by Joel Sward
This leg workout is not for the faint of heart, but once in a while I think you have to get a little nuts in order to spark new muscle growth. I would not recommend doing this workout too often or you will end up overtraining. However, if you throw it in every four weeks or so, I think it might just be the ticket for growing some massive quads.
In order to do this workout you need to have an estimate of what your maximum one rep lift is in the squat. I don't mean your best lift ever. I mean what you think your maximum one lift effort would be right now. Also, whatever form you use for this one rep effort, whether it be a wide foot stance, narrow foot stance, bar high up on your back, bar low on your back, etc., should be the same form you will use for the squats you perform in this workout. In addition, whatever lifting accessories you would use in the one rep effort, whether it be a big power-lifting belt, a thinner weight belt, no belt at all, knee wraps, no knee wraps, should be the same as what you use for doing the squats you will perform in this workout. I just want the squats you perform in the workout to be the same as what your one rep maximum effort would be.
Ok, let's get after it. The first thing you are going to do is one set to total positive failure at 80% of your maximum one rep total. For example, my one rep maximum effort right now, with just a weight belt and no knee wraps, with a medium width foot stance and the bar at a medium depth position on my back (meaning not way up high like a body-builder's squat, but not super low like a power-lifting squat), which is the same way I am going to perform my squat reps in this workout, is approximately 675 lbs. My best lift ever for one rep in the squat is 800 lbs, but that was with a thick power-lifting belt, knee wraps and a single ply power-lifting suit. Plus, I am not at my strongest right now, so I estimate that I could put up 675 lbs for one rep with just a belt and the stance I referred to above. So, 80% of 675lbs is 540 lbs and that is the weight I am going to use for my first set and I am going to do as many reps as I can to total positive failure.
Since this first set is going to be pretty heavy, you may need to warm up some before you begin. I am a very advanced lifter, so all I need to do before this first set is a little stretching and one set of 10 reps at 135 lbs and one set of 5 reps at 225 lbs, just to make sure my form feels good and to get loosened up a little bit. This might not seem like enough of a warm-up, but what I am trying to do here is save as much energy as I possibly can for the workout itself, but still insure that I am loosened up enough to prevent injury. Some of you might not feel comfortable doing the first set of this workout, with what is going to be pretty big weight, without working your way up to that weight. If you do some warm up sets, just limit the amount of reps because I want you to save as much energy as you can for the actual workout itself.
So, now that I am warmed up, my first set is going to be 540lbs., or 80% of my one rep maximum. I put 540 lbs on the bar and take the weight off the rack, back up into my stance and perform as many full squats as I possibly can until I fail. It helps to have a spotter when doing this, so the spotter can come in from behind and grab you around the midsection and help you up with the last lift. If you don't have a spotter, you can use the safety bars that most squat racks have and just let the weight come down on the bars when you fail. But, whatever way you do it, just take it to total positive failure. For example, when I recently did this workout, I got twelve reps at 540 lbs and then had to get help from my spotter on the thirteenth rep.
When this set is done, immediately take weight off the bar until it is at 50% of your one rep maximum. Do this as quickly as you can, without any rest period. Immediately get back under the bar and back up into your squat position and start squatting again until total positive failure. I want you to do this as quickly as possible. If you have access to two squat racks, you could even have another bar already set up at 50% of your one rep max, but if you only have one bar and one rack, just get the weight off as quickly as possible and get back under the bar again.
So, 50% of my one rep maximum is 337.5lbs. Obviously, I can't put that exact amount of weight on the bar, so I put 335 lbs on the bar and have it all set up before I even do my first set at 80%, on a separate bar in a different rack, because the gym I lift at has multiple squat racks.
When I did this workout, after my gut busting first set of 12/13 reps at 540 lbs, I ran over (actually I kind of hobbled because my quads were already on fire!) and got under the bar with 335 lbs (50% of my one rep max) and did 18 reps on my own and my spotter helped me on rep 19. At this point you might feel like you are going to puke your guts out, but you are not done yet.
Now, back up a little from the rack and just start jumping straight up in the air as high as you can. Up, down, up, down. Keep jumping! Come on, you can jump higher than that! Keep jumping until you can't even get your feet off the floor. When I did this workout I got 25 jumps, until I was so dizzy I felt like I was going to pass out. But we are not done yet.
When you absolutely can't do even one more jump, cross your arms in front of you and start squatting without any weight. You will be amazed at how hard this is. Even without any weight you are going to have to dig down to get as many reps as you possibly can until there is nothing left to give. When I did this workout I got 30 reps before I felt like I was going to fall over, so I quit there, but we are not done yet.
Now what you do is just stand there and flex your quadriceps as hard as you possibly can and hold it. Flex them until they feel like they are going to explode. After a few minutes of this, you are finally done and you can fall down on the floor and collapse.
That's it. It took me about 15 minutes to perform the actual workout and another 15 minutes of prep work and clean-up (getting the weight on and off the bar, etc.). It may be quick, but this workout will blast your quads like nothing else. This workout uses all three types of muscle contraction: concentric (you pushing the weight up), eccentric (the last lift in the squats, when you fail, is a negative or eccentric lift) and isometric (when you flex your quads). It also works both fast and slow twitch fibers because the first set will be a slower maximum type effort and when you are doing the jumps and squats with no weight you are working more explosive fast twitch fibers. I highly recommend you give this workout a try to blast your quad growth into high gear.
NOW GET IN THE GYM AND TRAIN HARD!
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