T Nation

No excuses!!!

Today i was talking to a guy inbetween sets and asked him why he dosent train legs all that often. His reply (i was expecting it) “Oh i dont want huge legs”, get real. I have heard that so many times its not funny.
My view is that its just an excuse because these people dont want to go throught the pain of trainning legs. For me leg trainning is easily the best workout of the week, simply because you feel like you have crossed some huge barrier after it and its a wonderful feeling. I cant believe what these people are missing out on. Just wanted to get that off my chest.
I read this great peom on Fred Hatfield’s site:
Down the road, in a gym far away
A young man was heard to say,
“No matter what I do, my legs won’t grow!
He tried leg extensions, leg curls, leg presses too.
Trying to cheat, these sissy workouts he’d do!
From the corner of the gym where the big guys train,
Through a cloud of chalk and the midst of pain,
Where the big iron rides high, and threaten lives,
Where the noise is made with big forty-fives,
A deep voice bellowed as he wrapped his knees,
A very big man with legs like trees,
Laughing as he snatched another plate from the stack,
Chalked his hands and monstrous back,
Said, “Boy, stop lying and don’t say you’ve forgotten!
Trouble with you is you ain’t been SQUATTIN’!
‘Nuff said.

SLAINE: You hit on a sore spot with me too. Now what do people think will happen if they start working a particular bodypart(e.g. legs?); their legs will all of a sudden blow up to the size of an Olympia contender and they will be forever stuck with legs the size of tree trunks because they did some lame leg extentions? You BET it’s an excuse, like everthing else. WORKING LEGS IS HARD! We’d much rather “shape” our legs with a ThighMaster and lose weight eating Subway Sandwiches…

Yes, but even among those who train legs, how many leg press rather than squat? How many smith machine squat rather than free weight squat? How many 1/4 squat rather than full squat (I’ll leave whether that means 90 deg. or ass-to-ankles for another thread)? How many train only the “mirror muscles” and ignore the hamstrings? How many who train the hammies only perform leg curls rather than SLDL’s, GM’s, reverse leg presses, reverse hypers, Glute-ham-raises, etc.? Far too many to each question.

Well this is just in response to your leg workout write-up. I am not a big guy but being 6-2 and about 205 i have a look makes me look larger and stronger then I am. I have never been strong on legs and always found myself skipping them when i do my workouts. I have become a personal trainer and this causes me to watch alot of what people do in the gym. I have found it to be the funniest thing to see people with a large upper body and then they have these twigs as legs. It almost appears that if they lean the wrong way then one of their twigs will snap and they will fall over. Like I said I am not a very strong person but I am a hockey player and the training I have done with my legs make a dramatic difference in both performance on ice and in the weight room. Though It is the most painful of all days(well usually the 3 days after) I have discovered it is also the most important. It takes awhile for my body to recover and also adjust to me restarting legs but after that time has passed it starts to look good. With that time that your body adjusts to doing legs your entire body strength will increase. I have very poor recovery in my legs but i will now never stop doing my cleans, deadlifts, RDL’s, squats and weight lunges. To all those who find yourself hitting a plateau often like myself think about your leg routines and maybe increase and also change up the routines. Your legs are links to your entire body and when they grow stronger the rest of you grows as well. Nothing looks funnier then a huge man with these tiny legs. I hope you all think about doing more legs. Please email me if you would like to chat more. thanks all for listening.

I do squats (barbell and heavy dumbell) and really like them, but I don’t want large legs. I want strong legs that will propell me quickly, as in a sprint. My upper body is more massive than my lower, but my lower is still in a fairly high state of tune. I want to maintain balance between development of the two, with an emphasis on strength above my waist, and an emphasis on acceleration below my waist.

I seem to have the opposite problem. I used to skip upper body workouts and just train my legs! I love squattin and the OL lifts. Just feels great when I’m standing there with a weight at full arms’ length over my head knowing that it was just on the ground a few seconds ago.

Whenever I see a guy with huge arms & chest, I just laugh. It’s so obvious that all he does is bench press. I’ve asked some girls at work and they say that they notice too, and they’re never impressed by a guy w/a huge upper body and nothing supporting it. Guys who say that they don’t need to train legs or only legpress are the biggest sissies I’ve ever heard of, and any reason they givve is just a copout.

why do you care?

