Time To Build Your Foundation Part 3 of 3 Part Series – Advanced Leg Workout
Let’s move on to your advanced leg workout. Once you are no longer challenged by your intermediate level squats, lunges, and isolation exercises it’s time to add some machines and “finishers”.
Again, you should always warmup and stretch before training sessions.
Begin your advanced leg workout with squats. Squats are the most effective leg exercise and should always be a part of your leg training. Always use a weight that you can comfortably (and safely) control. Continue to squat deeply and under control without bouncing at the bottom. Once you reach the bottom of your squat, drive the weight upwards until you reach the upright, start position and repeat. If your goal is toning and moderate strength gains continue with 3 sets of 12 repetitions. If you are interested in size, mass and greater strength gains then do 3 sets of 8 reps with heavier weights.
You should also continue your weighted front lunges. Consider performing your lunges as part of a “superset” with your squats. Do one set of squats, then perform one set of your lunges as before. You WILL feel a burn in your quads (thighs) that you have never experienced before. If you choose to try supersets, do one set of 8 reps of squats immediately followed by one set of 12 reps lunges. This is one “superset”, repeat 3 times. This would be a good time to introduce using the squat rack at the gym. Your legs will be shaking and the squat rack or power rack will add safety to your training.
At this stage of advanced leg workout training you are most probably training in a gym now and have access to machines. Let’s add leg extensions as an isolation exercise to add definition and cuts to those thighs. You will be seated on the machine with your ankles behind a hinged weight. Extend your legs until they are straight and hold and squeeze then lower the weight back to the start position. Do 3 sets of 12 reps.
Follow your leg extensions with leg curls, an isolation exercise for your hamstrings. While face down on the leg curl machine, hook your ankles under the weighted bar and flex your legs to bring the weight to your butt. Hold and squeeze each rep at the top then slowly lower the weight back to the start position. Again, 3 sets of 12 reps. You can also superset your leg extensions alternating with your leg curls.
Don’t forget those calf muscles as part of your advanced leg workout. Do your Standing calf raises as before 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps and increase the weights you use as often as you can.
And finally, if you have any strength left at all, we’re going to add a “finisher”, a final exercise to add some additional “burn” to those legs, plyometric box jumps. Box jumps will improve size, strength and power and recruit fast twitch muscle fibers AND burn calories during the exercise and continue to burn them long after you leave the gym. Find a stable plyo box, or stable immovable surface 12-36 inches tall (depending on your jump skills and ability). From a partial squat, explode upward and jump up to the top of the box. Stick the landing, stand tall, then step down and immediately squat and jump again. Your goal is 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps.