If you thought your leg day was tough, wait until you get a look at what Craig Capurso does.
In this ultimate leg workout designed to tax your mind and your muscles, Capurso takes you through six exercises and multiple modalities, such as AMRAP, cluster sets, dropsets, isometric holds, and ascending rep ranges, to give you the meanest leg workout you've ever seen!
Superset: Low Squat Dumbbell Hold With TRX Squat Jump
Capurso starts his ultimate leg workout with a Capurso-style warm-up—a superset of deep, isometric dumbbell squats to work on mobility and TRX jumping squats to get your body pumped for the workout ahead.
"You'll want to do the jumping squats with a TRX or some other kind of supported setup," says Capurso. "The goal is to get some blood and oxygen into the muscle belly—getting you primed and ready to go."
Spend 30 seconds on each exercise, resting briefly in between so you can get your muscles pumped up and ready to go. Complete two full rounds.
Barbell Back Squat
As Capurso points out, you can't have an ultimate legs routine without including the king of leg exercises. Start with 15 reps at about 60 percent of your one-rep max (1RM), resting 2 minutes before increasing the weight to 75 percent for 10 reps. Rest another 2 minutes, then finish at 85 percent of your 1RM for 5 reps.
"Increasing the load with each set gets our muscles primed and ready for our clusters," explains Capurso.
Moving into the cluster set, Capurso adds another twist.
"A traditional cluster set is about 4-6 reps," he explains, "We're going to do 12 reps." Using that same 85-percent load from the last set, aim for about 3 reps, then put the bar down and rest for 10-20 seconds. What makes this a cluster set is the very short rest period in between. Repeat the exercise until you achieve 12 reps.
"Barbell back squat cluster sets are a bit challenging because of the setup—you have to unrack and rerack the bar, which takes time," Capurso says. "Do your best to move efficiently, so hopefully you're lifting again by the time you hit that 20-second mark to keep up with the cluster-set intensity."
You only have to do one cluster set, then you get to take a 3-minute break.
For the final set, you're going to stick with the back squat, but now do it as a 4-minute, as many reps as possible (AMRAP) set, keeping that same load as before and trying to push the bar up as many times as you can in that time frame. As Capurso points out, your body is already stressed at this point, but this workout is all about three things—rest, intensity, volume.
"This is ultimate legs," says Capurso, "so push it."
You're probably already fried from this workout and starting to think you could just walk away right here and call it a day—but that's not the Capurso way. He moves right into a 4-minute AMRAP leg press.
"You're probably going to hate me after this one," laughs Capurso. Yeah, no kidding!
Use a load of about 50 percent of your 1RM. This is going to get tricky and it's going to burn, but push what you can. You're going to hit the lactic threshold—where the oxygen is being depleted from those muscle bellies. By taking a short rest, you can restore just enough oxygen back into those muscle bellies to hit it again.
"It's you versus you on this one," says Capurso, "I mean, 50 percent of your 1RM? We could all push a bunch of reps there, so see how far can you take it."
Complete as many reps as possible in 4 minutes.
Seated Leg Curl
With the seated leg curl, Capurso does something a little different. He chooses to do a unilateral ascending rep range, which is where you do one leg at a time, starting with one rep on each leg, then adding another rep each time you switch back and forth.
"It's one with the right, one with the left, two with the right, two with the left—all the way up until we achieve 6 reps on each side, totaling 21 reps," he explains.
You'll do this two times with a 2-minute rest in between.
Bulgarian Split Squat Jump
You're on the home stretch, but Capurso takes single-leg strength and power work to another level with Bulgarian split squat jumps.
Set up with your right leg up on the bench, your left leg down. For 30 seconds, complete as many reps as possible with good form.
"It's going to be taxing," admits Capurso. "Your legs are going to be shot at this point—and you're probably going to be a little bit wobbly. Push through this thing and finish strong."
This workout is great for an ultimate leg challenge or blasting out of a plateau, but since it is super taxing on the central nervous system, Capurso doesn't recommend doing it more than once a month.
For another intense, heavy-volume challenge, check out Craig Capurso's 45,000-Pound Pull Challenge!