How to build killer legs

Legs. They make up half of your body, yet when you visit the weightlifting area of a gym, you see so many lifters with perfectly toned upper bodies but underdeveloped lower bodies. How can this be?

Read on to find out how to build a solid pair of legs in the gym, and why it should be on your priority list.

In the first place, why do so many people skip leg day?

Especially for men, the arms, chest, shoulders, back, core and neck – the so-called ‘show muscles’ – are the easiest to train and build. Women, on the other hand, tend to be stronger in their lower bodies (compared to men), but can easily accumulate fat on their behinds and upper legs.

Legs, simply put, are hard to train, and it is even harder to build leg muscle while doing so.

Think about it. We use our legs when we walk, get up, climb stairs and stand; our leg muscles are accustomed to carrying our bodyweight, and it for this reason that, when they aren’t pushed extra hard during training sessions, we don’t see the results we’d like to. As such, many gymgoers skip leg day entirely, or do half-hearted leg workouts.

Why should I care about strong legs?

From a functional point of view, legs are crucial for supporting a strong core, and help you to perform compound exercises like deadlifts. Your legs consist of major muscles groups that, when exercised regularly and properly, speed up your metabolism and help your entire body lose weight and put on lean muscle faster.

Aesthetically, they contribute to overall body symmetry. An upper body worthy of Superman or Wonder Woman, paired with legs like those of Spongebob Squarepants, doesn’t look natural. Let’s be honest; going to the gym isn’t just about staying healthy and fit. We want to look sexy too.

Okay great, but how does one do it right?

As mentioned, leg workouts aren’t going to be effective unless you really, really push yourself.

Believe it or not, celebrity bodybuilder turned actor (and former governor of California, for that matter) Arnold Schwarzenegger struggled to accumulate leg muscle before he was famous. Standing 1.85 metres tall in his prime, he was aware of the struggles that tall bodybuilders (such

as himself) faced when it came to building muscle in the lower body. And yet, Arnie managed to build thighs and calves that, even by today’s standards, are noteworthy.

But how did he do it? Simple: he pushed himself beyond his limits when it came to leg day, so much so that he would perform twenty working sets at high volume during his prime. Those sets didn’t include his warm-up rounds, by the way. You can find out more here: e-trunk-legs

But now I’m scared

While you definitely shouldn’t follow The Oak’s gruelling routine just yet, you can increase the intensity of your own leg workout, or set one up that is going to challenge your capabilities. Just remember to talk to your GP before-hand to establish that it’s safe to do so.

It’s also a good idea to get a gym buddy. You’ll both motivate each other to push the limits during leg day (and to make sure that you both show up for it!).

Okay, but what training routine should I follow?

Training your legs for results that show can be achieved by sticking to two crucial principles (besides intensive training sessions).

  1. Your legs consist mostly of major muscle groups like the hamstrings, quads and calves. The best way to train them is through compound exercises (exercises that train multiple muscle groups) like squats, deadlifts, lunges and calf raises.
  2. The best way to build strong muscles fast is by mixing up your routine all the time to keep them ‘guessing’. You can check this out:

Deploying the services of a personal trainer is also going to benefit you, as these professionals have in-depth knowledge of all the latest advances in training science and nutrition and will help you achieve your goals within a reasonable time. They’ll also make sure you perform exercises with proper form so as to avoid injury.

Anything else?

It will hurt, and your legs will certainly take up to three times as long to build as your other muscles. But if you can hold it out for a few months training hard and eating right, you will start seeing the kind of results you never thought possible.

About My Health and Fitness

Welcome to My Health and Fitness, a rich source of articles to help you become the best version of yourself. From diet to exercise and general health, our content contributors (including Biokineticists, Physiotherapists, and Fitness Professionals) will cover all your frequently asked questions and more!

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Disclaimer: Our articles are not meant to replace any medical advice as given to you by your doctor or healthcare specialist. Always consult your doctor before embarking on a new exercise routine or drastic changes in your diet, especially where pre-existing conditions are applicable.

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