WANT MASS? BUILD STRENGTH, THEN SHAPE
If I had a dime for every time someone said, “You have to squat,” I would be…well, you know. Hell, I practically invented the saying “Squats are king,” as I have been saying it since the ’80s (OK, it was probably coined sometime in the ’70s, during the Arnold era; you get my point).
But I bet my reasoning for squats is different than most. It is king because it requires the sum of all the mighty forces needed to be strong. And thus, it is the strength exercise. But most guys would have you believe that you need them because they make you big. Sure they do, big all over, because your entire body needs to brunt the load during the beastly movement. But for building big quads, they alone, are not the best exercise. They’ll be required in the long run to help you hoist the monster weights you’ll use in some of your other exercises though, and thus once again, they are king in my programs. But the meat of the issue lies in some of the other fine-tuning exercises, so this routine is designed to concentrate on mass and shape after strength is built. Without a solid strength base, mass and size are merely words of pleasant platitude that few actually reach.
For big legs, and matching calves—I only really consider legs that possess big quads and calves as true mass monsters—you need to stage your training over a period time that builds strength, adds the heavy-duty mass, and then shapes it out so that you can actually see a few cuts: the three S’s: strengthers, sizers, and shapers, and the exercises are broken up by the end result. You’ll need all three to get a leg up on your competition.
The table below will help you organize your lifts and match them up to your program. This is not an exhaustive list but should give you an idea of where the rest of the exercises could fit.
You may have heard me say this before: target training is key. Not just isolating a particular body part, or trying to isolate a specific head of the muscle, but having a plan that completely attacks your legs and leaves nothing on the table, is a must. It takes more than just doing a few squats to make your legs grow. And doing a couple sets of calves at the end of your workout, while seemingly earnest in attempt, at least to yourself, will not allow you to use the “I am genetically limited” excuse.
You have to squat deep. You have to vary your stance. You have to add some isolation exercises. And you have to up your volume and intensity, session after session. This program takes into account that you have other body parts, but obviously you have that solved if your lower body is your weakest link. Oh, and you need to have some guts.
Or, I mean that you need to have strong will as you may become intimate with your guts, or at least what’s inside them. It’s not uncommon on this program to need a trash can, as just when you think it is time to quit, it begins to get fun—for all those watching, that is.
PRIORITIZE THE LEGS
This may go without saying, but I cannot tell you how many times I am approached and asked how to make X muscle bigger, only to find that person is training X muscle the last day of the week as the last exercise. While legs can hardly be classified as a single muscle, if you’re training your upper body six days a week, and trying to squeak out your legs on a double day, it simply ain’t gonna cut it.
For this program to work, you will be hitting legs twice a week on their own. Just the legs, no abs, nothing else. That means if you want the rest of your body to grow, work it in around your legs. Below are three general ways to split up your weeks to keep the rest of your body growing while speeding up your gains made by your wheels. Series 1 is your best bet. Series 2 for the full eight weeks could cause some overtraining, unless you curbed the volume and intensity on your Friday and Saturday routines. Man up, dude, and get yourself in the weight room!
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