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Athlean-X gives 5 leg day training tips for more lower body gains



You’ve heard the old truism never to skip leg day – but once you hit the gym do you really know what you’re doing other than just squatting? Athlean-X expert Jeff Cavaliere CSCS gives his best advice on maximizing leg gains, drawing on the experience of “hardgainer” Jesse Laico, who struggled to gain mass in his lower body before moving on to a more focused plan.

Cavaliere’s first tip: more work sessions. “Add a second leg workout to the split you’re following,” he advises, possibly adding a weekend session. This may mean turning down the volume of a full body workout to account for the effort involved in introducing the extra session.

Second, Cavaliere says that once you plateau, you’ll likely need to flip the script to maximize your leg gains. Many people may focus on heavy squats as they assume this is the easiest way to build strength and muscle in their legs. These results can “dry up” once you reach a certain level as there is always a limit to the weight you can lift.

“Take the squats, which are always difficult, and make them easier and a lot more strenuous,” he says. “Immerse yourself in 10, 15, 20 repetitions.” He also advises changing exercises like lunges and Bulgarian squats and actually the opposite Add Weight to these rates. “The stimulus you get will trigger new growth in your legs every time.”

Third, Cavaliere recommends the inverted lunge as an essential leg day. “If you don’t fall right now and don’t fall hard enough, you leave a lot of profits on the table.” One of the advantages of reverse lunging is that it is suitable for people with mobility problems in the hips or ankles, as leg positioning makes less of a challenge on those areas. “You are allowed to remove some of these limitations that may currently be biomechanically holding you back and make those better profits because you will improve the general mechanics of the train.”

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Another exercise that Cavaliere says you absolutely need to include in your leg workout is the Glute Ham Elevation. And if you’re still exercising at home and have limited access to fitness equipment, that’s fine: you can recreate the movement without a machine by simply securing your feet under a couch or bench.

“The key here is that we have the posterior chain working the way it’s supposed to work. This causes the glutes to contract to stabilize the pelvis, and then allows the hamstrings to secondarily support that movement,” says Cavaliere, adding added that with increasing overload, once you have mastered it with your own body weight, you can continue this movement.

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Fifth, and finally, increasing the volume and intensity of your leg workouts means giving the body enough rest and fuel to recover is even more important. “You’d better eat more and sleep better,” says Cavaliere. “Start small and increase your eating frequency … and prioritize your sleep.”

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