Leg Training Tips!

Here are 5 of my favorite leg training tips to help you maximize your lower body development!

1. Keep it simple…Squat, Squat, Squat!
There is no better lower body exercise than squats.  Squats will help develop quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes.  Plus squatting has a positive effect on your entire body.

2.  Train quadriceps and hamstrings during the same workout.
I view the upper leg as one functional unit and due to the amount of hamstring involvement in compound exercises like squats I think it makes the most sense to train hamstrings and quadriceps on the same day.  I believe separating the two will lead to over-training.

3.  Keep the volume low and the intensity high.
This is a common theme for all body parts and one of the most important.  7-8 total sets for legs (quads and hamstrings) is sufficient.  Keep intensity high with heavy weights in a 4-6 rep range.

4.  Don’t mess with feet position.
When squatting or doing the leg press place your feet in a comfortable and natural position/distance apart where you feel strongest.  Work with your natural mechanics, not against them.

5.  Work them once a week only.
Train legs one time per week only to avoid over-training and allow for maximum recovery/results.
(Ladies – you can’t spot reduce fat so training legs/glutes/hams multiple times per week isn’t going to “tone” you up faster.)

You can see an example of an effective leg workout on this FREE Max-OT routine.


  1. Hi Jeff!

    I’m a big fan of yours. Thank you for sharing on tips.
    I have two questions that I would appreciate if you could give your view on.

    1. When you are talking about recovery and overtraining, It seems as if you’re talking about “muscle overtraining”, but since the Max-OT principes recommend that you go to positive failure in each and every set in each and every workout, won’t that be very tough on the central nervous system? Personally I feel much more drained after a low volume workout with failure training than a high volume workout where I take the sets short of failure.
    Don’t you think that this constant super high intensity training will lead to overtraining on a CNS-level, even though it will be avoided on a muscular level?

    2. When I add 3-4 Max-OT cardio sessions a week (every other day) now during my diet, dou you think it would be a good idea to either reduce volume further or shift from a 5-day split to e.g. a 3-day split? I ask this since I believe that just from 5 high intensity workouts/week I feel really tired and if I would add 3-4 hard cardio sessions to that, and while reducing my calories at the same time, I’m not sure my body will be able to handle all that stress. What’s your view?

    Hope you understand the questions, English is not my mother tounge.

    Thank you and best regards,

    • 1) If I thought Max-OT would lead to over training on any level I would have used a different method.

      2) I don’t think you need to reduce training volume when you increase cardio frequency. It all depends on your physique goals but generally if you are emphasizing fat loss you will continue to increase cardio frequency over time and gradually reduce caloric intake.

  2. Hey Jeff, just wanted to say thanks for all the great information you put out. I use to read up on your old competition journals over at AST and bought some of your stuff and the leg training you recommended has definitely helped me out in building a strong enough base in the glutes and hams that I can actually switch into a powerlifting style of training with no problem. Thanks!

  3. Hey Jeff,
    I have recently started a max OT 5 day routine and I am getting good results. However on a leg day I do not squat I lunge the reason being I am quite tall and I feel unsure if squats with a heavy load would strain my back. I have heard various rumors of squats causing back problems what is your opinion regarding squats and back problems


    • Squats executed with good form will not cause any back problems. In fact, due to the large amount of core work done during squats it actually strengthens core muscles and will help support your back.

  4. Hey Jeff,

    As always, I am checking regularly for your blog updates! I have been making great progress w/Max O-T/ Max O-T cardio. My question is on weight-training off days, while still doing Max O-T cardio, should I still supplement with high-glycemic carbs afterwards as well as the following 3-hour post workout period as I would on weight-training days?

    • In that scenario I follow the cardio session with a post cardio drink just like after weight training and then I resume non training hour meals of protein and low GI carbs.

  5. Hi Jeff,

    After watching the documentary I was really inspired to learn the principles of Max OT Cardio, Training and most important Nutrition. I was browsing various sites so I can get the proper certifications to become a Jedi Master like yourself in this field. What is your recommendations Jeff? Thank you very much for having an impact on my life.

  6. Hi Jeff I understand that you must be very busy. I was wondering how to squat properly without putting to much stress on the knees, any tips? Also are wall squats with heavy dumbbells as effective as barbell squats? Thank you very much for your time


    • I prefer standard barbell squats to wall squats or any alternative.

      It is easier to show how to do it than to articulate it and I have good visuals of execution in my training DVD’s. In general you want to keep your head up, back straight and core tight throughout the movement. Keep your butt out and feet flat as you lower until your upper legs are at least parallel with the floor.

      Always focus on keeping that core tight and head up throughout the movement.

      Hope this helps.

  7. Thanks alot Jeff I will buy your training dvd’s when I can

  8. Hi Jeff, I was wondering would static barbell lunges 4-6 reps each leg 5 sets be an adequete replacements for squats in my leg workout as I really struggle to squat because I am very long limmed and struggle to target my quads and I am constantly trying to avoid injury. No matter what it seems that I am not mnade to squat? Any better alternative exercises or advice you could suggest would be much appreciated. Thank you for your time.


  9. Thanks Jeff will look into front squats I also I had a minor lumbar spine op early this year and I am thinking if I should put stiff leg deads into my routine or stick to hamstring curls. Are sld’s safe for the lower back? If so how are they done correctly? Keep up the good work


    • Yes, when done correctly they are a very safe exercise. One of the main points is to NOT round your back. Keep your head up and back arched as you lower the weight. Only lower the weight as low as flexibility allows WITHOUT rounding your back. If you do it correctly you will feel all the tension in the hamstrings and very little on the lower back.

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