One of the bodybuilding buzzwords one hears a lot of is symmetry. Symmetry as in an ideal size relationship or balance between all parts of the body. And there are few body parts that can nuke symmetry in short order like legs can. A well developed torso and arms are going to loose a lot of appeal if the whole is rounded off by spindly legs.
Sadly though, bodybuilding legs seems to be an often neglected part of many bodybuilders overall routines. Loads of time and focus are spent on arms, chest and abs and legs get thrown in almost as an afterthought.
Bodybuilding legs to compliment the big picture takes as much effort and commitment as any other part of the body and this needs to be accepted and acted upon to get acceptable results. Leg routines should integrate basic principles applicable to other multi joint body parts, for example:
When bodybuilding legs, keep set sizes and total number of sets on the small side. Leg muscles benefit from the same kind of short, intense workouts as biceps and triceps.
Maintain good technique. Discipline in maintaining fluid, full motion in reps is critical for bodybuilding legs.
Exercise to failure. Structure your sets in such a way that you execute the last rep at breaking point or the last one that you can perform with correct technique. Short and hard is the key here.
Here is one good routine for bodybuilding legs.
Leg extensions – 5 sets of 15 to 20 reps. Use a light loading for a 20 rep warm-up. Thereafter increase the weight and do the required number of reps to failure. Hold each rep at the top for a second and the last rep in the set for as longs as possible. Keep increasing the weight load throughout the routine until you have the machines full spread for the last one or two sets. Rest for approximately 1 minute.
Below parallel full squats – 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps. These will work the quads and the hamstrings at the bottom of the movement. Keep your torso as straight as possible, hold at the bottom for a second then press up with the ball of your foot. Rest for 2 minutes.
Walking lunges – 3 sets of the maximum number of steps possible. This works the upper leg in particular and should be performed by lunging to one side by pressing on the ball of the foot to work the quads, then pressing back into position with the heel to work the hamstring and glutes. Rest for about a minute and a half.
Single leg machine calf raise – 4 sets of 15 to 20 reps. Load the calf raise machine to a level that will allow for approximately 20 reps to failure. Emphasize the stretch part of the reps and hold the position for a second. Bear against the ball of the foot at the end of the movement to raise the weight and hold for a second. Perform continuously, alternating legs until the sets are complete.
This is only one of many good, short routines for bodybuilding legs. If you maintain the frequency of your leg workouts and focus on specific muscle utilization, maintaining technique and maximum stress you will keep your leg development in line with the rest of your regimen and keep that magic symmetry that rounds of a great body so well……………………………………………………………………….