Get ready for a variation of a routine from my book, The New Bodybuilding for Old School Results. If you need to remind your quads what true high-intensity training feels like, I challenge you to apply this series.
Three exercises, each done for one set – with all three exercises requiring no more than five minutes. That's all it takes for your legs to wake up and experience significant growth stimulation.
Here's a description of the eye-opening routine:
1. Dumbbell Squat, 30-10-30
The sequence, 30-10-30, stands for:
- One slow 30-second negative rep (the lowering portion), followed immediately by...
- 10 full reps using a controlled but faster pace, followed immediately by...
- Another rep done with a 30-second negative
So that's 12 total reps: the first rep and the last rep are 30-second negatives with 10 normal reps in between. The entire set takes approximately 90 seconds. You'll need a clock with a second hand in plain sight to help you count.
Note: I've trained some strong men, but they seldom used dumbbells that weighed more than 25-pounds each for this exercise.
To start, the dumbbells should be hanging down by the outsides of your thighs. Keep your upper-body muscles rigid, chest out, and torso erect. Look closely at your clock.
Start bending your knees slightly, inch by inch. Be halfway down at 15 seconds and all the way down at 30 seconds. The dumbbells should almost touch the floor. Then do 10 full squats smoothly and go right into the final slow negative rep. Try your best to make it last 30 seconds. Then move on to the leg press.
2. Leg Press Machine, Normal, 12 Reps
The 30-10-30 dumbbell squats have effectively pre-exhausted your quads, so you'll need to load about 80 percent of the resistance on this machine that you'd normally use for 12 reps.
Smoothly perform at least 12 reps. The leg presses should take 60 to 90 seconds. Without resting, move to the third exercise.
3. Wall Squat with Body Weight, 60-Second Hold
Position your feet 18 inches out from the bottom of the wall, slide down until the tops of your quads are parallel to the floor, place your hands on top of your head, and hold in the bottom squat for one solid, demanding minute.
This is a unique double pre-exhaustion series, so you're going to feel fatigue, burn, and pain like you've never felt before in your legs. You'll probably need a training partner nearby to push you with the right words... and to make sure you don't cheat.
At the end of the 60-second hold, all you have to do is sit down, which I promise will be easy to do. What won't be easy is getting up. In fact, it might take you another 60 seconds or so.
Lazy No More
That's it! Three exercises in five minutes. A wake-up routine for your quads, which have been sleeping way too much.
"Most lifters don’t want that bloated, drug-induced look of a modern pro bodybuilder. They'd much rather have that chiseled, hard, athletic look of Steve Reeves, Boyer Coe, and Casey Viator. I've taken those lost techniques of the masters — added today's science — and created The New Bodybuilding for Old-School Results."
— Ellington Darden, PhD