Some people love to train legs, while other people dread leg-training day. Because your legs consist of the largest muscle groups in your body, training them can be energy-intensive and challenging. However, if they are not adequately stimulated, they will not grow. Plateaus may occur from not enough training or not training to muscle failure. Train your legs muscles at least once a week but no more than twice weekly on nonconsecutive days.
Your legs consist of four basic muscle areas -- the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves. Many exercises used to train these muscles are compound exercises such as squats, lunges and deadlifts. Including compound exercises in your training routine is a way to stimulate all four muscles with one exercise. However, one or two muscle groups are usually more dominant in certain exercises, such as the quadriceps during the squats, and hamstrings and glutes during the deadlift.
Weak Point Training
Because the legs are a large muscle area, it is common to train them once a week and allow a full week of recovery for optimum muscle growth. However, if your legs are lagging or have reached a plateau in either strength or muscle growth, train them twice a week. Whenever you train a muscle group twice a week, allow at least 48 hours before retraining the same muscle group again. Additionally, never perform another leg workout if you are still sore from your previous workout.
Light-Heavy Training Program
Implementing a light-heavy training program helps advanced weightlifters who have experienced training plateaus. The light-heavy program involves training legs twice a week. Day one of your training would be your heavy day, when you complete exercises using a heavy load for a lower repetition ranges such as six to eight reps per set at 75 to 85 percent of your one-rep maximum. Train your legs again three or four days later using the same or different exercises. However, this time, use a lighter load for more repetitions, such as 65 to 75 percent of your one-rep maximum for eight to 12 reps per set. This method decreases the risk for overtraining and at the same time helps break through a plateau.
Leg Train Splits
Another method to train your legs twice a week would be to split your lower body muscle groups. For example, train your quadriceps and calves on Monday, and your hamstrings and glutes on Thursday. This would allow you to focus your exercises and energy on only two muscle groups instead of four. A quadriceps and calves workout might include exercises such as barbell squats, leg presses with a narrow foot placement, split squats, leg extensions, standing calf raises and seated calf raises. A hamstring and glute workout might include straight-leg deadlifts, bench stepups, cable kickbacks, hack squats and long stride lunges.