Putting Kai Greene’s Leg Workout to the Test

Kai Greene's leg workout is put to the test

Leg workout from Kai GreeneCurrent Mr. Olympia contender and #2 bodybuilder in the world, Kai Greene has one heck of a leg workout. We’re gonna put it to the test.

It’s only fitting that my current avatar in the bodybuilding world is Kai Greene. His viewpoints on staying positive and the importance of the mind muscle connection are directly in line with my own.  Perhaps this is why I follow his social media so closely, or why I spend hours reading articles he’s had published, or spend even more time watching videos and documentaries on Kai.  That being said, if I look up to him so much and aspire to reach my goals the way he is reaching his, it would only make sense to put myself through his workouts.  It’s even more fitting for me, being that I enjoy pain so much, that we start with one of his leg workouts.

Modifying the leg workout

Since not every gym has the same equipment, we had to make some modifications to the workout.  Additionally, I am currently dealing with an extremely tight IT band in my right quad that is extremely sensitive to lunges, specifically.  So I had to eliminate those.  Also, due to the massive amount of volume and our extremely wobbly legs, we cut out the leg extensions as well.  Overall, we based this workout on Kai’s leg workout but it definitely has it’s own flavor and several modifications.  All that aside, if you can walk out of the gym without tripping over your feet, you’ve proven yourself a worthy opponent.

If you want the original leg workout, you can click here and see it on Bodybuilding.com.

Pre-exhaust your legs

Yes, the dreaded pre-exhaust. I have stayed clear of pre-exhaustion for years simply because I have been concerned with moving heavy weights. When you pre-exhaust your muscles by isolating them and working to failure, you won’t be able to lift as heavy on your compound movements.  I’ve recently adopted Kai Greene’s methodology that, “It’s not about the weight”.  Sure it’s cool to squat 5 plates, but can you do that for 15-20 reps AFTER you pre-exhaust.  If the answer is yes, then you will have stronger, thicker, bigger legs than your competitors.

Filling the targeted muscle group, in this case it’s your legs, with blood prior to performing your compound movements will help prevent injury and also help you grow.

Pre-Exhaust Leg Workout

Here’s my modified version of Kai Greene’s leg workout that we are putting to the test.

Seated, Upright Hamstring Curls 4 20 1-2 minutes
Lying Hamstring Curls 4 20 1-2 minutes
Leg Extensions 4 20 1-2 minutes
Stiff leg, barbell deadlifts 4 15-20 2 minutes
Squats 4 15-20 2 minutes
Adductor Machine 4 15-20 1 minute

At first I was fairly nervous about this leg workout, and rightly so. The looming thought of attempting to squat at the end of this brutal leg workout was dancing in my head the entire time. However, I just kept thinking about what Kai Greene says, “It’s not about the weight”.  We pushed through the first two hamstring exercises with a decent amount of energy and zealousness. By the time we sat down on leg extensions though, we began to really feel the intensity of this workout and why Kai is #2 in the world right now.  The intense burning sensation that kicks in around the 10-12 rep mark truly puts your mind and body to the test.  Making that mind-muscle connection though and telling your body that you WILL finish the set, is your first and probably most important challenge of the day.

By the time we got to the stiff leg barbell deadlifts, I could in no way lift the usual weight I was accustomed to. Typically, I’ll do sets of 12 at 225. For this leg workout though, I was forced to drop the weight to a mere plate on each side.


I approached this carefully, as you should, knowing that my legs were exhausted by this point. I had literally drug my feet from stiff leg deadlifts to the squat rack.  I decided to start with a plate on each side. The first few reps were by far the most difficult. I had to adjust physically and mentally to the insane pump in my legs and my inability to stabilize at first. However, at about rep 3 or 4, my mind had made the connection and I was able to get the 20 reps I needed.  I took it up a notch after that to 185lbs and only managed to get 15 reps.  Finally I put 225 on the bar and reached total, complete failure at 13 reps. I didn’t even attempt the last set and figured I would give myself a week to recover and tackle it next time knowing what to expect.

NOTE/UPDATE: One week after the original workout, I was able to successfully knock out

  • 135lbs for 20 reps
  • 225lbs for 18 reps
  • 315 for a measly 5 reps
  • 225 for 17 reps

Small gains is what we’re after here and the quick adjustment by my body to handle heavier weight after the pre-exhaustion on the second week was extremely surprising! 

Just to punish myself a little more I went ahead and burned out on the adductor machine with 4 sets of 20 reps.  By that time I literally limped out of the gym praying that there would magically be a chauffeur to drive me home and a teleport machine waiting to beam me from downstairs to upstairs where my shower was.

Just think, Kai’s original workout called for lunges before the squats and leg press after the squats.

Best leg workout from Kai GreeneThe Ultimate Leg Workout?

As difficult as this leg workout was, it’s hard to say that any single leg workout is the ultimate one. Why? Because our bodies adapt to routine and stresses.  Sure our muscles grow in the process but sooner or later they will plateau. Having more than one “Ultimate Leg Workout” in your arsenal is going to be the key to continual growth.  That, and being consistent with your nutrition plan.

Speaking of nutrition, if you are in need of a rapid fat loss nutrition plan, the Body Spartan: Genesis book has an entire 12-week program laid out for you. It’s my personal photo-shoot diet and it’s guaranteed to get you lean and shredded. It also doesn’t matter if you’re a guy or a girl, this nutrition plan adjusts for everyone’s needs.

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