Great Leg Workouts That Work Fast

 

Soccer, Rugby, Real Football (the kind with pads and linebackers), or virtually any other sport requires powerful legs like these in order to excel. Here’s how to get them, or just make your legs look a heck of a lot better…

Leg workouts are the key to success for many things in fitness. Weather you’re trying to lose fat, improve strength for football or skiing, the right leg workout can make it happen. Maybe you’re a bodybuilder and want to have legs like Tom Platz or Ronnie Coleman; well, you’re in luck, it’s just a few (hundred) leg workouts away.

The fact is that your legs are the foundation of your body, literally. They generate most of the power for athletic endeavors, even those that many people would think are primarily powered by the arms. Throwing a punch in boxing, hitting a baseball, or a swing in tennis are all powered by a strong set of legs and hips, with some rotational core power thrown in for good measure.

If you are trying to burn fat, your legs are the key there too.

There is more muscle down under and your largest single muscle is the Gluteus Maximumus, otherwise known as your rear end. Working your legs  burns more calories than any other body part, and will raise your basil metabolic rate more as well. Those two things, but especially raising your metabolic rate, are the keys to losing fat.

One Downside to a Great Leg Program

One thing to watch for when doing heavy leg work for very long is that it makes you want to eat like a horse all the time. You’ll become a ravenous machine, searching out every last bit of food that’s not tied down. It is definitely something to be aware of  before you start a high intensity leg workout program.

There is a reason for all that hunger, of course. It is because your body is desperately trying to rebuild those large muscle groups. That takes nutrients and calories. It only makes proper eating and supplementation all the more important. There is no sense in killing yourself at the gym, only to sabotage your efforts by not giving your body the resources it needs to get the job done.

One other resource you need to rebuild your legs after a brutal workout is sleep. Sleep is when your body repairs damage and rebuilds things to be better than they were before…better…stronger….faster.

Bonus:
Make sure you incorporate a good stretching program. Not only can it help prevent injuries, but research has

Lying Leg Curls

Lying leg curls like these are great for the hamstrings, as you can see.

demonstrated solid strength increases from stretching alone! It essential to get maximum development, strength, and flexibility out of your legs. The bodybuilder more associated with great legs than any other, Tom Platz, advocated warming up, then stretching completely before every leg workout.

Here are some great leg workouts that really work.

Football / Rugby Leg Workout

Football and rugby demand a combination of power and endurance that is biased toward the power side of things. Depending on the position you play, you may need more of one than the other. For example, an O-lineman needs a bit more pure power than does a defensive back, who must actually run 40 – 50 yards on a regular basis, but still be able to deliver jarring hits and jump high when needed.

No matter what your position is though, one thing is key; explosive power.

That is what you have to train for. When training your legs for football or rugby, it is essential to develop explosive power, because the other guy will, and one of you is going to be on the ground, or left behind; better him than you.

To develop explosive power, concentrate on going down fairly slowly, pausing at the bottom of the movement, then exploding out as hard as you can. Do this for each of the rep for the sets with less than 10 reps. Take between 90 – 120 seconds from the end of one set to the beginning of the next.

(sets x reps)
Squats
1 x 16
1 x 12
1 x 8
3 x 6

Hack Squats
1 x 10
3 x 6

Squat Jumps
Note: Be very careful doing these. Load a barbell to between 45lbs (only the bar) and 135lbs, depending upon your weight and strength. Start with a barbell in the squat position. Go down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold that position for about 1 second, then explode out as fast as you can, so you leave the floor, if possible.
3 x 5

Leg Curls
3 x 8

Seated Calf Raises
5 x 15

NOTE: You can also do power cleans for legs, an exercise that I’m a huge fan of. It is one of the most complete full body exercises available and can be brutal. The problem with doing power cleans for legs is that typically your legs will out pace your upper body in strength. It then becomes a hen becomes a less effective movement for pure leg development, because you’ll either be lifting a weight that is too light for your legs, or too heavy for your shoulders.

