T Nation

Legs are Lacking


Training for 3 years now and my upper body really responded well but my lower body isn't. I don't have good genitics with legs but I'm not using that as a excuse. I work them out hard every week. They always get soar for the next few days. My diet is in place I just can't get results. I need some advice.
My routien is
4 sets barbell squat 8-10 reps
3 sets hack squat with feet close together 8-10 reps
3 sets leg press 8-10. Reps
4 sets leg extensions 8-10 reps paused at top
3 sets lying leg curls 8-10
3 sets seated leg curls 8-10
4 sets of stiff leg deadlift. 8-10

Stretch 10 minutes


I can't tell how advanced you are at all fom your post but 24 sets seems a hell of a lot unless your training for density.

You might want to try cutting that number in half and splitting your legs into quad and hamstring days and really giving your all. Don't be afraid to go to 6 reps or so to get stronger or vary the rep ranges depending on what feels best for the exercise. Just go balls to wall for 9-12 sets and you they will definely grow. Quads/hams split will work well for you I feel..


I was struggling with leg growth for a long time but recently I've been growing much in the legs.

I think what attributed to this is splitting legs up into a hamstring dominant day and a quad dominant day.

Also been focusing on higher reps for 5 sets for each exercise (15-20 reps).


Thanks for the help I will take your advice and keep you updated


Try lower reps, especially on the squats. I have Godzilla legs in relation to my size and it's almost embarrassing to be in fitting jeans (they're big) and shorts because I have a deformed chest.


Can you share a few of your numbers? Perhaps your legs just need to get stronger overall.


You should not be able to do all those exercises and sets.

Increase your intensity.....


Try Pyramiding. High reps/low weight and work your way steadily to Low reps/high weight.


My legs grew really really well with a Max-OT style of training.

I did about 2 sets of heavy front squats, 2 sets of heavy leg press, 2 sets of heavy rdl, and GHR's to failure. All in the 4-6 rep range.

I probably should have split up my quads and hams and did more sets for each, but my legs grew great anyways.


You either need heavier weight or higher reps. Both would be great. I also agree with others about splitting emphasis between quads and hams.


Also, you said your diet is "in place", but adding in more calories of clean foods never hurt anybody!


x2 if you want big legs you gotta eat like it.


That's exactly what I thought. I believe it's safe to say you are NOT pushing yourself to or even near your limits on the majority of those sets, if any of them. How often do you add weight/reps? Give us some weights...pics...anything.


You probably just haven't found your limits. When I "think" I'm done, I can usually push another 5-10 reps depending on the weight. You're legs can take a beating. You need to train your mind to take as mush as they can.


What's helped me was moving away from BB routines and focusing on PL routines that are more leg focused and kind of force you to go heavy. I believe a lot of it has got to do with frequency rather than volume. Except for the guys that have a genetic propensity to grow big legs.


I focused on heavy squats to build my legs for most of my lifting career and worked up to a raw 585 atg back squat, but my legs still sucked. What really helped me was stripping some weight off the bar and doing brutal 20 rep squat sets.



OP Just look at Evan (ebomb) on the training log forums. I'm not sure he cares for his 1RM too much but 405x17 has given him huge ass wheels. Do some exercises normal rep, some high and see how it goes? No need to use same rep range for every single exercise. As long as you bring the intensity and go past limits you'll grow&get stronger


Yup, Jake and bulldog hit the nail on the head.

Legs respond very well to a ton of volume and, for the most part, higher reps with heavy weight as Platz would say.

Now, that doesn't mean you can't and shouldn't train lower rep ranges, but that does mean that it's integral, IMO, that you train high rep ranges.

Utilizing the principle "tons of reps with heavy weights" really comes down to how far are you able to push yourself past your known limits. Whether it be doing 100 lunges with weight, 50 rep sets on the leg press with a weight that you don't think you can do for 20, 20 rep squats, etc....they all are great for leg hypertrophy.

Ultimately, with leg training much more so than other bodyparts, it really comes down to how far you're willing to push past your limits and take pain.


^ These sum up my thoughts.

Over the years I've tried different methods, read about many - but frequency and variation of intensity/volume seems to be the trick.

Forget too much focus on isolation movements and minimal training; heavy multi-joint movements for decent volume/frequency is where it's at with unresponsive legs. Any body part responds well to this (especially pulling movements), but legs seem to thrive on it.

Train them at least twice a week (even up to 3x/week! if you don't overload your lower back and you only do one major exercise for it). Pick around two major movements for each time;

E.g. Using a Mon-Fri-Wed type frequency:

Leg day 1

Squats (4-8 reps, 3-5 sets...less sets for high reps, and vice versa)
Lunges (10-12 reps, 2-3 sets)

Leg day 2

Deadlifts (3-5 reps, 3-5 sets)
Leg press (10-15 reps, 2-3 sets)

Something like that ^

Oh, and as has been mentioned, eat for it (if your bodyweight isn't going up monthly, you aren't gaining "squat")