I've heard a lot of people saying that you can help muscle growth of all your body by training your leg.

First of all why ? I know it's because the leg muscle are the biggest muscle in the body but what's the link ?

And second question : Should I train my leg in every training to gain muscle or once a week is enough to give the boost for muscle growth ?


  • By "training your leg", do you mean heavy barbell squats? Commented Feb 15, 2012 at 13:45
  • yep, squat and leg curl, now i'm doing a full leg training once a week but is it enough ?
    – Greg
    Commented Feb 15, 2012 at 13:47
  • @Greg It's enough if you are achieving what your setting out to achieve. In general, targeting a muscle group 2 - 3 times a week is sufficient, with at least a days rest between. Commented Feb 15, 2012 at 14:03
  • Yeah but i wanna know if there's a bigger gain by training the leg with each muscle group instead of once a week
    – Greg
    Commented Feb 15, 2012 at 14:10

1 Answer 1


You help muscle growth all over your body by using heavy compound lifts. The two exercises that provide the biggest bang for your buck are full depth squats (to parallel) and deadlifts. These exercises target:

  • Calves
  • Hamstrings
  • Quadriceps
  • Gluteous
  • Upper and lower back
  • Abs
  • adductors and abductors (squats)
  • forearms (grip on the deadlifts)
  • biceps (supporting bar on squats)

So you are getting work across your entire body. If you add to that a pair of compound pressing movements: the bench press (everyone's favorite), and the standing overhead press, you will have hit just about every muscle group in your body.

The big reason why:

Squats and deadlifts provide the highest testosterone response. Testosterone in turn triggers growth hormone and insulin like growth factor 1 which are major muscle builders for the body. Every muscle that needs to improve will get the hormonal response to trigger growth. Assuming you have the protein reserves necessary to build up the muscle, that's what will happen.

Combine heavy training with proper rest, and you have a recipe for getting bigger and stronger.

How often to train:

If you are a beginner--meaning you can recover completely every session--there's no reason not to squat every time you get in the gym. In fact two of the best beginner lifting programs have you squat every session, and alternate between bench press and overhead press. The only difference between the two as far as exercise selection goes is one alternates between deadlift and power cleans (Starting Strength), and the other alternates between deadlift and barbell rows (Strong Lifts).

More advanced trainees might be better served to limit squatting and deadlifts to once per week. The reason for that is because it takes longer to fully recover from the effort. Wendler 5-3-1 program has you split your main compound lifts (squat, bench, deadlift, overhead press) so that you are focusing on one per session. The assistance work you do in each session is selected based on your desired goals--such as getting strong, building mass, etc.

  • Squats have no hypertrophy effect on the calves,forearms,biceps and abdominals... No one has ever grown muscle in this places by doing squats. Just because a muscle is active during a movement, it doesn't mean the stress is enough to cause adaptation. Your neck is always active holding your head up while you do barbell rows, does that mean barbell rows build your neck.....obviously not.
    – Ekaen
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 11:57
  • 1
    @Ekaen, not everyone's physiology is the same. In my case I need very little training to build the calves and neck. That said, you are correct in that if you want to have larger muscles you have to train for that effect. I know of a lot of weight trainers now that need a lot of direct training to build any appreciable mass in those areas. I've learned some things since I originally wrote the answer. Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 12:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.