How to Build Leg Muscle

October 5, 2012 | Joe Luff

Must See Strength Training Videos

Since the legs are the body's largest muscle group, they have the greatest potential for increasing your whole body mass. But people often make the mistake of skipping leg training because it's metabolically demanding. If you want to maximize your gains and improve your athletic performance, the simplest and most effective way is to build leg muscle.  Check out STACK's Guide for Lower-Body Strength.

To induce an adaptive response and enable muscle growth, you need to activate and fatigue the largest number of motor units within the leg muscle group as you can. Due to their size, it takes a considerable amount of activation of motor units to stimulate the muscle group. The key is to have a high level of volume and time-under-tension with sufficient intensity to activate all possible motor units in the legs.

Perform the following exercises within this program structure, and you will be on your way to building bigger leg muscles.

Leg Training Program

Your sets should range between three and six per exercise, with three to 15 repetitions per set, at 60 to 95 percent of your max, depending on your experience. Beginners, use lower intensity and volume with minimal rest. Vary your program so that one week you focus on higher reps and the next week on lower reps with more weight. This will ensure all motor units are being targeted.

Leg Exercises

Back Squat

  • Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width and toes slightly pointed out
  • Position a barbell along upper trapezius
  • Push chest out and up
  • Descend until thighs are just below parallel to ground, simultaneously flexing ankles, knees and hips while keeping back straight
  • Extend back to starting position in same motion

Romanian Deadlift

  • Stand with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width holding barbell in front of body
  • Bend at hips, keeping back and arms straight, shoulders back and chest out
  • Lower bar until you feel a deep stretch in the hamstrings
  • Return to starting position, maintaining straight back and legs

Calf Raise (standing or seated)

  • Position toes on flat surface leaving heels suspended in air with room to move down
  • Stand up on toes, lifting heels up
  • Lower back down as low as heels can go
  • Repeat

Must See
Colin Kaepernick Explains His Ridiculous Socks Colin Kaepernick Explains His Ridiculous Socks
Views: 32,795,668
Jadeveon Clowney on Making Big Hits Jadeveon Clowney on Making Big Hits
Views: 6,527,451
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,213,937

Featured Videos

Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Views: 1,016,699
A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce Views: 15,631
Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Views: 70,354
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall
Views: 3,362,717
Paul Rabil's Box Jumps Paul Rabil's Box Jumps
Views: 851,362
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,576,773
Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles
Views: 4,333,004
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,499,111

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Is CrossFit Appropriate for Basketball Players?

Is CrossFit Appropriate for Basketball Players?

Without question crossfit is the hottest workout in the fitness industry right now. It seems as though everyone is doing it. It's even spawned an...

Improve Your Power With These Hardcore Methods

Improve Your Power With These Hardcore Methods

The Most American Workout Ever

The Most American Workout Ever

Battle Rope Workout That Will Get You Shredded

Battle Rope Workout That Will Get You Shredded

Build Muscle With the 2-Second Pause Workout Program

Build Muscle With the 2-Second Pause Workout Program

How to Fix Back Rounding When Deadlifting

How to Fix Back Rounding When Deadlifting

Advanced Anti-Rotation Core Strengthening Exercises

Advanced Anti-Rotation Core Strengthening Exercises

Use Wave Loading to Take Your Strength to the Next Level

Use Wave Loading to Take Your Strength to the Next Level

Increase Athletic Strength with Rotational Bodyweight Training

Increase Athletic Strength with Rotational Bodyweight Training

Are You Loading Barbells Wrong?

Are You Loading Barbells Wrong?

Strengthen Your Core With 2 Simple Anti-Rotational Exercises

Strengthen Your Core With 2 Simple Anti-Rotational Exercises

8 Cures for a Weak Grip

8 Cures for a Weak Grip

3 Barbell-Only, Full-Body Workout Programs for Any Fitness Goal

3 Barbell-Only, Full-Body Workout Programs for Any Fitness Goal

Build Strength with Kettlebell Sandbags

Build Strength with Kettlebell Sandbags

Abby Wambach's Strength and Speed Workout

Abby Wambach's Strength and Speed Workout

Keep Your Workouts Simple for Better Results

Keep Your Workouts Simple for Better Results

Why Every Athlete Should Do Farmer's Walks

Why Every Athlete Should Do Farmer's Walks

How to Recover From a Soccer Game or Workout

How to Recover From a Soccer Game or Workout

Wrestlers: Improve Double-Leg Takedowns With Sled Pushes

Wrestlers: Improve Double-Leg Takedowns With Sled Pushes

Know Your Row: The Pros and Cons of 8 Different Back Exercises

Know Your Row: The Pros and Cons of 8 Different Back Exercises

German Volume Training: How to Pack on Muscle Mass

German Volume Training: How to Pack on Muscle Mass

Why Your Instagram Box Jump Isn't That Impressive

Why Your Instagram Box Jump Isn't That Impressive

How to Build Arm Strength for Baseball Before Your Season

How to Build Arm Strength for Baseball Before Your Season

How to Get More Out of the Dumbbell Press

How to Get More Out of the Dumbbell Press

Why Everything You Know About Core Training is Wrong

Why Everything You Know About Core Training is Wrong

7 Trap Bar Exercises You Should Try

7 Trap Bar Exercises You Should Try

3 Keys to a Solid Squat Setup

3 Keys to a Solid Squat Setup

How to Perform the Farmer's Walk with Dumbbells

How to Perform the Farmer's Walk with Dumbbells

Build Explosive Strength with This Olympic Weightlifting Program

Build Explosive Strength with This Olympic Weightlifting Program

5 Training Ideas You Should Steal From the NFL's Best

5 Training Ideas You Should Steal From the NFL's Best

8 Ways to Use a Weight Vest in Your Workouts

8 Ways to Use a Weight Vest in Your Workouts

Use Sled Pushes to Increase Speed, Strength and Power

Use Sled Pushes to Increase Speed, Strength and Power

Duncan Keith's Stanley Cup MVP Training

Duncan Keith's Stanley Cup MVP Training

Austen Lane's Complete NFL Workout

Austen Lane's Complete NFL Workout

8-Exercise Advanced Chest and Back Workout

8-Exercise Advanced Chest and Back Workout

Everything You Need to Know About Using Farmer's Walk Handles

Everything You Need to Know About Using Farmer's Walk Handles

Why the Clean Pull is Perfect for Athletes

Why the Clean Pull is Perfect for Athletes

A Simple 6-Exercise Core Workout

A Simple 6-Exercise Core Workout

How to Use the Pallof Press for an Iron Core

How to Use the Pallof Press for an Iron Core

YardBarker