Ok, I’ll be honest, leg day is something I’ve neglected for a good majority of my training, up until the last year or so, aside from that, it’s been on and off, very inconsistent. However, ever since I’ve incorporated a twice a week legs regimen, I’ve seen gains in many of my big lifts (flat bench & incline press, shoulder press and deadlifts), I’ve also seen an increase in my kickboxing stamina, so let’s not neglect leg day.
First leg day of the week
Front squats – this is one of my favorite exercises, next to the deadlift, it’s the ultimate multi-joint movement exercise, it engages your core, works your upper back and quads. I like to start with the front squat because it primes the body for maximum fat burning results by initiating the lympathic system due to the lower/upper body split nature of the exercise. I focus on two warm-up sets targeting 15 reps, then I go heavy, targeting 3 sets of 8 reps. On my heavy sets, my rest period will be between 2 and 3 minutes.
Dumbbell lunges (walking) – again, I’m choose a multi-joint exercise that works the quads, glutes, hamstrings, shoulders, grip strength (depending on how heavy you go with the dumbbells) and the core. I focus on 4 sets at 12 reps with a 1 minute rest between sets.
Leg extension – with this exercise, I’m targeting only the quads (muscle isolation), I use a weight that makes completing 12 reps challenging, I’m only resting for 45 seconds between sets. The focus here should be time under tension and not going heavy, so you can really feel a good burn in the quads. Some fitness “so called experts” say that leg extensions can cause knee damage, but without any real scientific studies to prove or disprove that theory, it’s just broscience. When doing any exercise, you have to listen to your body, if it hurts (in a bad way) stop and do something else that works for you.
Dumbbell straight leg deadlifts – another multi-joint movement exercise that targets the hamstrings, glutes, lower back, core and grip. For this exercise, I’m doing 4 sets of 10 reps with a 1 minute rest period between sets, using a weight that makes completing 10 reps challenging.
Leg curls – much like the leg extension, we’re focusing on muscle isolation, specifically the hamstring. I target 4 sets of 15 reps with a 45 second rest period between sets. I also try and make a little emphasis on going slow, focusing on time under tension (feel the burn….).
Cave raise / jump squat superset – lastly, for the finisher, I do 12 cave raises at a weight that makes completing 12 reps challenging, immediately after I do 30 seconds of jump squats. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat for 4 sets.
So to summarize, here’s the routine:
- Front Squats: 2 warm-up sets, 3 heavy sets
- Dumbbell lunges (walking): 4 sets of 12 reps (standing dumbbell curls after each set for extra credit)
- Leg extensions: 4 sets of 12 reps
- Dumbbell straight leg deadlifts: 4 sets of 10 reps
- Leg curls: 4 sets of 15 reps
- Cave raise / jump squat superset: 4 sets of 12 reps/ 30 sec jump squats between each set