How To Build Leg Muscles
Nick Mitchell calls squatting the daddy of all exercises and talks us through performing the perfect squat, which is the best way to build leg muscles.
Hi, my name is Nick Mitchell. I'm the owner of Ultimate Performance personal training here in London. Today we're going to talk about how to build muscle.
We're going to look at various different topics and cover everything that we can to help get you the muscle mass, the muscle development, that you want and to give you all the little tricks of the trade that help make this personal training business here best in the business. Today, we're going to look at the best way to build leg muscles. There are hundreds of protocols that one can apply to building large thighs, large hamstrings, whichever it is that you're really going for.
But, the one unifying feature that you should really look at when trying to train legs for muscle size is to learn how to squat properly. The squat is the daddy of all exercises, not just the daddy of all the lower body exercises. There are lots and lots of ways we can squat for muscle size and muscle growth.
My favourite way is to actually go for slightly higher reps. So forget about squatting for 4 or 5 reps, maybe hurting your back or something like that. If you're going purely for what we call hypertrophy, purely for muscle growth - sets of 15! Pick a weight, those are very, very, very hard.
Take 12 reps and go for 15. Do four sets of that. Do that twice a week, for a month, and you're going to see a big difference in your legs.
Now, Howard here is going to demonstrate for us the best way to actually squat. It isn't easy to do, you've got to have the right flexibility, you've got to have the right range. Most people do half-squats, quarter-squats, something like that.
Howard is going to show you what 25-30 years of gym experience can do for your squatting. Now, notice how low he goes, and then he's going to come up. He's sitting at the bottom, just to show us the depth.
Under normal circumstances, what he would do is go down and then bang it up, boom, like that. So it's deep, and notice his elbows are pointing down at the ground. If he let's his elbows travel back, as he's doing here - look what's happening to his body.
He starts to lean forward. So the elbows point at the ground, and that automatically keeps his chest high, keeps his hips in alignment with his feet. Very, very important with the squat, you've got to have flexible ankles and you've got to have good hip range as well.
Okay, Howard, that's perfect, thank you. That's the right way for you to squat. If you're not good enough at the squatting, a few tricks like spend some time stretching your calves and stretching your ankles.
The way I would do it, I would actually go here, come onto something like this, stick my heel back, put some weight on and then just force my heel down. You can do that for 20 seconds, 30 seconds, 3 or 4 times on each leg. That alone is going to help your squatting flexibility.
The other one thing to stretch, you stretch the abductor, which is the muscle here on the inside of the thigh. You stretch that by sitting on the floor and opening the legs out like that. That again is going to help your range.
One other trick you can do with squatting, that we find very, very useful, is to grab two plates and then if you elevate the heels, this can alleviate the problem with a lot of ankle flexibility, and allows you to sit quite upright as you go down and as you come up. And those are the best tips for squatting and squatting is the best exercise for leg development. .