Success leaves clues. And coaches who are truly passionate about gaining muscle and strength are generally eager to share their knowledge with like-minded people. One such bodybuilding and strength coach is Florian Bianchi.
Bianchi is amazing at churning out bodybuilders with incredible legs. He also happens to work with elite pro athletes and Olympians, so he knows all about building the legs. He destroys me when we train legs together, and I come from an Olympic lifting background!
During one of our training sessions he talked about one trick he uses to build muscular and super-lean legs. If you're a male bodybuilder or athlete looking to gain a lot of size on your legs, or a female wanting leaner legs, this is a method that will interest you.
The concept is simple: Start every workout (not just lower body workouts but all of them) with 100 reps on the leg press.
Use a very light weight. You might even want to start with the empty sled and try to get all 100 reps unbroken (without racking the sled) using a moderate speed and tempo. Don't go slow on purpose, but don't go lightning fast either. Fairly slow, rhythmic reps is what we want. You can take pauses, but ideally these would be done without racking the weight (pause at the top on locked legs).
Basically this acts as your warm-up for every single training session you do. You can gradually add weight, but going heavy for 100 reps isn't the goal. The goal is to just get the blood flow going and get pumped. If you do this your legs will completely change their look in a few short weeks. About 2 minutes per day for 4-6 weeks will change your lower body forever!
Over time this will increase the number of capillaries going to your legs. Basically, your lower body will become more "vascularized." As such, it'll become easier to shuttle nutrients and amino acids to these muscles which will facilitate recovery as well as muscle growth.
It will also help you recover faster during your lower body workouts because more capillaries equal more blood flow. More blood flow results in more oxygen to the muscles and more efficient clearing of lactic acid between sets.
For women (and many men), this is also an interesting tool for fat loss. Women tend to have less lower body vascularization and less efficient blood flow to their lower bodies. This is one of the reasons why it's harder for them to get a super-lean lower body. More vascularization makes it easier to mobilize fat in the region, which is the first step in getting leaner.
Doing these high-rep leg presses daily while help solve that issue. Of course, it takes some time to build up these new capillaries, but once the adaptations have taken place it'll make it easier for you to get lean legs.
Just the fact that you're using your legs more often will make you better at recruiting the muscles. This will facilitate stimulation during your heavy work.