Many years ago, I heard bodybuilding legend Shawn Ray say that you have to be able to cross a certain barrier of pain to reach championship status. I didn't truly know what he meant until I did the leg workout I'm about to share with you. After conquering that workout, I knew I'd be able to handle any challenge thrown at me.
Don't get me wrong: I wanted to quit. I was drenched with sweat, my body was numb, my lower back was tapping out, and my head was pounding. That horrible little monster of doubt crept into my thoughts and cried: "Stop!" But I looked into the mirror and told myself that I would not give up, no matter what. And you know what? I didn't. I kept going.
On that day, I turned a corner.
I'm not gonna lie, this might be one of the most difficult leg workouts you'll do. It's not meant to be done on a weekly or even a bi-weekly training schedule, but if you throw it in every few months or so, it will shock your body, and your muscles will have to respond by getting bigger and stronger. This workout will also tap your mental strength. If you're able to finish, you'll be better equipped and hungrier to reach your other goals.
This leg workout will help you cross that barrier and achieve a new level of greatness. Stay focused, be disciplined, and watch the results happen.
"Biggie" Tip: I like to place my feet high and wide to activate my vastus lateralis and glutes. I go just deep enough that my butt begins to roll up off the seat, and then I reverse the motion. This full range of motion definitely puts a damper on the ego, but really increases the amount of recruited muscle fibers—which means more mass!
"Biggie" Tip: Go heavy. I like to do these with 225-405 pounds. On this exercise, make sure you have a good spotter and that you are able to dump the weight if needed. It's also a good idea to support your core by wearing a belt. This movement with heavy weight can be risky, especially when you are already exhausted. Although it's supposed to be a quad-dominant workout, you'll feel your hamstrings and glutes working hard during this lift.
"Biggie" Tip: Load the weight, position your feet, and start squatting. Full range of motion is the only requirement. Keep your lower back pressed against the pad, press through your heels for the entire movement, control the negative, and you will crucify your quads while sparing your back and knees. If hack squats hurt your knees, you can do lunge "pumps" on the Smith machine.