Are you looking to train to your full potential? Do you want to learn how to structure the most effective leg day routine for optimal muscle growth? Maybe you´ve been training for a while now and you’re not seeing much progress or you’re looking to start working out but you’re not sure where to start. Well you have come to the right place!
When it comes down to designing your workout routine there are a number of things you need to take into consideration. But before anything, it is essential you sit down an take some time to think what exactly your goals are. There is no point planning something if we don’t have direction. Goals give us direction. Once you have figured out your goals, we can then begin to design a leg day routine that will help you reach your goals!
- 1. Movement patterns every leg workout needs
- 2. Choosing your Compound and Isolation exercises
- 3. Creating your leg day workout routine
- Now its time for you to design your workout routine!
1. Movement patterns every leg workout needs
There are four movement patterns every leg day routine needs for optimal results. A squat movement, a hinge movement, a thrust movement and a lunge/split squat movement. At least one of each movement should be implemented in each workout routine. Consistently training with these movement patterns encourage greater muscle growth!
- Bodyweight Squat:
- A bodyweight squat involves performing a squat without weight
- Barbell Back Squat:
- A barbell back squat involves performing a squat with a barbell positioned on your upper back.
- Front Squat:
- A front squat involves performing a squat holding a barbell in front of your body
- Goblet Squat:
- A goblet squat involves performing a squat holding a dumbbell or a weight of similar size in front of your body
- Sumo Squat:
- Sumo squats are squats that can you can performe either with bodyweight, barbells or dumbbells.
- Conventional Deadlift:
- A conventional deadlift is a hinge movement where you hinge your hips until the barbell plates touch the floor and then return to starting position.
- Romanian Deadlift (RDL):
- A romanian deadlift is a hinge movement where you hinge your hips until your body allows you without touching the floor with your weights.
- Kettlebell Swing:
- A kettlebell swing is a hinge movement. You perform it using a kettlebell.
- Good Morning:
- A good morning is a hinge movement. You perform it with a barbell positioned on your upper back.
- Barbell Hip Thrust:
- Barbell hip thrusts are a thrust movement performed with a barbell or dumbbell placed on your hips. The weight is pushed upwards and contracting your glutes at the top of the movement
- Glute Bridge:
- A glute bridge is a thrust movement similar to the hip thrust. The different is a glute bridge has a shorted range of motion. You only lower your hips 1/3 of the way down, then bring the weight back up and squeeze at the top of the movement. This movement involves less quads and more glutes.
Lunge/Split Squat movements
- Forward Lunge:
- A forward lunge is a lunge movement performed by stepping forwards while bending at the knee.
- Reverse Lunge:
- A reverse lunge is a lunge movement performed by stepping backwards while bending at the knee.
- Walking Lunge:
- A walking lunge is performed by stepping forwards alternating between both legs while bending at the knee
- Bulgarian Split Squat:
- A bulgarian split squat is a split squat movement performed with one foot placed on elevated heigh behind you while bending your front knee to create a 90 degree angle with your leg and the floor.
2. Choosing your Compound and Isolation exercises
There are two types of exercises you should include in your leg day routine. Compound and isolation exercises. These types of exercises target muscles in different ways. Therefore, each should be included in your workout routine for muscle growth.
A compound exercise is a type of strength training movement that engages multiple muscle groups and joints in a coordinated effort. In addition, compound exercises are valued for their efficiency in promoting overall strength, muscle mass, and functional fitness, making them a cornerstone of many effective workout routines.
- What it is: Lowering the body by bending the hips and knees, engaging the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back.
- Why it’s effective: Targets the entire lower body, promoting strength and muscle development in the legs.
- What it is: Lifting a barbell or weight from the ground to a standing position, engaging the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back.
- Why it’s effective: Works the posterior chain, emphasizing strength in the hamstrings and glutes.
- What it is: Stepping forward, backward, or to the side while bending the knees to create a lunge position, engaging the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.
- Why it’s effective: Targets individual legs, enhances balance, and provides comprehensive lower body strength.
- Hip Thrust:
- What it is: Sitting on the ground with a barbell across the hips and thrusting the hips upward, engaging the glutes and hamstrings.
- Why it’s effective: Isolates and strengthens the glutes, contributing to improved hip extension and overall lower body development.
Isolation exercises are specific strength training movements. The are designed to target and engage a single muscle or a small group of muscles in isolation, without significant involvement of surrounding muscle groups. These exercises are often used to address: muscle imbalances, isolate weaker areas, or provide targeted work for aesthetic purposes. Examples include bicep curls for the biceps, leg extensions for the quadriceps, or calf raises for the calf muscles.
- Leg Extensions:
- What it is: Seated on a leg extension machine, lift the weight by straightening your knees, isolating the quadriceps.
- Why it’s effective: Targets the front of the thighs (quadriceps) and emphasizes knee extension.
- Leg Curls:
- What it is: Lying face down on a leg curl machine, lift the weight by bending your knees, isolating the hamstrings.
- Why it’s effective: Focuses on the hamstrings, aiding in knee flexion.
- Calf Raises:
- What it is: Standing on a raised surface, lift your heels to engage the calf muscles.
- Why it’s effective: Isolates the calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus) to improve calf strength and definition.
- Adductor Machine:
- What it is: Using a machine, squeeze your legs together against resistance to work the muscles of the thighs (adductors).
- Why it’s effective: Isolates the adductor muscles, aiding in inner thigh strength.
How many exercises should you do for leg day?
Around 5 to 6 exercises is enough for a good leg workout. Doing too many exercises won’t help your muscles grow any bigger, in fact, it may slow down your muscle growth. This is because you can fatigue your muscles too much and affect recovery time.
3. Creating your leg day workout routine
Now that we understand the types of exercises needed, we can now create our workout routine. Therefore, designing your workout routine will help you achieve optimal muscle growth!
How to choose the exercises:
- Choose 1-2 compound exercises
- Choose 1-3 isolation movements
- Make sure you choose at least one exercise from each movement pattern
- Choose the number of sets/reps you would like to do (4 sets of 12 reps is a good way to begin).
TIP: Begin with a warm up set. After the warm up set add challenging weight. Try and do your last 1-2 sets until failure (this means you do as many reps as you can).
Example of a WORKOUT ROUTINE:
|Exercise||Number of Sets||Number of Reps|
|Bulgarian Split Squats||3||8-10|
Now its time for you to design your workout routine!
Use this information as your guideline. Remember before you create your routine you must set your goals beforehand. Give these tips a go a let me know how they workout for you. Go grow those muscles!