In this post, I’ll be sharing one of my favorite leg training strategies to build strength, power and athleticism.
Now, this workout for the legs is not designed to maximize hypertrophy (muscle growth)!
I actually like to avoid triggering a bunch of muscle growth on the legs. The reason is simple: it’s quite easy to add size to the legs. If you get your legs too big and bulky, you’ll draw peoples attention down to your legs, taking away from your aesthetics and upper-body development.
Moreover, you will be hard-pressed to find cool, slim-fitted pants to rock. If you look at Hollywood actors with great physiques, they tend to have very balanced leg development – nothing excessive.
Finally, adding too much size to the legs can cause the inevitable thigh chafe, where your legs rub together when you walk.
(This is my absolute nightmare – I consider it to be extremely dorky!)
When Should You Push Yourself Close To Failure?
I fully realize that many of you probably don’t have to worry about gaining too much size on your legs for a while.
In that case, it makes sense to push yourself hard on legs and work them close to failure. This is the strategy I used for several years – right up till my legs became overdeveloped.
When you have sufficient leg size, this workout will be an absolute blessing! You’ll support lean, perfect-sized legs, while still building strength and explosive power.
This Is How it Works…
The premise is downright simple: pick a leg exercise and perform 3-5 sets of 5 reps, progressively building up to a heavier and heavier weight.
The first few sets should be relatively easy. This is fine! In fact, this is exactly what you want as the light sets will really allow you to explode up and improve explosive strength. So make sure to really focus on power during each and every rep of each and every set.
If you go too heavy on legs, for example if you’re really having to grind the reps out, you won’t be supporting power anymore! But slow down… Who cares about power anyway?
Kinobody Is About MORE Than Just Aesthetics
When I created Kinobody, it wasn’t just about building amazing aesthetics. It was about being an all-around bad ass. Having strength, power and athleticism.
I love the idea of being able to handle myself. I love the idea of having a ton of strength – strength that makes me dangerous ;)
I also love the idea of being fast; being able to sprint fast and jump high. I don’t want to just look good – I want the whole package.
Most people structure their leg training in a way that just forces a bunch of unneeded leg mass.
Instead, I recommend really focusing on structuring your leg training in a way that supports great power development (at least once you have a good level of leg size). This workout gets the job done better than anything!
So How Do You Train Your Legs?
So essentially what you’re doing is you’re building up to a relatively challenging weight for five reps. Each and every set that brings you closer to your heavy set is there to supercharge your nervous system…
I recommend resting about 2-3 minutes between sets. You don’t want to induce fatigue, otherwise you will completely defeat the purpose of the workout.
To get the most out of your leg training, you don’t need to do a ton of volume. Doing too many exercises and sets and reps will actually induce fatigue and your ability to improve power will be compromised.
This Is What It Looks Like
You can use this strategy for weighted pistols, step-ups, reverse lunges, sumo deadlifts, power cleans… Hell, even squats!
In fact, here’s how it would look if you were doing squats. Lets say you can squat or sumo deadlift 225 for 5 reps (with good explosive power). It would go down like this:
- 135 x 5
- 165 x 5
- 185 x 5
- 205 x 5
- 225 x 5
Each and every set, you’re really powering up and triggering improvements in strength and power. You shouldn’t get too close to muscle failure – even on the last set.
Remember, we’re not trying to trigger muscle growth – we’re trying to improve power and athleticism. Essentially, we’re tuning up your central nervous system to make you as powerful and efficient as possible.
What Should You Do Next?
After finishing off with your progressively heavier 3-5 sets of 5 explosive reps, you can do some supplemental work: 3 sets of jump squats or even leg extensions to fill out the VMO… Then you can move into some calf raises.
Finally you can finish of with Abs! Here’s how this leg workout would look, all put together:
Do You Want A Full Leg Workout?
- Explosive Leg Lift: 5 sets of 5 (explosive, progressively heavier)
- Jump Squats: 3 sets of 6 reps (2 mins rest)
- Calf Raises: 8-10, 10-12, 12-15 (reverse pyramid, 1-2 mins rest)
- Hanging Leg Raises: 3 sets of 6-15 reps (1-2 mins rest)
- Abs Wheel Roll outs: 3 sets of 6-15 reps (1-2 mins rest)
Bam! That’s all she wrote…
Doing this workout once per week would be plenty sufficient. If you wanted to hit legs once more, you could do some a few sets of sprints or even some jump rope training on another day.
Remember – less is more. Find that minimum effective dose to make sweet progress :)
This Is The Best Way To Train Legs
Give this strategy a try! Pick a compound leg exercise and perform 3-5 sets of 5 reps with a progressively heavier weight. Really focus on power and explosion. You’ll feel downright powerful.
Use this protocol for several weeks and you’ll notice a very real improvement in your sprinting and jumping power. You will be more athletic than ever and your legs will look sleek, not bulky.
And after you try this out, let me know what you think!