Originally Published on Friday, 30 May 2014 13:43
Written by Duane Brickhouse IFBB MP PRO
My love for the gym started as a result of my desire to improve my basketball game. Before becoming a “gym rat,” I mainly went to the gym do squats so that (in my mind) I could improve my vertical. As I transitioned from the basketball court to the weight room, I focused more on upper body, in all honesty, because that is where I lacked the most. Fast forward to now, with the goal being a balanced physique, leg training has to be a priority. With that in mind, I like to break my leg workouts into two sessions. One workout focuses primarily on quads while the other focuses on hamstrings, glutes and calves.
Regardless of which day, I always start my leg days with ten minutes of cardio as a warm-up. For hamstring day, my primary workout is a superset of Romanian deadlifts and lying leg curls. After this superset, I move on to some calf work. For both the seated and leg press calf raise, I do 4 sets of 20 reps.
For the superset, I start with higher reps, pyramid down, and then go back up. A typical set up would be as follows
ROMANIAN DEADLIFT – Stand while holding a barbell in front of your body with a shoulder-width grip. With a flat back and a slight bend in your knees, bend at the waist to lower the bar. Return to the starting position by contracting your hamstrings and repeat for reps. I like to stand on an elevated platform in order to make sure that I get a good stretch when lowering the bar.
LYING LEG CURL – Lie face down on a leg curl machine. The pads should be adjusted so that they rest over the back of your ankles. Bend your knees to curl the pad, squeeze for a count and return to the starting position without letting the weights rest on the stack. Repeat for reps.
SEATED CALF RAISE – Place the balls of your feet on the platform of a seated calf raise machine. Adjust the pad over your thighs, extend your ankles to raise the pad, and then release the safety. Continue to raise and lower the pad while flexing your calf at the top of the movement.
LEG PRESS CALF RAISE – Sit on a leg press machine and place your toes on the bottom of the platform. Extend your ankles to raise the platform while flexing your calves at the full extension of your ankle. Return to the starting position and repeat for reps. I focus on full range of motion rather than weight. I also vary my foot placement by pointing my toes in and out for different sets.
Between sets of calf raises, I also find an elevated platform or steps to do sets of ten bodyweight standing calf raises as well. I generally do this work out earlier in the week and follow up with a quad based workout four days later.