Fitness and Nutrition

How to go from thin legs to thick muscular legs for men?

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Jan 27, 2014
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How to go from thin legs to thick muscular legs for men?

I have been doing squats and leg press along with calf raises for a year or longer now.

My legs and thighs have definitely gotten hard but they are still too slim. I see squash and tennis players with huge legs. Do playing those sports really help increase muscle size in legs?
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Oct 13, 2009
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Dumb bell lunges and dead lifts could help as well.
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Nov 23, 2006
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Eat a lot. And squat heavy and frequent. Your legs will grow.

It's not rocket science. 5 x 5 at 75-80% of your 1 rep max on a heavy day + accessories and 4 x 8 at 60-65% on a more hypertrophy day + accessories every week on a bulk and they will blow up.

You either don't train legs hard enough (most people because they can't deal with initial crazy DOMS from squatting at high intensity/ frequency) or you don't eat enough (most people don't have an issue with this).
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JLei2k wrote: Eat a lot. And squat heavy and frequent. Your legs will grow.

It's not rocket science. 5 x 5 at 75-80% of your 1 rep max on a heavy day + accessories and 4 x 8 at 60-65% on a more hypertrophy day + accessories every week on a bulk and they will blow up.

You either don't train legs hard enough (most people because they can't deal with initial crazy DOMS from squatting at high intensity/ frequency) or you don't eat enough (most people don't have an issue with this).
I'm definitely training legs often. 3x a week squatting 5x5 near 200 lbs. My weight is 170 lbs with 13% body fat. I will try eating more but eating relatively healthy.
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Nov 23, 2006
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ar2020 wrote: I'm definitely training legs often. 3x a week squatting 5x5 near 200 lbs. My weight is 170 lbs with 13% body fat. I will try eating more but eating relatively healthy.
Ok so you're newish to training/ just weak or you are not nearly pushing it hard enough. Hop on a calorie surplus and start increasing the weight.

200 5x5 for someone who's 170 and has been training legs for at least a year should be a deload week (very easy) unless you are older (35+). I'm not surprised that's not enough stimulus to produce hypertrophy you are looking for.

Up the intensity and keep the same frequency or drop the 3rd day even. Or add more volume and keep the same frequency. 4 x 8-10 at that weight 3 days a week. Also EAT! Hard to grow without food.

Good luck!
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Jun 21, 2016
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squat is a full body exercise. do they build legs....yea...maybe when you get to 4-5 plates

do leg press, isolate quads, leg extensions, hack squat,
my legs were biggest when i did 2 different leg presses and leg extensions, no squats

also, foot placement does matter, i see a lot of guys putting their feet in different spots, everyone has a different goals.
You can put more tension on the outer quads, hamstrings, inner quads, teardrop, etc. all depends what you're trying to do.

Then theres the guys that go 1 inch down and up, to be quite honest you don't need to go all the way down to build quads, but you do need to go lower than 1 inch
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Work em 2-3 times a week 40-70 reps per muscle group. Look up Wernbom or check out Eric Helms' pyramid ebooks (or the free you tube vids...he has a series on nutrition and one on training). Of course you have to eat in a surplus too. If you're 13% body fat, you'll need to let that go and eat in a surplus. Trying to stay lean will only help you spin your whells, unless you're not natty.
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amz155 wrote: Work em 2-3 times a week 40-70 reps per muscle group. Look up Wernbom or check out Eric Helms' pyramid ebooks (or the free you tube vids...he has a series on nutrition and one on training). Of course you have to eat in a surplus too. If you're 13% body fat, you'll need to let that go and eat in a surplus. Trying to stay lean will only help you spin your whells, unless you're not natty.
I want to maintain my abs. I would not sacrifice there. Think of a professional tennis player. That's the sort of body I am going for.

Always makes me laugh seeing guys at the gym lifting big yet have massive tummy fat but have never once stepped on a cardio machine lol.
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ar2020 wrote: I want to maintain my abs. I would not sacrifice there. Think of a professional tennis player. That's the sort of body I am going for.

Always makes me laugh seeing guys at the gym lifting big yet have massive tummy fat but have never once stepped on a cardio machine lol.
Laughable because they have different goals than you?
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ar2020 wrote: I want to maintain my abs. I would not sacrifice there. Think of a professional tennis player. That's the sort of body I am going for.

Always makes me laugh seeing guys at the gym lifting big yet have massive tummy fat but have never once stepped on a cardio machine lol.
If you aren't willing to eat in a surplus, then you might need to rethink your goal. You can't build muscle out of thin air and if you're not a beginner and not on PEDs, the most efficient way to achieve hypertrophy is with a slight caloric surplus and proper programming.

Also, tennis players aren't really known for their thick muscular legs.

Why does it matter to you what other people do? Massive tummy and doing cardio aren't even mutually exclusive. There are plenty of very over weight people at my gym that only do cardio. So what?
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amz155 wrote: Also, tennis players aren't really known for their thick muscular legs.
Yeah, I would think skiers, snowboarders, football players would be more known for their leg strength.
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boredstudent3 wrote: Yeah, I would think skiers, snowboarders, football players would be more known for their leg strength.
He's talking about size though. I'm thinking cyclists, Oly lifters, speed skaters. Football too. But of course pro athletes have elite genetics and many use PEDs so....it's hard to compare to that context.
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ar2020 wrote: I want to maintain my abs. I would not sacrifice there. Think of a professional tennis player. That's the sort of body I am going for.

Always makes me laugh seeing guys at the gym lifting big yet have massive tummy fat but have never once stepped on a cardio machine lol.
With an attitude like that perhaps the gym isn't the place for you? I have trained quite a bit with world class lifters who squat 700+, bench 500+ and deadlift 600+ and the one thing they all have in common as far as attitudes go is that every has their own set of goals and whether or not they are their own, it isn't their place to criticize. The gym isn't all about shallow aesthetics to everyone.

I wouldn't say tennis or squash players have large legs. They do tend to have well developed calves in relation to their quad size though.

If you want to grow your leg size you need to be in the higher (8-12) rep range which will not only encourage hypertrophy but also endurance. Mix some higher rep leg cycles with low rep strength oriented cycles.

Remember you are just starting out, have patience. Its going to take a solid diet and a lot of time under the bar to build size in your legs.
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aaronmd wrote: With an attitude like that perhaps the gym isn't the place for you? I have trained quite a bit with world class lifters who squat 700+, bench 500+ and deadlift 600+ and the one thing they all have in common as far as attitudes go is that every has their own set of goals and whether or not they are their own, it isn't their place to criticize. The gym isn't all about shallow aesthetics to everyone.

I wouldn't say tennis or squash players have large legs. They do tend to have well developed calves in relation to their quad size though.

If you want to grow your leg size you need to be in the higher (8-12) rep range which will not only encourage hypertrophy but also endurance. Mix some higher rep leg cycles with low rep strength oriented cycles.

Remember you are just starting out, have patience. Its going to take a solid diet and a lot of time under the bar to build size in your legs.
You don't need to only use higher rep sets for hypertrophy. Increasing strength over time will support hyperophy because you can move more load at higher volumes. A mix of 'strength' sets of like 6-8 reps and hypertrophy work is optimal. I think Eric Helms recommends a 25/75 split ie 25% of work done to support strength gains and then 75% of work innhogher rep sets 8-12. Of course they aren't mutually exclusive but lowered sets lend themselves to strength gains better.

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