Are your legs lacking size? Do you want to learn how to grow big legs?
Then you’ve come to the right place, my friend.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve worked with hundreds of clients, and a good chunk of them have had the same problem: chicken legs.
It sucks to have chicken legs, especially when you have a buff upper body – it just looks odd.
Here’s the good news:
By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll have a step-by-step plan to grow bigger and stronger legs – in 4 weeks.
But let me be clear here:
Don’t expect an easy workout hack or a weird trick. If you’re one of those looking for a quick solution, this is not for you (come back when you realize the “hacks” are just a time and money waste). Sorry, buddy.
Getting god-like quads, bulging hamstrings, huge calves, and a steel butt will take hard work and discipline, and that’s what I expect from you.
“There are no shortcuts – everything is reps, reps, reps” – Arnold Scharzenegger
I mostly agree with Arnold. Consistency is 80%, but knowing what you’re doing is 20% (at least).
If you’re ready to learn the methods and the science behind building bigger and stronger legs, and if you’re ready to put in some hard work in the gym and in the kitchen (nutrition matters), then you’ll definitely succeed in getting big legs.
Want to learn how to get big, muscular legs? Read on, my friend.
Obliterating Fads and Myths About How to Grow Big Legs
I’ve heard so many fitness gurus swear by certain exercises and workout programs, but here’s the thing: Training is not black and white.
There’s no one-size-fits-all program, and if you ever hear someone saying that you MUST do something, then be wary.
What works for one person might not work for you. By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll have a personalized training and nutrition program that’ll help you grow bigger and stronger legs.
But before we continue, let’s destroy some myths:
You Need Barbell Back Squats to Get Big Legs
I know I’ll get some hate because of this, but I’ll say it anyway.
You don’t need to squat to get big legs.
There, I said it.
Here’s the thing:
Yeah, squats are amazing (my favorite exercise), but they might not be amazing for you. You might have a body type that doesn’t favor squatting, or you might have an injury that prevents you from squatting without pain.
Does that mean you can’t grow big and strong legs if you don’t squat?
No, there are variations and other exercises you can do that will give you similar results.
Will the variations be as good as squats? Probably not as good, but they’ll be good enough to make your legs grow.
So, if for any reason you can’t squat, no worries my friend, there are other exercises you can do to substitute the squat.
The Smith Machine Sucks and Will Make You Less Manly
I have to admit I stood firmly behind this belief a couple of years ago.
Every time I saw a guy squatting in the Smith machine, I thought of him as less of a man. But that was just stupid and short-sighted.
The Smith machine is just a machine, and you can use it effectively to grow your legs. In fact, I can confidently say that by not using the Smith Machine you’ll probably be leaving some gainz on the table.
Every exercise is just a tool in your arsenal to get better, bigger, and stronger legs—except everything that involves a bosu ball (that’s just dumb. Don’t use it, please)—so instead of making fun of the Smith machine, learn how you can use it to your advantage.
Cool? Let’s move on.
You Need to Train Really Heavy to Grow Your Legs
Training really heavy is fun, but it’s also risky.
When you use really heavy weights (90%+) you’re always at risk of having a form breakdown, and your chances of getting injured increase significantly.
Besides, really heavy weights are not optimal for muscle growth. You get way better results by training in the 70%-80% range.
Unless you’re a powerlifter and you care about your 1RM, there’s no need for you to push yourself to the limit of what you can lift (in terms of weight).
Keeping your weights within the 70%-80% range most of the time will allow you to have a long, injury-free lifting career.
The longer you lift, the better you’ll look and the more jacked you’ll get.
Legs Anatomy 101
Let’s first do a quick review of the muscles you will be targeting with this program. We’ll focus on: the glutes, the quads, the hamstrings, and the calves.
Let’s start with the largest muscle group in the human body: the gluteal muscle group.
Let’s Dive Into Butts (Errgh… not literally)
The gluteal muscle group is composed of three muscles:
- The gluteus maximus.
- The gluteus medius.
- The gluteus minimus.
Here’s how it looks:
The exercises will mostly target the gluteus medius, which is the largest muscle in the human body.
The Almighty Quadriceps
Let’s move to the meaty part of the legs: the quads.
