Leg Exercises

The Ultimate Quads and Hamstrings Workout

Do away with comfort and try this man-making, thigh-swelling routine.

josh bryant thumbnail by CSCS, MFS, PES
Quad-Hamstring-Leg-Day
Courtesy of Weider Health and Fitness / M+F Magazine

There’s something about the pursuit of the “ultimate” amongst men that begets greatness. Chasing that which is seen as unattainable by others fuels us, drives us, propels us to do more; to sacrifice more, and to suffer more. And when you have a deep-seated desire to have a thigh-swelled physique we can become committed to the requisite misery.

To get the most out of leg day, or any other day this needs to be your attitude!

Take a look at this routine, for example—it'll pay huge dividends no matter your gym status. Whether you're the working professional with limited time, a self declared gym rat, or a seasoned pro; if you want bigger quads and hams carry on my wayward son.

Squats

Ronnie Coleman, the most accomplished bodybuilder of all-time, commenced every leg workout with heavy squats. So did Tom Platz, whom many consider to have had the greatest legs of all-time. Maybe you're Branch Warren fan? Well, he kicks off leg day with squats, too.

Virtually every study performed on squats confirms their efficiency for athletic transference, size, strength and anabolic hormone secretion. Optimum development, as the aforementioned leg dynamos will tell you, requires a full range of motion.

After you are warmed up, you just have to squat for 15 minutes. Start with a weight you are capable of doing 10 reps with. For set one, do seven reps. Rest one minute and attempt seven reps again. If you are unable to do seven reps, do six reps…if you cannot do six reps do five, you can keep this up all the way to set of one. Repeat this process for 15 minutes…using the same weight. In each instance, you are doing as many reps as you feel capable of doing using that 10-rep weight.

Leg Curl/Romanian Deadlift/Glute-Ham Raise (Giant Set)

The hamstrings have two functions: flexion of the knee and extension of the hips. Romanian deadlifts work primarily hip extension and leg curls work knee flexion. The glute-ham raise attacks both functions in one exercise.

Hamstrings are a predominantly fast-twitch muscle and respond very well to low reps. That’s why most bodybuilders have poor hamstring development compared to quads – the best hamstrings are seen on Olympic lifters and sprinters who train explosively in short bursts.

All three exercises in this giant set (or tri-set) will be performed for sets of six reps. Rest 10 seconds between exercises. The giant set works by attacking all functions of the hamstrings in a fatigued state, recruiting the widest pool of motor unit and catalyzing the biggest increases in hypertrophy.

The rest interval is two minutes between giant sets, for a total of three giant, hamstring-wrecking sets. Each one should be as heavy as possible while maintaining great form. You will have to lower weight each giant set and that’s okay – good reps are more important than weight, particularly when it comes to your hamstrings.

Sissy Squat/Leg Extension Superset

Sissy squats are a forgotten bodyweight exercise that have contributed to many championship sets of quads. Alone, these are difficult but supersetted with leg extensions they are real life quadriceps Hades!

For sissy squats, perform 15 repetitions followed immediately by a tough 30 repetitions on the leg extension. Each set of leg extensions should require a maximum effort without sacrificing form. Do three supersets with a two-minute rest interval between sets.

The Workout

You don't always get what you wish for. You get what you train for! This routine maximizes your results with your give maximum effort. 

Exercise

Weight

Sets

Reps

Notes

Squats

10RM

AMAP*

1-7

Do as many reps as possible in each set. Rest no more than 60 seconds between sets. Do not exceed 15 minutes of work.

Giant Set:

Leg Curl

Romanian Deadlift

Glute-Ham Raise

6RM

3

6,6,6

Rest two minutes between giant sets, 10 seconds between exercises within giant sets.

Sissy Squat

   -superset with-

Leg Extension

BW/30RM

3

15-30

Rest 2 minutes between supersets.

*AMAP = As many as possible in 15 minutes.

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