5 Biggest Leg Day Mistakes

5 Biggest Leg Training Mistakes

A solid leg workout means never sacrificing good form for more weight. Here are 5 common leg-training mistakes that are sure to leave your wheels deflated!

By Bill Geiger

1. Lifting Your Hips Off The Pad During Leg Presses


Shallow squats are one thing, but on the other end of the spectrum is trying to lengthen a given move’s range of motion past a safe point. If your hips come off the pad when doing leg presses, you’ve lowered the sled too far and are putting your lower spine at risk of injury. It’s critical that you control the negative portion of the rep so you can smoothly reverse direction. Try placing your feet a little higher and wider on the sled, and don’t allow your knees to come all the way in to your chest. Again, stretching after your workout can help.

2. Doing Shallow Squats

Whether it’s on the leg press, hack squat or doing free-weight squats, nothing is more pathetic than loading up a bar and dropping just a few inches. We’re not impressed. While heavy partial-rep training has a place in advanced-level bodybuilding, doing all your sets this way shortchanges leg development, especially in the hamstrings and glutes. Drop down so you can achieve a full 90-degree bend in your knees. Avoid rigorous stretching before squatting, because it tends to make you weaker, but stretching your legs after your workout will help you maintain flexibility so you can squat low.

3. Going Too Low On Romanian Deadlifts


This is by far one of the most common leg-training mistakes! Lifters know they should keep a flat back, but in an effort to increase the range of motion, they often lower the bar too far on this single-joint move, causing the back to round. First, the plates shouldn’t touch the floor; this isn’t a conventional deadlift. Second, try this test with just the bar: Rehearse the movement facing sideways to the mirror, and turn your head to watch your back as you descend to just mid-shin level. Your spine should never, ever round! One more tip: Don’t lock out your knees.

4. Excessively Pointing Your Toes


You may have heard that turning your feet inward or outward during leg exercises can help target particular areas of the leg, but that really only works on open-chain moves where your feet aren’t planted against a solid surface, such as on leg extensions and lying leg curls. Pointing your toes excessively inward or outward on squats, leg presses and hack squats can actually damage your knee, hip and/or ankle joints, so it’s best to use a more natural foot position. For most bodybuilders, that’s one in which the feet are turned slightly outward. Find a comfortable, balanced stance in which your feet remain flat on the platform, and which allows you to press through your heels and the balls of your feet for maximal power and strength.

5. Being Able To “Walk” Out Of The Gym

Ask any bodybuilder with legs bigger than a chicken’s and he’ll tell you that leg training is demanding work, it takes every ounce of energy, and if you do it right you should not be able to train another bodypart afterward, let alone even try to walk up a flight of stairs. So how does your leg workout compare? Do you put every ounce of energy into your training and take your sets to failure, or do you mindlessly perform sets of 10 and experience little fatigue or leg cramping afterward? Get a push by working out with a training partner who is highly motivated or try a new routine. Next-day muscle soreness to some degree is a good sign you’re training hard.

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  • italiano bambino

    I did legs yesterday im SUPER sore ….. someone carry me please :P

    • Lakita Leggett

      I worked put my calves really good for once a and I couldn’t walk straight for days. Didn’t know calves could hurt so bad.

  • Efrain Ramos

    excellent points about common mistakes sure to remind myself

  • Keri Horn

    I guess I’m the chicken. Don’t feel a damned thing!

  • Aronovici Thomas

    After a good leg work out ( mostly squats ), I experience some trouble to get up from the toilet, sometimes I even walk funny, at some steps, I descend beyond the normal walk level. I’m so happy when I can squat hard but with the perfect form and care.

  • Devin Hamblet

    I hit legs yesterday, and they are sore enough especially trying to walk up a flight of stairs

  • Andrew Riegle

    God you people are as bad as anorexics. You think it’s healthy to not be able to walk up a flight of stairs after a workout? What if you have to… I don’t know… actually use your legs for something PRACTICAL instead of just using them to pick up heavy weights so that your boyfriend can admire your muscular thighs while he’s blowing his load into your ass.

    • Kase

      If your going to even bother hitting the gym, hit it hard and don’t be a pussy.

