Leg training is punishing, unforgiving and, at times, painful. But it's in that pain that the chaff is separated from the wheat when it comes to lifters. The truly dedicated realize that building a better physique is not solely a waist-up endeavor. In the interest of symmetry and totality, right-minded lifters hit the squat rack with the same kind of will-shattering intensity as they do the bench.
For those looking to exhaust every possible technique to elicit the greatest leg gains possible, here are five ways you can build wide-swept quads and strong, shredded hams.
1. Giant Sets
Do each exercise in each workout consecutively, the only rest being the time it takes to move to the next exercise. When you complete the last exercise you have completed one giant set. Do 3-4 of these giant sets per workout.
2. Extended Set Squats
This technique is a way to extend a typical set (i.e. complete more total reps) by moving from the hardest version of an exercise to an easier version. For example, front squats are harder than back squats, the same way close-stance squats are harder than wide-stance squats. So one way to extend a set of squats is by starting with close stance front squats, then moving to wide stance front squats, then racking the weight and immediately moving to close-stance back squats and then finishing with wide-stance back squats—that's one extended set.
This essentially makes the weight easier to lift on each successive position change, allowing you to continue doing more total reps per set. Not only does this allow one to train with more intensity, but the change in body position increases the number of muscle fibers targeted in each specific muscle group.
To do an extended set of squats first choose a weight that normally limits you to 4-5 reps on the close-stance front squat (even though you will attempt no more than 3-4 reps). For each change in exercise movement for that extended set you will attempt 3-4 reps. Do not do more than four reps on any exercise except the final movement of the extended set. You can work to failure on the last exercise of all extended sets. Since you will do four exercise changes per extended set on the squat, you will sum up a total of about 12-16 reps. So in essence, you are using a weight on each different squat movement that is best for strength gains, but at the end of the extended set the total reps that the muscle group has performed fall in the range that is best for muscle growth and getting ripped. Rest between extended sets for 3-4 minutes. Perform between 3-4 sets for each extended set.
This is an extremely advanced training technique because it involves heavy weight with very little rest.