Alright, so I know it’s Friday, not Tuesday…but I wanted to share my workout from Tuesday because Tuesday was Leg Day, and I teamed up with Frank of Frank’s Fitness to accomplish this killer leg workout .
We started out with a brief warm up on the bike to get those legs warmed up, blood flowing, and muscles loosened. I also will typically do some bodyweight squats prior to loaded squats to test my range of motion, feel my form, and loosen the muscles in the way that I’m actually planning to train them. I tend to have soreness/tightness in my lower back/core, so this helps me to get a feel for how that section is feeling and loosen it up before I add weight to the movement. Once I test out some BW squats, I may do some stretching depending on how my body is feeling—quad stretching, ham stretches, lower back, whatever I feel like I need to comfortably perform the entire movement smoothly.
Our actual workout began at the squat rack for 5 total sets of squats.
- First and second set for me were warm up sets, with my peak set occurring at set 4 and the 5th set being the “coming down” set. So what this means is that the first set is a lighter weight than you can lift (for me this was a 25 lb plate on each side of the bar)—the purpose is as a warm up set, similar to why I performed BW squats initially, but with the bar on my back and some weight, still getting me ready for the heavier loading.
- For the second set, you can add weight or stick to where you were for the first set depending on how your body is feeling. I felt that I needed an additional warm up set, so I stuck to the same weight for my second set.
- Third set I went to my heavy load which for me, was a 45 lb plate on each side of the bar, and I performed the same weight for my fourth set. I got 10 reps on set 3 and 8 reps on set 4.
- For the fifth set, I came down to a 35 lb plate on each side of the bar and got through as many reps as I could. We call this the “coming down” set and we “rep it out” .
After squats, we went to the leg extension machine where we approached the lift with the same strategy but for four sets—start out lighter, get heavy, and end lighter—with the third set being the heaviest.
From there, we went to a lower body posterior focus. I tried some leg press with my feet high up on the platform to target those posterior muscles, but the movement was placing too much pressure on my low back, so I went to the hamstring curl, and that was irritating something behind my knee (lol), so I decided on barbell stiff-legged deadlifts while Frank killed it on the leg press. For the deadlifts, I completed four sets with the third and fourth sets being the heaviest—10 reps on the third set, grip gave out on the fourth, so I think I got through only 8 reps.
I then moved over to the cable cross-over machine to do weighted kickbacks. While I did this, Frank did standing calf-raises at the Smith machine. I wanted to steer clear of calf exercises because I had gone out for a run the day before—my first run in several weeks—and my lower legs were pretty sore from that (not to mention my left calf was still sore from wearing fabulous but painful heels on Saturday, haha). I completed three sets of single let weighted kickbacks using the attachment that you can Velcro attach around your ankle.
Lastly for me was a superset of weighted hip thrusters and standing kickbacks with manual resistance (thanks to Frank). The weighted hip thruster is a movement I have tried before but never really nailed it in the sense of what weights work best and how to make the weights comfortable to hold for the entire movement. So today, I used a barbell (a smaller 25 lb barbell with plates added) and wrapped a mat around the barbell so that it didn’t hurt my bones on the thrust-up movement. I also held the barbell gently in place throughout the entire movement. This proved to be the best strategy I’ve found yet to accomplish this movement effectively. Luckily, Frank was there to place the barbell on my hips, as I’m really not sure how this would be done easily without a partner’s help . Other methods I’ve used when alone include a dumbbell and a plate for that extra weight, but both of those strategies (for me) didn’t feel as effective as the barbell.
Share your favorite Leg Day workouts or give feedback on any of the exercises I discussed by commenting below!