Leg day. There. I said it.
Leg day can be one of the most challenging and often neglected aspects of being a bodybuilder. It’s confusing, it’s hard, and — let’s be honest — it wants what chest day has. Have you been training your legs for a long time but feel like your progress has stalled? Check out the intermediate lower body workout below for an excellent way to train your calves and hamstrings.
Please remember that this is an intermediate level workout intended for those who already have at least 1 – 2 years of serious strength training. We have a wide variety of leg workouts available here at Generation Iron to accommodate those who are just looking to get started.
How long should I be practicing this workout?
You can adjust the program to your level of comfort. Ideally, it should be performed for 8 weeks. However, if you’re stretched a little thin right now and don’t have that much time to get in a workout, you can modify it to be shorter and last for 6 weeks — though don’t expect incredible, long-lasting muscle to be built in that time.
Or, if you’re in a headspace where you’re really trying to motivate yourself, you can go harder and do it for 12 weeks. The most important thing is to make it work with however you’re currently working out, otherwise you won’t actually do it.
How often should I do it during the week?
You should cycle through lower body and upper body splits throughout the week however you feel most comfortable. Assuming you workout most or every day, you should consider doing this lower body workout two to four days every week, depending on how much you’re working out the other parts of your body.
Just try and match however much work you’re putting into your hams/quads with what you’re doing for your upper body and you’ll be fine. Also, make sure to take rest days in between those days so your muscles have a chance to heal.
Intermediate Leg Workout for Ripped Calves and Hams
Seated Leg Curl — 5 sets of 5 – 10 reps
Start off with a seated leg curl. Many of the muscle groups in the leg respond well to high intensity training rather than high endurance training, so it’s good to start strong and hit it hard.
Stiff Leg Deadlift — 5 sets of 5 – 10 reps
The stiff leg deadlift is an excellent modulation of the standard deadlift that really helps you feel the burn through the back of the leg and develop resistance in those muscles.
Standing Calf Raise — 5 sets of 8 – 12 reps
Moving into the calf portion of the workout, this is a great way to warm up that area of the body and build muscle.
Leg Press Calf Raise — 5 sets of 8 – 12 reps
A little bit more challenging than the standing calf raise, this helps build muscle in these groups by gradually increasing the intensity.
Donkey Calf Raise — 5 sets of 5 – 10 reps
This really encourages muscle growth in the lower leg and can be challenging at this point, so feel free to reduce the amount of sets/reps in this group to your comfort level.
Seated Calf Raise — 5 sets of 8 – 12 reps
Moving into the cool down period of the workout, this calf raise shouldn’t be skipped, since it builds the foundation for workouts to come.