It’s well established that to get big thighs, you need to squat with big weights. If you squat 135 pounds when you start training and progress to pushing up 495, your legs will have transformed from bamboo stalks to oak trunks. The easiest way to build pure strength is to work in the lower-rep ranges. For squats that’s usually around three to six.
For a time your legs will continue to grow from this power regimen, but there will come a day when they stop responding. You may be puzzled, as you’re still getting stronger in small increments. Some will tell you that you need to take a break from squatting and focus on leg presses and hack squats for a couple of months. That strategy has its merits, but you don’t need to stop doing the absolute toughest and most productive lower-body exercise to get the results coming again. Rather, you just need to perform higher reps for a while.
Iron Man founder Peary Rader, along with several of his physical-culture contemporaries in the pre’WWII era, preached that 20-rep sets of squats were nothing short of miraculous, not only for the legs but for stimulating overall anabolism as well. And if you’ve been doing sets of 10 or fewer reps for squats for a long time, switching to sets of 15 to 20 can be your ticket to start growing again.
At first you may be a bit put off by the lighter weights you will be forced to use. An average trainee who can squat 405 for eight to 10 reps needs to drop down to about 315 to get his reps up to 15 to 20. HIgh-rep squats are also extremely demanding. If you haven’t been doing regular cardio training, you will have one hell of a time trying to suck in adequate air during one of these sets. The pump and burn in your legs and lower back is also significantly more pronounced, not to mention the soreness that hits you when you wake up the next morning and lingers for days.
After a couple months of this your thighs should have improved noticeably, and it’s fine to return to heavier weights and lower reps. Thanks to the high-rep-squats phase, the lower reps will be effective again. The only downside to all this is that very few clothing designers make jeans and slacks for men with giant, billowing quads and hams. Don’t worry, there’s always ‘relaxed fit!’
Editor’s note: Visit Ron’s Web site, www.ronharrismuscle.com.