HOW TO GROW TREE TRUNK LEGS
There are two people in this world. There are people who train legs and those who don’t. You cannot discount the legs and say that they don’t matter, when we spend most of our day on them. The legs are what get us from place to place, except for when we drive. Regardless, they matter.
What’s even more impressive is the amount of strength they can provide the body. The legs make up a majority of the body’s muscle mass, and they contain some of the strongest muscles we have. It’s no surprise that people can squat double what their upper body can lift.
Legs really tie the body together. There is nothing impressive about a huge upper body and little legs. Having both gives off the desired “X” look. Therefore, you need to give them some love!
We’re going to show you exactly how to do that in this blog. You’re going to learn why the legs matter, what they do, how to train them, and even get some sample workouts!
Function of the Legs
The legs really serve as our way of locomotion. They allow us to walk, run, heck even crawl in some cases. This makes their function important, and most of the modern world puts them to work. In addition to being the reason we can walk, they also tie into what is called the trunk.
The trunk of the body is exactly what it sounds like. Much like a tree trunk, it’s a base. It’s comprised of the legs, mainly the upper portion, and the core. The trunk is important for the body being stable and avoiding injury. Without it, we wouldn’t have much to hold us up and keep us strong. All of our rotation, bending over, jumping, landing, and really any other movement all revolve around a sturdy trunk. But remember, it isn’t as strong if the legs aren’t playing a role as well, which makes working the legs twice as important.
In addition to everyday locomotion, the legs allow us to move things. Legs are important for squatting and bending over, which is used while moving furniture, picking up children, or hiking up hills. They’re really the everyday muscle. Without them, things can be challenging within certain situations.
How to Train the Legs
Now that we are familiar with the legs as a whole, how do you train them? Many people’s first thought is to do squats. Well, yes that is correct, but what style of training works best?
The legs are a very complex, large, and strong set of muscles. In fact, they can produce the most muscle force out of the entire body. With that being said, they can handle a lot in both volume and weight. Now, if you are having trouble growing the legs, there may be a few things that you are missing. You may not use enough weight and strength train, or you aren’t doing enough volume.
When working the legs, since the muscles can handle so much from a weight standpoint, they need that heavier stimulus. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to be a powerlifter, but if you want to grow then you need to give them some resistance. This can be done in more complex movements or even with machines.
Volume is also important for growing the legs. We walk around on them all day, and we do other physically demanding tasks. They get worked. So, what’s it going to take to push them a little bit? More volume. This comes in the form of reps. So, if you step into the gym and do a few movements on legs, you may not see much change. Instead, you know that you’re going to go pretty hard on the volume today and really make them work.
There are also various muscles and angles to the legs, so you have to work multiple parts. This may mean you have a very complex leg day, or you may split it up into two parts. Some people focus on quads one day and move into hamstrings and glutes another. It’s what works best for your body.
Lastly, it’s very important that you get full range of motion on these movements. The legs have muscles that kick on during specific points of movements. For example, during a squat, you use a ton of quads in the bottom. However, at the very bottom of the movement the glutes kick on and follow up again at the top of the movement. If we’re cutting reps and not doing the full ROM, then we miss out on some of the muscle activation we need.
Exercise How To
This one is great for building the glutes. You’ll do this one using a bench and a barbell, plus a bar pad. Start by placing the bench long ways against the wall or something supporting. From here, place your upper back against the bench and roll the barbell over your hips. Attach the bar pad so that it doesn’t bruise you. Have your knees bent, and heels dug into the ground. From here, touch the bar with your hips. Use your hands as a guide and begin extending the hips upwards. Get a good squeeze in the glutes before lowering the weight back to start.
This is done using a barbell or a smith machine. Make sure that your feet are about shoulder width a part. Slightly turn your feet outwards. Have the bar straight across your traps and not your neck. Hand placement should be right outside of the shoulders and with a fully closed grip. Try breaking the bar across your back to create stiffness in the upper back. Stand the bar out of the machine, take a few steps back if using a squat rack, or unlock the bar in a smith machine. From here, think about sending your hips back, and breaking at the knees simultaneously. As you lower the weight, keep everything balance through the middle of the foot and not on the toes. Drop until your hips are even with your knees. Drive through the floor, keep your chest up, and finish the movement at the top. Continue with reps or slowly walk it into the rack.
This is done on a hack squat machine. Get your feet set at about shoulder width a part. Slightly turn the feet out at an angle. From here, get into the machine as tight as you can. Stand the weight up and unlock the pin. From here, you keep your back and shoulders into the machine as tight as possible while dropping into your squat. Be sure that your knees are going the same direction as the feet and not coming inwards. Once you hit parallel on the squat, you drive through the foot platform to finish the movement.
Get set up in the leg extension machine by adjusting the back and the legs to fit your body. Once you are set, press your back and hips into the pad as much as you can. Use the handles to pull your lower body even tighter into the machine. From here, extend your legs to the top of the movement and get a strong squeeze. Slowly lower the weight and avoid swinging it if you want the maximum effect.
Get into the machine and set all of the pads to fit your body. The foot pad should sit right by your Achilles tendon. From here, make sure that you are tight in the machine and initiate the movement. Start by pull your feet, like a bicep curl but with legs, towards your body. Squeeze as hard as you can before slowly lowering the weight. Again, avoid swinging or trying to use momentum on these.
This can be done with a barbell or dumbbells, but dumbbells seem to work the best. Start by picking up your weight and pulling the shoulder blades back. The chest should be proud. Having your feet about hip to shoulder width apart. Slightly unlock the knees and begin sending your buttocks backwards. The lower back stays flat the entire time you are performing this movement. Go until you feel a nice pull in the hamstrings on the back of the legs. From here, drive your hips forward, and finish in a locked-out position. You don’t have to go super heavy on these, just focus on going slow and controlled.
Lunges can be done going forward or standing in place and going backwards. This really just depends on your preference. Without weight, start by having your feet shoulder width apart. Either going forward or backwards, take a big step. Once you have separation between the legs, drop down until your back knee is almost touching the ground. The entire time you do this make sure that your upper body stays upright. Avoid using the knee as support. There should be about a 90-degree angle from both knees in this position. Use the front leg to drive out of the bottom and return to start. You can do this movement holding dumbbells or with a barbell on your back as well.
Hop into the leg press machine after loading your weights on. There are multiple foot placements to use here. If you want to work your quads, then you would place your feet closer to your body with toes out. If you want to work hamstrings, then the feet would go more upwards on the platform. Once you have what you need, extend the legs so that the platform comes up slightly. Unlock the pin with your hand. Begin lowering the weight towards your body nice and slow. Once the knees get close to your chest, drive the weight back up. Make sure that you are not bouncing the weight at the bottom.
Leg are super important for life, but also the full physique. They can be tough to train but also extremely rewarding. They can handle a ton of stress, which can be brought with heavier weights as well as more volume.
There are tons of muscles in the legs as well, meaning you have to approach it with a variety of exercises and angles. This can be done all in one day or you can split it up into two days. Either way the legs can handle it and will receive benefit.