Legs, especially calves, can be hard to build and once you hit a plateau it’s hard to it break too. Genetics are also involved in the size of your calves which means you may be doomed with having twig legs. Or are you?

Leg Extensions

In today’s workout we will give you a way to pump up those legs in the anterior and the posterior chain using a combination of 3 training techniques specifically to increase muscle and strength gain.

Pre-Exhaust

First, we will begin the workout by pre-exhausting leg muscles with isolation moves in a high range of reps to get the pump going. We’ll hit calves first, since they’re the most lacking muscles.

So, you’ll perform calf raises using weight that will exhaust you in 30 reps. Perform the reps in tempo so that you spend 1 second in the concentric and 1 second in the eccentric motion.

Time Under Tension

We’ve mentioned exercise tempo for a very good reason, because it’s very important to the time muscle spend under tension. In the high rep range with lower weights, if you perform 30 reps spending 2 seconds per rep, the total time under tension will be 60 seconds. We’ll want to keep this time with all exercises of different weights and rep ranges, varying the tempo.

Tempo

This workout protocol consists of 3 sets per exercise in varying tempos to keep the 60 second time under tension.

  • 30 reps – 2 seconds per rep (1s concentric, 1s eccentric)
  • 20 reps – 3 seconds per rep (1s concentric, 2s eccentric)
  • 10 reps – 6 seconds per rep (2s concentric, 1s peek hold, 3s eccentric)

Each set is performed with progressively increased weights, aim to exhaust you muscles by the end of each set.

Exercises

As already mentioned, we begin with calf raises to isolate and pre-exhaust the muscles. Then, we do the same with leg extensions for the quads. Again, use the right weights and aim to give your highest effort by the end of each set, keeping up the tempo.

Finally, we end the workout with squats (alternatively you can use other compound exercises for the legs, or a combination of them).

The Workout

Here’s the workout:

  • Calf raises (standing or seated) – 3 sets (30 reps, 20 reps, 10 reps)
  • Leg Extensions – 3 sets (30 reps, 20 reps, 10 reps)
  • Squats – 3 sets (30 reps. 20 reps, 10 reps)

Keep the correct tempo for each set as we’ve described above and choose the right weights to keep the intensity and effort to the max.

The goal of this workout is to get blood pumping to the muscle tissue providing them with the required nutrients, and then break them down for growth. Isolating the muscles in the beginning helps targeting them specifically. You can use this workout protocol with other exercises and their combinations as well, provided you keep the structure.