A Killer Leg Workout :: Heavy Extensions V’s High Rep Hack Squat

I love leg day. I love the  pump. I love the pain. I love hobbling out of the gym!

If you’ve been reading my blog posts for a while, you’ll know that I can’t use heavy weights in many of my workouts, although I have been pushing things to the limit recently – without putting strain on my abdomen. Well, as little as I could. It’s working too!

So today’s leg workout started with 10 minutes warm up on a stationary bike (as I do most sessions), then ten minutes of stretching. For the muscle group I am training, I don’t hold any stretch for longer than 10 seconds. All other stretches last for 30 seconds.

First exercise – Leg Extensions

2 Warm up sets

4 Sets pyramid up to my maximum weight for 8 reps (I fancied heavy extensions today!).

Final set was a 20 – 25 rep range, over 4 drop sets.

Second Exercise – Hack Squats

I never used to enjoy hack squat – PERIOD. But now, because I can’t squat a lot of weight and to take the strain off my stomach, the hack squat is proving invaluable. I don’t do full reps, just half way down to about 90 degrees.


When you’re doing 20 to 30 rep sets, your quads know you’re SERIOUS.

1 Warm up set.

3 sets, then the final set was a ball-breaking, knee shaking 30+ reps with just one drop set.

TIP: When you’re squatting or using the hack squat, to get the real benefit out of the exercise, imagine you are pushing your feet through the floor, NOT lifting the weights up. It might sound odd, but try it. And come back here and tell me how much more work your legs are doing!

Third exercise – Heel press using the Leg Press Machine

I use this as a ‘feeder’ exercise for either leg curls or straight leg dead lifts. Today was dead lifts.

With heels as high as you can go on the foot plate, then only pressing with the heels – targets hamstrings and glutes.

4 sets x 20 reps.

Exercise 4 – Straight Leg Dead Lifts

Love these. If you’re not doing straight leg dead lifts, your hamstrings, glutes and lower back will more likely suffer as this exercise combines all three muscle groups (as well as other, but secondary movements).

To finish off, I did 4 sets of horizontal plank for 30 second holds – just to finish off my lower back muscles.

‘Warm down’ was a ten minute walk on the treadmill. Shoulders tomorrow, it’s going to be awesome!

About Andy James

Andy's background was in engineering, qualifying as a surveyor at aged twenty. He also had a very early interest in interest in weight training, fitness and nutrition, and started lifting weights at just 16. Now having over thirty five years experience in bodybuilding, resistance training and cardiovascular health, Andy shares his vast knowledge with you on this site hoping that you can take away a minimum of one small idea and put it to use in your own fitness regime and make a huge difference to to it. You can follow him on Twitter, catch up with him on Facebook and also on Google +1. Feel free to leave Andy a comment or question and look up his Facebook page.

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