This article is part of a two-part series designed to help you build upper- and lower-body strength in as little as four weeks. Click here to read the first article in the series.
Do your friends look at you and tell you not to miss a leg day? If so, you’re probably suffering from a case of SLS (scrawny leg syndrome).
But fear not, you can get bigger and stronger legs in as little as four weeks. Just follow this workout plan, inspired by Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program and the Westside method.
- Perform the recommended weekly sets and reps for each exercise.
- Day 1 (max effort) calls for heavy weight loads to make you stronger; Day 2 (dynamic effort) focuses on speed of movement to develop power.
- Perform grouped exercises (A and B) in superset fashion with no rest between them. Rest one minute between sets.
- Record the results of each workout, so that you have benchmarks to exceed in future workouts. If you cannot complete the specified reps with proper form, reduce the weight.
- Warm up before all workouts. (Try this warm-up before each of the following workouts.)
- Each workout should last no longer than an hour, including your warm-up and eight minutes of core work.
- Perform each workout once a week. Devote another two days to your upper body. Take 48 to 72 hours off between upper-body days and lower-body days.
- Before starting this workout, you will need to know your one-rep max on the Squat. Read this article to learn how to calculate your one-rep max.
Your week can look like this:
- Monday: Upper body
- Tuesday: Lower body
- Wednesday: Off
- Thursday: Upper body
- Friday: Lower body
- Weekend: Off
Max Effort Day (Lower Body, Day 1)
1. Box Squat
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- 3×5 @ 65%, 75%, 85%
- 3×3 @ 70%, 80%, 90%
- 1×5 @ 75%
- 1×3 @ 85%
- 1×1 @ 95%
- 4×10 @ 40%, 50%, 60%, 70%
- The first three sets are warm-up sets, but your max will determine how many warm-up sets you need.
- Rest 2-3 minutes between sets.
- The percentages indicate the amount of weight lifted based on your one-rep max. For example: 2×10 (80%, 90%) means do the first set of 10 reps at 80% of your max and the second set at 90%.
- If you reach the specified reps on the final set and feel you can perform more, continue the set until failure.
- Be sure to use a spotter.
2. Trap Bar or Conventional Deadlift (Weeks 1 & 3) / Sumo Deadlift (Weeks 2 & 4)
- 2×5 (warm-up sets)
- 3×5 @ 75-85%
5. Barbell Glute Bridge
Dynamic Effort (Lower Body, Day 2)
1. Vertical Jump Exercise
2. Box Squat
- 1×5 @ 30%
- 1×4 @ 40%
- 9×2 @ 50-60%
- The percentages help determine the load, but they can be changed. Bar speed is important. If the bar isn’t moving quickly, the weight is too heavy.
- Pause on the box for half a second and stay engaged before exploding up.
- If you have chains or bands, use them during this exercise.
- Rest 60 seconds between sets.
- This exercise helps your rate of force development (RFD), teaches you to accelerate the bar (so those max-effort lifts can be performed fast enough to avoid failure in the middle of a rep) and allows you to perfect your form.
5. Leg Press
- Use a moderate weight.
- Take as much rest as needed to complete the set.