Clients ask me all the time how to get great legs, so I decided to put pen to paper (so to speak) and explain how to get perfect looking legs with these 8 simple tips. Once you understand all the components it will be easy for you to put together a simple home workout or at least you will be able to judge whether or not your current program will deliver the goods.
Great legs are a true sign of being not just fit but really, really (did I say really) fit.
#1 How To Get Perfect Looking Quads
This is what most of us think of when we envision a great pair of legs. Nothing will get you great quads faster than squats…but you have to do them properly or you won’t develop those perfect legs you desire.
By far the majority of people do squats poorly and it’s no wonder people get frustrated from lack of results or worse…get injured. The major problem is two-fold; not reaching back far enough with your hips as you descend and shifting the weight from your heels to the balls of your feet as one descends.
Keep the weight on your heels especially at the very bottom of your squat and you will see fantastic results.
Check out this video on squatting with perfect form:
Eventually you want to work up from body weight, to working with dumbells, to eventually squatting with a bar on your shoulders. Don’t be fooled about getting bulky, the stronger you get the sleeker and leaner your legs will get for sure!
#2 How To Get Hamstrings That Make You Stand Out From The Back
The hamstrings have to be the most under-developed muscle on the body. As you get older your muscles shrink (aka atrophy). When this happens to the hamstrings is worsens the appearance of cellulite. By building full and toned hamstrings you will greatly reduce the look of cellulite as the skin in stretched over the full, lean muscle.
To get great hamstrings you need to do two variations of hamstring exercises. One where you hinge at the hip and one when you hinge at the knee. Check out this wicked hamstring workout you can do from home:
Don’t mind the mustaches…we were raising money for Movember!
#3 I Need Great Glutes To Have Great Legs? Well, Umm, okay…
Sometimes you will see someone with pretty good legs but oddly enough they don’t have a killer butt or much of a butt to speak of at all. This is because that person allows their quads to do the majority of the work when they squat, deadlift, or pretty much do any exercise involving the legs.
The danger with this is you are risking serious and long-term injury. The strongest muscle in your body is your glutes. They are meant to be the work-horse for heavy lifting. Your legs are secondary. When you engage the glutes you will not only develop a great butt and superior legs, you will also not get injured.
You should do direct glute work in addition to your quad and hamstring exercises even though the glutes get plenty of work from those exercises too.
Variations of bridges and kickbacks are a must. Weighted bridges with a bar or dumbbell resting on your hips is how you will take your glutes to the next level.
#4 Abs of Steel? But I Just Want Great Legs…
Now we’re doing to talk about muscles, which you never knew you need to get great legs. Why the abs?
Simple, you can’t squat, especially with weights, without a strong core. When you work your abs properly and work not just the showy 6-pack (which we all want anyway 😉 but also the muscles underneath that support the spine and keep your back straight you can squat and deadlift safely ‘til the cows come home.
The best exercise for the abs…it’s not crunches…
#5 Work Your Lower Back To Keep Your Waist Small and Unleash Wicked Legs
Without a strong lower back you can never have a wicked set of gams (I do like to sound like James Cagney/Humphrey Bogart from time to time). If you lower back isn’t strong you can squat properly. And you certainly can’t deadlift….
Deadlift? What’s deadlifts you ask? It’s basically just lifting a bar off the ground and standing up with it. That’s the best way to get a strong lower back. Pretty simple huh?
Well, it does take a bit of practice to do it right. And you want to learn how to do it right because just like squats, if you do it wrong you won’t reap the rewards and you may just injure yourself.
Do it right and your back will become super strong, tight, and toned and help you get that teeny, tiny waist you want.
How To Deadlift
#6 What’s My Upper Back Got To Do With My Legs?
Having a great upper back will do more for you than just have you looking incredible in a strapless dress or tank top. It will give you good posture when you work your legs.
Two movements you want to include is a kind of extension movement (superman’s, hyperextensions, good mornings) and a movement that works the mid-traps (stick-ups, bird dogs,
If you look at the picture above one of the first things that stands out is how straight this woman keeps her back at the bottom of her squat. Not only is her lower back strong but her upper back is also strong enough to keep that great posture.
A strong lower and upper back allows you to work your legs without undue stress overloaded on the back. Think of it this way, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The body is also meant to act as one unit.
If you have a glaring weakness in one area it compromises how well the rest of the body can perform. This is why having incredibly fit legs is the telltale sign of the truly fit because you can’t have great legs without having a great body.
#7 What Is The VMO And Why Should I Care?
The VM (Vastus Medialis) is that cool looking teardrop muscle that sits just above you knee. We want to make sure it is developed so our legs not only looking totally kick-ass but also so we don’t get injured.
You see most injuries come from muscle imbalances. When one muscle is much stronger than other muscles the overload on the other muscles end up taking its toll.
In particular, the VMO (vastus medialis obliquus) ligament of the quadriceps is usually underdeveloped and this ends up pulling the kneecap offline and boom…injury. So we need to work it out.
#8 Without Good Nutrition No One Will See Your Perfect Legs
This point doesn’t need to be belabored. If you don’t eat well you won’t get lean no matter how much you work out.
Notice I didn’t say “diet” or “calorie-reduced”. You need to eat a decent amount of food to build muscle so you can get and stay lean. That means you need to feed the machine (your body) with high quality food.
The rule: Eat clean 90% of the time, treat yourself 10% of the time. This works out to about 2 ½ meals a week. Keep it to one day a week.
I could go into the science but we’ll save that for another time. Just know this, a little injection of yumminess on a weekly basis will actually help you get lean faster and keep you eating clean longer.
Now You Got The Recipe For Awesome Legs
Now you know how to get perfect legs. It’s time to put a plan together and get to work. To find out more about how we put all these components together to deliver you the perfect leg workout click here.