This leg routine combines it all: Quads, Hamstrings, Calves, for a workout that will push you hard

June 15, 2018

The legs often get less attention than the upper body, simply because there’s more muscles and movements. Within this routine, you’ll target every lower body muscle, and it can be performed 1-2 times a week.

Lets face it, for the vast majority of us, we would prefer to workout our our upper body, focusing on areas like the shoulders, chest, arms, and abdomen area in order to achieve that look we want. It’s what drives most of our motivation, and what makes us feel good when we receive compliments, and catch a great angle in the mirror when we’re pumping up in the gym. Legs tend to stay covered and even hidden, and generally do not receive as much love and attention as does the upper body. I decided to put this program together to allow us all to truly commit to giving attention to all of the major muscles in the lower half of the body, and help balance out the symmetry and proportion of the physique as a whole.

rob riches leg workout split

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Combination Training (AKA: Super-setting)

The upper legs contain big and powerful primary muscles that can withstand a lot of weight and endurance. After all, they’re under load daily moving us around, and lifting our bodyweight effortlessly with every step.

Given the number of different exercises that can be performed for the legs, I often find myself combining several complimentary movements together in a superset (one exercise performed immediately after the first, with minimal to no rest in between). This not only saves a great deal of time within my workout, but keeps my muscles working at a high intensity without necessarily always needing to be chasing the weights and adding more and more on each set.

Each movement within the workout (shown below), compliments the first exercise. For example, on Exercise 1 – performing stiff-legged deadlifts using dumbbells, after having just performed a set of lying hamstring curls, will make use of the pump and blood-filled muscle (packed with oxygen-rich blood platelets, containing fuel for the working muscles, and ready and waiting to carry away any waste products, such as lactic acid). You may not that you’re unable to match the same weight as you might if you were performing each exercise after adequate rest, but I guarantee you that if performed with proper technique – you will be feeling the muscles work, and can consciously be more aware of flexing them at the peak of each repetition to ensure maximal contraction.



Make Use Of Shocking Principles

Another tool I like to make use of when performing supersets are things like drop, and strip-sets, rest-pauses, slow negatives, and assisted reps. Given that your training the muscles to their full capacity, as your strength starts to drop as you reach your training threshold, you can continue to keep pushing for a few more reps by adding in any one of these shocking principles. I don’t feel it necessary to prescribe which ones you should be using, simply because I’ve found this to be more of a gut-instinct based on how I’m feeling towards the end of the set.

Mix & Match Your Supersets

The program you see below is intended as a structured guideline. Commit to it for a couple of workouts and then try changing the order of the exercises (I would still recommend keeping the final calf exercises at the end), and even mix in your own combinations of exercises performed back-to-back. This in itself can also be a great shock to the system and allows for greater freedom every now and then, especially if like me, you find yourself committing to set routines each week.


High-Volume Calf Circuit

The muscles in the lower leg (which I’ll simply refer to as the calf muscles for now), are similar in their structure to the abdominal and forearm muscles. They all tend to be longer, sinu fibers, that are in almost constant use, and often hard to grow.

I’ve found that when it comes to training the calves (and similarly for abs and forearms), that a circuit of 2-3 exercises, performed as one set each, followed by the next movement, and so on, for 15-20 repetitions per movement, and then repeat the same process, is one of the best approaches to conditioning and developing these muscles. Still using as much weight as I can manage (for the desired rep range), but the continuation of making them work without rest, has always yielded the best results for myself, and many others whom I have spoken to over the years.

rob riches leg workout routine

Exercise 1

LYING HAMSTRING CURLS* 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Exercise 2

LEG PRESS* 3 sets of 10-12 reps
DUMBBELL LUNGES 3 sets of 12-18 steps

Exercise 3

SINGLE LEG EXTENSIONS* 3 sets of 12-15 reps
SISSY SQUATS 2 sets of ‘to failure’

Exercise 4

4-5 stripsets (in a single drop set)

Exercise 5

SEATED CALF RAISES* 3 sets of 12-20 reps
TIBIALIS FRONT RAISE 3 sets of 12-20 reps
ANGLED/STANDING CALF RAISES 3 sets of 12-20 reps

*(Perform as a superset exercise with following exercise)