Friday, August 7, 2015

The Way I Learned to LOVE Leg Day


There used to be two muscle groups that I hated working more than the rest. I’m not unique, because most people hate working their legs and their abs, but just like most of you, these used to be the two workouts I would skip more often than not. It shows, of course just like it does on the rest of you that skipped legs day or ab day, or in my case legs and abs day. Now something changed in me personally along the way, and it actually wasn’t the attitude that I needed to catch up on my legs and my abs, it was more the way I started working them, and with that an attitude change.

One problem I have is that I can’t do squats. My spine can’t handle it, and my remorse over getting a “good” leg workout had some to do with why I hated it so much, but nah, working legs just sucks. I understand as well as anyone else. When I finally decided that it was time to take my legs seriously I just needed to get serious about leg presses, and the other exercises around your legs that would get me “almost” to the level of squats. Of course this was a learning curve and growing pains because like everyone else, I did it all wrong. I could get 1400 lb leg presses over time, and that was at least enough to satisfy my ego, but for some reason didn’t affect my spindly legs. Of course moving the leg press machine two inches was a joke, and the punchline was me.

Now I have talked about how I went into the gym one day and all of the 45 lb plates were being used, thus eliminating my ability to get those 1400 lb squats that mentally made me feel good but physically wasn’t doing squat. Heh, that’s kinda ironic, but because the plates were being used at best I could get to 540 lbs, which meant I needed to pre-exhaust. I started with a whopping 90 lbs, and did the 4 stage giant sets that I still do today (see video below), because I accidentally found a way that works. Isn’t that really how bodybuilding works anyway? The mind blowing pain that my muscles were feeling not only went outward, but felt like my muscles were going to pop outward, and after months of this strategy they have.

I fixed the abdominal issue by simply doing those first. Finish your abs you get to do your legs. A simple strategy that wouldn’t have worked, had I not learned to actually like working my legs or at the very least feeling like I was getting somewhere. In time my lower torso routine really started showing results and this was the second part of what made my leg and ab day successful, going at it all slowly. Now I was finally able to look at my leg and abs day as being a very relaxing day. The slow movements, the abundance of stretching and my legs and ab day probably gives me the same zen that a yoga enthusiast gets, or at the very least I think I m and relaxed and zen-like after my legs and abs day.

Now a days my Lower Torso & Legs day as I more commonly call it, is the “can’t miss” day even when everything works out so that I could. I couldn’t go to the gym on Monday because I had to go into work early, and I didn’t get flustered over it. Monday would have been Lower Torso & Legs day, but instead I had that on Tuesday which would have been Back & Shoulders day had I not missed Legs & Lower Torso day. Then Wednesday again I couldn’t go to the gym because I had to be into work early, and I only partially got flustered over it. Would I have rather just been at the gym istead of getting some overtime? The answer to that would be yes, because I am a gym junky, but life happens.

This is where I executed the “flip” which I do when days line up bad, or at least it was a trick I learned over the winter when God dumped 4 feet of snow on me, in her way of telling me to do some cardio instead of the gym. The “flip” is when I do the next day (Back & Shoulders) on Thursday, which would have been Tuesday, and instead of moving on to Chest & Arms day, I would “flip” days and do Lower Torso & Legs. This now “flips” my schedule from Chest & Arms, Lower Torso & Legs, Back & Shoulders to Back & Shoulders, Lower Torso & Legs, Chest & Arms. This will explain to people why some months I do one order and other months a different order. It is a total win actually because the extra day or two for the upper body usually gives me a strength increase when I take them on, and my lower body is where I am going to relax and stretch out. It’s all that change in attitude that has made all the difference!

Here's the key to maximizing your effort in the most functional way ...

Giant sets for the entire leg muscle development



Giant stretching sets for the entire leg muscles


Then take on the rest of the leg workout, if you can ...

Giant Sets: 
These are 4 exercises that I do in a row for one set. I then walk around for a couple of minutes and then get right back at it for set two, three, four. The weights will vary, and the machines can vary based on what your gym has. These are what my gym has.
Seated Calf Presses: I start with an easy 190 lbs for the first set, and I do my best to get 12 on every set. This particular machine goes up by 20 lbs so my last set will usually be 250, but I can usually get at least 8 off the last set.
Seated Leg Extensions: I start with an easy 170 lbs for the first set, and I do my best to get 12 on every set. This particular machine goes up by 5 lbs, but I try to add 10 lbs to every set so my last set will usually be 210, but I can usually get at least 8 off the last set.
Seated Leg Curls: I start with an easy 170 lbs for the first set, and I do my best to get 12 on every set. This particular machine goes up by 5 lbs, but I try to add 10 lbs to every set so my last set will usually be 210, but I can usually get at least 8 off the last set.
Hack Squats: I start with an easy 250 lbs for the first set, and I do my best to get 12 on every set. This particular machine goes up by 20 lbs so my last set will usually be 310, but I can usually get at least 8 off the last set.