If you are one of those trainers who goes in the gym just to get a good pump and talk about the latest Red Sox game, or Patriots game, or newest sports bar, or the little girl at the bar who was a day over 18 you almost hooked up with, this article is point blank, not for you. So stop reading now, and go pick up the new issue of Men's Health and learn how to train your whole body in one weekly workout.
This article is designed for serious bodybuilders who have hit that dreaded plateau and cannot put on new leg mass for the life of them. These are bodybuilders who are doing their heavy squats and leg presses every week, but the improvements in leg development are just not coming for them. The routine I am about to outline is a "mass shock routine" for the quads and hamstrings. Some of the equipment that is discussed in this article your gym might not have, but the beauty of being a bodybuilder is having the ability to get creative, and make substitutions needed.
So, in this article I will outline a blow by blow workout my team of training partners and I. The team consists of Jon Deprospo (me), Justin Deprospo, and Chris "the officer" Grady. This was one of those workouts that you can remember like it was yesterday because it was so brutally taxing, but rewarding at the same time.
EXERCISE 1 Leg Extensions
For the first exercise 2-3 sets of moderate weight leg extensions are performed to warm up the quads and get them acclimated for the serious poundage that will come later in the workout. 140lbs is pinned on the stack and is grinded out for 40 moderately fast reps, squeezing and contracting at the top when it feels necessary.
The next warm-up set is started with 200lbs for another warm-up set of around 20 reps, this time slowing the tempo down and starting to feel the pump build up in my quads as I finish the set.
Note: In between these warm-up sets I am stretching out my quads, hamstrings, lower back, and abductors vigorously on various machines or platforms in the gym to keep my legs loose and not susceptible to any type of muscle strain or tear.
The last set of leg extensions is performed with 260lbs (the whole stack) for 10-12 reps. After that, I can't get the machine to move on my own, my partner then steps in to assist me with an additional 3-4 reps where the negative portion is slowed down to a 3-4 second count.
In the back of my head I hear my third partner (usually the Officer) yelling at me to continue with the set, and refuse to let the set be completed until he thinks it is fair.
EXERCISE 2 Barbell Squat
After three sets on the leg extension, and stretching in between sets, my legs are slightly pumped and ready to get into some heavy weights, so it's off to back squats.
Back squats are an exercise that is awesome for overall leg development. Since they were just reintroduced into my leg routine a few weeks ago, the weights are still somewhat moderate. Here is how the warm-up sets went: 135lbs for 20 reps, 225lbs for 15, and 315lbs for 12.
The first three sets were to get acclimated to the exercise before moving on to some heavier weights. For my maximum set 405lbs was put on the bar and was blasted for 8 deep reps. Within a minute of racking the weight, my training partners were instructed to take off 2 of the plates of each side of the bar, making the total poundage 225lbs.
With out any hesitation, the bar was taken off the rack for the second time and 12 deep paused reps were performed to make sure my legs were totally demolished. With a exercise like back squats, form should never be sacrificed for weight. This is not conducive to growth, and you will be risking an injury every time you train.
EXERCISE 3 Leg Press
As my team and I hobble over to the leg press machine, there is little communication between the three of us. We each start grabbing 45lb plates and slowly stack them on the two leg press machines, realizing the type of pain that a superset like this is going to put us in, after just performing squats.
On this exercise, 3 grueling sets are performed back to back between the two machines starting with 5 plates on each side of the vertical leg press for 15 reps superset with 3 plates on each side of the up side down leg press machine for another 15 reps in a wide duck stance.
The next set begins with 7 plates on the leg press for 15 reps superset with 4 plates on each side of the up side down leg press for another hard, deep, 15 reps.
After I stand up, the two machines are soaked in sweat, and I can barely assist my partner as he puts his body through the same pain as I have. But we don't quit after two sets and, we go for a third.
The first leg press gets loaded up to 8 plates on each side, for a rough 12 reps followed by some partials, then superset with 5 plates on each side of the up side down leg press for another 12 agonizingly painful reps. This is the true definition of hard-core training, and we are not even finished with our workout yet.
EXERCISE 4 Narrow Stance Hack Squats
At this point in the workout we get through the last few sets priding our selves in the fact that 90% of the general public could never perform a workout remotely close to this type of intensity.
On the first set, two plates are used with a slight elevation of the foot platform. 10 reps are performed with a high, close foot placement, emphasizing the outer quadriceps sweep.
After the first 10 reps I bring my feet lower on the bottom of the platform to perform 10 reps in a sissy squat style, letting my lower back and hips come off the machine. This part of the set is hard to describe, but they are the hack squat sissy squats that Tom Platz was legendary for performing, and they work really well at stimulating the tear drop muscle.
The second and third sets are performed with 4 plates on each side for 12 reps for the high foot placement set. The weight is then dropped to 2 plates per side for a set of 12 reps in sissy squat style.
At this point in the workout, I am drenched in sweat, feeling delirious and, nauseous. I know in my mind that the end is near, so I just continue doing what I have to do to finish the workout and hope I am capable of walking to the tiny Chevy S-10.
EXERCISE 5 Seated Leg Curl
To finish up the workout, four sets are blasted on the reverse leg extension machine going from 60lbs for 15 reps to 2 sets of 80lbs for 12 reps, then back down to 60lbs for 15 reps. These sets are very moderate but are still somewhat taxing.
The goal is to get a nice squeeze in the hamstrings at the peak contraction, making sure no stone is unturned.
EXERCISE 6 Double Stepping On The Gauntlet
As the rest of the team finishes the workout with some calves, I hobble over to the gauntlet and double step it at an intensity level of 10 for 5 minutes. The gauntlet (looks a little scary) is an unbelievable machine to stimulate the gluteus/hamstring tie-ins when you perform double steps on it.
After 5 minutes, I almost fell off the machine, so I decided to call it a day and regroup with the team to figure out the easiest, most painless way to exit the gym, and get an immediate source of carbohydrates and proteins.