Targeted Compound Leg Movements
For Colossal Quads and Hams


No one ever truly looks forward to leg day. Even those who appreciate a little tussle at the squat rack now and then tend to approach leg day with a certain amount of dread, the certainty of lightheadedness during the workout merely a prelude to the pain that follows. But instead of skipping leg day – which is a one-way ticket to a poorly proportioned physique – a better bet would be to simply make it more efficient. If you construct a routine where the light at the end of the tunnel is visible from the first rep on, you might train with greater gusto and trigger better gains. This rest-minimal leg-day gauntlet calls for 28 minutes’ worth of total work that’ll leave you bigger and stronger, while spending less time than your usual 90-minute time suck.

BETTER BODY COMPOSITION

You train legs because you want a bigger, leaner, more athletic body. And because training legs carries such a high energy demand, those who train quads and hams with enthusiasm not only end up with more muscular legs but they also end up being leaner everywhere else. But this routine allows you to take that to the next level by strategically reducing rest. (Yes, reducing – even though you think of those gut-checking rest periods as being insufficient enough already.)

There’s a method to this madness. Researchers from the Norwegian University of Physical Education (Oslo) found that using a weight that allows for no more than six reps increases resting metabolism higher and for longer than 12-rep sets. This metabolic boost is maximized by training compound leg movements because of the otherworldly amount of muscle that is being worked.

Another study out of the College of New Jersey showed that those who rested 30 seconds between sets of bench presses burned 50 percent more calories than when they rested three minutes. So even though getting back under the bar may seem daunting, the calorie burn may be well worth it in the long run.

One training approach that takes advantage of both of these studies is the “every minute on the minute,” or EMOM system employed most often by CrossFitters. For EMOM movements, you simply start a new set at the top of every minute. If you’re taking 1-2 seconds on the positive and the negative portion of each rep and a 1-2 second pause at the top, a five-rep set will take 30 seconds at the most. This leaves 30 seconds to recover, albeit incompletely, for the next set. But don’t worry – as bodybuilder Craig Richardson often points out, your muscles only know stress and fatigue. To account for said fatigue, the only concession you’ll make will be to select a weight that allows you to maintain that rep range for the full 10 minutes.

You’ll rest 2-3 full minutes then repeat this process for the Romanian deadlift, hitting your hamstrings across both the origin at the hip and the insertion below the knee.

You’ll be left sucking wind with your muscles trembling but this high-volume, strength-and-mass smackdown will have only cost you 10 minutes out of your day.

CONDITIONING COUNTS

With your big weight moves out of the way and the clock still ticking, it’s time to move on to exercises and training methods that finish off these muscle groups.

In keeping with our time-crunched theme, Tabata training is the ultimate solution. Eight, 20-second segments of work, each followed by a brief 10-second rest period. This training protocol has been shown to help maximize power output in elite athletes but it’s also just a reliable way to increase volume, take muscles beyond failure and to do more quality work in less time.

In terms of exercise selection, the bodyweight squat is ideal as a finisher because it offers a slightly different muscle recruitment than the barbell squat. The absence of the barbell allows you to maintain a more erect torso, which decreases the angle at the hips, allowing the quads to get more involved. The birdpicker, a close relative of the single-leg deadlift, is an easy way for you to get that same top-to-bottom stretch on the hamstrings but under less load. Alternating between legs allows you to get roughly 6-8 reps per side, per segment, more as you develop proficiency with it. To do it right, hinge forward at the hips on one leg, while elevating the other behind you. Keep a slight bend in your planted (read: working) leg as you reach toward the floor with a flat back. Gently touch the floor with outstretched fingers, then reverse the movement to the start.

LEG DAY REDUX

If you’re ready to continue adding size and detail to your legs while simultaneously improving your overall body composition, this routine – which calls for 28 total minutes of work – is a shorter, more efficient route. And once you’re done, you’ll have more time to do what the rest of us do after leg day – limp, stretch, complain and repeat.    

Exercise                           Sets                    Reps

Barbell Squat                     10                      3-51
Bodyweight Squat               1*                     Tabata
Romanian Deadlift             10                      3-51
Birdpicker                            1*                     Tabata

*1 Perform 3-5 reps at the top of every minute for 10 minutes.
Your target weight should be 70-100 percent of your current bodyweight.

SUPPLEMENT SUGGESTIONS

Probably no other exercise is more dependent on proper technique than the squat. A perfectly maintained center of gravity and proper leverage are absolutely essential for protecting the vulnerable joints and connective tissue in your spine, hips, knees, and ankles. A moment’s overcompensation, a bit too much swing or sway in your movement can lead to devastating injury. That’s why it’s so important to protect your cartilage and tendons with premium-quality nutrition. Connective tissue requires highly specialized nutrition such as glycosaminoglycans, trace minerals and forms of collagen that are not easily obtained through diet alone.

That’s why serious athletes supplement with a premium-quality joint support technology like ProSource’s Extra Strength Joint Command. Based on the most recent advances in joint-support science, Extra Strength Joint Command is the most complete and comprehensive joint-support complex in existence. Its multi-pathway approach to strengthening connective tissue begins with clinically supported dosages of both glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate, two compounds long associated with joint health. While most competing supplements stop there, Extra Strength Joint Command contains HyaMax™, a standardized hyaluronic acid that possesses a unique water-retaining action that helps active joints stay healthy, lubricated and resist compression, plus Meriva®, an advanced phytosome technology that enhances the bioavailability and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, and 5-LOXIN®, which helps inhibit 5-lipoxygenase, the compound responsible for the conversion of arachidonic acid into pro-inflammatory cytokines. Add Methylsulfonylmethane and UC Type II collagen, compounds linked to anti-inflammatory action and flexibility support, and Extra-Strength Joint Command provides powerful and far-reaching nutritional support for strong, high-functioning joints that will stand up to the most intense workout stresses, enabling you to enjoy safe and productive workouts.

Now that your joints are protected, you can focus on your primary goals – strength and size. And, of course, that’s where the highest-quality mass builder you can buy pays real dividends. MyoZene from BioQuest offers a perfect storm of ultra-fast-acting whey hydrolysate, the purest and most bioavailable whey isolate, plus an added leucine-bound leucine peptide technology to switch on anabolism in the muscle cell and drive growth. MyoZene also contains an advanced carbohydrate technology to restore depleted glycogen levels and shut down catabolism, plus a solid dose of creatine monohydrate to spur cell volumization and support strength. All in all, MyoZene is bodybuilding’s ultimate technology for driving phenomenal gains in muscle mass.

CONCLUSION

The only thing worse than leg day is a leg workout that achieves no real results. Ramp up your regimen with the techniques above and you’ll utilize shorter and more efficient workouts to achieve greater growth and performance!


Read more about Extra-Strength Joint Command here.

Read more about MyoZene here.


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