T Nation

Squatting Virgin

hey just got a few questions for ‘real’ leg building, i’ve always avoided squats or any other form of leg workout and now i look pretty dumb with a husky upper body and small legs, i’ve always counted on sprinting and other sports to build my legs however thats not gonna ‘build’ them, i can bench much more than i can squat and thats just wrong,

so my questions…
difference between a front squat and a back squat, i have started with front squats,

some other workouts that i could use for legs? i’ve seen a few people do a workout where they start with their bar on the ground and they squat holding onto it and then they straighten up witht he weight and then let it back down again, i know tons of upper body workouts but i am lost for names when it comes to legs so please bear with my explanation,

also how often should i train legs, i hear once a week and i also hear 3 times a week, i want much bigger legs and im up for the squatting challege now

looking forward to more great advice, thanks guys

Here are some basic guides for u:
-Front squat (bar or dumbbell in front of neck …resting in clavicle area)
-Back squats (bar behind neck …usually on top of traps)

  • Legs can be split by front and back muscles or leverage positioning. So twice a week is plenty.
  • Assess your triple flexion during squat and KEEP IT CORRECT.
    -Oh yeah and that other lift from the ground you speak of is called deadlift.

good luck

start reading the articles on this site.
There is much to be learned and from what you said in your post, you’ll have a long run of information gathering (learning).
Look for Dave Tate articles, Mike Robertson, and read Keith Wassung’s squatting post

If you want to see some hard core leg workout material, consider Ian King’s 12 Weeks of Pain (ie,Limp) series. Search in the T-nation archives around October 1999 for the beginning. I think that series is greatly oriented to leg building.

If you aren’t ready for that intensity, just keep your eyes open and learn from the regular flow of excellent articles and posts on T-Nation. Good luck, & have fun!

I appreciate the info, yeah i have a ton to learn about legs, i’ve been going to the gym for a atleast 3-4 years now off and on but must say i could count the number of times i’ve squatted on my hands, i know what the front squat IS but im not sure what isolation it hits, like does a front squat do more hamstring than quads compared to the backsquat? is the downside to a front squat the fact you cant lift as much?

i really enjoy the articles here so read them all the time i havent came by too many leg ones i’ll have to checkout the 1999 ones see if i can find the leg one,

another question i have is i wake up at around 12 (noon) be at the gym for 1pm then go to work for 2:30, i find the energy levels i have are pathetic, i use a form of creatine called nytro fusion, but from what im gathering its not working, any tips on nutrition for the morning?


The front squat actually puts more focus on the quads than it does the hamstrings. Back squat when done properly is predominantly a posterior chain(hamstrings, glutes and lower back) movement.

The front squat will target your quads more as will the high back squat (bar on the back of the neck). You will tax the posterior chain more and eventually be able to lift larger loads by doing them powerlifting style: with the bar lower on the traps and rear delts and the legs spead wider. Try all the variations you can but keep your form perfect and use reasonable weight until you have time to get used to the lifts.

As far as you first meal of the day right before a workout: OATMEAL! (and I mean steel cut or Quaker’s 100% Oats, not that packaged crap). Mix it with a little protein powder and fresh fruit. If you don’t like oatmeal… Eat it anyway!

Good luck bringing up your legs, balance is key!

What exercises would you guys recommend for someone with messed up knees who wants to get into squatting? I can already do deadlifts, but I can’t do any decent squat b/c of knee pain when I lower myself.

[quote]Hatebreeder wrote:
The front squat actually puts more focus on the quads than it does the hamstrings. Back squat when done properly is predominantly a posterior chain(hamstrings, glutes and lower back) movement.[/quote]

I gotta disagree…the power lifter type back squat will put more emphasis on hamstrings because of ankle to knee positioning. But proper back squats (from my research) will utilize “normal” triple flexion (using glutes, quads predominatly) hamstrings will normally be used to stop the motion at the top of the movement.