You’re hitting the gym hard, focusing on each and every workout like it’s your last…and seeing some good progress, but it seems like your legs just won’t grow!!?! Normally people will find that their lower body STRENGTH is improving but the size isn’t coming with it. A stronger muscle does have the POTENTIAL to be a bigger muscle. However, one does not automatically infer the other. Here’s a few reasons that your legs may not be getting any bigger…
You’re training for strength not size
Where hitting the weights heavy in low rep sets can give you some muscle growth along side your strength improvements, the so-called ‘bodybuilding‘ rep ranges will do it even more so! Instead of treating every leg session as a way to hit a new record on your squat or deadlift, focus on the quality of your reps, keeping the muscle under constant tension throughout the set and working towards fatiguing the muscle as much as you can. Stick with the classic 8-15 rep ranges, with a slow negative (lowering portion of the lift), slight pause, then explode back to the starting position.
You’re only training legs once per week
Yes, you can make some gains only hitting your legs once per week (as long as the intensity and volume is there). However, just like any other muscle group that you’re wanting to work on, you can simply change the frequency of how often you train it each week for better results. Try increasing your leg workouts to two times per week for a month, then possibly even 3 if it’s a big goal of yours. Just make sure to allow adequate time between leg workouts to recover fully as they’re a big muscle group. With more frequency you can also split your leg workouts between quads/hamstrings, allowing for more exercise per muscle group, per workout. More volume > More size!
Your calories are too low
Calories are the building blocks of the body, without them, tissue growth won’t happen. If you’re not in a calorie surplus, (eating more calories than you burn in a day), it is scientifically impossible for you to gain new muscle. This goes for all muscle too, not just legs! Fuel your weeks (and workouts) adequately so that you’re leaving no stone un-turned and starting to build more size.
The intensity just isn’t there
The reason so many people skip leg day is the same reason why most people find their legs won’t grow! Leg day can suck, it can hurt, it can majorly drain you…we get it! But you have to find the pleasure in the pain and accept that it’s going to take some work to start building. Remember you’re walking round on your legs all day, they’re built to last so are going to take greater intensity in order to initiate new growth. The moment you can switch your mind from “I hate leg day” to “I love leg day” is the first hurdle to get over. Secondly, rushing through your leg days and doing the bare minimum just won’t cut it either, so stop thinking that was an acceptable workout for legs. Get some good volume in your workout and remember to work on controlled form EVERY set, not just the first few. Use exercises you connect well with too, as you’ll enjoy the workout more as well as get more out of each working set. For example if you simply don’t connect with squats, then leg press could be a better alternative etc. Leg day is hugely important for your whole body development, see it from that point of view and put your all in with added intensity!