Are You A Light Bulb?

Bodybuilding is full of colorful descriptions of various physique types. As Grandmaster Poliquin would say, you have your coat racks (thin with as much muscle mass as Kate Moss on Atkins); you have those poor souls who suffer from ILS or Imaginary Lat Syndrome (fake tough guys walking around like they have ten gallon barrels under their arms); and finally you have your light bulbs: guys shaped like turnips with no leg development whatsoever. To be nice we can also call them "top heavy" guys.

Of course, not everybody realizes that building a huge upper body supported by matchstick legs looks kinda funny, if not downright idiotic. After all, you can wear pants with your tank top, right? If someone is happy looking like that, fine. I won't harass him and drag his atrophied gluteus maximus to the squat rack. After all, at least he's in the gym working out instead of getting wasted, which is already a step in the right direction.

However, there are those who want to get out of this situation; they want to find a cure for their light bulb physique. To them I say, "Congrats, mate!" Building powerful legs is one of the most important things to do when trying to achieve a complete physique. It's also one of the hardest and most painful things to do, so be ready to defy death on a weekly basis!

4 Benefits of Hard Leg Training

For those who aren't 100% convinced of the importance of lower body training, consider the following benefits:

Benefit #1: Heavy lower body work with compound movements will help you build overall mass because it places the whole body under maximal isometric tension (this is especially true of squats and deadlifts). Research has shown that isometric work can be as effective as regular lifting at stimulating size gains, provided that the time under tension and tension magnitude is sufficient.

These big compound exercises have also been shown to favor an anabolic hormonal milieu post-training, especially if heavy loads are handled. More anabolic hormones equal more growth, especially when combined with a post-workout anabolic primer like Surge.

Benefit #2: This second reason is a bit less scientific: girls dig muscular legs and firm glutes on a man. Some girls even laugh at guys with big chests and arms but no legs. You've been warned.

Benefit #3: If you're an athlete, chances are that you're either asked to run, jump, skate, swim or cycle. All these actions require leg power, so neglecting your lower body is a sure-fire way to decrease your performance. Heck, if you gain 20 pounds in your upper body but your legs stay the same strength, you'll actually lose speed and agility. Your lower body is your motor; without a big powerful engine you can't go fast!

Benefit #4: Working your lower body hard is the most difficult thing you can do in the gym. For that reason, when you see a guy or gal with well developed legs, you know that he or she is a hard worker. True gym rats recognize that fact and having powerful wheels will earn you the respect of the hardcore crowd.

Here are some shots of my own legs so you can see that I practice what I preach!

The Pillars of Strength Program

For those of you willing to suffer, here's a leg blasting program that's guaranteed to add tons of meat to your drumsticks! In fact, it's the program that I'm currently using myself!

This leg specialization routine revolves around three different workouts which are rotated every four days. The schedule looks like this:

Week 1

Monday: Legs, Program A
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday: Legs, Program B
Saturday
Sunday

Week 2

Monday
Tuesday: Legs, Program C
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday: Legs, Program A
Sunday

Week 3

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday: Legs, Program B
Friday
Saturday
Sunday

After this, you start over again with week one. Each workout will use a different approach to stimulate maximum muscle mass gains. The three approaches we'll use are:

Workout A: Heavy compound lifting

Workout B: Rest-pause isolation

Workout C: High volume, post-fatigue

Here's the breakdown:

Workout A: Heavy Compound Lifting

Pre-workout strategy:

Power Drive: 2 scoops (30 minutes before workout)
Caffeine: 200mg (30 minutes before workout)

A. Full back squat

Sets: 5
Reps: 7/5/3/5/7
Tempo: Control during the eccentric (lowering), but never focus on tempo while lifting heavy weights
Rest intervals: 2 minutes

B. Romanian deadlift

Sets: 5
Reps: 7/5/3/5/7
Tempo: Control during the eccentric
Rest intervals: 2 minutes

Romanian deadlift (with sumo stance)

