Building Leg Muscle: Quads, Hamstrings & Calves

Congratulations for coming to this article; no, really. Did you know you are one of the rare people in bodybuilding who actually care about building their leg muscles? You may be shocked to know that the legs are the most neglected area in bodybuilding, with the upper body taking priority for most. Anyway – you’re here now, and, I’m going to tell you exactly what you need to know to build big, strong legs.

First and foremost, the quads. These are the largest and strongest muscle group in the body, and are situation on the front upper leg. Many people like to use fancy press machines and things to build the quads; I say it’s unnecessary. No, all you need to build good quads is the simple squat. I tend to squat for 3 sets, doing 7-10 reps for each set, no more than 3 times a week – always with at least one entire day off in between each quad workout. I also like doing hack squats, which is another variation on the squat which I find can help to build the lower and inner areas of the thigh more.

Secondly, the hamstrings. These are located at the top back of the leg, opposite the quads. My personal favorite exercise for building hamstrings is lunges. Whenever I get the opportunity to work out with other people, I always use a heavy barbell for this; but if I have to work out alone, then I usually just use heavy dumbbells for safety reasons. Because lunges also hit the quads, you may want to alternate the exercise with squats just to mix things up a little bit.

Finally, calves. These are the muscles at the back of your lower leg. Many people have a lot of trouble building their calve muscles, simply because unless you use substantial weight to train them – just like you would the rest of your body – then you really won’t get very far. Sure, you can build ok calves just by utilizing your own body weight, but let’s not forget; your calves are used to your body weight so you’ll find it hard to spur on growth. What you need to do is begin with the best exercise ever for building calves – donkey calve raises. For this exercise you’ll need another person who can sit on your back to provide extra weight. The calves tend to be quick to repair and grow, given they are at the bottom of your body and have always taken the most of your weight. But, I still only advocate working them around 3 times at the most, with a day’s rest in between each workout.

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