High Intensity Leg Training – 45 Minutes or LessShem
When you are short on time high intensity training is the savior you need to get you in and out of the gym quickly while still delivering maximum gains. Your goal is to fatigue the muscle fibers in such a way that they recover, adapt, and grow stronger and bigger to handle increasing loads. High intensity training delivers on this goal.
The concept was started by a gentleman by the name of Arthur Jones, pioneered by Mike Mentzer, and made famous by Dante Trudel and Dorian Yates. Some of the principals are even borrowed by many other programs on the market. I have adapted and included high intensity training into my own protocols and there are more benefits than just the time saved.
One of the main benefits we reap here with this leg workout is less wear and tear on the knee joints.
- Extremely heavy loads are not needed to fatigue the target muscles #protectyoknees
- Limited volume in a short time frame means less overall load on the knee joins #protectyoknees
Barbell back squats
4 sets 10-15 reps (warm up)
The first 4 sets are warm up sets. You will choose a weight that is crazy light for the first two sets. I use only the bar on the first two sets. The entire purpose of these 4 sets is to warm up the target muscles and your joints. You will need everything moving smoothly through your entire range of motion.
2 sets 20 reps (working sets)
I call these working sets, but in most high intensity training protocols these would still be considered warm up sets. You will choose a weight that will be difficult for you to perform 20 reps with, but not lead you to failure in that rep range. I use 225 for this set in this particular workout and perform 2 sets of 20 reps and rest only 60 seconds in between sets. With the short rest period you should find that you are working up a sweat and pretty gassed after the 2nd set.
2 sets 20 reps (increasing weight)
Keep the reps high and the rest short as you hit the leg press. These are warm up sets as well and by the time you are finished your legs should have a good pump and your knees should be ready for some work!
1 set 20 reps
Dumbbell hack squat
1 set to failure
Now comes our working set. Some have called this the widow maker. You may even be testing your lungs a little here as your legs tap into all of your oxygen supply. You will do the leg press for 20 reps then move immediately to the dumbbell hack squat where you will squat to failure. We call it the dumbbell hack, because it is a great replacement for the hack squat when you do not have that machine.
Dumbbell Hack Squat Form Tip:
- Elevate your heels with a wedge or two 10lb plates
- Hold the dumbbell high on your chest
- Squat down as far as possible, but keep tension on the quads by coming up 3/4
- Squat until you get stuck at the bottom of the movement then drop the dumbbell
Alternating leg extension
1 set 10 reps (stack ladder)
We say 1 set 10 reps here, but you will actually be doing more than 10 reps. Choose a weight that you can get 20 reps with a single leg and do only 10 each leg one after the other. When you complete your 10 reps on your second leg increase the weight and repeat. Alternate legs, do 10 reps each leg, increase the weight and repeat until you fail and can no longer do 10 reps.
1 set 10 reps (stack ladder)
Perform on the glute abductor in the same manner that you did on the leg extension. Perform 10 reps, increase the weight, and 10 reps again until you can no longer do 10 reps. The only difference is this time you will ladder back down the stack. When you can no longer complete 10 reps then decrease the weight and do as many as you can working back down the stack.
Glute Abductor Form Tip:
Keep both your glutes and hands off of the machine to get maximum tension on the target muscle.
Stiff leg deadlifts
1 set 20 reps
The stiff leg deadlifts will be your finisher. These marry a nice stretch in the hamstrings with an excellent hamstring and glute contraction. The key to a good glute contraction is hip extension. When you get to the top of the movement make contact with your hips to the bar and contract your glutes as you push the bar forward.
Stiff Led Deadlift Form Tip:
Use OmniCompression Extreme Grip Lifting Straps to lock in on the bar. This will allow you to focus on your form and perform high reps without having to worry about a failing grip towards the end of your set. A failing grip, you know the one where you have to finger tip the bar, can lead to a breakdown in form and even elbow pain.