Thigh training has always been a grueling training day for many, compound moves like squats and dead lifts can take a lot of energy but they are well worth it when it comes to packing on the size and building some powerful legs. Many times I have seen guys with very well muscled upper torsos but small legs in comparison, they like to build the big arms and shoulders to show off but avoid training legs because they don’t take the time to put the energy into them.
Today I’m going to talk about some of the best exercises that will build you a pair of powerful legs and pack on a lot of size as well. From squats to dead lifts to leg presses even the farmers walk, I will cover them all in plus size thighs and how to beef them up, be prepared for one killer workout, you may be crawling out of the gym instead of walking.
The striping method
No now don’t get me wrong, this striping method I’m talking about isn’t kicking off all our clothes, the striping method I’m talking about is after you complete a set to failure and slam the bar back in the rack you have a couple of training partners strip a plate off each end of the bar and then you continue with your set to failure and then have your training partners strip another plate of each end of the bar and then complete your set to failure.
Make sure that you carb up before this workout because it’s going to be a killer, this killer workout I’m talking about isn’t going to be benches or barbell curls, this striping method that you’re going to be undertaking will be squats, dead lifts and leg presses.
First attack, (squats)
Squats are the king of quad builders. Muscles worked when performing the squats are quadriceps, gluteus, hamstrings, erectors, trapezius, abdominals, obliques, upper back and lats.
Basically squats work practically the whole body and they can give your metabolism a boost so squatting is a good way to burn calories. Some people say that squats are an exercise you should do every day, I don’t know if I would go as far as to push that idea on anyone, even if you were to do deep knee bends every day would be a bit too much, your thighs need time to recover from workouts as well.
Squats create an anabolic effect which promotes muscular involvement throughout the whole body enhancing muscle mass. Doing deep knee bends (squats without weight) are a good exercise for beginners so that the new trainer can get a feel for the exercise and build strength and conditioning.
Once the person that is new to training has become good at doing deep knee bends and has worked up to 20-30 repetitions, then they can progress in their resistance training by graduating to performing the weighted squats.
When performing squats, especially if you are working with heavy weights it is a good idea to have a spotter, wear back support and follow good form keeping your torso as vertical as possible. 10-12 repetitions is usually a good rep scheme to follow if you are building muscle, if your goal is more in line with conditioning, I would suggest following a rep scheme of 15-20 repetitions.
Deadlifts are the king of mass building. The deadlift is great for adding an abundance of muscle to the lower and upper body to create a stronger and more muscled physique. The deadlift develops the entire back and the entire core area, in fact the deadlift is the single most important exercise for developing the core area and is great for rehabilitative purposes.
The deadlift strengthens the supporting muscles of the waist, back, hips, lower back and legs. The deadlift is also a great exercise for developing grip strength, if you don’t use wrist straps the deadlift will strengthen your gripping strength unlike any other exercise.
The deadlift is also a good exercise for developing the cardio respiratory system, when performing the deadlift with enough intensity, deadlifts will target the cardio respiratory system with maximum intensity.
Leg presses are another good exercise for building up the quads, hamstrings and calves, they are not the king of quad builders but they are a good way to build a shapely set of quads. Leg presses are not one of your better alternatives for burning fat but they are a more safer route to developing your quads than squats are.
When doing leg presses the stability of the machine and your positioning can make it a safer exercise to perform than the squats, squaring requires a good amount of balance and it’s a good idea to have a spotter but with the leg presses you don’t need to worry about balance or a spotter.
The leg presses are a beneficial exercise to include in your training program, they can be an efficient way to spur growth when incorporated in the right way. The leg presses target many different muscles, first and foremost is the quadriceps as well as the glutes, soleus, gastrocnemius, hamstrings and adductors.
The ability to stimulate more than one muscle group at a time makes the leg presses more efficient than other thigh exercises such as the leg extensions, although the leg extensions are a good exercise in their own right.
The farmers walk
The farmers walk targets nearly every muscle group, the core stabilizes the entire body and there is a lot of core activity involved when doing the farmers walk and naturally there is a tremendous amount of grip strength involved in the hands, wrists and forearms, strength in all these departments is a necessity.
The entire back, especially the upper back works to keep the shoulders and chest from giving in under the stress.
The farmers walk has for a long time been practiced by strong man competitions and is one of the best ways for athletes to increase their strength, stamina and endurance. The object of the exercise is pretty simple but the key is performing it properly, preventing injury and maximizing your results are of utmost importance.
To perform the farmers walk use a pair of weights, one on each side of you, generally a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells, you can use a pair of barbells with specially designed handles for this exercise, another option is you can rig up anything that will give you a sufficient amount of weight to perform this exercise with maximum benefits.
You will want to make sure that the weights that you use for this exercise are evenly distributed to avoid tipping, brace your glutes and core and push through with momentum keeping your posture straight standing tall and keep looking straight ahead taking small quick steps for the set distance and time allotted and when you finish the walk don’t simply drop the weights, set them down in a controlled manner for safety purposes.
How much weight you use all depends on your abilities, it is best to start out with a lighter weight and work your way up, only you are the best judge of what you can do, just make sure that you don’t go too heavy as to injure yourself, it’s always best to practice safety first so you are in optimal health to set new records tomorrow.
On that note of setting new records, the records that you set are all dependent on what your goals are and in how you perform the farmers walk.
There are two basic methods to performing the farmers walk, one is for time and the other is for distance. If the record you are planning on setting is for time you will want to perform the farmers walk straight through for a set time such as 30 seconds, if your record is for distance, anything set for a further distance such as 50-60 meters the farmers walk should be more of a sprint with lighter weights, if it’s less than 15 meters, allow for heavier weights.
The farmers walk will drain your energy in a hurry so it is best to perform the farmers walk at the end of a workout and 2-3 sets should be sufficient, anything more than that and you will likely be over training.
The exercises that I have laid out are somewhat of a guideline, you don’t need to follow through with your workout program exactly as it is laid out here because you probably won’t be able to walk for a week, if you followed through with four sets of the squats doing the striping method would be nearly enough to get through, much less followed by deadlifts, leg presses and the farmers walk.
If you are new to training you will want to seek the advice of your doctor before engaging in a strenuous workout that involves these exercises, always practice safety first so that way you can leave tomorrow open for new records to be set.
When performing the squats if following the striping method, it is best to have a couple of spotters so they can assist in striping the weights off and you will probably need at least 90 seconds between set’s to recover.
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I wish you the best with your thigh training and record setting goals, until next time, onwards and upwards and keep training like the superhero that you are.
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them below.