If you want to be the biggest, hardest guy in the gym, you have to do what you fear, not fear what you do. If you fear doing a difficult legs workout, you need to do it. It's the only way you're going to progress, period. I'm tired of seeing guys with big upper bodies and skinny legs. If you want big, strong legs with full separation, you need to train with the big boys.

I've been in this industry for a long time. I've trained, learned from, and taught the best. Through the sweat, pain, blood, and puke, I've created the hardest leg workout you will ever do. Bring your balls, harden the fuck up, and let's go.

Kris Gethin's Quad Radical Equation Workout

This leg workout resulted from 14 years of training. I have to keep thinking outside the box to make sure that each body part continues to evolve. The legs are the most difficult to change, so I had to take drastic measures. I took pieces from my own leg-training philosophy, as well as pieces from people I trained with (legends like Dorian Yates, Branch Warren, Gary Strydom, Neil Hill, and "Flex" Lewis). When you do this workout, you get a taste of how some of the hardest workers in the industry train.

Because it's so intense, I don't perform this workout every week. I do it every eight weeks or so. I throw it in my routine to shock the system. Trust me, it works. This is the hardest workout in the world for me. If you're willing to push yourself beyond the realms of the natural, then saddle up and do it. Welcome the pain.

Radical Quads Workout
Leg Extensions
2 sets, 10-15 reps (warm-up)
1 set, 100 reps (dropset)
+ 4 more exercises


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Although it's high-volume, this isn't an endurance workout. What makes it really, really hard is the intensity. We only take 45 seconds rest between sets. So, you're going to suck a lot of oxygen, especially if you have a lot of muscle.

Not only will this session challenge your cardiovascular fitness, but you'll torch every muscle fiber in your lower body, regardless of type. You'll also prime and challenge your central nervous system. Your body and your head are going to feel knocked about. If you don't feel like that, you're just not pushing it hard enough.

Superset 1: Leg Extensions + Partial Extensions

(1 dropset of 100 reps/1 dropset of 60 reps)

Get nasty, grimy, and dirty. Start with the heaviest weight you can possibly push on leg extensions and go for about 20-30 reps. Once you hit failure, drop the weight. After I drop the weight the first time, I try to get about 10 reps on each drop. I keep following that pattern until I get to 100 reps.

Once I get done with those 100 reps, I put the pin back to heavy weight and knock out some partials. Partials are only a 2-3 inch movement. You'll find that they target the quads right around the knee. Make sure you lean forward instead of back so you target your quads instead of your flexors. Aim for 15-20 reps before dropping the weight, then continue to do dropsets of 15-20 reps until you hit 60 reps.

Finding the proper weight takees some trial and error. If you do a lot less than 10 reps before failing, you need to lighten the load. If you can do more than 20 reps per set, then you need to add some weight.

Superset 2: Leg Press + Dumbbell Sissy Squats

(2 rest-pause sets of 56 reps/2 dropsets of 40 reps)

On the leg press, begin with your feet at the bottom of the platform about a fist's distance apart, your toes pointed slightly out. Do 14 reps and then rest for 5 seconds. During the rest, I don't rack the weight because I want to keep that mental focus. Keep that tension on your muscles.

After resting 5 seconds, you'll do 12 reps and rest again for 5 seconds. Continue that pattern of descending reps, 10-8-6-4-2, with 5-second pauses between. After you complete the set, move directly to sissy squats.

When you sissy squat, the dumbbells should act as counterweights so you can go below parallel. Only come up three quarters of the way to keep tension on your muscles. Once you hit 20 reps, drop the weight, grab lighter dumbbells, and do 20 more reps. If you reach failure before you finish the reps, rest-pause until you reach the prescribed amount. You might feel like you've got nothing left in the tank, but that's when you have to get back under the leg press.

For set two, bring your legs up to the top of the platform and place your feet shoulder-width apart. Hit the leg press the same way you did the first set. Once you're done, take a few deep breaths, and do the sissy squats. Your stance should be a little wider on the sissy squats, as well.

After this superset, take a two-minute rest.

Superset 3: RFE Split Squats + Lying Leg Curls

(3 sets of 20 reps, one leg at a time/3 sets of 15 reps)

I've experienced a lot of back problems doing really heavy conventional squats. So, I implemented rear-foot elevated split squats. Neil Hill showed me this movement, so I call them "Hill Squats." They blitz my quads without putting stress on my back. Of course, I still squat and I recommend squats, but I don't make it a common part of my weekly workouts.

Start by doing 20 reps holding a plate. After, go directly to the lying hamstring curl and do 15 reps on the same leg. After you're done doing curls on one leg, go back and do 20 more Hill Squats on the opposite leg. Then go back to the curls for more single-leg work. Go back and forth until you've done 3 sets of each exercise on each leg.

To perform Hill Squats correctly, go all the way down, but come only 75 percent of the way up. Keep tension on the muscles, not your joints or tendons. Your rear foot should be supported on a box or bench that's about knee height. Any lower than that and you won't get the full range of motion; any higher and you won't be able to go low enough or you'll put too much stress on that supporting leg.

The lying hamstring curl is a little different than what you're used to seeing. The supporting leg should be high; the foot should come near your hips so you can isolate the other leg as much as possible. Stay upright and keep your arms locked. You won't be able to use much weight on this exercise—that's fine. You'll also notice that my range of motion (ROM) isn't fully extended. Don't straighten your leg completely; instead, keep tension in the muscle belly. You'll reach failure much faster.

After this superset, take a two-minute rest.

Superset 4: Leg Extensions + Partial Extensions

(1 dropset of 100 reps/1 dropset of 60 reps)

To get unnatural results, we need to do unnatural things. So we're going to hit leg extensions again. After doing the split squats and hamstring curls, my glutes and hammies are fried; I want to fry the quads again. To do this, we're going to repeat the first superset, exactly the same as we did it the first time. Start with the heaviest weight possible.

You don't have to do 20 or 30 reps on the first set of extensions like you did the first time, but you have to do a minimum of 10. You'll feel like you have nothing left. You may have to drag yourself out of the gym by your lips, but you need to hit 100 reps.

The partial reps, because you have to start heavy again, will wipe the floor with you. You're just draining the last thing you have. Imagine getting knocked out in the ring and then having somebody drag you out by your face. That's what this workout feels like.

Don't fear it. Welcome it.

About the Author

Kris Gethin

Kris Gethin

Kris is a writer and photographer, and periodically provides Bodybuilding.com with articles and pictorial features.

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