer workouts, I almost puked last night during the “C” workout.

I had great results bringing up my squat with a bill starr program. Probably added 40-60lbs to my squat and added noticable leg mass (actually had to start squatting in boxer briefs towards the end ass my Ass had grown so much it would rip regular boxers when I went deep)

Squats-5x5(Do four progressively heavier sets of 5 with the 5th set being your 5RM.)
Deadlifts-5x5(Do the same)
Bench Press-5x5(Do the same)
Incline DB Press-2x12-20

Light Squats or Lunges-4x8 each leg
Good Mornings-3x8-12
Shoulder Press-5x5 or Dips-4xmax until you get 12 each time. then add weight.

Squats-warmup to a 3 reps with 5 more lbs than you used on Monday. On the following monday use this weight for your 5th set.
Bent Over Row-5x5
Incline Bench-5x5
Tricep Extensions-2x12-20

Good strength progress so far (4.5 wks. into 6 wk. program) with this “Soviet Squat Routine”:


I was in a similar situation as you and increased my leg size and strength great by doing a westside heavy day, and in place of the speed day doing sets of ten on squats (3-4 sets).

I started at about 135 for the sets of 10 and after about 4-6 weeks i was using 225 for the sets, but doing 6 sets of 5. I would warm up and do down sets after this. something like a few sets of 10 with 135 after the 225.

On the heavy days i did mostly good mornings and different bars for squats or deadlifts from a box. For accessory lifts i would do back extensions, pull throughs, band goodmornings, weighted straight leg situps, leg raises, and weighted side bends. I would do different ones for heavy days and rep days and mixed it up every couple weeks. The only this that stayed the same was a lot of volume from squatting.

I’d say that in about 2 month my squat went from 230-250 to 335. Be sure to practice the proper form for squatting. All my squats in training were olympic style but in competition I used a wide stance. As long as you squat low there should be a substantial carry over.

when i was in high school i used this program for football, and my legs went from 26 in to 32 inch in a matter of 3 months(i am very genetically gifted with legs, at 16 i was squating 500 pounds, ass to the ground)

Squats- 2 warm up sets of at least fiften then 5 work sets

       1- 8 reps
       2- 5-6 reps
       3- 1-3 reps
       4- 6-8 reps
       5- 8-12 reps

Stiff leg dead lifts
4 sets reverse pyrimad
1- 12 reps
2- 8 reps
3- 6reps
4- 4 reps
Superset hack squats to walking lunges(with dumbbells)
3 sets 12 reps for hack squat each set then 30 step with lunges

-now if you can walk after that we would have to do high setups (around 3 feet), and wall sits (wall sits are whene you put your back against a wall while in a squating postion) we would superset these with 25 setups and 3 minute wall sits for 3 sets

  • we would do this work twice a week ussually tuesday and saturday, tuesday was a very heavy days, pretty much to failure with squats and then saturday was just a lighter day, but i was never able to walk normal after these work outs

My legs get biggest the fastest when I do heavy power style squats, but with a lot of band tension. Box or no box is OK, but just as an example, I did 10 x 3 with 185 pound bar weight and DOUBLED #3 (“small” or blue) Iron Woody’s bands. This was without a box. The bands pair of bands in this case put about 140 extra pounds of tension at the BOTTOM position and 280 at the top, which would make the overall load range from 325 bottom to 470 top.

This lets me overload the top portion where the quads kick in, but still get out of the hole at the bottom. (For comparison, my max was 440-450 at the time, so you can see that it lets me use more weight than I could otherwise be exposed to.) Reps done fast.

Thanks for the great feedback. I plan to incorporate some of these routines.