If your goal is to build great looking legs (not bulky) that are super strong and powerful, then STOP training your legs like a bodybuilder!
Bodybuilders strive to build massive legs that can only fit into sweat pants. Not only does this just look plain stupid but it is completely nonfunctional!
Bodybuilders utilize high volume leg workouts that cause rapid muscle growth with little increases in relative strength. This results in big, slow tree trunk legs that are useless.
Here is a sample bodybuilding leg workout –
Squats – 4 x 10-15 reps
Leg Press – 2 x 20 reps
Romanian Dead-lifts – 4 x 8 reps
Leg Curls – 2 x 12 reps
Lunges – 2 x 12 reps
Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 15
Seated Calf Raises: 2 x 15
This is a great leg routine to add muscle to your Lower-body if that is your goal. However the high sets and reps will trigger sarcoplasmic hypertrophy which increases the fluid like substance in the muscles with little increase in strength. This is completely detrimental to athletic performance and great looking legs.
Our goal is to build legs that are super athletic and strong without adding unnecessary bulk.
Look at Michael Jordan above. His legs possess incredible power to allow him to fly through the air effortlessly. Yet his legs aren’t bulky one bit. This is what we are after.
We want to build legs that will enable us to sprint at high velocities, leap through the air with ease and offer us stability and balance.
In addition we want to build legs that look great in fitted pants.
I am going to go out on a limb and say that the bodybuilder above would look absolutely ridiculous in any stylish attire. Plus it looks like he would have trouble doing regular day to day activities like walking.
How To Train For Legs That Are Super Strong And Powerful
Here are the guidelines for weight training to build strength and power without size.
- During leg training exercises use a weight that allows you to explode on each rep
- Stop well before failure to allow yourself to explode on each rep and to avoid adding unnecessary size.
- Perform 3-6 reps per set
- Perform no more than 3 work sets per exercise
Perform High Intensity Sprints for Explosive Fast Twitch Legs
40-60 yard sprints are a great way to build powerful and functional legs. I recommend doing a sprint session once per week. You can perform hill sprints or flat sprints. This will skyrocket your explosive power, boost your bodies fat burning hormones and promote lean legs.
I recommend performing a total of 8 sprints with full recovery in-between sets.
Utilize Explosive Plyometric Exercises and Olympic Lifts to Add Power
Plyometric exercises and Olympic lifts increase your explosive strength and elastic strength in your legs which in turn will allow you to run faster and jump higher.
Many people make the mistake of doing way too many reps when doing plyometric exercises. If your trying to increase power than keep the reps low ex: 3-6 reps. This will allow you to give a maximum effort on each rep.
Here Is A Power Workout For Your Legs That Minimizes Size
1. Barbell Squat: 6 sets x 3 reps (start with a light weight and add weight on each set)
2. Barbell Snatch Jump: 6 sets x 3 reps (start with a light weight and add weight on each set)
3. Box Jump for Height: 3 x 3 reps
4. Depth Jump for Height: 3 x 3
5. Ankle Jumps: 3 x 10 reps
1 x 60m sprint x 40% max speed
1 x 60m sprint x 60% max speed
1 x 60m sprint x 80% max speed
1 x 60m sprint x 90% max speed
4 x 60m sprint x 100%
The above program is a great routine if you want to increase your sprint and vertical jump. This is the routine I used to go from barely touching the rim on a 10′ basketball net to easily grabbing the rim in only a few weeks.
If you don’t have any interest in building explosive legs than you can cut out the leg workouts and stick to High Intensity Interval Training to melt bodyfat and promote lean functional legs.