The quad muscle group is composed of four muscles:
- Rectus femoris
- Vastus lateralis
- Vastus medialis (VMO)
- Vastus intermedius
And here’s how it looks:
We’ll target the quads mostly with squats or its variations.
The Hamstrings (or Hammies)
The back of the leg is where the hamstrings are located, which is composed of three muscles:
- Biceps femoris
Here’s a visual for it:
We’ll mostly work on the hamstrings with stiff-legged deadlifts and hamstring curls.
The Infamous Calf Muscles
Bane of those who weren’t gifted with good calf genes.
They are a tough muscle to grow, but with the right exercises, volume, and nutrition you can make them bulge out.
Two muscles comprise the calf muscle group:
And they look like this:
We’ll use machine calf raises and leg press calf raises to target this muscle group.
Now that you know the primary muscles that we’ll be working on, let’s look at how to make them bigger and stronger.
How to Get Bigger and Stronger Legs: The Science Behind Training
You might assume that training is just about pushing yourself to the limits and giving all you’ve got in every session, and in a way it is, but there should be a method behind the madness.
Just training hard is not enough to make progress; you’ll end up burnt out otherwise.
There are a couple of principles you need to follow to be successful in your quest to learn how to build big and muscular legs.
What’s funny? The principles that I’m about to explain apply to all muscle groups (not just the legs).
Ready? Let’s dive in.
Progressive Overload Will Make You Superhuman
Progressive overload is the most important principle behind a successful training career.
Building bigger and stronger legs and a more muscular body, in general, should be a long-term commitment for you.
How long does it take to get big legs? You can increase your leg size over a period of 4 weeks, but the real gains happen over years of training.
And that’s when the concept of progressive overload comes in play: It means that your training should be getting harder and harder over time.
If last year your squat 5RM was 225 lbs, and this year you squat multiple sets of 10 with 225 lbs, then you’ve made progress.
Building bigger legs and a more jacked body is pretty similar to learning a new skill. It takes time, patience and hard work.
If you want to learn computer science, you’d start by learning the principles of programming, and little by little you’d increase the difficulty of the things you build or do.
Progressive overload means that your workouts today should be workouts you wouldn’t have been able to do last year, and that could mean that you either use more weight, do more sets, do more reps, or more of everything.
The trick behind progressive overload is to make small improvements over time.
How to Get Big Legs: More Training Is Not Necessarily Better Training
More is not necessarily better. Let me elaborate…
Training more doesn’t mean you’ll get better results. There’s a fine line between enough training and too much training. When you cross that line, you’ll regress instead of progress.
What does that mean? There are certain landmarks you need to be hitting when it comes to training volume (weight, sets, and reps) so that you can get the best results and grow tree-trunk-like legs.
Your legs (and most muscle groups) will grow by:
- Performing 12-22 sets per week.
- Performing 8-15 reps per set.
- Using between 60%-80% of your 1RM.
- Training legs 2-3 times per week.
- Staying 4 to 1 rep shy from failure.
The training program you’ll get in a bit was created with all these principles in mind. So you don’t have to worry about them :-).
A Word About Technique When Working Out
This needs to be said.
If you follow the principles above and your technique sucks, you will not make progress and your chances of injury will be higher.
The bottom line? You need to master the technique of all the exercises you perform. That means you’ll be making a conscious effort to do every exercise well.
No bouncing around, no use of momentum to lift the weight, no weird movements. Good technique means slow and controlled movements with perfect form.
Your ego and your weight might take a hit when you slow down, but you’ll end up performing better and getting bigger over time.
Take the time to study the videos in the exercise section, and make sure that you use perfect technique ALL the time with NO exceptions.
Cool? Now, before you continue reading, I need to tell you something:
Training is only a part of the equation of getting big legs and a jacked body. There’s another aspect that’s equally as, or even more, important.
And that is: Nutrition.
Let’s dive into the nutritional side of getting big and strong legs.
The Nutritional Secrets Behind Behind Growing Bigger and Stronger Legs
You can’t skip this part…
You will not be able to get big and strong legs if you don’t look after your nutrition.
Let me say that one more time.
