Leg Training is Very Important Leg training might be the most overlooked aspect of a successful training regimen. Many people get preoccupied with more visible muscle groups like forearms or biceps/triceps or even traps. All of those are visible when wearing almost any shirt. Legs are usually hidden under long pants so people tend to worry less about their development.

The truth is the legs contain the largest muscles in the body, and perhaps more importantly, they provide the biggest anabolic stimulus to the entire body. Contrary to popular belief, muscle growth is systemic and not local to individual muscles. Your entire body has to be in an anabolic state in order for a biceps or abdominal muscle to grow. This means it is literally true that productive leg training helps arm training or chest training. What a bargain that is!

Leg Training and a Million Pound Workout

Many years ago I did a one million pound workout. It took me just over two hours to lift that much using five different exercises. (This was an experiment, I’m not recommending it.) One of the challenges of the workout was trying to get a decent balance of leg and non-leg exercises. The truth is a one million pound workout using only legs is a lot easier than a workout that includes other muscle groups. But what I learned from the experiment is just how astoundingly strong leg muscles are. It was relatively easy to bang out a half-million pounds of lifting with just quads and calves. That’s about the same weight as a behemoth Boeing 747 – lifted by the comparatively tiny muscles of the human leg!

Anyway, the takeaway info from this is that you can use your leg training to quickly and efficiently generate very high intensity overload – and you can also deliver extra volume if you need to – in order to guarantee that your whole body is in an anabolic state and therefore assisting the development of your smaller muscles. (Assuming you are also stimulating new growth in those muscles.)

Static Contraction and Power Factor trainees already know what the best leg exercise is. It’s the leg press. No other exercise (yes, including squats) can come close to the output of leg muscles doing a leg press. If you are doing rational, productive leg training you are more than halfway to getting the full body results you desire. Pay attention to your leg training numbers and the rest will fall into place.

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20 Comments.

  • EXCELLENT info Pete! I’m a big fan of the 45 degree leg press. Best pumps ever!

  • Funny how the poor old leg press is sometimes slighted by those that inevitably describe the squat as The King of Exercises.Of course equally inevitably with this attitude their can clearly be no other contender to the throne and hence the leg press is seen as a poor second best or worse by such people.

    I confess to not having squatted for years with anything heavy.Despite the fact that physically I am of a build that is sometimes called squat advantaged I found I had problems with the movement in terms of physical consequences.I found that squatting with 500lbs was relatively easy for twelve to fifteen reps-the consequences however came the next day in the shape of lower back pain,irritated sacroiliac issues and haemorrhoids.Whilst I do not contend that these will be problems for everyone it was then that I discovered the leg press and have been happily using it ever since.

    Yes I also use the forty five degree leg press and have never experienced any problems with it.Even used conventionally I can easily use more than twice my squat load.

  • Frank

    Hi Pete,

    I purchased your books on static contraction and the abs and I also purchased a Marcy smith machine. I have started working out, in my second week, but I am unable to do the two leg execises cause I don’t have access to a leg press. What exercise would you recommend.

    Frank

  • When you don’t have a leg press, the most common substitute is strong-range partial squats and toe raises inside the smith machine.

  • Frank Ithink

    If a person does squats/toe raises, a must have piece of equipment is a Manta Ray. With the Manta Ray, I feel zero pain anywhere, even with 700#’s on my back.

    Without it, I start howling in pain at around 175-200#’s. Pain in neck/traps/shoulders.

    Amazon has it for around $37:

    http://www.amazon.com/Power-Systems-Manta-Ray/dp/B0017DGBY8/

  • I agree. That’s a handy device for squats. I used one a few times and it’s a good product.

  • Frank

    Thanks I am 72 and felt some mild discomfort during the squats so I ordered it from Amazon right away.

  • Brian Schamber

    What happens when you can press (34) 45’s on the leg press and your training partners are pulling down on the sled? How in the hell can I get that Toyota up on top of the leg press without a forklift? Seriously though, training legs in this style is brief, intense, and infrequent, which is all I can possibly do to get the most from muscular contraction. Unlimited wants and limited resources…the economic use exercise. This subject is so clear, yet can be clouded up by commercial interests (The Weider Confusion Principle #2571). Keep up the good work.

  • I can truly attest to the statement of leg training being responsible for overall muscle growth, including arms and chest.

