Q: I’ve been bodybuilding for more than 15 years. I’m 35 years old, and although I’ve made steady progress, one area of my physique baffles me: my legs. Although I train them for approximately the same time I devote to other bodyparts like arms, my legs have never improved at the same rate. I train my entire body over a five-day cycle, resting the sixth day. Can you help?
A: You’re assuming several things about bodybuilding training that simply are not so.
You may think you’re devoting the same amount of time to working your legs as you give your arms and other bodyparts, but that’s bullshit. One of five days is devoted to legs, or 20 percent; however, more than 60 percent of all the muscle in your physique is in your lower body.
You work bodyparts other than legs’chest, back, shoulders, arms’on the other four days, which means that you’re working arms every day. Your arms are greatly involved in bench presses, dips, chins, rows, overhead presses and upright rows’and, of course, arm exercises. You do all that work for arms, yet they only have about 10 percent as much muscle mass as your legs.
To get your legs to respond as well as your upper body, you have to change your priorities. You must allow lower-body work to go to the head of the line, and you can’t do that by just adding a little extra leg work. Here are my suggestions:
1) Work your legs every third day.
2) Build your leg workouts around pressing movements, such as squats and leg presses. Do leverage movements, such as extensions and leg curls, after the heavy movements. Leverage moves won’t build size the way squats will.
3) Do deadlifts at the end of every leg workout. The strength you acquire with deadlifts will stabilize you on all leg work, especially squats.
4) Learn to love heavy leg work. IM