Everyone's experienced that magical patch of time where they can do no wrong in the weight room. Heavy lifts go up with ease. Muscle packs on by the pound. And you blast through plateaus and set new records.

It's almost mythical — it hits, it sticks, and then it's gone... leaving you with the greatest gains you've ever had.

We asked "the pro-maker" Joe DeFranco how he achieved his greatest gains, and asked for the program that transformed him.

"I looked down at my hamstrings and quads and thought, 'Oh, shit! Those muscles weren't there before. When did that happen?'"

Joe DeFranco, strength coach to blue-collar physique monsters and professional athletes alike, knew he had the near-perfect leg program to achieve the ultimate balance of esthetics and power. All it needed was some tweaking.

"I found the Westside powerlifting method, changed a few things to get more quad development, tried it out on myself for three weeks, and was shocked with how quickly I added muscle," he says. "Now, 95 percent of my guys are doing some version of that first wicked experiment. Their legs have never been bigger or stronger."

The beauty and effectiveness lies in the simplicity of the program. It's good ol' fashioned hard work, complete with bar-bending weight, screaming intensity, and some crying and vomiting thrown in for good measure. Just the way DeFranco likes it.

"It looks pretty basic on paper, but man, this mini-cycle kicked my ass," admits DeFranco. "Try it for three weeks and I bet you'll add an inch to your legs and ten pounds or more to your squat."

DeFranco's Three-Week Leg Cure

You'll train your lower body only one day per week, with four exercises, to achieve one goal: massive, powerful legs.

Box Squat

Box Squat

"This is hands-down the best version of the squat I've found to add some serious weight to the bar and serious muscle to your body," says DeFranco.

While DeFranco has used Olympic squats and leg presses to build decent-sized quads, they never did much for his hamstrings.

"I looked in the mirror and just didn't see the amount of muscle I would've liked," he says. But after reading about the box squat and the success Louie Simmons and the rest of the Westside crew had with it, he decided to give it a try.

"Having the box behind me triggered something in my brain to sit back and really stretch the hamstrings," he says.

According to DeFranco a box squat is superior for a few different reasons. "You can load the bar with a ton of weight and maintain perfect form while making sure you have the proper depth with every squat."

The Three-Week Leg cure calls for some brutally heavy sets, but DeFranco also threw in a hellish, give-it-everything-you've-got set that's sure to have you lying on the floor after you rack the bar.

Eccentric Natural Glute-Ham Raise

Eccentric Natural Glute-Ham Raise

When done properly and with a controlled eccentric, this variation of the classic glute-ham raise will have you gritting your teeth.

"I love watching the facial expressions when guys first try these," laughs DeFranco. "It's fucking brutal."

To do these, either hook your heels underneath a bench or power rack or have a training partner hold your ankles. Lower yourself as slowly as possible and then do an explosive push-up to push yourself part of the way back up; that's where your glutes and hamstrings take over to finish the movement.

Besides adding slabs of muscle to the back of your legs, the natural glute-ham raise has another benefit for athletes.

"This is probably the best exercise for preventing hamstring pulls," says DeFranco. "The combination of strengthening your hamstrings while they're stretched makes them virtually bullet-proof."

Single-leg "Speed Skater" Squat

Single-leg 'Speed Skater' Squat

"This is the first exercise that gave me the same burn as leg extensions," says DeFranco. "So you're getting a nice pump but you're also recruiting more total motor units since your glutes and hamstrings are working hard. Your legs will be on fire."

And to make it even more of a bitch, DeFranco likes to place the front foot on an elevated box to increase the range of motion (which also increases the amount of profanity spewed by his athletes).

Seated Calf Raise

No groundbreaking ideas here, just straight-up honesty. "I did seated calf raises because my legs were so burned out that I could barely stand," says DeFranco.

Instead of counting reps, DeFranco concentrated on doing as many as he could with good form and a controlled eccentric, moving continuously for 60 seconds.

The Program

Week One

  Exercise Sets Sets Reps
A Box Squat 5 5 ALAN
B Box Squat Burnout with 75% of 1RM 1 AMAP 3 min.
C Eccentric Natural Glute-Ham Raise 2 5 3 min.
D Single Leg Speed-Skater Squats 3 10 2 min.
E Seated Calf Raise 2 1 min. 1 min.

ALAN — As Long As Needed
AMAP — As Many As Possible

Notes for Week One:

Box Squat Increase the weight on each set. Your last set should be your 5RM or very close to it.

Box Squat Burnout with 75% of 1RM Take 75% of your last set and perform one set of as many reps as possible. Cut the set one rep short of failure, but make sure you have a spotter just in case.

Single Leg Speed-Skater Squats Perform both legs back-to-back without rest. Go as heavy as you possibly can. "Just because it's ten reps doesn't mean you can be a pussy!" says DeFranco.

Seated Calf Raise Do as many reps as possible in 60 seconds, using a controlled eccentric.

Week Two

  Exercise Sets Sets Reps
A Box Squat 6 3 ALAN
B Box Squat Burnout with 75% of 1RM 1 AMAP 3 min.
C Eccentric Natural Glute-Ham Raise 3 5 3 min.
D Single Leg Speed-Skater Squats with front foot elevated 3 10 2 min.
E Seated Calf Raise 3 1 min. 1 min.

ALAN — As Long As Needed
AMAP — As Many As Possible

Notes for Week Two:

Box Squat Increase the weight on each set. Your last set should be your 3RM or very close to it.

Box Squat Burnout with 75% of 1RM Take the same weight you used for your burnout set in Week 1 and perform two more reps this week.

Single Leg Speed-Skater Squats Elevate your front food onto a 4-inch aerobic box or a couple of 45-pound plates to increase your range of motion. Make sure to go down as far as possible, lightly touching your knee to the floor. Use the same weight as Week One.

Week Three

  Exercise Sets Sets Reps
A Box Squat 7 2 ALAN
B Eccentric Natural Glute-Ham Raise 4 5 3 min.
C Single Leg Speed-Skater Squats with front foot elevated 3 10 2 min.
D Seated Calf Raise 4 1 min. 1 min.

ALAN — As Long As Needed

Notes for Week Three:

Box Squat Increase the weight on each set. Your last set should be your 2RM or very close to it.

Single Leg Speed-Skater Squats Elevate your front foot onto a 4-inch aerobic box or a couple of 45-pound plates to increase your range of motion. Make sure to go down as far as possible, lightly touching your knee to the floor. Use more weight than you did on Week Two.

"Most Guys Are All Talk..."

"If you want to build some freaky muscle and become an absolute beast, you'll have to shut your mouth, grit your teeth, and put in the work," says DeFranco.

If you could use some extra muscle on your lower body, try DeFranco's Three-Week Leg Cure and report back — that is, if you're not too much of a wuss.