3 Tips For Massive Legs – Dealing With Back Or Knee Limitations

3 Tips For Massive Legs – Dealing With Back Or Knee Limitations

1. Pre Exhaust


Pre exhausting a muscle group is really as simple as it sounds. Most lifters in any given gym will typically start their workout with the compound movement they are strongest on. For instance, if they are training chest they start with the bench press. If they are training legs… well most people don’t train legs, but for the sake of argument let’s say that they do and they start with squats. Why? Compound movements involve multiple muscle groups which allow you to move more total weight than an isolation movement. And squat is considered a big lift. So, said individual wants to squat or bench press when they are fresh in the beginning of their workout to allow them to lift the most weight possible.


If your goal is to change your physique then how much weight you move is not the most important aspect of your workout. And if you experience back or knee pain then loading up the weight on your back can be enough of a struggle that you can’t push with everything you have. Pre exhausting your legs with lighter weight before your compound movement will bring the muscle fibers closer to what should be the main goal of your workout: FATIGUE


To pre exhaust you can start on the leg press with what would typically be your warm up weight and use technique number two.

 2. Increase Time Under Tension

Your muscle for the most part has an all or nothing response. Either the fibers contract or they do not, but they do not all contract at 100% capacity every time they contract. You have these motor units that are responsible for contracting muscle fibers. When we increase the time under tension we increase the demand on the fibers which causes the motor units to increase the intensity of the contraction without loading heavier weight. This is done at the weakest point of the lift. You are strongest in the eccentric portion of the movement when you are lowering the weight, but weaker in the concentric portion when you are raising the weight or contracting the muscle.
On the leg press simply use your warm up weight. When I say warm up weight I am speaking about the weight you use to begin your set, which for me is 4 plates each side. I have already spent 5 minutes on the bike, 5 minutes on the eliptical, done some bodyweight squats, and some mobility stretching. After you lower the weight at your normal tempo then press at a much slower tempo. Press the weight back up so slow that you count to 10 before you have completed your rep. A SLOW 10!!! A 10 like those alligators or Mississippi’s you used to count in grade school. And yes I used spell check to write that state that I won’t bother to type again.


Repeat these reps 10-20 times for 5 sets. You will engorge your muscles with blood, enjoy a massive pump, and your fibers will be well on their way to fatigue. Then and only then are you ready to move on to your compound movement of the squat. Now, when you squat, you will not have to go quite as heavy to reach the fatigue required for growth. This means a lighter load for your achey back or knees.

3. Single Leg Ladder

A leg training session would not be complete without a big finish and we will not disappoint. We understand that time can be tight when you are in the gym. If you are not a pro athlete, bodybuilder, or powerlifter you cannot spend all day in there. And if you have a job with normal hours it may be busy when you can go, so options can be limited. Single leg ladders is a technique that gives you the benefits of volume training while getting you in and out. You can do this with any single leg exercise such as leg extensions, leg curls, lunges, split squats, or even single leg press.


  1. Start with a light weight and choose a leg
  2. Execute 15 reps
  3. Switch legs and execute 15 reps (no break)
  4. Increase the weight by a plate and repeat with the leg that started the whole thing
  5. NO BREAKS – repeat this sequence until you get to a weight where you can no longer complete 15 reps
  6. Then reverse it lowering the weight 1 plate at a time and alternating legs


This technique is best performed on machines with stacks where you can simply use the pin to ladder up and down the stack.

These techniques will allow you to take your muscles to failure quicker with less overall weight which will be more forgiving to your joints. For more joint protection pick up the OmniCompression Knee Sleeves, because if you are anything like me you love to train and can’t stand to be sidelined by injuries.

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