Exercises to achieve thick legs

Thick, succulent thighs create a strong virile physique and enhances the hourglass shape we desire. A lower body workout hinging on squats and compound movements builds quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves and the often forgotten adductors, to give you a dream physique. 

 

Side view of concentrated young fit female traveler with long hair performing Urdhva Mukha Pascimottanasana pose during yoga session on seashore against blue sky

Going hard for gains 

Muscles only know load and volume and nothing else. They will not grow no matter how much you use an electric ab stimulator. The only way to grow toned, thick legs is through heavy resistance training. The legs are the strongest muscles in your body and should be worked the hardest. Challenge yourself with heavier weights and you will reap the rewards. 

Firstly, you must pick a source of resistance, usually your bodyweight alone is sufficient, but eventually you may progress beyond the point where bodyweight stimulates any new gains. The resistance can be dumbbells, barbell and plates or resistance bands

Pick a resistance that feels challenging to you, such that you can do 12 controlled reps before failure. Perform 3 or 4 sets of 8 such hard reps as a general rule of thumb. You may choose to drop the reps down even further and upping the weight for increased strength gains. Rest between 3 and 5 minutes between sets, drinking water in between. 

 

Progression

Early on in your fitness journey, you may choose to work your legs around once or twice a week and progressing to three times a week after you reach intermediate strength. Since you are new to the movements, your body only needs a little bit of stimulus to get those gains, and will eventually taper off as you get more advanced. Remember, your body improves when you are resting, the exercise is merely there to guide the way your body reacts. 

 

Tips and Tricks

Compounds are by and large better than isolation exercises. It is not that isolation exercises fail to work the muscles, rather if you only used isolation movements, you will need to workout for 3 hours to hit the muscles you want. Multi jointed compound movements target many muscle groups at once, giving you more bang for your buck. 

Do not skimp on the range of motion. No half squats allowed! When doing any compound exercise try to reach your anatomical limit rather than stopping short of it, this makes sure that all the motor units along the range of motion get turned on, giving you a fuller look in the muscle belly. 

Work your shins and calves. Trying to get your lower leg less flabby? Suffered from ankle pain recently? Lower leg training is a must to avoid nagging pains and contributes a lot to your physique. It is also the only part of your leg that even shows for most of the day in the office...so train it. 

 

Workout Ideas

To get the most muscle growth as possible be sure to push yourself with resistance that will challenge you. At times you will fail, and that is a good thing, it means that you are actually trying and your body will be forced to adapt. Train 2-3 times per week on alternate days to allow for recovery. Make sure to adhere to the rest protocol as the legs are a large muscle group and require more rest than others. 

Exercise 1: Squat 

The squat targets primarily the quads but also the adductors and glutes. The calves are recruited for stabilization and balance. 

Stand with feet shoulder width apart, toes pointed 10 degrees out. Descend with a straight back looking forward while maintaining balance. Descend until your hamstring and your calf connect. Deliberately stand back up keeping your knees facing outwards and chest high. Finish the movement by squeezing your glutes. 

Exercise 2: Alternating calf raise 

The standard calf raise allows your feet to compensate for each other's lack of balance. Forcing them to work unilaterally improves stability and coordination and is very useful for other movements. 

Stand on a box next to a wall that is around mid shin height. now using your arms for support, rest your weight on only the balls of the feet with the rest of your foot off the side of the box. Drop one side down until your ankle reaches the end of its mobility and repeat with the other side. 

Exercise 3: Deadlifts

The deadlifts trains your spinal erectors and your glutes, and absolutely destroys your hamstrings. The deadlift rounds out your physique and gives you booty gains. 

Standing shoulder width apart, grab onto whatever resistance you have. Without bending your knees, you will hinge your hips forward and drag the weight or bands up your shins. Keep your back straight and look forward the entire time. Finish the movement with a positive squeeze of the glutes at the top. Let down slowly until you reach the start position.