If you’re doing the same exercises in your leg workout each week, then your missing out on muscle growth
I actually fell prey to the beast that is redundancy over the last three months. My leg workout has been squats, leg press, leg extensions, and hamstring curls – or some variation thereof. Today, I woke up and smelled the ammonia capsule and my eyes were opened.
I was reading over the booklet and manual for our latest muscle building program, Body Beast, which I’ve decided to undertake with 5 lucky people yet to be named, and became inspired and motivated. While I still have some number crunching to do and some set up to do for Body Beast, I did find the motivation to change my leg workout today. I was tired of my lower back hurting from wrestling and squats weren’t helping any. I also have some seriously tight IT bands which basically make it impossible to squat without severe pain afterwards unless I simply don’t squat for a while. Well, that “a while” happened in today’s leg workout.
First, to ensure my IT bands and quads were warmed up, I did 10 Hindu squats fairly slow and then did 20 more at a fairly quick tempo. Then I did some minor quad stretching and hamstring stretching just to tell my legs, “Hey, its about to go down”.
To avoid back pain I decided to do some mass building sets on the leg press and started with only 3 plates on a side for a 12-rep warm up. Then I stacked on some weight and aimed for 10 reps a set until I got to 10 plates a side, at which I only was able to knock out 6 reps. Instead of quitting though, I jumped up, tore off 4 plates on each side and slammed out 12 more reps for one heck of a superset.
I was still eyeing the squat rack, smith machine, and extension machine out of habit but to my luck they were all taken and I was set on taking no more than 60 seconds rest. I grabbed two 45 lb dumbbells and started doing standing lunges in one spot. I knocked out a few sets of 12 and to my surprise, after the first set, my outer glutes and hamstrings started to cramp. I smirked an evil smirk knowing I was hitting muscles I hadn’t in a long time.
After that I made my way back to the leg extension machine and had to drop the weight from 285lbs down to 250lbs due to sheer muscle fatigue. I only was able to get 3 sets of 10 on these. However, on the second set though, I started circuiting in hamstring curls. Needless to say, I could barely stand after that. There was NO rest in between sets here. Time under tension for muscles is important in this leg workout (and any workout).
Finally, I grabbed my bag and headed for a corner of the gym, took a deep breath, and went back to my wrestling roots. I knocked out another 30 Hindu squats as fast as I could. At about 22 of them, I could feel myself slowing down and my hamstrings wanting to collapse.
So what did we learn? Try something new every three to four weeks to keep your muscles guessing. Don’t just mix up the same exercises – throw in new ones. The key is changing the angle of attack on your targeted muscle group, adjusting the intensity, and keeping the time under tension maximized (minimal rest time). Again, this applies to your leg workouts and the rest of your workouts.
T-Reks’ “You Won’t Be Able to Walk Upstairs Tonight” Leg Workout
- Warm up: 12-15 reps 30% of your 5 rep max
- Set 1: 12 reps: 60% of your 5 rep max
- Set 2: 10 reps 80% of your 5 rep max
- Set 3: 8 reps: 90% of your 5 rep max
- Set 4: 5 reps at your 5 rep max weight – then superset with 50%-60% of that weight for 12 reps.
- 3 sets of 10 – 1 minute rest
Leg Extensions circuited with Hamstring Curls
- 3 sets of 10 – no rest between sets
Hindu Squats (also called “free squats” or “No-weight squats”)
- 1 set of 30+ reps
A note on a helpful eBook – from T-Reks
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