This routine uses the concept of ‘Leg Press 21s’, a method of using high repetitions and multiple angles to totally fatigue the quadriceps and to stimulate growth without putting too much pressure on joints, thus lessening the risk of injury that can come about from piling on a load of weight and performing ‘half reps’.
The workout should begin with a light warm-up, which may include a couple light sets on leg extensions and leg curls, focusing on contracting the muscle with very little weight. An effective warm-up can also include some stretching of the muscle groups that you will be training; both static and dynamic stretches can be done.
Once you have completed a sufficient warm-up you should move on to the 45-degree plate loaded leg press machine. Put on two plates each side and do a warm-up set of 21s (7 reps wide feet/feet pointing out, 7 reps narrow feet, 7 reps regular foot stance).
Once you have completed 1-2 warm-up sets like this, you should load on a few more plates each side and start your working sets. If you fancy putting even more stress on the quads you can do 30 reps per set instead of 21; do this by doing 10 reps at each different angle instead of 7 as previously described (10 wide, 10 narrow, 10 regular).
Perform four working sets; ideally you should add an extra plate per side for each set, making the final set extremely difficult to finish due to the sheer pump in your legs.
Once this is completed move onto your first hamstring exercise, lying leg curls, or use a seated leg curl machine if your gym doesn’t have this piece of equipment. Do one warm-up set of 15-20 reps focusing on squeezing the hamstrings then move onto three working sets of progressively heavier weights. On the final set do a double drop set (heavy weight for 6-8 reps, drop the weight and go to failure, drop the weight again and go to failure). Focus on connecting with the hamstrings and getting them pumped up and fatigued.
From here move onto stiff leg deadlifts, another exercise focused on the hamstrings; don’t go overly heavy on this exercise as it is more important you feel the hamstrings working rather than heaving up a heavy weight. Perform one warm-up set followed by three strict sets of 10-15 reps.
For the final exercise you should perform front squats, you can interchange the order of the final two exercises depending on which one you would rather finish on. For the front squats load a medium weight onto the bar and perform three strict sets of 10-15 reps, much like the stiff leg deadlifts, form is the most important aspect of this movement so ensure elbows are above the height of the bar and you are not leaning forwards or pushing through your toes.
- Leg Press 21s: 4 sets of progressively heavier weights (see below)
- Lying Leg Curls: 3 sets of progressively heavier weights followed by a drop set.
Focus on squeezing the hamstrings at the top of the rep
Focus on a slow and controlled negative
- Stiff Leg Deadlifts: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
Focus on a slow negative, stretching the hamstrings at the bottom of the rep
Focus on keeping a flat back to prevent injury
- Front squats: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
Focus on keeping the bar high, with elbows higher than the bar
Leg Press 21s Explained
Leg Press 21s are a great way to destroy the quads on the leg press machine, hitting the muscle from all angles. Many of you probably already know how to perform 21s for bicep curls, but this is a new take on it, designed to hit the quads from every angle and engorging them with blood, bringing an almost painful pump.
Begin with leg extensions to warm up the knees and fill the quads with blood, 4 sets of 20 reps with a moderate weight will be enough. You can do squats either before or after the leg press assault, if you want to squat heavy do them before, if weight is not a concern and you simply want to torch your quads then perform four sets of squats after leg pressing.
To begin load three plates a side onto the leg press and perform 20 normal repetitions to warm up the legs fully, try to bring your legs as close to a 90 degree angle as possible; doing a shorter range of motion will allow you to stack on more weight but won’t benefit the muscle at all.
Load the leg press with 2-3 more plates a side and begin the 21s, to do so start with your feet as wide as possible on the sled, with toes pointing outwards. Perform seven full repetitions like this, rack the weight then put your feet as close together as possible, leaving about an inch between them and perform 7 full deep reps like that, rack the weight and immediately put your feet in a normal shoulder width stance and perform 7 full reps like this, or keep going to failure if that is too easy. Your quads should be on fire at this point; if not then load on some more weight.
Take 1-2 minutes rest between sets and perform four working sets of 21s, by the end your quads should be exhausted; at this point move onto barbell squats.