My quad workouts are predominantly made up of back squats and front squats. Ocassionally, I will do lunges. Otherwise, deep, ass-to-the-ground squats is what I always do. I’ve been doing them like that for the past 4 years. I wouldn’t do it any other way. I might not be able to handle 315lbs (quarter/half squat?) like I used to, but I’m also doing full range of motion and working my legs to the fullest. At 5’4", 140-145lbs, doing deep back squats with 185-225 is pretty damn good for me. And I have plenty of friends who don’t work legs. And it always comes down to the fact that they aren’t willing to work that hard. And they wonder why I laugh at those toothpicks they walk on.

I have been rehabbing an injured left knee for quite a while now, so I have not been able to squat. A knee surgery and a cortisone injection later, it is finally feeling okay for the first time in a year and a half. I have been meaning to get back to squatting, but now I’m having second thoughts. I think the deadlift is better and safer. The only significant difference I can see between deads and the squat is the trunk angle. As for me personally, if I do both deads and squats, my ass gets too big. To balance out my physique, I’m going to stick to deads to work the hams and the posterior chain. Instead of hitting the posterior chain again, I’m going to do (insert gasp here) leg extensions. Before you guys poo poo leg extensions, it has been the only quad exercise I’ve been able to do painfree during my injury–an injury I sustained while squatting. Even with the limited range of motion that I’ve been sticking to avoid the painful range the muscular development has been pretty good. The muscle tension seems higher with leg extension than with squat too. I really don’t think squats are for everyone, especially for someone like me who works out alone in his garage. If I lose my balance on the squat, I can really do some damage. Deadlift, I can just drop the weight; the bar is much harder to let go in the squat position. I also think that the amount of quad work in the normal deadlift is pretty decent. I’m not trying to say that you guys’ workouts are wrong, but that you might want to keep an open mind. The squat is a great exercise and I’ve used it for years, but I think people tend to go to extremes–they either make it out to be the greatest exercise, or they make it out to be the most dangerous. I think it is somewhere in between.

Leg day is always my favorite day. I like to squat, but just lately I have been doing it on the Smith machine. Gonna have to stop that nonsense.

Anyway, the only exercise I truly hate are lunges! Guess what, I make myself do some sought of lunges every workout. I don’t know what happens, but I wind up loving the very exercise I used to hate.

I work with this guy who hasn’t changed his workout in at least a year and he never trains legs. How do I know? I have seen him in shorts. When I tell him he has to start squating, he gives me an excuse about getting slow for Basketball or some such fallacy. When I point out to him that he would gain explosive power if he would train his legs, he just shrugs. Guess I will stop trying to explain to him why he should train legs.

Oh yeah, did I mention that he is a wuss?


I like leg workouts so much I do them twice a week. Of course one is with hip dominant exercises and the other is with quad dominant exercises.

This is a little off-topic. I have 3 leg questions.

  1. I can’t seem to keep my balance when performing lunges, so I just stick to squats, leg presss, and hack squats for my quads. Am I doing something wrong or just uncoordinated?
  2. I have made some serious progress on my second leg day [SLDL’s, standing leg curls, back extensions], but the seated leg curls and the lying leg curls still seem very difficult and/or hurt my knees? Any ideas why?
  3. The leg abduction machine, leg adduction machine, and the “butt buster” are all “chick machines” that never fail to leave me with sore legs and a sore ass. But I hate during them when people are around. Are these exercises worth the embarassment?

Hey Amateur, I would keep at the lunges. When you try to keep your balance, all kinds of little stabilizing muscles fire, and that is good. And, yes, you are uncoordinated ;-). Secondly, if the knees hurt (if the pain is actually in the joint itself) when you do leg curls, I wouldn’t do them. The biceps muscle of the leg is pretty weak in the curling motion, in my experience, so the progress may seem slow, but you may find that the %-age improvement may be the same as the other major muscles. Lastly, Ian King’s leg routines do advocate adductor and abductor work. He inserts them in the control phase of his routines. They are mostly for stabilization, but if you are involved in a sport that involves a lot of cutting and changing directions, they could help immensely. I would caution you about doing too much abductions–they may give you that ghetto booty. Like Mr. King always says, if you got sore, you’ve answered your own question about the exercise’s effectiveness. I hope this helped.