Health and fitness: Build bigger legs

Personal trainer Stephen White is the man behind SWFitness. This month he details the best four leg exercises.

Following on from last month’s column, by now you should be halfway through your bulking cycle. I hope you’re looking stacked and feeling invincible with all those bulging muscles. Make sure you pick up Boyz in May as next month I’ll be explaining the best proven ‘cutting’ methods – Stevie style. In the meantime, my top four leg exercises will help you achieve the legs you’ve always wanted.

I remember the day when your average gay man only did a ‘vanity workout’: chest and biceps. Times have changed and now it’s all about big legs and a huge muscle butt. Some people look at me and think my chest is a silly size, but you may be surprised to know it’s the body part I don’t care for and rarely train. My focus is on building those pins and the bit that connects them to my rack. It’s so important to train legs and most guys neglect them. If I’m being brutal, skinny legs and big up top looks bloody awful and is a total turn off.

There are so many benefits to training your legs:

– You build a big, strong base to support your body.

– You develop amazing core strength.

– As the biggest muscle group they help increases testosterone.

– It’s proven to help support upper body growth too.

– You’re more stable and can lift more in other exercises.

– Your arse looks loads better when it’s in the air.

So here I’ve given you the top four exercises you need to incorporate into legs day, starting with the absolute number one exercise for building strength and size, the squat – a wonder of the training world. And remember: ass to grass on every rep…


1. Barbell Squats 

Sets 5, pyramid style training then drop a third off the weight for the last set

Reps 12, 10, 8, 8, 15

Begin with the barbell positioned on the back of your shoulders and traps. Your chest should be held up and your feet about shoulder width apart, toes slightly pointing out, like above. Now slowly squat down, making sure that your knees travel in line with your feet position and all your weight is being forced through your heels. Make sure you squat deep and your thighs go past parallel, like below, then drive through your quads to go back into your starting position.

2. Weighted Barbell Lunges 

Sets 4, all same weight

Reps 10 – 15 steps per side

Start with the barbell across the back of your shoulders, as above, then step forward with one leg, allowing your back knee to bend and touch the floor, ensuring that your front knee does not go past the end of your toes and your body is upright throughout the whole movement, like below. From this position, drive through your front foot and extend both legs, allowing your rear leg to come forward past your other leg and mirror your first movement.

3. Straight Leg Deadlift 

Sets 4, all same weight

Reps 12

Position your feet slightly closer than shoulder width apart with your knees slightly bent. Grab the barbell or dumbbells and pick up the bar, keeping your back straight and just bending at your hips, feeling the stretch in your hamstrings, until you are in a vertical position, as above. Now lower the weight by bending forward at the hips again and allowing the weight to go down towards your feet, like below.

4. Weighted Glute Bridge (off a bench) 

Sets 4, all same weight

Reps 12

Begin with your shoulders balanced on a bench, a barbell positioned across your hips and your feet inline with your hips with knees bent, as above. Driving through your heels, raise your hips and squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement, like below. Now reverse the movement and lower your hips until they almost touch the floor.

SWFitness is a London-based group of personal trainers brought together by founder Stephen White and is predominantly based at Jubilee Hall Gym in Covent Garden, WC2E 8BE.


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