The perfect leg workout that fits into a push, pull, legs split is something I want to break down for you in this video. Unlike a stand alone leg workout, this has to relate to what is happening in the other two workouts of the split and make sure it’s complimenting the work that is being done on the alternate training days.
To start, it’s important to describe how to best set up your push pull legs workout split on the schedule. I always recommend starting with a pull workout and then following it with the push and finally the legs workout. Some people will tell you to not take a day off at the end of the three days and instead perform another cycle of these workouts to train for 6 straight days. I am not a fan of that. I like taking a rest day in between the legs and pull workouts to give the body a chance to recover better for the deadlifts that are going to take place on pull day.
Either way, let’s start breaking down the perfect leg workout as part of this PPL split.
Here is the entire workout for legs at a glance:
– Squats – 4 x 4-6 (Leave 1-2 in the tank)
– Barbell Hip Thrust – 3 x 8-10
– DB/BB Alt. Reverse Lunges – 2-3 x 10-12 each leg
– Single Leg RDL – 2-3 x 10-12 each leg rotate with Slick Floor Bridge Curls – 2-3 x F
– Standing DB Calf Raises rotate with Seated DB Calf Raises – 3 x 15-20 each
First up is the barbell squat. The squat is the king of all leg exercises and must be included in any perfect leg workout for men or leg workout for women. The key to how you are going to perform it here is as 4 sets of 4-6 reps. Make sure that you are stopping 1-2 reps shy of failure. That said, you want to take the opportunity to overload this exercise and increase your strength on it over time. Adjust your weights upward as needed to keep your range within this 4-6 rep zone.
Next we want to work the posterior chain but don’t want to overtax the low back muscles which may already be fatigued from the squats (especially if you are a low bar squatter). Instead of doing the barbell RDL here, we will opt for the barbell hip thrust. This is great for getting the glutes and hamstrings to work together without having to lean forward and be limited by a potentially already tired back.
Next we come back to the anterior chain for one of my all time favorite leg exercises, the alternating dumbbell or barbell reverse lunge. This is a great exercise for training the split stance requirement of leg training in a way that allows anyone to perform it. Often times, people with inflamed knees or acute patellar tendonitis will find lunging forward too difficult. The step back takes the stress away from the knees and allows you to build bigger legs and quads without sacrifice.
The fourth exercise in the perfect leg workout is the first in which you will rotate it each time you do this workout for your legs. You will either perform the dumbbell single leg RDL or the slick floor bridge curls. Here once again we are trying to hit the glutes and hamstrings in the posterior chain and want to do so in a way that doesn’t over fatigue the lower back.
The single leg RDL allows you to lift one leg to keep a straighter and flatter lower back while eccentrically stressing the hamstrings. We know that hypertrophy is driven by eccentric stress as one of the three main mechanisms of growth so this is one we don’t want to miss all together. Perform 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps for each leg and then next time you do the leg workout remember to switch this out to the slick floor bridge curl.
This bodyweight leg exercise is brutal but effective for once again training the hamstring muscles eccentrically and allowing you to train the glutes and hamstrings in concert with each other.
Finally, we can’t call this leg workout complete without hitting some calf exercises. The selections are straight forward and simple here. You either perform the standing dumbbell calf raise or the seated dumbbell calf raise. The difference between the two calf exercises is the position of the knee. With the knee straight you will work more of the gastrocnemius muscle and with the knee bent you will work more of the soleus muscle.
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