Are you looking to quickly add mass onto those skinny legs? Then this post will benefit you. Because today, I’ll be explaining how many times a week you should workout your legs as a skinny guy.
In general, it is recommended to perform 2 to 4 leg workouts per week to grow bigger legs. This would involve heavy compound leg exercises such as the deadlift, squat, and their variations. It is also important not to exceed more than 15 sets per leg muscle per week.
I managed to gain 5 inches on my thigh diameter on these recommendations.
It may be tempting to reach your goals by hitting your legs every day. But that may be counterproductive, and I’ll be explaining why.
So let’s jump straight in!
- How Many Times A Week Should I Workout My Legs?
- Is It Bad To Workout Legs Every Day?
- If You Really Want To Do A Legs Every Day Program…
- What Happens When You Only Workout Your Legs?
How Many Times A Week Should I Workout My Legs?
One thing to bear in mind is that the legs can take a lot of punishment.
They are, after all, the biggest muscles in your body.
Additionally, the leg muscles contain a balanced ratio of slow and fast twitch muscle fibres.
Slow twitch fibres are responsible for extended durations of light-intensity contractions, whereas fast twitch fibres produce explosive movements.
General Recommendation Is 2 To 4 Heavy Workouts Per Week
It’s generally recommended to work the legs with 2-4 heavy training sessions per week.
Additionally, exercise-choice should focus on compound movements, with a balance of hip-dominant and quad-dominant exercises.
Here’s the difference between the two types of leg exercises:
- Hip-dominant exercises- such as the deadlift mainly work the muscles in the rear leg and posterior chain.
- Quad-dominant exercises- such as the squat predominantly work the muscles in the quadriceps.
Combined, these exercises will work the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus maximus, and calves.
You may also supplement your 2-4 heavy sessions with light leg training throughout the week (running, cycling, light weight training).
Doing Legs 3 Times Per Week Will Produce Good Results
Most people will work the legs with 1 or 2 training sessions per week.
But 1 session does not give enough training frequency to optimise leg strength and size gains.
Working the legs twice per week has been shown to return better hypertrophy results.
But from my experience, doing 3 heavy leg workouts per week is optimal.
Here’s the leg development I saw by doing 3 leg days per week.
Here, I worked my legs 3 times per week as part of a full body workout.
This included squats, deadlifts, and calf-raises (as well as the other muscle group exercises).
With a day or two rest between workouts, I found recovery was sufficient and muscle soreness didn’t affect my ability to train the legs.
More importantly, my thigh diameter increased by 4cm.
Not much, but getting there!
Doing Legs 4 Times Per Week Is Also Effective If….
At one point, I decided to experiment by increasing to 4 heavy leg workouts per week.
But I found the rate of my leg strength gains diminished considerably.
Instead of being able to push an extra 5lbs per week, my strength plateau’d and I remained stuck on my squat and deadlift.
This was probably because I was pushing too much training volume, and as a result, my legs couldn’t cope.
So instead, I decreased the number of sets from 5 sets per workout to 3 sets (effectively balancing out the training volume).
Here are the results.
The results were highly noticeable.
I was able to resume my strength progress, and my legs continued growing.
Within 1.5 years, my thigh diameter had increased 5 inches.
Is It Bad To Workout Legs Every Day?
The benefits of training your legs every day will largely depend on the type of leg workout you perform, as well as your training goals.
Leg workouts can belong to 2 broad categories:
- High intensity- heavy weight training.
- Low intensity- light weight training and cardiovascular activities such as jogging and cycling.
Likewise, training goals belong to 3 broad categories:
- Strength and hypertrophy- getting bigger and stronger muscles.
- Endurance- making your muscles work for extended durations.
- General fitness- improving your daily health with cardiovascular activities.
You may also be interested in my other article to learn about the differences between the dumbbell squat vs deadlift!
Doing Legs Every Day With Heavy Training Is Not Recommended.
The term “heavy” refers to pushing a weight which is over 60% of your 1 rep max (1RM) for that exercise.
A 1 rep max in turn refers to the maximum amount of weight you can lift in one go for that exercise.
Therefore heavy leg training describes any workout where your legs are pushing weights that are over 60% of your 1RM.