    I didn’t put on the mass that I wanted on my upper body, until I really start seriously training my lower body hard. I cannot imagine what I would look like today if my workouts were still built primarily around bicep curls and bench presses, lol!

  • igor

    Good afternoon. I can not clear for myself in any way that is better to choose for increase in muscular weight a way of training the Alpha of force or all the same it is necessary to increase both indicators of force and an alpha and бетта?

  • Hi Igor. I don’t think I understand your question.

  • Joke: Do you know what was the first Weider Principle? Fire.

  • Jacob

    hi pete,

    I wanted to know if you did any studies with static contraction and plyometrics. I was once told that the athletes with the highest vertical jumps were body builders. I’m a volleyball player and have tried all different types of methods and machinery to increase my jump. I was wondering if you had any input on how SCT could help someone like me. Is SCT purely for strength gains.. and not as helpful in the arena of sports training? Any insights would be greatly appreciated.

    thanks in advance

  • A women’s college volleyball team used SCT for conditioning. Here is what the coach said: “Our players increased the size of their quads by 1.5 inches in 6 weeks… and these were not under conditioned athletes. In fact, two of them had just got done competing in the Track and Field State Finals! Without question, {static contraction} has increased our players work capacity and in turn has made the various demands of our sport much less demanding. One of my players recently told me, ‘Coach I could hold this defensive position all day.’ Music to my ears, to say the least! {static contraction} has allowed us to spend less time in the weight room and more time on the court. Due to the increase in work capacity we are able to train harder and longer on the court, where it really counts.” John Hunter – Barton College Volleyball The team became National Champions that year.

    As for bodybuilders having the best vertical jump, I find that hard to believe. Pro bodybuilders do not exceed at any athletic activity. They are weaker than powerlifters and if they ran 400 meters many of them would drop dead. I knew one who had to rest twice to cover 100 meters while walking. Just, FYI.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Pete,

    I have enjoyed the rewards of your static contraction program to date.

    I enjoy the leg press for the quads muscles. However, I was wondering if any of your exercises work on the hamstring and gluteal muscles. Your could say that I am very deficient in these areas. A flat buttocks in jeans is not the best look hehe

    Any tips would be appreciated

  • Most people find that the leg press works their hams adequately at high weights. If you want to do more you mostly have to rely on leg curl machines. Unfortunately they are notorious for holding comparatively little weight and difficult to limit the range of motion. Usually you need a spotter to help hoist the weight into your strongest range.

  • Lorraine

    Hi, Pete. I am 52 year old woman who is trying to start an exercise routine. I am completely out of shape and just started walking and eating a more healthy diet, I purchase Tony Robins tapes and I saw your precision training exercises. My question is can women do this without gaining to much mass but lose the fat and reshape their bodies?

  • Yes! Women have the same muscle physiology as men. I talk about this more here: http://www.precisiontraining.com/who%e2%80%99s-been-lying-to-all-these-women/

  • Jamin

    Hi Pete or Greg,

    I am currently leg pressing 780 kgs/ 1740 lbs, on my leg press. I am using an xf 7000 machine. My legs have very little muscular development and are in fact quite slim (22.5 inches). I can press much more than others who lift with me even though they have much more size. I don’t understand this. I am not locking out and seem to be in my sweet spot.

    I have recently been experimenting with increasing my training volume, e.g. doing multiple static reps which on my last workout were: rep 1- 770, rep 2- 776, rep 3- 774, rep 4- 781. I also have been skipping my workout B while increasing my rest period by 50% so as to get in more leg training as a priority.

    What do you see here that I might change to get some real size gains. Does it look like PF might be the way to go for greater hypertrophy? I just hate to go back to the gym after purchasing this machine! Will the new design for the static home gym incorporate the ability to do both PF and SCT?

    Many Thanks,
    Jamin

  • Jamin, you can’t compare your muscles to some other guy’s muscles. Muscle size is one factor out of more than a dozen that determines performance; point of insertion on bone, nerve discharge rates, neuromuscular efficiency, recovery, and more. Size always follows strength. Just keep training and making progress and make sure you are eating enough calories to allow growth to occur. Watch your numbers so they ALWAYS go up. If they don’t, take more time off.

    There are no current plans to make an SCT + PF machine.

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