No offense to you dedicated basket weavers out there, but I am a big leg and lower body advocate. I've written about it before, and I've always stood by the maxim: to get from point A to point B, it's your legs that matter. Think about it. When was the last time you saw someone suspended on his or her arms and moving with alacrity gain ground as quickly as possible?

 

The Benefits of Leg Workouts

There are way too many positive effects of training the lower body with demanding protocols. Here are a few:

 

  • Demanding leg workouts utilize a lot of muscle tissue.
  • Your heart rate skyrockets when pounding the legs. Yeah, it's a cardio thing.
  • Trying to burn more calories in your weight-loss program? Get after it with exercises below your waist.
  • Are you seeking weight scale-enhancing body weight? Your largest muscle structures reside in you lower half. Work them hard. Stimulate growth. This will assist you in gaining functional body weight.
  • Want to improve your mental toughness? Challenging lower body workouts can do this because they require an up-tick in intestinal fortitude.

 

Breaking Muscle Shop

 

You get the idea. But in reality, many people avoid working the legs hard even though there is a huge upside to it. If you're truly serious, it's time you make up your mind and do it. Are you willing to cross the line and get after it?

 

7 Insane Leg Workouts

If you want to fully develop your lower body, here are seven quality workout routines that can be used solely as leg days or as a part of a total body session. Either way, they can be alternated from session to session for variety.

 

Workout #1

100 - 50 - 25                                                                                                                

 

Choose either a squat or leg press. Do three sets. 100, 50, and 25 reps. Assure the resistance used for each set is demanding. When it becomes easy, increase the resistance for the set(s) that need more spice.

 

Workout #2

3 x 2 x 12

 

Three exercises performed for two rounds of 12 repetitions each to volitional muscular fatigue with minimal rest between each exercise. Two multi-joint and one hamstring or backside exercises are used.

 

Deadlift x 12

Leg curl x 12

Leg press x 12

Repeat

 

or

 

Barbell squat x 12

Dumbbell lunge a 12 each leg

Glute/hamstring raise x 12

Repeat

 

Workout #3

Five-position static holds

 

Ugh. This one requires a partner-operated stopwatch, a metronome, or your ability to count to twenty seconds while under duress. Similar to the 3 x 2 x 12 workout, two multi-joint and one hamstring or backside exercises are used.

 

The workout entails statically holding (isometric contraction) for :20 at the one-quarter, one-half, and three-quarter positions of the range of motion, then back to the one-half and one-quarter positions to complete the set. The amount of resistance to use in your initial workout should be approximately 75% of your 10-repetition maximum.

 

 

Leg press example:

 

From the legs and hips-extended position, lower the resistance to one quarter of the range of motion. Statically hold there for :20. Press the resistance out, rest for a few seconds, then lower the resistance to half of the range of motion. Again, statically hold at that position for :20, then press out, rest a few seconds, then allow the resistance to lower deeper to approximately three quarters of the range of motion. Following another :20 hold, again press out, then reverse the process and repeat the half and quarter position static holds in that order.

 

Use this procedure for the other multi-joint and hamstring exercise. It takes some practice, but the proper resistance and true all-out effort makes this workout brutal.

 

Workout #4

Countdowns 20 - 18 - 16 - 14 - 12 - 10 - 8 - 6 - 4

 

Use one multi-joint and one hamstring/backside exercise. Nine total sets will be performed for each exercise (20, 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, and 4 repetitions).

 

Regarding the proper amount of resistance, use your best 20-repetition maximum for all sets of each exercise.

 

The rest time between sets are 1:00 following the first three sets (20, 18, and 16), :45 following the sets of 14, 12, and 10 repetitions, and :30 following the eight and six repetition sets.

 

Procedure:

 

Following a warm up, perform a set of 20 repetitions for the multi-joint exercise. This should be tough to obtain. Rest 1:00 and then perform 18 repetitions. Again, rest 1:00 and perform 16 repetitions. Rest 1:00 and then perform 14 repetitions, but now rest only :45 before the set of 12 is performed. Continue in this manner according to the above-mentioned rest time procedure.

 

Perform the same process for the chosen hamstring exercise.

 

Workout #5

Count Ups 4 - 6 - 8 - 10 - 12  14 - 16 - 18 - 20

 

This is similar to the aforementioned countdown workout except it is performed in reverse order and the rest between sets differ.

 

Again, use one multi-joint and one hamstring/backside exercise. Similarly, nine total sets will be performed for each exercise, but in reverse order (4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, and 20 repetitions).

 

Regarding the proper amount of resistance, use approximately 90% of your best 20-repetition maximum for all sets of each exercise.

 

 

Following a more extensive warm up as compared to the countdown workout, perform a set of four repetitions for the multi-joint exercise. This will not feel difficult. Likewise for the other forthcoming lower-repetition sets. The rest time between sets is different than the countdown workout. Rest 1:00 following sets of four, six and eight repetitions, :45 following sets 10, 12, and 14 repetitions, and 1:00 following sets 16 and 18 repetitions.

 

Workout #6

5 x 10

 

Simple but difficult. Chose either a squat, deadlift, or leg press movement and perform five sets of progressively heavier 10 repetitions for each set. The key factor in this workout is assuring the last two sets are brutally difficult. Example:

 

  • Leg press
  • Warm up sets
  • Set one = difficult
  • Set two = more difficult
  • Set three = demanding
  • Set four = brutal
  • Set five = even more brutal and possibly not achieving 10 repetitions.

 

Workout #7

Pre-exhaustion

 

A single joint exercise is performed to volitional muscular fatigue (VMF) at a target number of repetitions followed by a multi-joint exercise targeting the same muscle group. The multi-joint exercise is also performed to VMF. Two rounds of each sequence are performed. Three examples:

 

Leg extension x 15 repetitions to VMF

Immediately to a barbell squat x 15 repetitions to VMF

Repeat

 

Leg extension x 20 repetitions to VMF

Immediately to a deadlift x 15 repetitions to VMF

Repeat

 

Stiff leg deadlift x 15 repetitions to VMF

Immediately to a leg press x 12 repetitions to VMF

Repeat

 

 

The previous seven lower body routines can be used in your program with great results provided you use them properly. Work hard and be progressive.

 

Photos courtesy of Shutterstock.

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