Phil Heath on Brining Up Your Legs

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QUESTION

No matter how much I squat, my legs lag behind my upper body. What can I do to bring my legs up?

ANSWER

Don’t confuse squatting with leg growth. I see guys in the gym all the time who squat more than I do, but their legs are nowhere near the size of mine.

The key is learning how to focus your exercises on the targeted muscles. So you may need to squat less weight in order to focus enough tension on your legs. This year I did 20 reps in every set of squats. Of course, I was using less weight than if I’d been doing 10 reps; but the intensity was of the hook. Try pushing every set of squats to 20 and you’ll know that higher reps are the hard way, not the easy way.

You might also find that other exercises work better for you than regular back squats. Maybe it’s back squats you feel more in your legs—or maybe it’s front squats, or leg presses. No one said you had to squat to get big legs. Do what works best for you.

Another thing to examine is how much work you’re doing for legs. You might not be doing enough. Quads, hams, glutes, and calves together form a huge area. If you picture dividing yourself at your waist, your lower body is a full half of your body. So a lot of people just don’t do enough work to grow legs. They do 15–20 sets for quads and hams together, and think that’s enough.

NO ONE SAID YOU HAD TO SQUAT TO GET BIG LEGS. DO WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU.

But each of those body parts can take that much work. In my prep for this year’s Olympia, I trained legs twice every six days. Everything else got trained once. So I hit legs every third day, and double-split them: quads in the a.m., and hams and calves in the p.m. I wanted them round and full. My upper body’s been growing really fast the past couple of years, and I wanted to make sure my legs stayed in balance.

I think even intermediate bodybuilders can benefit from hitting quads and hams in separate workouts, to give each area at least 15 sets. - FLEX

 

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