Exercise 1: Squat
Reps per set: 12
The big daddy of all lifts. If your balls have not yet dropped, this is the best way coax them out of hiding. You may have seen that awkward contraption in a corner of your gym called a “squat rack” or “power cage”; now it’s your turn to use it. The tips that immediately come to mind are: back straight (do not under any circ*mstances allow for lower back rounding on this), back tight and shoulder blades pulled back and together, break at the hips and not the knees, sit back, hit parallel, and drive out of the hole by pushing your neck and back into the bar. Watching quality Youtube videos and more quality Youtube videos is a must. Reading up on expert advice for proper form is also of the utmost importance. Do not mess around with the squat and it will in turn gift you with a badass physique. Even if you’ve got a 60inch chest and 20inch biceps you’re still going to look like a huge puss if you’ve got chicken legs.
Exercise 2: Leg Press
Reps per set: 10-20
I do not normally advocate machine exercises for leg days, but for the sake of allowing you to learn your strengths/weaknesses and proper form, I’ll throw this in. The leg press can build some great leg mass when done properly. Everyone has seen the guy who does this with his hands on his knees or the guy who stacks 20 plates on the machine and barely lowers the weight; don’t be that guy. Lower the weight to the proper depth, do not ease the workload with your hands on your legs, and make sure you leave a slight bend in your knees at the top of the lift so that your knees aren’t overstressed and the muscles remain under tension. This video covers the common mistakes and showcases the proper form (though be aware that the only reason his knees seem to lock out at the end of the lift is because the weight he is using to demonstrate form is too light for him; do not do this). Keep your lower back on the seat at all times.
Exercise 3: Hamstring Curls
Reps per set: 10-20
Again, another machine exercise I would not advocate, but a good targetter of the hamstrings and an exercise that you should at least be familiar with. The machine may look like this in your gym or it might be one-legged. I’d recommend the one-legged variation so that you can take notice of any muscular imbalances you might have between your dominant and weak leg. Not much to say about this one other than keep your back on the machine if it’s the seated version, and don’t use your body to swing the weight; contract and flex your hamstrings.
Exercise 4: Hanging Leg Raises
Reps per set: as many as possible while maintaining proper form.
Hanging leg raises will tear your abs part when done correctly. I remember reading somewhere that Reggie Bush was able to do 100 of these with proper form in a single workout. Whether or not that was true, the results are obvious. There are a few variations of the hanging leg raise that you can do depending on your current level of fitness. If you cannot properly perform any of the hanging versions of the raise, do this on your gym’s leg raise machine that allows you to rest your arms/elbows on pads. This takes away the added stress of having to hold on to a bar overhead. However, make sure you work up to the bar, as it is not only more difficult, but will also increase your grip strength as well.