Bodybuilding Leg Workout

So you really do want to have legs like Tom Platz or Ronnie Coleman, don’t you? Here is how to get them. Make sure you

Tom Platz huge, ripped legs

Tom Platz had some of the best legs ever in bodybuilding, and that was 20 years ago!

warm up for about 10 minutes of moderately easy riding (about 40% VO2 max)on a treadmill or stationary bike before you begin this leg routine.

This one is all about building massive size, so you have legs like mighty oak trunks. You’ll get stronger too, but it is about size more than strength, which means you have to cause maximum hypertrophy.

Leave only about 60 – 90 seconds between the end of one set and the start of the next. This is a brutal, high volume workout, that takes every set except the warm up sets to at least one rep past failure. You’ll need a spotter to accomplish this at all, much less safely. Your muscles will be screaming in pain, and you’ll soon follow.

Squats
1 x 16
1 x 12
4 x 8 + 1 – use a weight that lets you barely be able to finish the 8th rep with maximum effort, then do at least one (preferably 2) more with the help of your spotter. Use this same protocol for all of the “+1” sets in this routine.

Leg Press – incline sled variety
3 x 8 + 1

Straight leg dead lifts
1 x 12
4 x 8 + 1

Leg Curls
3 x 8 + 1

Leg Extensions
3 x 8 + 1

Seated Calf Raises
Change the angulation of your feet to hit the calf from different angles and maximize development. Calves are notoriously difficult to build, which accounts for all the bodybuilders out there with small, high calves. Avoid their fate, please.
4 x 12 + 1

Standing Calf Raises
4 x 12 + 1

General Fitness – Improve My Appearance Leg Workout

Leg entension woman

Leg extensions are great to isolate the quads. Pause for about 1 – 2 seconds and squeeze them tight all the way at the top, and your quads will really pop.

High intensity is still the key to getting the maximum benefit in the minimum time, but you don’t have to take nearly the approach that you do for pure bodybuilding. This leg workout will whip your legs into great shape, they will look great, and you’ll definitely perform better on the slopes, courts, or diamond. Leave the same 60 – 90 seconds between sets that you’d use for the body building workout.

Squats – Alternate with 3 sets of 10 lunges every 2 weeks
1 x 16
1 x 12
3 x 8 + 1

Leg Extensions
3 x 10

Leg Curls
3 x 10

Standing Calf Raises
4 x 12

My Leg Workout

I have been playing tennis about 3 – 4 days a week, so that definitely helps the ole’ legs, especially the calves.

Here is what I do for weights (yeah, do as I say, not as I do):

Leg Press – incline sled variety
Start with 2each 45 pound plates on the sled, then add 2each 45lb plates after each of the first sets, add 4each plates more for the last 3 sets (Total of 12) I am slowly increasing the weight. I try to increase it every time, but have not for the last 2 workouts. Before that I went from using 8 x 45lb plates and 2 x 25 lb plates, to the current 12 x 45 plates for my 3 rep sets in only 10 weeks, so I’ll take a bit of plateau, as long as it’s short.

2 x 16
1 x 15
1 x 12
3 x 3 + 3 (I do 3 reps as explosively as possible, then immediately strip off one plate from each side and do as many more reps as possible, typically 3 – 5 more reps)

Leg Extensions

Hold reps at the top for a 1 – 2 second pause.
3 x 10

About every 3rd workout, I’ll throw in a set or two of dumbbell dead lifts too. See the ugly, skinless dude for an explanation!

Leg Exercises - Dumbbell Dead Squats

What are these? I call ’em Dumbbell Dead Squats, since they’re a combination of deadlifts and squats. Thy deliover all the advantages of squats with the trap and back work of a deadlift thrown in.Yeah!

I know, I should do more, but time is short.

NOTE: I know I’d be doing my body better if I was doing squats. Squats engage more muscle groups than leg presses, and force you to stabilize the weight, too. Using the dumbbell dead squats helps somewhat.

These are some great leg workouts that will help you meet your fitness goals, no matter what they might be. If you have a leg workout that’s worked well for you, leave it in the comments section so others could benefit from it too.