Why I Do High Reps for Legs

I’m writing this post after a super intense leg workout. I woke up around 4:15AM, slammed my pre workout and creatine, and headed to the gym. I usually map out my workouts in my head on the way to gym. I knew today was going to be high reps for legs.

High Reps for Legs

When I say high reps, it means I’m doing anywhere from 12 to 20 reps per set. 12 is the minimum. Over the past few years, I’ve found that doing high reps for legs is key for leg growth, especially developing the size and shape of your quads.

In my younger years, I remember trying to squat heavy. I got stronger in the sense that I would move up in how much I could squat. But the size of my legs didn’t match the amount of weight I could squat.

Have you ever noticed that there are many guys who will load up the leg press with as any 45 lbs plates that will fit? You have have also noticed most of those people have mediocre leg development, at best.

You all know that I’m an avid fan of lifting heavy weights to build muscle. However, my approach to legs is a little different. I’ll share my workout from this morning below.

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High Rep Leg Workout

I almost always start out with leg extensions to get the blood pumping and warm up my quads. After that I’ll jump into a compound leg exercise, which is usually leg press. I move through exercises for quads  first, ending with some hamstring exercises.

Leg Workout:

  • Leg Extensions
    • 4 sets x 20 reps
  • Leg Press
    • 7 sets x 15 reps
  • Squats
    • 5 sets x 20 reps
  • Leg Extensions
    • 7 sets x 15 reps
  • Lying Leg Extensions
    • 4 sets x 12 reps

As you can see, I kept the reps well over 12 and sometimes went up to 20 reps. I personally prefer to stick with basic exercises and just do more volume with those (more sets). I only did one exercise for hamstrings because I did deadlifts on Monday, just two days ago. My hams are still a little sore from that (I’ve also been hitting hamstrings after back on Mondays).


Benefits of High Reps for Legs

I want to point out some of the changes I’ve noticed since I started doing more reps for legs. For starters, your leg workouts will be more brutal and exhausting. The pumps are insane, especially if you rest less between sets. I typically rest about 45 seconds to a minute between sets.

The greatest change I noticed is my overall leg development. That tear drop in my quads has become more pronounced. And I’ve gained a good amount of overall size in my legs. I’ll venture to say my legs have grown more over the past 3 years or so than they ever have throughout my 25+ years of training.

High Reps Does Mean Light Weight

Before I conclude, let me back up and reiterate something. High reps for legs doesn’t mean going light. You still need to pick a challenging weight. Granted, I’m not filling up the leg press machine but I’m still using anywhere from 4-6 plates on each side. That’s still a decent amount of weight to push.

Some of you may scoff at that. If so, try doing 15-20 quality reps with that weight. Sometimes less is more if you do it right!

If you haven’t done high reps for legs, I encourage you to try it for your next leg workout. It will mean dropping the weight a little but you may be surprised at the results.

Train with Passion,


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