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There are countless leg exercises in magazines and books that promise great results. Many are good workouts, but the secret to continued progress is keeping your muscles from adapting, while building on what you’ve already done. What I mean by this is that mixing and matching great workouts just doesn’t work very well. You need to change your workouts frequently to keep your muscles growing, but if you don’t plan properly, you could be wasting your time.

When you plan your workouts correctly, each workout builds on what you accomplished in the previous workout, so you keep moving forward, rather than regressing every time you switch workouts. A good example of this is how many Powerlifters have trained for decades. They start a training cycle using lighter weights for higher reps. The first week or two you can do 3 sets of 8 reps. The next two weeks could be 5 sets of 5 reps. They then add weight and lower their reps each week until they’re ready to test themselves for a single rep max. This is usually done in a contest, with judges and strict rules. This works well if your goal is to lift as much as possible on one lift for one rep.

In bodybuilding, the weight you use doesn’t need to be that heavy. It is more important to use muscle tension and training volume to stimulate muscle growth. A bodybuilder can choose 4 different exercises for a muscle group and do 4-6 sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise. You won’t do as much strength training as this, since you’ll be training like a powerlifter, but you should increase your muscle mass and further improve your shape and muscle definition.

A triathlete has fantastic endurance, especially in the legs. They can swim, run and bike for hours on end, with great intensity! They don’t have much muscle size and most can’t lift much weight. They train so they can move their body as fast and as far as possible, so great strength isn’t necessary and size is counterproductive.

All these sports have something in common. They train with a very specific goal in mind. To achieve the best possible results in these sports, they have to. This is even more obvious in the case of the triathlete than it is in bodybuilding and powerlifting. I think bodybuilders and powerlifters should train from time to time to get over their plateaus.

I have competed in bodybuilding, powerlifting, Strongman and Highland Games, not to mention several major sports. I trained differently for each of them, except for the Highland Games, which I just did for fun while training for Powerlifting. Of all those sports, I have had the most success in Strongman. One of the things I like the most about it, is that you have to be well rounded. Without enough strength, you have no chance. If you are too small, you will not be able to move some of the implements. If you can lift a weight, but get tired too soon, you’ll be left in the dust. You must also have incredible mental toughness and a desire to succeed. I mean, let’s face it, Strongman events hurt.

What I mean is that as a Strongman competitor I need size, strength and endurance. That is more true for the Legacy than for any other part of the body. This is also true for other sports that involve both speed and power. Football, baseball, rugby, soccer and sprinting come to mind. To do that, I can’t afford to focus on the Force alone, like a Powerlifter. I also can’t waste my time building size for size’s sake. I certainly can’t spend hours running, swimming and cycling if I want to have the power and size I need. I think I’ve come across some good leg training that helps me build size, strength, and relative endurance for my sport. I still do event specific training, but that’s mostly for technique.

This workout involves only doing leg squats and doing it only once a week. The first two weeks you do 10 sets of 10 reps with just a minute or two of rest between each set. The 10 sets of 10 routine is more commonly known as German Volume Training and it’s AWESOME. I only do this for two weeks, because I also want strength. This workout is great for improving your endurance and will also stimulate muscle growth. Keep in mind that you will be VERY SORE for a few days after the first week. The second week, you should be able to add some weight to the bar and you won’t be as sore. I’m not going to go into detail about nutrition here, but if you want to take advantage of the muscle-building potential of this workout, you’d better eat enough protein and good quality food.

The next two weeks you squat for 8 sets of 8 reps. This is great for muscle growth because it’s lower in both sets and reps than the first two weeks, so you can use more weight, but it’s still a high volume of work to stimulate muscle mass gains. Just like the first two weeks, you should be able to add some weight to the second week of 8 sets of 8 reps.

Weeks 5 and 6 will be about increasing weight and transitioning from training for size to training for strength. The training will be 5 series of 5 repetitions of squats. Now that we’re going heavier, it’s especially important to pay attention to proper form. Be sure to maintain an arch in your back and sit back and down into the squat rather than allowing your knees to come out in front of your toes. I explain proper squat form in more detail on my weightlifting squat page. You’ll want to do a couple of warm-up sets before you get to the first of your 5 heavy sets. If you haven’t been using a lifting belt, it’s time to start when you get to this part of the program. Just like the other sections, you should be able to add at least a little bit of weight in the second week (week 6) of this part.

Weeks 7 and 8 are a real power workout. The workout will be 3 heavy sets of 3 reps. Warm up and then get to it. Think raw power and psych yourself up for every set. After these two weeks you will have completed your 8 week cycle to increase the size, strength and endurance of your legs. If you’ve done this when preparing for a powerlifting contest, take another week to do 3 sets of 1 rep and then rest for at least 10 days before contest day. If you’re not trying to peak for a strength contest, start over with the 10 sets of 10 and do it all over again. You should be stronger the second time around and well on your way to dramatic improvements in size, strength, and stamina.

Good luck with your workout and be sure to save some money for some new pants with bigger legs!

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