Implementing the following_ very simple rules will go a LONG way towards greatly improving the…
1. Correct exercise selection
My entire leg training routine consists of just 5 exercises; The back squat, the stiff-legged dead-lift, leg extensions, leg curls, and calf raises. Forget the fancy ‘window dressing’ exercises that many promote, they won’t create a noticeable amount of development and fall more into the category of ‘cardio and toning· than the REAL leg training required to deliver the results you want.
2. Ensure perfect technique
Ensure perfect technique, many people say form, but for me, form simply suggests body positioning and posture, where in truth there’s a LOT more to productive weight training than merely body positioning. Cadence, breath control, dynamic weight management to name but a few.
3. You MUST use a weight that challenges you
You MUST use a weight that challenges you, and you MUST strive to increase this weight on a regular basis, the smallest of regular increases is enough to ensure progress. Weight training and body development is a ‘long game’, don’t look to take shortcuts or you will keep finding yourself back at the start line again and again!
4. Train your legs with a rest period of 5 days minimum!
I normally recommend a week to my trainees, not for the convenience of schedules but for the fact that the leg structure is large, and when you stress it sufficiently you need a long period of rest between workouts. If you can even THINK about training your legs again with less than 5 days of recovery then you weren’t lifting heavy or hard enough at the previous session! Remember, you create the stimulus INSIDE the gym, but you improve and develop OUTSIDE of the gym. It’s not about racking up hours on the equipment, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. The perfect session provides just enough stimulus for development to take place without ‘overstepping your body’s ability to recover in time for the next session, this methodology is the ONLY way to get near linear progress with your leg development.
5. How much work? How many sets and reps?
Again, my recommendation is to never go above 3sets for any given exercise, and for most parts, 2 sets are enough to trigger the stimulus required to develop your leg muscle structure. I would start with 3 sets of squats, and keep the weight fixed throughout, clearly, this will mean that you
will be able to perform fewer reps throughout the session as you are fatigued, but the weight needs to remain the same, do not have too many variables or you won’t know whether you have truly improved. Now IF my squats were performed correctly and with my maximal effort, I will really only be able to perform 2 sets of my remaining 4 exercises. So for me, an 11 set leg workout is optimal.
6. Rest between sets
I suggest different rest periods between the sets of different muscles trained. le. Leg training vs ab training, and in fact, different leg exercises also have different rest requirements due to the effort required to complete the set AND the stress stimulus placed upon the muscle group that the particular exercise targeted. But as a ‘rule of thumb’ I take 4 minutes between sets of squats and stiff-legged deadlift, and 2 min between sets of leg extensions, leg curls and calf raises.
I could write an entire book on the subtleties of the perfect diet, but within the scope of this instruction, I will just provide a few easy rules; don’t go on a calorie-restricted diet at the same time as expecting your legs to develop, you will achieve nothing along the lines of your expectations, whilst simultaneously leaving your immune system wide open to illness and your body in a
depleted state that invites injury. Remember, this is a text about creating legs, and if you want to create something you need the raw ingredients, proteins are the building blocks that we must use to create new muscle tissue, and that is much the same as a builder needs his bricks to create a house! Remember also, that not all proteins and protein supplements are the same, or created equally. Contact me on www.cindytraining.com for information on what you should and more importantly, shouldn’t be using. I also provide custom nutrition plans and these have been ESSENTIAL in ensuring that all of my trainees are hitting their desired goal, you are what you eat!
8. The importance of cardio training and when NOT to do it
Much the same as I recommend a good amount of rest between workouts, I also recommend that you ‘lay off’ any further intensive training such as CV based work at least whilst your body becomes accustomed to the efforts required to perform the leg workouts and ensure that you are fully recovered in time to get under the bar again 5-7 days later. Where cardio IS important is in the removal of unwanted body fat once the desired leg strength and development has been achieved. It is, in my experience, best to leave fat-burning cardio alone UNTIL you have something that you want to show underneath, this is a period of rapid fat loss that I teach my trainees about, that I like to term, ‘The Reveal’, the moment at which you expose the new muscle tissue that you have created. When you are at that point, let me know, and I will show you how to drop body fat at an amazing rate using very specific CV training and nutrition timing plans.
9. Stretching and flexibility
Stretching and flexibility are often overlooked in weight training, but I must stress that they become more and more important the stronger you become! I have trainees who have lifted heavyweights, and I do mean ‘HEAVY’ weights for year upon year and neglected any form of muscle stretching and lengthening, and they are only now realizing the importance of joint and muscular flexibility and how it is actually capable of enlarging and strengthening the muscle through a wider range of motion than they thought previously possible! Now, not only is important for your health and wellbeing, but, in terms of injury prevention, especially regarding the lower back and hamstrings, good flexibility is of high importance and it needs to be maintained.
All that I have written above and all of the 100’s custom training programs are worthless unless you apply their contents, and apply them with consistency. You have to really want this, and in doing so you have to lift some heavyweights, and keep coming back week upon month upon year!… This leads me to…..
11. The Mindset
Mindset, don’t skip this and think, ‘Oh it’s not describing the training therefore I don’t need to know·. The mind is the single most powerful tool ANY of us will ever possess, and it is within each and every one of us to create what we can believe and perceive. Why would you leave that tool in the changing room?… I see people approach the heavy bar with a “We’ll see” mindset and they are defeated. DON’T let the weight tell YOU what it’s going to do, it is entirely inanimate and holds NO fear but for the fear that you empower it with. You must approach the bar with the knowledge that you can and therefore WILL lift it, for this is the only way to summon up your maximum power and therefore your maximum stimulus!
It is this very belief that carries through in successes in each and every field, no matter the objective. Don’t think for a second that the person that holds your dream physique simply stumbled on it or found it by accident, even if they claim that they did!.. You must pour forth 100% of your efforts into each and every exercise, and then rest with an optimized nutrition structure before coming back and repeating the process over and over. This takes willpower and a solid ‘result-oriented mindset’ you must see nothing other than the goal ahead, give those negative demons no air to breathe, your mindset must be that of a champion long before you ever see a podium!