How to Get Bigger Legs

Three Parts:Doing Leg-Building ExercisesUsing Techniques That Build MuscleEating to Get Bigger

If your legs are on the skinny side, there are plenty of exercises you can do to make them bigger. Keep in mind that exercises alone aren't the key: to really see results, you need to be using the right form and routine, plus eating plenty of calories to fuel your workouts. If you want to know more about getting strong, sturdy legs, keep reading.

Part 1
Doing Leg-Building Exercises

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    Do barbell squats. This is the single best exercise you can do to get big, thick thighs, since it engages the most muscle fibers in the area. Hold a barbell bearing weight you can lift for 10-12 reps.
    • Stand with your feet shoulder-length apart.
    • Bend your knees and squat so that your thighs are parallel to the floor.
    • Hold the squat for 10 seconds.
    • Push back up.
    • Repeat 10-12 times for 3 sets.
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    Do leg extensions. Load the leg extension machine with the heaviest amount of weight you can lift for 10 or so reps.
    • Sit on the leg extension machine with your knees bent and your feet under the lower bar.
    • Straighten your legs to lift the weight, then lower it.
    • Repeat 10 - 12 times for 3 sets.
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    Do standing leg curls. You'll need to use a leg curl machine that allows you to lift weights by attaching a cable to your ankle. Load the machine with as much weight as you can lift for 10 reps.[1]
    • Fasten the cable to your ankle with the harness.
    • Grab the support bar with your hands.
    • Bend your knee toward your butt to lift the weight. Straighten your knee and put your foot back on the ground.
    • Repeat 10-12 times for 3 sets, then switch to the other leg.
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    Do lying leg curls. This exercise pumps your leg muscles from a different angle. Load the machine with as much weight as you can lift for 10 reps.[2]
    • Lie face-down on the bench with your legs straight and your ankles under the lever.
    • Bend your knees and lift the lever toward your body.
    • Repeat 10 - 12 times for 3 sets.
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    Do stiff-legged deadlifts. This exercise works your hamstrings, creating thicker legs. Load a barbell with as much weight as you can lift for 10 reps.[3]
    • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
    • Bend at the waist, keeping your legs straight, and grasp the barbell with your hands.
    • Keeping your legs stiff, lift the barbell to your thighs.
    • Lower the barbell back to the floor.
    • Repeat 10-12 times for 3 sets.

Part 2
Using Techniques That Build Muscle

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    Focus on intensity. Even if you do all the exercises listed with religious regularity, you're not going to get bigger legs unless you make your workouts as intense as you can stand. In order for muscle to build effectively, you need to break down the fibers and have them build back up stronger and bigger. Doing this requires working out as hard as you can, every time.
    • For each exercise, use as much weight as you can lift using the correct form for about 10 reps. If you can lift the weight easily for 15 reps, it's too light. If you can't lift it more than 5 times, it's too heavy.
    • As the weeks go on, you'll need to add weight to keep up the intensity. Your muscles will stagnate if you don't lift more as they get stronger and bigger.
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    Exercise explosively. Doing the exercises quickly and with explosive energy, rather than slowly, builds muscle faster.[4] You'll also be able to do more reps this way. Instead of working out slowly, increase the intensity by going through your sets as quickly as possible.
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    Don't plateau. It's important to change up your workout routine every other week so that your muscles don't get so used to doing the same exercises that they stop growing. Keeping your muscles in a state of "shock" will force them to continue the process of breaking down and building back up ever bigger and stronger.
    • If you do a hard workout that includes squats, leg extensions, and leg curls one week, switch to stiff-legged deadlifts, lying leg curls and squats the next week.
    • Adding weight is another way to keep from plateauing, so make sure you don't stagnate at a weight that's too light.[5]
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    Take it easy between workouts. Your muscles need time to rest and repair when you aren't working out. You can keep exercising, but don't do anything that's too strenuous for your legs.
    • Try swimming, walking, or playing basketball or tennis if you want to work out between leg workouts.
    • Make sure you get plenty of sleep so your body has time to mend.

Part 3
Eating to Get Bigger

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    Eat high-calorie whole foods. You're going to need a lot of calories to fuel the growth of your leg muscles, which are some of the largest in your body. Eat big meals filled with high quality foods that nourish your body and keep you full and satisfied.
    • Meat, whole grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, and nuts are good foods to consume when you're in a muscle-building program.
    • Eat more than you think you need. During an intensive workout program you are going to need a lot of calories, and you'll probably need to eat at least 5 big meals a day.
    • Avoid empty calories from fast food, cakes, cookies, chips, and other snack foods that will make you feel run down instead of energized.
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    Eat plenty of protein. Protein is essential to building healthy muscles, so make sure you're getting a lot of it at every meal. Beef, pork, chicken, fish and lamb are all fine choices. Eggs and beans are good substitutes for those who don't eat a lot of meat.
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    Try creatine supplements. Some people find that they can accelerate the process of muscle growth by taking creatine. Creatine is a nitrogenous organic acid that occurs naturally in vertebrates and helps to supply energy to all cells in the body, primarily muscle. This is achieved by increasing the formation of adenosine triphosphate.
    • Creatine comes in a powdered form. You mix it with water and drink it 2-3 times per day.
    • Creatine is considered to be completely safe to use in doses of 20 grams (0.71 oz) for long periods of time. Always read the directions given.[6]


  • Always use correct form and always push as hard as you can. This will make your legs grow.
  • If you have never lifted weights before, you may want to consider working with a physical therapist or personal trainer to ensure you are using proper form.


  • If you have never exercised before, or have recently been diagnosed with a chronic disease, you may want to speak with your doctor before trying to get bigger legs. In some cases, the processes necessary to increase leg size may be detrimental to your health.

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