You WILL NOT be able to get big and strong legs unless you take care of your nutrition.
Growing muscle or losing fat is just a simple equation:
Good Training + Good Nutrition = Jacked Body
Whether your goal is gaining muscle or losing fat, exercise alone is not enough. Your success on the quest of growing bigger and stronger legs, and a jacked body, will mostly be determined by your diet.
You can achieve A LOT more by training less and having your diet under control than by training all the time and not having your nutrition dialed in.
If you train and don’t pay attention to your nutrition, it’s like adding shitty oil to your car’s engine. It’ll work, and it’ll get you from point A to point B, but the engine will break down sooner or later.
The bottom line? If you learn how to diet either for muscle gain or for fat loss, the process will be simple and straightforward.
Otherwise, it’ll be almost impossible (unless you’re blessed with amazing genetics, and in that case, you’d still get better results by having a proper nutrition plan).
That’s why I’m going to take the time to break down the ins and outs of setting up a successful diet either for muscle gain or for fat loss.
Giving you the workouts alone is not enough, so make sure you pay special attention to this section… if you want to be successful, that is.
You can still get by doing the workouts alone, but you will not achieve as much as you could otherwise.
Should you focus on losing fat or gaining muscle? Let’s find out…
What is your goal?
“I just want to grow big legs.” Cool, we’ll get to that in a second.
But before we get to the meat of the training program, you need to define what you want to achieve when it comes to your body composition (i.e., lose fat, build muscle, or maintain your current body weight).
Meaning – You have to pick ONE goal:
- Do you want to gain muscle?
- Do you want to lose fat?
- Do you want to maintain your current body weight?
I can almost hear you thinking: “I want to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time!”
Some tough love for you:
Gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time is like trying to fill a bucket with a big hole in the bottom, literally. Both goals require COMPLETELY DIFFERENT strategies.
So unless you’re a complete newbie, or you’re on steroids, it just can’t be done efficiently.
Those fitness gurus that promise you the holy grail of gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time are outright lying to you.
Gaining muscle requires you to be in a calorie surplus, and losing fat requires you to be in a calorie deficit. These strategies are completely opposite to each other.
Imagine trying to dry your clothes while washing them in water at the same time. It’s the same thing. Not gonna happen.
Now that I got that out of the way, let’s move on to defining YOUR nutrition goal.
Here are two simple rules you can use to decide:
- If you can’t clearly see your abs, then I’d recommend you focus on losing fat.
- If you can see your abs and have veins in your stomach, then I’d recommend you focus on gaining muscle.
- When you gain muscle, you also gain fat, so if right now you don’t have low body fat levels and you focus on a muscle-building diet, you’ll only get fatter, and that’s a problem. Ideally, you want to maintain your body fat levels in the range of 8%-15%.
- If you’re already lean, adding a bit of fat to your body shouldn’t be a problem. You’ll add a lot of extra muscle that will make you look even better, so focus on doing a muscle-building diet.
Whether you’re dieting to lose fat or gain muscle, make sure you take the time to set up your diet.
Pick your goal, read the guide linked above and set up your nutrition program that’ll go along with this training plan.
Let’s talk about the exercises now…
How To Grow Bigger and Stronger Legs: The Exercises
This is what you’ve been waiting for: the exercises!
Cool. Before we break down each of the exercises you’ll be doing here, you need to understand that there’s no one-size-fits-all program.
That’s why this program will allow you to pick and choose your own exercises according to your body type and the equipment you have available.
Still, there’s a method to the madness.
You’ll be doing some type of squatting and you’ll be doing some type of hip-hinge pull, and you’ll be hitting all of the leg muscles: quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves.
Let’s dive into the exercises:
The almighty quads.
Have you ever looked at those Chinese weightlifters that have greek-god-like quads? Most of their size comes from squatting.
And guess what? You will be squatting in this program. Now, you’ll get to pick your own squat variation depending on what’s more comfortable for you.
Right now, let’s review the different types of squats, and then once you download your training program, you can set it up according to your needs.
(If you’re not sure about which squat exercise to choose, go for the high-bar back squat, if you can’t squat then choose the leg press).
High Bar Squat
The king of leg exercises.
