So first, you want to make sure you are planning your lower body sessions in advance before heading to the gym or starting a workout at home. You want to make sure that within your workout you are going to hit all areas of the legs, for example we can’t just do a squat and target every single part of our leg, although the squat does work a lot of the muscles in our leg, it wouldn’t be the best way to program. Where you predominantly feel, is likely where’s working the hardest. If we only did squats for our lower body days, we would not really see much development or growth.
In order to hit all areas of the leg, you want to divide them into four different parts.
Front of the thighs
Back of the legs.
Back of the lower leg.
Home or gym workout?
Once you’ve divided your workout up and have thought about some of the exercises that you are wanting to use to target these areas, next you want to think about equipment availability. If you’re training at home, depending on how big your gym is at home, it might be a case that you have portable equipment such as dumbbells, kettlebells but no machines, you can still have a great lower body workout with these pieces of equipment but you are going to be limited in a sense that you can’t really use isolation machines because they’re not readily available to you.
If you are going to the gym you want to think about what equipment is there that you can utilise, also picking exercises that work for you and work the muscle you want to target.
Lots of times I’ve seen people who will create a great workout, but they’re doing exercises because they ‘work’ a certain muscle, but they don’t actually target that muscle on themselves. So even though yes, it might be a hamstring exercise, if you are not feeling your hamstrings working when you’re performing the exercise, then there is probably a better exercise out there that will target the hamstrings and you’ll get more out of- just something to note.
How much time do you have?
Once you have thought about your equipment availability, next you want to think about how much time you have to dedicate to your workouts. If you only have 20 minutes then you might want to think about including a circuit-based workout or lots of supersets or trisets, So that you are able to get a lot done within that 20 minutes. To explain what this means, that would basically be doing several exercises back-to-back without having a rest. Once you have completed the sequence of exercises, then you would take your rest period. Its great for days where you do not have much time but want to get a good workout in, quite high intensity as well. Whereas if you have 60 minutes to dedicate to your workout, then you are going to be able to include a wide range of exercises, using the different pieces of equipment. We have to bear in mind that they do take time to get prepared, ready and to add your weights on. Time is therefore something that you want to think about.
What if I don’t want to develop certain areas?
Now you do not have to add an exercise to target each of these areas if you’re happy with the development of them already. As an example, if you have played sport at a younger age, you may find that your quad muscles are over developed, and you don’t want to develop them anymore. If this were the case, then you would avoid exercises that target the quads and instead think about doing more exercises on your hamstrings, glutes and calves, so that they can develop and get back to being in proportion with your quad muscles. That being said, you wouldn’t want to create imbalances within other muscles so keep a close check in on your progress and re-introduce quad dominant exercises when your legs are feeling balanced.
I want to devlop a certain area?
If there is a target area that you really want to work on and develop, prioritising these lifts is advisable. As an example, if you want to grow your glutes some more, then you are going to want to think about activating them to start with and adding an exercise that really hits your glutes and that you really feel in your glutes first when you’ve got the most energy. Then you’re going to want to think about adding in one or two other exercises that you really feel in your glutes, maybe adding in a superset that really targets them and gets that burning sensation in there.
I hope you’ve found this post helpful, if you’re still looking for more, check out my video where I go into more detail. Click the video below.