Not training them in a way that suits my body type
Having long legs
Since then, I’ve tested this out with a number of clients too with similar body types, and I’m sold on the results.
1. Use Squat Alternatives
I used to back squat twice a week, minimum.
But if you’ve got long legs (in particular femurs), then it’s likely that for muscle growth, you’ll need to pick another squat variation.
2. Embrace the Machines
Now I could see where he was coming from!
3. Don’t Forget About Single Leg Work
- Improved structural balance – this is critical to stay healthy. Most people have imbalances between their legs, and I’ve found this is more so in individuals with long legs. Joint stress is typically higher too, so single leg exercises can provide a joint-friendly way to blast the legs while improving overall structural integrity.
- Reduced spinal loading – single leg exercises allow you to overload the legs with very little spinal loading. This is great for lifters who are typically limited by their lower back strength.
- Your legs are the true limiting factor – if you program these correctly, you can annihilate your legs in your training without taxing the spine, core and upper back. Your legs are what will fail, nothing else.
- Range of Motion - most people can access wider ranges of motion with single leg exercises that they are not able to when performing bilateral exercises, such as squats.
4. Pause At The Bottom
I like incorporating pauses in the weakest position in almost all exercises.
Another applicable example is in long legged lifters who have particularly long tibias, which often limits leg press depth. By pausing at the bottom for 1-2 seconds, you can provide your legs with adequate time under tension to sufficiently stimulate muscle growth, and ensure you’re making the range you have as effective as possible.
5. Work Your Dorsiflexion
One of the most common reasons people struggle to reach depth on a squat or leg press is a lack of dorsiflexion.
- Work the tibilias anterior before squatting / leg pressing. You can do this by doing toe raises, and just focusing on pulling the toes up as high as you can. This works well in supersets with calf raises.
- Try Olympic lifting shoes. While it may be considered as ‘treating the symptom, not the cause’, using a raised heel for some exercises helps to increase depth. I know when I leg press with raised heels I get an extra 2-3 inches, and my quads burn up like fire.
Patience With The Long Legged Program
If you’ve got long legs, you need to be patient. It’s going to take longer to fill out your legs, but if you’re consistent and stay progressive with your key lifts, they’ll eventually catch up.
- Lying DB Leg Curl 3×8-12
- Bulgarian Split Squats 3×10-12
- Paused Leg Press 3×10-15
- Paused DB RDL 3×10-15
- Adductor Machine 3×12-15