Intense Density Routine to Build Stronger Legs


Daryl Laws Squat
Question: I’m trying to build larger legs because right now I look like I walk around on stilts. My upper body is pretty good but my legs just don’t seem to grow. What routines could I do to build larger, stronger legs?

Answer: Leg training requires working large muscles and large, strong muscle groups. Considering you have been able to build a good upper body, you could also reason that you can build good legs to match your upper body. It just requires finding the best combination of training routines and a determination to succeed.

Getting stronger using the correct form is essential. The most successful and safest format for training legs is to begin with hamstring exercises and calf exercises. By beginning with alternating exercises for hamstrings and calves you warm up the knees and Achilles’ tendons without targeting the quads early. The shock of solid calf training tends to get your mind and will power engaged early because effective calf training can be extremely uncomfortable during the set. You know when you’re doing it well when you finish the set and the pain level bumps up a notch before it decreases.

The other muscles you want to engage with a “moderate” exercise are the psoas and hip flexors. By stretching these muscles with one of the lunge exercises after calves and hamstrings, you’re better prepared to begin your primary exercises: squats and leg presses. Use two different reps formats, low reps(density) and high reps(volume). Do two consecutive density sessions on your designated leg training days. The third leg day do a volume routine. Then return to density for two workouts. Continue repeating the cycle.

If you’re not used to this extreme degree of training intensity, be forewarned that your legs will be sore approximately 36-48 hours after your workout and may stay that way for 4-5 days early in your training. Stretching after training is a vital part of growth so do it as intensely as you train.

Here are two typical density days for legs:


  • Leg Cycle Day 1 Density
    • Calf Raise 20/15/15/10
    • Single Leg -Leg Curls 8/10 DBL/8/ 10 DBL (DBL sets add weight and use both legs)
    • Single Leg Squats 10/10/10.
    • Squats 10/8/6/5/5-7-8
    • Leg Press 15/15/10/10
    • RDL 8/8/8 Stretch.
  • Leg Cycle Day 2 Density
    • Leg Curls 10/8/8/6>6
    • Calf Raises 20/20/20 , HVY 10, 20/20/20, HVY 10 ( 20/20/20 = 20 reps with weight/20 reps standing on block without weight/20 reps standing on floor)
    • Leg Press 15/10/10/10RP 5 >10( RP means do 10 reps,rest 15 seconds and with the same weight do 5 more reps. Immediately reduce the weight by approximately 25-30% and do 10 more reps)
    • Squats 8/6/5/5
    • Standing Single Leg -Leg Curls 8/8/8
    • Leg extensions 10/10/10
    • RDL 8/8
    • Stretch
  • Leg Cycle Day 6 Volume UpHills
    • Leg Curl 10/10/8/8
    • Standing Calf Raise 15/10/10/10>10
    • Incline Block Lunges 8/8/8
    • Leg Extensions 10
    • Leg Press 10
    • Squats 10 ( Start with a moderate weight. Set up all three stations prior to beginning. Do a set of each exercise without a break. Rest 1-2 minutes. Add weight on each station -extensions 1-2 plates, leg press 20-25 %, squats 10-20%. Repeat cycle. Rest. Add weight, usually on just leg press. Do a cycle. Add weight on both leg press and squat if feasible. It’s a judgement call. Do final set. )
    • Leg Press 10/10/10
    • RDL 8/8/8. Stretch

These are tough routines.

God bless and keep training,