In every gym, you can observe different body types working out. You can also tell which body parts people are focused on, or like to exercise regularly.
A lot of guys, for example, like to work out muscles that you can quickly and easily see developing by looking in the mirror; in the chest and arms (also called the ‘guns’ - which is, a technical term, obviously). Fewer men, however, like to work or develop their legs.
Beyond the aesthetic aspect, in my opinion it is a mistake to not workout your legs on a regular basis. This is because, in aesthetic terms, body balance is important, and the biggest muscles in the human body happen to be your legs muscles. After all, we walk on our feet and not our hands and because of this simple fact the muscles in our legs are both our foundation and our strength.
So, my ambition is to show you how to easily work your legs within a 30 - 35 minute time frame (which is also the same time frame I tend to use for every other large body part; the chest and back, though for shoulders and arms), as follows.
The 30 minute legs workout:
Major set 1: Cardio’
Aim to achieve 2k on the treadmill, with a 1 degree incline with this exercise set. Setting your speed to 12 on the treadmill would be a good start, though of course it depends on your actually running level as to what you should start with.
The overarching point, however, is that you want to feel warm, fully awake after running, and confident with your legs, and as such you should achieve the above in-between 8.30 to 12 minutes.
Major set 2: Machine leg extensions
Aim for 3 set, each composed of 10 repetitions.
Set 1 = 15 repetitions.
Set 2 = 10 repetitions.
Set 3 = 8 repetitions, with a heavier weight setting.
In-between each set add in 12 squat repetitions using only your body weight and slow down each movement, while localising the muscles you are engaging with (quadriceps and glutes’).
Now, getting to the heart of the matter -
Major set 3: Big squats using a free bar or Smith machine
Aim for 3 sets of 10 repetitions with this set (the last two repetitions should also be demanding, as leg workouts take a lot out of you normally). Why? Because of the distance between your heart and your legs muscles. The blood has to travel a distance to reach your heart and then to come back with oxygen to the leg muscles in question!
In-between each repetition, add in jumping lunges of 16 repetitions (8 for each leg) and push hard during this set as your quadriceps will become tired from your leg extensions.
Also, over the course of these 3 sets do not hesitate to add additional weight if you feel you can handle it.
Finally, don’t forget the back of your legs and your calf muscles:
This is to maintain a balanced lower body aesthetic.
Seated leg curls; 3 sets of 10 repetitions, plus seated calf extensions.
To add these exercises into your routine you should aim to feel the effort clearly in the back of your legs (and not your hips or your back). These muscles are quite important to prevent knee injuries, so remember the body balance concept; your body exists in 3D, so do not forget to train muscles that you cannot see in the mirror.
Put in 3 minutes on the rowing cardio machine, proceeding in regular intervals of 30 seconds, with an hard acceleration to a 30 second cool down until you reach the 3 minute mark.
A 5 - 10 minute (maximum) abdominal workout of your choice.
And voila! Your legs have been effectively exercised with the aim of growing these all important muscles.
One last thing to remember is that when you do train your legs, don’t forget to incorporate coordination exercises (exercises with motion; jumping squats, jumping lunges, running, rowing, box stepping, etc.), otherwise you will feel your legs getting heavier and heavier and may end up feeling like you are walking in ski shoes.
Which is not the point at all.
Now build those legs!