I am often asked how should I train. Well I have mixed feelings about super heavy training for muscle growth, but I do think that it has its place in a routine from time to time. However, I prefer volume training whetherit is in the off season when you are trying to build mass or in a contest prep. So I thought I would give you an example of a leg workout that I do in the off season.
In the off season I am only concerned with accelerated muscle mass development. No matter what exercise I am doing I am pushing my limits on weight. I don’t try to go to failure necessarily but I do get there in just about every set. My main focus on most exercises is to use a weight that is challenging (for the number of reps that I have planned for that set), but my focus during the action of the set is to put out the highest level of intensity and effort that I can. I do this by focusing intensely on each muscular contraction. Really squeezing each rep for all it has. If I am going to do the reps I want to milk them for every bit of pain that I can. My goal is to always push as much blood into each muscle that I can when I work it.
Let’s get to the meat of the matter:
I only train quads once a week (actually every muscle group only gets trained once a week). When you are trying to put muscle on, and you are applying intense workouts, your body will need at least a full week to fully recover. Don’t underestimate the power of rest. This is the critical link between you and bigger muscles.
About 40 mins before my workouts I am chugging down a meal/pre-workout drink. Here is what it consists of:
- 75 gms carbs from Karbolyn
- 75 gms whey protein (from my own label, Coach’s Choice Whey Protein Isolate)
- 10 gm AAKG
- 10 gm creatine monohydrate
- 1 scoop Clout
- 2 caps Scorch (fat burner)
Once I have digested most of this and I no longer feel the sloshing in my stomach, I start my quad workout. Here is what it looks like:
- Heavy leg extensions 6-7 sets at 20-25 reps each
I do the heavy leg extensions first in my routine so that I can pre-exhaust my quads a bit. By doing this I don’t have to use as much weight on the consecutive exercises. I do this to minimize the loads on my joints, but it also helps me to raise the intensity on my quad training as a whole. By the time I am off this first exercise my quads are burning and pumped!
- Squats 5-6 sets at 15-25 reps each
I usually stay in the 20-25 rep range on every set. I push the weight up as high as I can but by this time in my workout my quads should be somewhat fatigued already. No matter what, my final set is always a burnout! I reduce the weight to 225 lbs and rep until I can’t rep any longer. This usually ends up somewhere between 30-40 reps. I love coming off a squat routine with my quads pumped and hurting!
Quick note here, I always recommend wearing a weight lifting belt and power knee wraps with every set. I believe that it is because I have wrapped my knees for over 25 years that I can still squat heavy when I want to. Remember all your joints only have so many bends and have a life span. So take care of them with wraps and supplementation and good nutrition and they will most likely last you your lifetime.
Every other week I will rotate between doing leg presses and squats as my second exercise. I prefer to save my knees a little and only squat every other week. I don’t really recommend this for everyone, only those who can apply enough intensity to leg presses on the off weeks from squats. I like this kind of variation but again it isn’t really for everyone. In general, I suggest squatting every week for most, especially if you are trying to build your physique in the first few years of intense training. Once you have put on most of the mass to your body that you want then moving to this kind of rotation can be refreshing.
Important variation that I put on my leg presses on the weeks I do them, I will do 3-4 standard sets first. Then on the last 2 sets I will perform my normal 20 or so reps then lower the weight slowly to a count of 3 seconds down and hold for 10 or so seconds. I repeat this 2-3 times on each of these last 2 sets. This variation puts my quads on fire.
- Hack Squats 4 sets at 15-18 reps
This exercise has always been a favorite of mine. I love the feeling I can get with this movement. The important thing to note on this exercise is to place your feet high on the platform and GO DEEP! When I do this movement I want to hear the sled hit the bottom. By the time I am done with this exercise my quads are weak and wobbly and ready for the finale.
- Single leg extensions 4 sets at 30 reps each
Once I have completed this final exercise I finish my workout off with a burn out set on leg extensions with as many reps as I can do with both legs and no rest between the last singe leg set. My quad workouts usually put me under the bus for an hour or two afterward. I then get my butt home and eat my next meal. Try this out for at least 4 weeks and watch your quads grow!