5 Things You Should Definitely Be Doing for Bigger, Better Leg Gains

You've heard the old gym truism to never skip leg day—but once you get to the gym, do you really know what you're doing beyond just squatting? Athlean-X expert Jeff Cavaliere C.S.C.S. shares his best advice for maximizing leg gains, drawing on the experience of "hardgainer" Jesse Laico, who struggled to build mass in his lower body before buckling down to a more focused plan.

Cavaliere's first tip: more work sessions. "Add a second leg workout to whatever split you're following right now," he advises, potentially adding a weekend session. This might mean cutting back on the volume of a full-body workout to accommodate the effort required when introducing the extra session.

Secondly, Cavaliere says that in order to maximize your leg gains if you've hit a plateau, you probably need to "flip the script" on your training. Many people might focus on heavy squats, as they assume that's going to be the most straightforward way to building strength and muscle in their legs, those results can "run dry" once you hit a certain level, as there will always be a ceiling to the weight you can lift.

"Take those squats that are always heavy, and start making them lighter and a lot more grueling," he says. "Delve into the 10, 15, 20 rep ranges." He also advises making the opposite change to exercises like lunges and Bulgarian split squats and actually adding weight to these sets. "The stimulus you'll get will spark new growth in your legs, every single time."

Thirdly, Cavaliere recommends the reverse lunge as a leg day essential. "If you're not lunging right now, and not lunging heavy enough, then you're leaving a lot of gains on the table." One of the benefits of reverse lunges, he explains, is that they're suitable for people with mobility issues in their hips or ankles, as the leg positioning places less demand on these areas. "You are allowed to take away some of those restraints that might be biomechanically holding you back right now, and unleash those better gains because you're going to improve the overall mechanics of the move."

This content is imported from YouTube. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

Another exercise that Cavaliere says you absolutely must include in your leg workout is the glute ham raise. And if you're still working out at home right now with limited access to gym equipment, that's fine: you can recreate the move without a machine by simply securing your feet under a couch or bench.

"The key here is that we're working the posterior chain as it's designed to work, leading with a glute contraction to stabilize the pelvis and then allowing the hamstrings to secondarily support that movement," says Cavaliere, adding that you can progressively overload with this move once you've mastered doing it with your own bodyweight.

This content is imported from {embed-name}. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

Fifth and finally, increasing both the volume and intensity of your leg workouts means that allowing the body sufficient rest and fuel to recover is even more important. "You'd better eat more and you'd better sleep more," says Cavaliere. "Start small, and increase your meal frequency... and prioritize your sleep."

Philip Ellis is a freelance writer and journalist from the United Kingdom covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io