According to many people heavy squats and big legs go hand in hand. This is indeed the case for the most part. However, you don’t need to have a 405 lbs squat in order to build big legs. You can ‘get away’ with much lower number. Truth be told most recreational bodybuilder/gym rats/lifters don’t need to go beyond 350 lbs on their squats. Beyond that point you enter The Land of Diminishing Returns as far as leg hypertrophy is concerned.
An individual who squats 405 lbs will have big legs, no doubt about it.
However, will he have bigger legs than the person squatting 315-350 lbs?
In most cases – not really, and besides there are many other factors involved beyond the number of plates on the bar.
That’s why unless you are a powerlifter, there’s no need to go all out on squats for the sake of it.
1.Make the squat harder without lifting more weight
There are many ways to make the squat harder besides adding more weight to the barbell. You can for example try to improve your squat depth and squat deeper. This will make the lift much harder and force you to use less weight. If you are able to full squat 350 lbs for 10 reps, considers yourself a strong motherfucker.
You can also try different variations such as the pause squat. The pause squat is harder because you pause at the bottom and that kills the so-called stretch reflex. As a a result there’s no ‘bounce’ and you lift less weight while becoming stronger and stronger.
Finally, in order to make the basic squat harder you can try to add more reps and volume to your lower body workout. Obviously, if you go from a 350 lbs x 1 squat to 350 lbs x 20 squat, you’ve gotten quite stronger compared to your old self..
2.The legs love volume and grow well on high rep schemes
The legs, in general, grow quite well on high rep schemes (10-15+ reps). That’s because they contain a lot of endurance fiber that is stimulated through repetition. That’s why many people include back off sets as part of their leg routines.
A back off set usually consists of at least 8 reps. Let’s say that you’ve done a heavy set of 405 x 3. Afterwards you can finish your squat workout with a back off set that is 330 lbs x 8-10. That adds more volume to your squat workout and helps you increase your overall lifted tonnage and improve without doing tons of heavy sets.