Friday: Legs, Calves and Abs

The following is a very effective Max-OT routine that trains each muscle group once a week over a three day period with a day off in between each workout.

The sets listed in the workout below do not include warm-up sets.

Legs Sets Reps *
Squats 3 4 to 6
Leg Press 2 4 to 6
Stiff Leg Deadlift 2 6
Standing Machine Calf Raises 2 6 to 8
45� Leg Press Calf Raises 1 6 to 8
Cable Rope Crunches 2 10 to 12
Incline Crunches (weighted) 2 8 to 10

* Remember, the weight you use should be light enough to do four reps, but heavy enough so you can’t do more than 6 reps. Each set should be done to positive failure.

Squats are not substitutable. For building massive leg size and strength there is nothing better than squats. Anything else you do in place of squats will not be as effective. I will be detailing a Max-OT leg routine a little later in the course that does not involve squats because I realize some people are limited by certain injuries. But make no mistake about it, anything other than squats is second fiddle.

Max-OT Tip:
One thing to note, even squats done outside the Max-OT parameters (4 to 6 rep range to positive failure) are more effective for muscle growth than leg presses or any other leg movement done within Max-OT rules. Squats have such a dramatic effect on muscle fiber stimulation that I would recommend them even if you have to decrease the overload or weight used for whatever reason. This is the only exercise exception to the 4 to 6 rep rule where this applies. Squats are that important for building muscle.

Leg Press is a good exercise for your quads. Make sure you lower the weight slowly and drive it up with force and velocity. You can vary your placement, but normal placement is the best for overall results.

Stiff Leg Dead Lifts are the king of all hamstring movements. You know the next day when you have done these. Keep your legs as straight as possible. You don’t want to lock your knees, but come as close as you can without actually locking them. (locking your knees can set you up for injuries so be attentive here.) Lower the weight slowly with your back straight and not rounded. As you come up with the weight do not straighten your back all the way out. Stopping before you are fully erect keeps tension on your hamstrings and increases the intensity level.

Standing Machine Calf Raises are done on a standing calf raise machine – duh! This is the best overall calf exercise. Make sure you go heavy and stretch fully at the bottom and contract fully at the top on each rep. Keep your pelvis in line with your shoulders and don’t bend at the hip during the movement.

45 degree Leg Press Calf Raises are done on a 45 degree leg press (sled). This is an awesome calf movement as well. Stretch at the bottom and flex at the top.

Max-OT Tip:
You can vary the angle of your feet to stress certain areas of your calves more. Toes pointed out work the inner calf. Toes pointed in work the outer head of the calf. Toes straight basically work the entire muscle evenly.

Cable Rope Crunches are the best ab development exercise you can do. Concentrate on isolating your abs throughout the entire movement. With abs, isolation is good.

Incline Crunches are done on an incline bench with a plate in front of your chest. Be sure to contract forcefully at the “crunch” of each rep.

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