There’s no better leg-builder than the Herculean barbell back squat. This is the single most effective exercise when it comes to building leg-size and strength.
Here’s how to do it correctly:
Make sure you dial in your form.
Also, check out this weightlifter, and pay attention at how smooth his squat looks:
Barbell back squat form checklist:
- Unrack the bar and place it on your upper back with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Point toes slightly outwards.
- Slowly squat down while maintaining a big chest and a neutral back.
- Keep your knees aligned with your toes.
- Make sure your hips go lower than your knees.
- Come back up faster than your descent.
- Keep a big chest throughout the exercise.
After the barbell high-bar squat, the front squat is my 2nd favorite leg exercise. The front squat targets the quads a bit more than the back squat.
Here’s how you do it correctly.
And another video of a weightlifter with perfect Olympic-level form:
It might feel a bit awkward if you’ve never done it before, but the more you do the easier it’ll get.
Also, research indicates that it might place less stress on the knees and lower back.
So if you suffer from lower back or/and knee pain, give the front squat a shot.
Barbell front squat checklist:
- Grip the bar lightly and place it on your shoulders, lift your elbows as high as you can and unrack it.
- Feet shoulder width apart.
- Point toes slightly outwards.
- Slowly squat down and maintain your knees aligned with your toes.
- Make sure your hips go lower down your knees.
- Come back up faster than your descent.
- Keep a big chest throughout the exercise; don’t let your back round.
The leg press is an absolute leg smasher.
And if you suffer from lower back pain, it could be a great substitute for the squats. Your back is placed against a pad and it becomes almost impossible to get into a bad position.
- Chest stays up throughout the whole movement.
- Feet shoulder-width apart on the platform.
- Lower the weight slowly.
- Use full range of motion (all the way down and all the way up); NO half-reps.
- Use your legs and your quads ONLY; don’t use momentum.
The hack squat is another great variation of the barbell back squat.
Similarly to the leg press, it targets the quads and it doesn’t require huge technical expertise. You will be able to handle heavier weights safely with the hack squat.
Here’s how you do it:
Let’s look at the exercises that’ll help you build bulging hammies:
The stiff-legged deadlift is one of the best exercises for the hamstrings and glutes.
Check it out:
Lying Leg Curl
Pretty straightforward, the lying leg curl is a simple exercise that isolates the hamstrings.
Here’s how it works:
Are you tired of having a flat booty?
No need to despair. Our training program includes exercises that will grow your butt into one that fills up any pair of jeans out there.
Here are the exercises:
The deadlift, along with the squat, is among the top exercises you can do, and it’s one of the most basic human movements out there. Think about picking up bags of groceries or picking up a child: it’s a deadlift.
It pretty much is a full body exercise, but it specifically targets the glutes, the lower back, and the hammies.
Many people are terrified of the deadlift, but in reality, it is not a dangerous exercise if done properly.
Proper deadlifts will help you grow greek-god-like legs (and will make you better in bed – scientifically proven).
Here’s a video that breaks it down:
Deadlift form checklist:
- Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, and your mid-foot should be under the barbell.
- Point toes straight forward.
- Keeping your lower back arched, you’ll bend at the hips and at the knees and you’ll grab the bar.
- At this point, your chins should be almost touching the barbell.
- Chest up, butt down, and eyes forward.
- Take a big breath, hold it and lift the barbell using your legs.
- Extend your body completely, and then come all the way back down to a dead stop for the next rep.
Dumbbell Walking Lunge
The dumbbell walking lunge is a great leg exercise. It pretty much works every muscle in the legs, with an emphasis in the glutes.
They will for sure leave your glutes sore. Try them out.
Here’s how you do them:
Walking lunge form checklist:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart while holding the dumbbells in your hands down by your sides.
- Step forward with one leg, flexing while you drop your hips.
- Descend until your back knee “kisses” the ground.
- Keep your back upright and your front knee joint should form a 90-degree angle, don’t let your front knee go past your toes.
- Push up through your front heel and raise yourself back up.
- Take a step forward with your back foot, and repeat the lunge with the opposite leg.
Adding calf exercises is optional.
If you’re happy with how your calves look and don’t care about getting them bigger, you can ignore this section.
