Mass-building comes with a set of rules. That means starting your workout with the most challenging exercises and heaviest loads, hitting the thighs from a variety of angles, keeping the volume (number of total sets and reps) high, and training to muscle failure.

Altering your foot placement on the leg press allows you to recruit leg musculature in slightly different ways. Putting your feet up higher on the sled shifts some of the emphasis from the quads to the hams and glutes because a greater degree of hip flexion/extension is taking place. Also, don’t shortchange the depth of your knee bendwhich should reach 90 degreesby going too heavythat also limits glute and hamstrings activation. Unless you’re following a pre-exhaust routine, save the single-joint movements for last.

The workout follows a reverse-pyramid protocol, which allows you to take more total sets to muscle failure. As the rep target goes up, be sure to lighten the weight commensurately. The workouts target four muscle groups: quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. To shorten the workout, you could eliminate exercises for calves, hamstrings, or both; if so, hit calves and hammies on a different training day.


Do as many warm-up reps as you need, but never take them to muscle failure.
Choose a weight that allows you to reach muscle failure by the target rep listed.
If you have a spotter, do a few forced reps on your 1-2 heaviest sets of each exercise.

Mass-Building Routine

1 Barbell Squat

4 sets, 6-8, 6-8, 8-10, 8-10 reps (Lighten the weight after your first 2 sets.)

2 Leg Press

4 sets, 8-10, 8-10, 10-12, 10-12 reps (Alternate 2 different foot positions.)

3 Dumbbell Walking Lunge

3 sets, 10, 12, 14 steps per side

4 Leg Extensions

3 sets, 10 reps (Do a single dropset on each set.)

5 Romanian Deadlift

3 sets, 8, 10, 12 reps

6 Lying Leg Curls

3 sets, 8, 10, 12 reps

7 Standing Calf Raises

4 sets, 12, 12, 20, 20 reps