      • John Meyers

        Thank you from taking time from your busy schedule of injecting steroids to respond to my comment

      • Joel

        Actually I agree with the original comment. I do a 10×10 squat twice a week, and my legs are massive. I am winded after a workout, but if you are not able to “walk” out of the gym, or “walk” up stairs the next day, then you obviously don’t train legs frequently enough, “leg day” is not a day, it should be the main part of your workout schedule, a heavy squat boosts testosterone and works most of the body. Once your body is used to training legs frequently, then the soreness will slowly lessen. Less machines, more squats!

        • Ron McConnell Jr.

          I agree. I am doing Well over 100 squats each leg day (sometimes up into the two hundreds it I do athletic stance and then toes pointed ahead and THEN front squats) and I do legs twice a week WITH another 60-100 squats thrown in on a third day. My legs are a little tight and I will hit muscle fatigue the day of and the day after MUCH faster…but I can walk. DOMS wont be as bad if you condition your body to be used to doing legs. Once a week for half your body is NOT enough.

          • Anonymous User

            It depends on your goals. Once a week is great for plyometric strength building. Strength comes slowly. Hammering your legs with 100 squats, 3 times a week will build slow-twitch and nothing else.

        • Anonymous User

          Sometimes I do a fairly moderate (but new) training routine and my thighs hurt for almost a week afterwards. I’m not trying to push that hard, but I think most people’s legs respond with DOMS quite easily. (Granted, I was doing one legged box jumps for high reps, but I could still run and jump afterwards. Going down stairs for the next 4 days was not fun.

    • Mathew

      You are taking it way too seriously they don’t mean literally you can’t walk just make sure you can feel the fatigue for a few hours after and possibly till the next day. If you have an issue with strength training than why are you even posting here?

      • John Meyers

        there was absolutely zero indication that the author wasn’t writing in a literal sense

        ” If you have an issue with strength training than why are you even posting here?”

        I don’t have an issue with strength training, I have an issue with DUMB strength training.

        • Mathew

          It’s expected that people would know how to moderate for their needs. Some will take this information like it’s the muscle building bible and others will cherry pick the info. Basically all I’m saying is granted your right but sarcasm tends to be lost in text so if he was or wasn’t being serious we will honestly never know. A tip that people forget is do only what you can. If you know you can only do say 225 than don’t exceed that till you are ready to test again. You should be able to function normally after a workout.

          • NotYou

            If anything is “expected” then why the fuck does this post even exists? This guy is trying to warn newcomers who inevitably cannot be “expected” to know anything.

    • Mike Donkor

      pain is temporary failure lasts forever don’t get mad at people cause you’re to much of a bitch to stand the pain of dedication….

    • Pal Whatapal

      If we thought like that we would be home sitting on the couch watching reality TV. The gym is to workout so bring it and push yourself to your limits.

    • Bobby Joe

      This isn’t about people being the equivalent of anorexics. Sounds like you’ve never participated in any high level sports or really trained hard.If you work out and your muscles aren’t sore and/or it’s not hard to use them after, you’re not really working out that hard. This applies to any sport. Does the article piss you off because there’s people out there working 10x harder than you? You-have-no-motivation.

    • IndigoChild

      Doust thou even hoist, bro? I’m a girl and if you aren’t going to complete failure, you’re doing it wrong, pussy.

    • jon

      alright mate keep your hat on and FYI you cant “pick up” weights with your legs you can onkly push or lift is that PRACTICAL enough for you boy?!

  • Carlos Cardona

    Great Advise. Thank You !!!

  • jwh

    The problem with advice though or tips is there is overkill also in training and instinctive training is very important..8x olypmian Lee Haney said it right…stimulate not inilate.. Training legs till you can’t walk out of the gym is ridiculous.

  • Morgan

    were the photos in this article suppose to be a joke? Look closely at how much weight that guy is using. Come on! He’s yoked! doing photos with such light weight is as bad as when female fitness models are holding 10 lb dbs!

    • Tim

      Of course they were! They’re illustrating the mistakes that people make.

    • Paradigm6790

      Nothing wrong with 10 lb dumbbells. If you’re going to failure, eventually 10 lbs is a lot of weight! Before I started to seriously go to the gym I used to scoff at people with 10 lb dumbbells, but now that I’ve started going more… 10 lbs can feel like you’re trying to lift an elephant lol

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