I once saw a guy at the gym who was curling more than he was bench pressing. Which is sad enough. But he was also bench pressing more than he was squatting.
Unless his goal in life was to be shaped like a light bulb, or he was a circus acrobat who’d been forced to walk on his hands to earn a living, I can’t think of any reason why he should’ve been able to curl more than he could squat.
That was about a year ago. Today, that same fella has an impressive set of wheels. Some might even say they’re now his strong point.
What happened? He made the wise decision to come to the Thibster for a training program. He wanted to know how to build his legs because his wife was starting to mock him. (It was the right thing to do; who cares if it was for the wrong reason?)
So we set off on our quest for tree-trunk legs.
This is the program that led to most of his lower-body transformation. It’s not for the faint of heart, but if you’re tough enough to survive it, you will get you results.
A. Front Squat / Close-Stance Back Squat / Wide-Stance Back Squat Combo
Start by doing 6 front squats. Rack the bar and immediately switch to a close-stance back squat for 6 reps. Use the same weight, and don’t rest during the transition. Now, without racking the bar or resting, widen your stance and do 6 more reps.
- Sets: 4
- Rest: 180 seconds
B. Snatch-Grip Deadlift / Romanian Deadlift / Sumo Deadlift Combo * *
Start with 6 snatch-grip deadlifts. Set the bar down, change to a clean grip (arms just outside your knees), pick it up again, and do 6 Romanian deadlifts. Don’t change the weight, and don’t rest. Set the bar down again, widen your stance, move your arms inside your knees, grab the bar and do 6 sumo deadlifts.
- Sets: 4
- Rest: 180 seconds
* * Not everyone will be able to do these three exercises in this sequence. Some of you, because of muscle imbalances or individual biomechanics, will be weaker in the Romanian deadlift than you are with the snatch grip. In that case, do the RDLs first. Always do your weakest movement first.
C1. Short-Step Walking Lunge / Long-Step Walking Lunge / Dumbbell Squat Combo
Grab a pair of dumbbells. Start with the short-step walking lunges – 8 steps per leg. Without resting or even setting down the weights, do 8 reps per leg of the long-step walking lunges. Finish with 8 dumbbell squats. Only then can you put down the weights and catch your breath.
C2. Leg Curl, 2/1 Technique
Lift the weight with both legs, hold it at the top for one second, release one leg, and lower it for 5 seconds with the other leg. Repeat, lowering it with the opposite leg. Do 6 reps per leg, alternating sides on each rep.
- Sets: 3 each of C1 and C2
- Rest: 120 seconds after C1 and C2
D. Leg Press
This one is fairly straightforward. Simply perform 100 continuous repetitions. Yes, you can take very short pauses during the set, but try to avoid them as much as possible.
- Sets: 1
- Rest: until the next workout…
As you can see, this workout hits everything in your lower body without being excessively tough on your joints and connective tissues. Since it builds endurance strength, athletes can use it in the early stages of an off-season program. It should be especially effective for hockey, rugby, and soccer players, acting as an “anatomical adaptation” stage to prepare them for heavy lifting and power training as they get closer to their competitive season.
And, of course, if you’re a bodybuilder looking to jack up your wheels as fast as possible, this is the program for you.