C. Hack squat with a calf raise at the end

Sets: 5
Reps: 7/5/3/5/7
Tempo: Control during the eccentric. At the end of each repetition, go up on your toes and hold for 2 seconds.
Rest intervals: 2 minutes

Post-workout strategy

Surge: 1 serving

Workout B: Rest-Pause Isolation

Pre-workout strategy

Spike: 1 capsule (30 minutes before workout)
Caffeine: 200mg (30 minutes before workout)

A. Standing leg curl (1-leg)

Sets: 4

Reps: 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 (meaning that each set has 25 reps with 10 seconds between each "slice" of 5 reps). Alternate legs, meaning that you take the 10 second pause while you work the opposite leg. For example, a set would look like this:

- Right leg 5 reps
- Left leg 5 reps
- Right leg 5 reps
- Left leg 5 reps
- Right leg 5 reps
- Left leg 5 reps
- Right leg 5 reps
- Left leg 5 reps
- Right leg 5 reps
- Left leg 5 reps

* Use a load that you'd normally lift 10 times

Tempo: Just completing the 25 reps will be hard enough!
Rest intervals: 90 seconds between sets

B. Single-Leg Extension

Sets: 4

Reps: 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 (meaning that each set has 25 reps with 10 seconds between each "slice" of 5 reps). Alternate legs. Just like above, this means that you take the 10 second pause while you work the opposite leg. Again, a set would look like this:

- Right leg 5 reps
- Left leg 5 reps
- Right leg 5 reps
- Left leg 5 reps
- Right leg 5 reps
- Left leg 5 reps
- Right leg 5 reps
- Left leg 5 reps
- Right leg 5 reps
- Left leg 5 reps

* Use a load that you'd normally lift 10 times

Tempo: You gotta be kidding!
Rest intervals: 90 seconds between sets

C. Bulgarian Squat

Sets: 4
Reps: 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 (just as above). Alternate legs, same as above. Use a load that you'd normally lift 10 times
Tempo: Same as other exercises above. Just do it!
Rest intervals: 90 seconds between sets

The Bulgarian Squat

Post-workout strategy

Surge: 2 servings (because of the higher volume)

Workout C: High-Volume Post-Fatigue

Pre-workout strategy

Surge: 1 serving

A1. Front squat

Sets: 3
Reps: 6 to 8
Tempo: Control the eccentric or lowering portion (2-4 seconds), lift explosively
Rest: None

A2. Leg extension

Sets: 3
Reps: 15 to 20
Tempo: Include a 1-2 second hold at the peak contraction
Rest: 2 minutes

B1. Sumo deadlift

Sets: 3
Reps: 6 to 8
Tempo: Control the eccentric (2-4 seconds), lift explosively
Rest: None

B2. Leg curl

Sets: 3
Reps: 15 to 20
Tempo: Include a 1-2 second hold at the peak contraction
Rest: 2 minutes

C1. Standing calf raise

Sets: 3
Reps: 6 to 8
Tempo: Control the eccentric (2-4 seconds), lift explosively
Rest: None

C2. Seated calf raise

Sets: 3
Reps: 15 to 20
Tempo: Include 2 second hold in the stretched and peak contraction positions
Rest: 2 minutes

Post-workout strategy

Surge: 2 servings (because of the higher volume)

Other Body Parts

During this cycle, which should be used until you've gone through the whole rotation three times (so nine lower body workouts), the other muscle groups should only be trained once a week and you should have at least two days of rest per week, preferably three.

Ideally you'd pair up upper back/chest together and biceps/triceps together. Shoulder work can be added to the back/chest day using only one exercise for the front delts and one for the rear delts.

Also, remember that this isn't the time to try to get ripped. As with all specialization routines, you need ample supplies of amino acids and calories to grow. So if you want to get those legs up to tree trunk status ASAP, you must eat like a lumberjack (tree trunks... lumberjack...get it?! Tough room).

Are You Man (Or Woman) Enough?