Your legs are a complex, large muscle group capable of doing some heavy lifting. You could be gobbling up all the food in the world to grow, but sometimes, you get into a rut, and no matter what you try, you're not growing or increasing your power. We asked personal trainer Rob Sulaver of Bandana Training for three reasons your leg progression has come to a dead halt and how to get back on the up and up.
You're a night owl
If you're the type of guy to come home after a workout, pop the TV on and veg out on the couch until all hours of the night, it could be costing you. Sulaver says, "Growth hormone is produced while you sleep and more sleep equals more growth hormone." If you're serious about wanting those legs to grow, learn to adopt a regular sleep routine and get at least six to eight hours a night.
You're fighting half the battle
Considering the complexity of the muscles in the legs, they have to be worked and challenged to the max. Many times when lifters comes to a standstill, the culprit is performing partial repetitions. Sulaver says, "You're not using a full range of motion when you squat." He recommends deep squats, meaning a full range of motion to activate as many muscle fibers as possible. Don't be afraid of full squats.
You're neglecting the baby weights
Just because you're training a large muscle group doesn't always mean to only use the heavier plates on the rack. Sulaver points out the third culprit, "You don't use micro-progression (slowly increasing the weight)." He suggests, "For lower body exercises, you should expect to add five percent to the weight you're lifting from workout to workout." Instead of insisting on only loading the 25- or 10-pound plates on each side, utilize the smaller weights, even if they are just 1.25lbs. Tackling the smaller weight challenges week over week will eventually add up to bigger gains.