The Top 6 Leg Training Mistakes
Not Training Legs At All
A lot of people completely avoid leg training. Why? Personally, I find it hard to understand. But there’s obviously a reason why they do; theories are they already have some preconceived notion that their legs are developed beyond what they are in actuality, or they see leg training as “hard”.
It’s true that leg training can be painful, and you generally are sore afterwards, but many bodybuilders grow to love that soreness, as with other muscles. Avoiding leg training is a critical mistake, and you can’t build a house without a foundation.
Using Terrible Form
Form is one of the biggest issues for people who do train legs. Especially on squats; it’s definitely not a rare occurrence to see someone performing squats with an incomplete range-of-motion. This will still get you a level of recruitment in your legs, but the overall effect on growth is minimal compared to the recruitment, and level of development you normally notice with those who do full reps.
These half-ROM movements are noticed in leg presses, hack squats, and other leg movements as well. It’s very important to perform at least 90-degree bend on leg press and hack squats as well.
Deep, full squats performed on a regular basis will bring your quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings to a level of development that virtually no other exercise can produce. It’s also highly recommended to perform leg presses, hack squats, and other exercises with a full range-of-motion as you’re able to hit more muscle fibers this way, and get the full benefit of the movements.
Avoiding Squats Altogether
Even Dorian Yates, who was forced to avoid squats in the prime of his bodybuilding career due to a hip injury, and stick to leg presses, fully admits that squats are the king for leg development. Like the saying goes, “if you don’t squat, you ain’t squat.”There are numerous people who train legs, which of course is better than not training them at all, but they decide to stick to machine movements and avoid squats altogether. This is an ignorant practice as there’s no doubting that the squat is the king of all leg exercises.
This is definitely a big crutch that most people use in their leg training, and it halts their overall development. The hamstrings aren’t as much of a show-off muscle as the quads, so they tend to go unnoticed and ignored a lot of the time. The biggest solution to this issue is to simply start training them as seriously as the quads. There are numerous fun hamstring exercises to perform, and even the exercises used for quads can be used in a way that is shifted in focus towards the hamstrings.
The squat and leg press can both be performed in a manner that is beneficial to hamstring development, and there’s also deadlifts, stiff-legged deadlifts and hamstring curls as additional hamstring exercises. Dumbbell lunges also hit the hamstrings really well.
Simply Not Training Legs Hard Enough
This one might sound largely cliché, but it’s extremely accurate in the field of leg training. Many guys just train legs to feel healthy, or be able to state that they don’t ignore leg training. However, going in and doing a few measly sets of leg press, a couple sets of hamstring curls, and a couple sets of calf raises isn’t going to develop huge thighs.
It will take some brutally intense leg training to build quads that blow people away, and add that extra level of excitement to people’s view of you as a bodybuilder. Go do a set of 20 rep breathing squats, then come talk to me… if you can.
Doing Squats On The Smith Machine
This isn’t as terrible for those who have an injury preventing them from performing free weight squats with a barbell, but if you are a relatively healthy person, you should be doing free weight barbell squats. It has been stressed numerous times by experts around the fitness and bodybuilding industry that squats are beneficial in numerous ways to making progress and, thus, cannot be ignored as the essential leg movement.
The full benefit of squats on your central nervous system, growth hormone levels, and overall leg development isn’t received from doing squats in a smith machine.
- Train your legs. You just have to.
- Use proper form and full range of motion.
- Perform squats. You just have to.
- Train your hamstrings to avoid muscle imbalance.
- Legs should be trained just as hard, if not harder, than any other muscle group.
- Squats should be performed in free space with a barbell, not in a machine.