It is all too common for men who want to get muscular to spend all of their time focused on building their biceps, triceps and chest. The fact is that if you neglect your lower body, not only are you leaving yourself running the risk of looking imbalanced, with spindly legs and broad shoulders, you are also cheating yourself out of maximum muscle growth.
By working your legs, you maximise the amount of testosterone that your body produces, and this will help you to build a bigger body overall. This means that leg workouts for mass are more effective than you might first think.
Squats Are King
When it comes to leg workouts for mass, squats are most definitely king. Ideally, you should squat heavy, and for low repetitions to ensure maximum hypertrophy. There are a lot of workouts that are built around the ‘big three’ compound lifts – the squat, deadlift and bench press. These workouts are ideal for giving you a good strength base and ensuring that you gain as much muscle as possible.
Work out by starting with a warmup weight (even just the plain Olympic barbell) and then adding weight 10-20 percent of your maximum lift at a time, until you get to a lift that you can do for five good repetitions. Do three sets of five repetitions. Do this for each lift, and repeat the workout 2-3 times a week. Add a little more weight each week if you feel able to do so.
Squats are a great workout, but there are other good exercises too. Leg extensions and leg curls will help to isolate other muscles, as well calf raises.
If you don’t have a barbell, consider doing weighted lunges with a dumbell. These work out the whole leg. In fact, weighted lunges are something that everyone should consider factoring into their routine. They offer a convenient, rapid workout, and unlike a heavy back squat they do not require a spotter, so if you struggle with the lift you will not be risking personal safety trying it alone.
If you have resistance bands, you can exercise your legs with those. Tie the band to make a loop, and lie on your side and do leg raises, then lower the leg in a slow, controlled fashion. This will give you strength in the adductors and abductors, two areas that are often missed in traditional barbell workouts.
Many people find that they are sore at first, and that they struggle to do other activities after working out their legs. Gentle stretching and foam rolling can help a lot with this. Over time, the exercises will get easier as your body becomes adjusted to the new load. Eating at a slight calorie surplus, and consuming as much protein as possible, is important if you want to hit your strength and mass goals, and will also help you to recover more quickly, as well as protect you from overuse and fatigue related injuries.