Otherwise, check out the best exercises to grow big calves.
Calves on Calf Machine
Tried-and-true calf builder.
Here’s how you do it:
Calves on Leg Press
Another simple and great calf-builder.
Check it out:
The 4-Week Workout Program That Will Make You Grow Out of Your Jeans
Now that we got all the technical stuff out of the way, it’s time to dive into the workout program.
DISCLAIMER: perform this program at your own risk, and it’s always a good idea to consult a doctor before starting any training regimen.
Cool? Let’s move on.
I need you to promise something…
You have to promise that you’ll do the program as is. No adding stuff, no changing things around. If you move things around, you won’t not be doing the program. So please, stick to it and follow instructions.
If you don’t get results this way, shoot me an email and I’ll give you a free consultation call and we’ll figure out something that works for you.
Let’s break down the training program now:
You Get to Choose Your Own Medicine
What’s cool about this program? You’ll get to choose your own medicine in a way.
You get to choose the exercises you’ll do for the program. Every day will have a specific target group, and you’ll get a list of options for the exercises.
Why is this sweet? Firstly, if for any reason you can’t perform a specific exercise due to lack of equipment or injuries, you’ll get a couple of extra options. Secondly, you can repeat this program up to three times without stalling just by changing the exercises around.
Then after you’ve selected the exercises, you’ll have to input your 10RM. That means that maximum weight with which you can do 10 reps with perfect form.
If you have no idea what weight to use, then underestimate it. It’s better to start too light than too heavy.
Make sure you’re getting between 10-15 reps per set. If you can’t hit at least ten reps on the first week, then you probably started too heavy. You should lower the weight.
Once you select all the exercises and input all the weights, the Excel spreadsheet will spit out the working weights for the 4-week program. You don’t need to modify anything after you’ve filled out the first column of the spreadsheet.
Finally, you will keep track of all the reps you achieve each week. The idea is to maintain or improve performance week after week.
Here’s a video that explains everything:
Additional Training Equipment to Get Big and Strong Legs
You’ve come a long way, my dear grasshopper.
By now you must be excited about starting the program, and I have to confess, I’m also excited about seeing your progress.
Before releasing you into the iron forest, let’s take a second to review the equipment you can use to make your training even better.
There’s so much information out there about what type of shoes you should use to lift.
And honestly, it’s very simple. All you need is a pair of hard-soled shoes, ones that don’t compress under weight.
A pair of Chuck Taylors will do the trick, but if you want to get fancy you can always get some Rebook Nanos, or some Nike Metcons, and if you’re bold you can even go barefoot.
This is me squatting 180 kg x 10 barefoot:
Any of them will do it.
Now, if you want to take things even a step further, you can get weightlifting shoes. They’ll help keep your torso upright during squats and get an even harder quad workout.
Lifting belts will help you move more weight (if used correctly). They give your midline section something to push against, which creates more compression and allows you to hold and lift more weight.
You can easily squat around 20-30 extra lbs if you know how to properly use a weightlifting belt
However, if you’re just starting out, you don’t need a belt. Wait until you can squat at least 1.5x your bodyweight beltless for reps, and then start using one.
I love lifting straps, and you should love them too.
Remember, you are now concerned about building bigger and stronger legs, so your grip shouldn’t be a limiting factor.
Get a pair of straps and use them for deadlifting. They’ll allow you to do more reps and keep a better posture throughout the movement.
Commit for the Long-Term, Not Just 4 Weeks
Adding size to your legs in 30 days is completely possible, especially if you follow the workout and nutrition guidelines mentioned in this article.
But you need to understand something:
Building a great body, adding muscle, and losing fat shouldn’t be a 30-day thing. It SHOULD be a lifetime thing.
All those influencers you follow have probably been training for years.
Start with this program, get some gains and use the momentum to motivate yourself.
Make training and nutrition part of your regular life. Before you know it, you’ll be walking around with god-like legs, chiseled abs, and bulging pecs.
Just imagine what you could accomplish if you make training part of your life for the next 5 years. Imagine how you would look.
You’d be a completely different person.
That image you have of yourself is completely achievable. You just need to start.
So go and let me know how this program works for you.
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