“I can’t wait to go to the gym and work legs today” – No one ever
I’ve been told that legs make up around half of the body. I’m not a doctor, or good at math, so I’m not sure if this is exactly true or not. What I can tell you is the truth is that I DON’T LIKE LEG DAY. Squats are my least favourite exercise, and if they weren’t such an effective compound movement, I would never do that exercise again.
When I first started working out, I had one of those hour-long fitness consultations with a trainer and he asked me to do a body squat (no weights) so he could coach my form. I couldn’t even do one. I was embarrassed, I felt like everyone in the personal training section was judging me. For a couple months after that I never touched my legs in the gym. I figured that just avoiding my weaknesses was fine. But once you start working out for a while you get hungry for growth. You want to push yourself, you want to grow, and I mean both mentally and physically.
So, after a couple months I finally got under the bar, tried a squat with no weight and made a fool of myself. I couldn’t get to depth and was doing those quarter squats that you see newbies doing, and I couldn’t get my left shoulder behind the bar so I was squatting on an angle. Long story short, I dropped the bar in the rack, it made a huge noise, and everyone looked at me. Just because I the will to do a squat, doesn’t mean I was going to be able to do one. I wasn’t prepared, and I learned the body and mind must work in unison.
This might have deterred me from squatting a couple months prior, but at the time it got me angry. I did my homework. I used youtube to learn proper form, how to build a strong foundation, and learned how to make progression. I read fitness blogs on leg workouts for beginners. I watch people in the gym to see what their form was like. And every week I kept getting under the bar, and every week I got better. I could squat the bar, then 10’s, then 25’s, then 35’s then 45’s, but then I trailed off. I got comfortable with the exercise, but with that comfort came complacency. I thought it was good enough that I got to a level where I could throw a 45 on each side and get down to depth for 10. But it’s been almost three years now and I’ve been squatting within the same 50lbs range for years. I realize I had lost all hunger and drive for growth, and I was fine being in the same place today as I was yesterday.
When I set this goal to bench 225, it came from the idea that I need to start pushing myself harder in the gym and bring it every single time I walk in. Although I haven’t set a goal for my lower body, i’m bringing a stronger mentality with me when I get under the bar. The mentality to push harder every day and through this, the physical and mental growth that I’m craving will come.
- 5-minute stair climb
- Foam Roll my legs. Acting confident as I roll, as I’m pretending to know what I’m doing.
- Squats (pyramid up and down) – 95 for 10, 115 for 10, 135 for 10 x 3 sets, 155 for 5, 175 for 3, 135 for 8
- Leg Press (pyramid up and down) – 90 for 15, 180 for 10, 270 for 8, 360 for 4, 180 for 6
- Walking Lunges / Band Sidesteps (superset)– 50lbs for 10 steps each leg, Light band for 10 steps each leg
- Quad Extensions (one leg at a time)(pyramid up and down) 40 for 12, 50 for 8, 60 for 4, 50 for 5, 40 for 9
- Hamstring curls (one leg at a time) 50 for 10 reps x 3 sets
- Seated Calf Raised – 70 for 10 reps x 3 sets
At the end of the lift, my legs were dead and it was a good lift. Doing a little stretching can save you from walking like a penguin for the next three days. Foam rolling is always helpful to loosen up those muscle fibers and gain back some of that mobility you’re sure to be craving.
Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”