Heavy leg workouts are mostly performed with barbells, dumbbells, or weight machines.
Why do people do heavy leg training?
Simple- to increase leg strength and size.
Every time your legs are put through a heavy workout, small micro-tears form in your leg muscles and these are subsequently repaired.
And repeated tear-repair cycles increase muscle fibre size and number, leading to bigger and stronger legs.
Now that you understand what happens to your legs during heavy workouts, it becomes clear why heavy leg training on a daily basis is not recommended.
Since the repair process is important for growth, doing legs every day will impair recovery.
And impaired recovery can result in:
- Decreased strength.
- Inhibited muscle growth.
So if you’re a skinny guy on a mission to develop leg strength and size, it can be bad to workout the legs every day of the week!
Check out my other article to find out why doing legs every day is too much!
Doing Legs Every Day With Light Training Is Acceptable.
The term “light” refers to pushing weights which are less than 60% of your 1RM.
This is mostly performed with dumbbells, resistance bands, and body weight.
Why do people do light leg training?
Mostly to improve muscular endurance, cardiovascular efficiency, and general health and fitness.
Many people also perform light leg workouts with the aim to tone the legs.
This is a misconception which needs to be clarified.
A toned muscle is simply one that is partially contracted even at rest, and this makes the muscle visually defined.
Although light leg workouts can help tone the legs in a skinny beginner, the reality is that any form of weight training can improve the definition in a naive muscle (one that hasn’t seen much previous training).
And heavy weight training is actually more effective to tone a muscle, since heavier weights provide a greater mechanical stimulus to the muscle.
Light leg workouts can be done every day if your goals align with those described above.
But you should make sure that the weight is actually light enough not to overwork your legs.
The easiest way to do this is to listen to your body.
Post-workout soreness is ok, but it should never be painful or affect your daily life.
So it can be equally effective to work out your legs 3 or 4 times a week. Just make sure you account for your total training volume.
Go to my other post to find out how much you should be dumbbell squatting!
If You Really Want To Do A Legs Every Day Program…
Some of you may still be adamant about dong leg workouts every day of the week.
So here’s how you could do it.
First, include 3 heavy compound leg workouts per week. The best leg exercises for this would be squats, deadlifts, leg presses, and their variations.
Then you could fit light leg training around those 3 days. Exercises and workouts could include running, cycling, or training with light dumbbells or barbells.
This is how I would workout my legs every day of the week:
- Monday- heavy compound barbell exercises (deadlifts and squats).
- Tuesday- cycling.
- Wednesday- heavy compound barbell exercises (deadlifts and squats).
- Thursday- light dumbbell leg exercises.
- Friday- heavy compound barbell exercises (deadlifts and squats).
- Sunday- running or light dumbbell leg exercises.
This program involves doing legs everyday, but it doesn’t contain so much training volume that your legs become overtrained.
Find out my favorite squats to build powerful legs in my other article!
What Happens When You Only Workout Your Legs?
In general, it’s always recommended to work all your muscles in a balanced manner.
If you only do heavy leg workouts, chances are you’ll develop an unbalanced physique. Your legs and glutes will look abnormally large compared to your upper body.
But if you only do light leg workouts, you won’t gain a significant leg muscle size. So this would be ok. At most, you will slightly tone your legs.
Check out my other article to find out exactly how long it takes to build a powerful physique as a skinny guy
Today I’ve explained how many times a week you should workout the legs.
Most people do 1 or 2 leg workouts per week.
But if your goal is to quickly grow bigger and stronger legs, then 3 heavy leg workouts per week is recommended.
4 heavy leg workouts per week is also acceptable, if you reduce the number of sets per workouts.
If you choose to do leg workouts everyday, then make sure you include a balance of light and heavy leg workouts to ensure your leg’s aren’t overtrained!
How many leg workouts do you do a week?
Let me know in the comments below!
Alternatively, download the FREE Kalibre Muscle Blueprint to find out EXACTLY how I transformed my skinny body as a hardgainer!
Thanks for reading guys!
(Biochemistry BSc, Biomedical Sciences MSc, Ex-Skinny Guy)