How to Train Legs, Part II

steve hansonSteve Hanson has been studying health, fitness, and nutrition since 1996. While he now works as a software engineer and web developer, Steve spent several years as a personal trainer and sport nutritionist in southern NH. Steve runs a blog called Project Swole, where health-minded web surfers can go to learn to Build Muscle and Lose Fat more efficiently. Project Swole is a collection of articles, tips, and personal experiences that anyone can use to become stronger, leaner, and healthier.

The Workout Plan

In last week’s How to Train Legs Part I, I talked about the reasons why you should train your legs hard and hopefully helped you to establish some new goals for leg training. Today, I outline a workout to achieve those goals.

How to Sprint

Choose an exercise like running, cycling, stairs, swimming, or whatever else you feel most comfortable with. The only caveat is that it must be an exercise that can accommodate 100% maximal effort (no walking!).

Using running as a reference point, this will help you determine intensity:

  • Low intensity is like walking briskly.
  • Medium intensity is like a sustainable jog.
  • High intensity is like an all-out max effort sprint.sprinter

Now perform the sprints using the following duration/intensity scheme:

Duration Intensity
120 sec                Low
60 sec                Medium
120 sec                Low
30 sec                High
120 sec                Medium
30 sec                High
120 sec                Low
30 sec                High
120 sec                Medium
30 sec                High
120 sec                Low
60 sec                Medium
120 sec                Low

In order to gauge progress over time, you can try to:

  • Increase sprint duration.
  • Decrease rest periods to 90 seconds, then to 60 seconds.
  • Increase the number of high intensity sprints in a session.

Training Goals

We want to execute three full-body workouts each week, so that we can hit the legs hard every other day.

Execute from one to three warm-up sets and five work sets for the first exercise of the day. Follow this with three sets of each subsequent exercise.


  • For strength gains, 5 reps for men, 7 reps for women.
  • For muscle gains, 10 reps for men, 12 reps for women.
  • For endurance gains, 15 reps for men, 20 reps for women.

Choose one weight and stick with it for the duration of the exercise. If you complete all of your required reps for all of your required sets, increase the weight by at least five pounds for your next workout.

squatsFull Body Routine
Workout 1:

  • 5 sets of squats
  • 3 sets of rows
  • 3 sets of good mornings / stiff leg deadlifts
  • 3 sets of dumbbell bench press
  • 3 sets of abs

Workout 2:

  • 5 sets of deadlifts
  • 3 sets of incline barbell bench
  • 3 sets of alternating lunges holding dumbbells
  • 3 sets of pull ups / pull downs
  • 3 sets focusing on lower abs

Workout 3:

  • Include a 20 minute session of interval sprints at the beginning of your training.
  • 3 sets of any chest press
  • 3 sets of any row or pull up / pull down
  • 3 sets of shoulder presses
  • 3 sets of dips super set with 3 sets of dumbbell curls
  • 3 sets of abs


  • After each workout you should be stretching for no less than 10 minutes.
  • Drink a post-workout drink within 20 minutes of finishing your workout.
  • Drink 64 ounces of water every day.
  • Sleep for 7-8 hours every night.
  • Eat 3 solid meals and 3 smaller snacks every day.

If you must do extra cardio, I recommend doing low-intensity cardio at the opposite end of the day from your weight training or immediately after your training session, then take the following day off completely.

Stick to this program for eight weeks and let us know your results.

One Response to How to Train Legs, Part II

RALPH says:

This is a great story. Thanks!

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