Last week I posted the photo below of two pairs of legs. One belonging to myself and the other belonging to long time client and senior CH coach Jes Murphy, in response to receiving the relevant amount of likes/shares we requested here is that 12 week mass building routine for legs for the intermediate level trainee.
By intermediate you must fulfill the following criteria:
- You have been lifting weights no less than 4 times per week for no less than 3 years
- You have the mobility and strength to squat your bodyweight full range for 5 reps (So if you are a 90kg male you should be able to squat 90kg for 5 reps ass to grass)
- Can deadlift either conventional or sumo style 150% of your bodyweight for 1 reps. So if you weight 60kg as a female you need to be able to deadlift 90kg for a single.
- Not be afraid to do some twice per day weight training 😉
If you fulfill the criteria above then ‘bingo’, this program is for you! You have the mobility and neurological efficiency to be able to train effectively for it in particular in weeks 1-3 and 7-9!
Below you will find your 12-week outline, as you can see in weeks 1-3 and 7-9 you will be training legs twice per day and four times per week. In weeks 4-6 and 10-12 you will be doing two lower body sessions per week. In total you will train legs 36 times over 12 weeks at an average over that period of three times per week!
As you can see I like to rotate programs every three weeks with the final week of every cycle being a deload week where you will reduce your total volume to 60% as a way of recovery through reduction of volume. So for example in week 12 you would do 6 sets of 10 reps on the GVT program A series and only 2 sets of 10-12 for the B series.
Again this is crucial for this program to work effectively, you must deload every third week without fail! However on those weeks you should still aim for maximum intensity or load used during those fewer working sets.
As an intermediate trainee I find most people will respond to a change of program after the third workout, whilst you could boost this routine out to 4 week blocks making it a 16 week schedule, I have personally found 3 weeks then change for clients who fit the criteria above more effective however there are always exceptions to the rule!
Two other important concepts need to be understood with this program, one is the accumulation and intensification principle of periodization and the second is the concept of myofibrillar versus sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and as you can see in the context of the program I am giving you they both work hand in hand.
Accumulation: Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy
Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is the goal during the accumulation phase, which involves the growth of the sarcoplasm and non-contractile proteins that do not directly contribute to muscular force production. So filament area density decreases while cross-sectional area increases, without a significant increase in strength.
This type of hypertrophy is also known as ‘cell swelling’, so our muscle fibers adapt to a higher volume, reps and a lower intensity or % of 1RM is used by increasing the number of mitochondria in the cell. It also leads to the elevation of enzymes that are involved in glycolytic and oxidative pathways, so overall there is a much higher amount of metabolic adaptations taking place.
Many traditional bodybuilders utilise only this concept or method of training which generally leads to the creation of non-functional muscle mass or muscle that although large in size is not actually strong comparatively. Generally speaking these people’s muscles will appear rather ‘full’ like they have been blown up like a balloon but not dense or thick.
Intensification: Myofibriliar Hypertrophy
Myofibrillar hypertrophy occurs due to an increase in myosin-acting filaments. Contractile proteins are synthesized and filament density increases. This type of hypertrophy leads to increased strength production, which occurs due to increases in the number of myosin/actin filaments (sarcomeres) inside the cell.
This leads to increased strength and size of the contractile unit of muscle, which ultimately will lead to greater force production, or strength. This is the type of training that many weightlifters, power lifters and strength sport athletes use.
Depending on the persons genetics, training age and training frequency it can still lead to large amounts of muscle mass being built however generally speaking these people’s muscles will appear hard, dense and thick. People who have good myofibriliar hypertrophy are strong and found in strength sports such as Olympic Weightlifting and Powerlifting.
The premise of using this accumulation and intensification model is so that the muscle mass we do develop will not only look good but be strong in nature and through increasing myofibriliar hypertrophy will allow us to use heavier load during our volume training, thus increasing the stress we can place on the muscle with the goal of optimising growth!
So without further adieu here are the routines…
Phase 1 – Reg Park 5 x 5 AM & 6-6-12 PM
Phase 2 – Modified Giant Sets
Phase 3 – Wave Load AM & 8 x 4 PM
Phase 4 – German Volume Training
I can guarantee that if you follow this program to the letter… So you are strict with your tempo, rest periods, technique and so forth, you will achieve great results and add substantial size and strength to your lower body!
Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram @cleanhealthpt for more training and nutrition tips to help maximize your results in the gym!
Yours in health,
Daine McDonald – Personal Trainer, Nutritionist & Health Educator | Founder & Owner Of Clean Health
(B.Sc.HM, Adv.Dip.NutMed, Dip.Fit, Dip.SC)
Daine is the founder and head trainer of Clean Health; Australia’s leading results based personal training company. With over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry, a background in the military and martial arts, he is known for his no-nonsense approach to helping his clients achieve rapid health and fitness goals whether it be fat loss, muscle building or athletic performance.
Over the course of his career he has been able to bring about lifelong changes and peak performance for not just competitive athletes but also the recreational gym enthusiast alike. He has created Australian champions in raw powerlifting, natural fitness/sports model, mogul skiing, and boxing along with having coached professional NRL and ARU players as well.
He is also an accomplished writer who contributes to numerous publications including Australian Women’s Health & Fitness, Oxygen Magazine, The Australian Biggest Loser Club and Fitness First Magazine.
Follow Daine directly on Instagram: @dainemcdonald