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We’ll outline some of the methods that have successfully worked for our clients. There are three starting points from our experience that you may fit into:

A. You haven’t been trying to grow or strengthen your legs and you follow no specific “leg day” in resistance training program.

B. You’ve been trying unsuccessfully to grow or strengthen your legs and you follow a cookie cutter “leg day” along with your resistance training program.

C. You’ve tried everything from jumping lunges to heavy leg press to grow and strengthen your legs and you don’t seem to be getting the results that you once did.

For all three starting points, a reasonable and healthy goal to reach for is to increase strength or volume across basic compound movements successfully and, upon measuring, see an increase in each leg circumference monthly.

Person A:

This person can successfully reach their leg growth goals following a progressive overload weight training program utilizing a linear progression model along with a caloric surplus composed, ideally, of mostly whole foods. The major movements to be used include back squats, front squats, conventional deadlift, wide stance deadlift, leg extensions, leg curls, and calf raises. A good starting point would be to perform back squats, front squats, conventional deadlift, and wide stance deadlift all once per week in any configuration at approximately 5 sets of 5 reps and to perform the more isolated movements: leg extensions, leg curls, and calf raises, at approximately 3 sets of 20 reps with a maximal stretch and contraction. The key to seeing increased strength and lean mass is in the linear progression model for this person. That means that you should be increasing the weight (even if its 2-5lbs some weeks) on all of these movements every week.

Person B:

This person can successfully reach their leg growth goals following, again, a progressive overload weight training program, but with a more phasic progression. The concepts previously mentioned still stand in regards to exercise selection and frequency except this person may benefit more from varying the rep ranges. For example, 10,8,6 week 1, 5×5 week 2, 3×3 week 3, and 5,3,1 week 4, then restart and the goal is to increase the weight each phase as compared to the prior phase. Additionally, comparatively, the weight should be heavier for fewer reps. In the example I just mentioned, the least weight would be used for 10 reps in week 1 and the most weight would be used for 1 rep in week 4 and everything in between would be between what was used for 10 reps and what was used for 1 rep.

Person C:

This is perhaps the most difficult type of person to bring about results because their central nervous system and muscles are very angry with them currently. Almost always, I’ve found that person C will require an extended deload followed by a systematic program in concert with a caloric surplus composed, again, ideally, of mostly whole foods. An extended deload, that I’ve seen work well before, usually consists of something to the effect of 1-2 weeks of just rest and eating when hungry (maintenance calories) followed by a gradual building of volume and intensity in basic compound movements over a 3-5 week period. After the central nervous system is reset, person C essentially becomes person A and now they are ready for a tailored leg training program that includes progressive overload to build strength and lean mass along with a caloric surplus to supply nutrients.


A workout routine to enhance growth and shape

When it comes to training your glutes some exercises are more effective than others. Many people assume that the squat is the best exercise to develop a round, sculpted derriere – of course the squat is very effective but there are a number of different training methods and variations that will target the glutes more effectively.

When training the glutes, you should focus on a range of compound movements and isolation movements.

Compound Movements – An exercise that engages two or more different joints to fully engage and stimulate entire muscle group via the integration of multiple muscles.

An example of a compound movement would be a deadlift.

Isolation Movements – An isolation movement is one that involves only one joint and a limited number of muscle groups. An example of an isolation movement would be a barbell glute bridge.

Compound movements are excellent mass builders whereas isolation movements are great for carving and defining the area for that extra bit of definition.

So you want to hit your glutes HARD and start seeing some serious progress?

Give the below routine a try. We are also going to throw in some specialist training techniques to really mix things up a bit and stimulate that all-important growth!

Your rep range will be in the hypertrophic range to stimulate growth.

 

Exercise 1

Kettle Bell Single Leg Deadlifts

Targets:

Reps & Sets: 4 x 12 on each leg

Standing up straight hold a heavy kettle bell (within reason – it needs to be comfortable enough to be able to perform your reps with perfect form) in one hand.

Extend one leg up behind ideally to create a 90-degree angle and then, whilst keeping the movement controlled, lower your leg down.

The kettle bell should travel straight down toward the floor in your hand with your other arm out to the side for balance.

This movement can also be performed with a dumbbell in each hand for more weight, with more balance.

Exercise 2

The Sumo Squat with Negative Reps

Targets: Adductors

Reps & Sets: 4 x 12

The sumo squat is a variation on the traditional squat, it’s excellent for adding emphasis and weight to your inner thighs and glutes giving you a more sculpted look.

So, to perform a sumo squat stand with your legs wider than shoulder width apart and your toes pointing outwards; have a heavy dumbbell ready.

Squat down keeping a neutral back and lift the dumbbell with two hands (you can also use a weight plate or barbell). Raise the dumbbell up until you are completely straight, squat down and lower it back down to the floor.

Negative Reps – To adopt the negative reps technique you need to slow down the returning movement of the dumbbell to the floor by counting to 4 as you lower it.

Exercise 3

Barbell Hip Thrusts

Targets: Upper Glutes

Reps & Sets: 4 x 12 

The barbell hip thrust is a highly effective isolation movement that activates and builds your upper glutes much more than squats, and is also arguably more effective than a deadlift at hitting this specific area.

With your back against a bench sit on the floor with your feet planted firmly in front of you, and a barbell/weight plate or dumbbell on your lap.

Keep your knees stable, raise the barbell by pushing your hips up, and push your hips upward with your glutes so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. In a controlled motion, you then need to lower it to the ground.

Exercise 4

Single Leg Press

Targets:

Reps & Sets: 4 x 12 on each leg

This movement can be performed on any leg press that is available to you.

The great thing about leg pressing one leg at a time is that the load isn’t shared and you cant over compensate on one leg. It hits your glutes seriously hard.

Sit on the leg press in a comfortable position with your back straight and press the load one leg at a time.

Exercise 5

Hamstring Curl 21s

Targets:

Reps & Sets: 4 x 21s

You can perform a hamstring curl on either the seated machine or the lying down (prone) machine, either is fine and either works the same muscles and can accommodate the ‘21s’ training method.

Make sure the weight is heavy enough.

21s – 21s ensure you really overload the muscle and take it to complete failure, which stimulates growth considerably.

You perform 7 partial reps from the bottom of the movement to the middle of the movement. You then perform another 7 partial reps from the top of the movement to the middle of the movement. Lastly, you perform 7 full reps.

 

Exercise 6

Heavy walking lunges

Targets:

Reps & Sets: 4 x 24 (12 each leg)

A real burner for the end of your workout, heavy walking lunges will really tear up those muscle fibers and stimulate serious growth.

Select a preloaded barbell that is heavy enough for you to perform multiple reps with.

Place it on your shoulders and with a firm grip lunge forward. Keep a straight posture so your legs are taking the brunt of the load; not your back.

Additional tips:

  • Whilst performing your workout be sure to use BCAA’s in your water to keep your muscles fueled during the tough workout and enhance growth and recovery.
  • Keep a diary of the weights you use so you can keep track of your progress.
  • To really stimulate glute and hamstring development always split your leg days into two, so one day is for glutes and hams and the other day is for quads and calves.