Written by Dana Linn Bailey
20 July 2018


How Dana Linn Bailey Built Big Legs

Exercises to Get Your Legs Growing


Building Legs: How DLB Does It

I currently work legs once a week. Can you please give me a routine and/or any tips on how to get my legs growing?

You’re working them once a week? If they are a weak area, you need to work them more often than that. I hit mine at least twice a week even now, and I’m not even getting ready for a show. During prep, I work legs every third day.

A lot of people have it in their heads that legs need a lot of time to recover, because they are such a large muscle group. I think that’s over generalizing, because recovery is an individual thing. I find my legs actually recover quicker and also are not nearly as sore if I train them more often. You can condition yourself to do pretty much anything, and I have seen the most improvement in my legs when I train them every three days. In my case, I’m not necessarily trying to get my legs bigger at this point. I’m working more on shape and condition.

You should definitely start working your legs at least twice a week. The exercises, sets and reps that are effective will be a little different per individual and how you respond. I like to go pretty heavy on my squats, sometimes lifting more like a powerlifter with rep ranges of three to five on my working sets, but the rest of my workout is usually high rep ranges, anywhere from 15 to 30, with drop sets and supersets or anything I can throw at them to respond.

Legs are a very resilient body part. You use them all day to walk, climb stairs, do cardio, etc. Straight sets aren’t going to be as productive for legs as they are for other body parts. Also, I am not sure what you mean when you say they are behind. Do you mean in size? Or conditioning? Or both? Because that will also determine a little bit how you need to train them. So let’s just assume you mean both size and conditioning. Generally, my rule of thumb if you are looking to increase size, is to recommend heavier weight with a rep scheme anywhere from three to 10 reps. Now for conditioning, I like using a higher rep scheme, usually around 15 to 20, which you already do. Conditioning also takes time, so give yourself an adequate amount of weeks of prep before a show. Slow and steady always wins the race.

As far as what your workout should look like, change it up! It doesn’t need to look the same every time. You have to throw a lot of different things at them: heavy weight, moderate weight, high reps, supersets, drop sets, negatives, partials, all kinds of crazy stuff if you want them to respond. Legs have a lot of endurance. Typically, just doing three sets of something isn’t sufficient. I usually do a warm-up set and then five work sets per exercise, and I’m also not afraid to do even more than that. Switching things up is important, too. I find that as time goes by, I have to come up with kookier methods to keep seeing results. Trying to get stronger is one way to keep progress coming, but you also need to continue increasing intensity. That’s where the supersets, drop sets and other techniques come in.

One final tip about these leg workouts is to alternate starting with quads or hams. The hams often lag behind the quads, because so many people work them after quads at all their leg workouts. Make sure you give your hams priority by working them first at every other leg workout.


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