01 September 2009

**Friends Don't Let Friends Do Leg Extensions

You know how people like to refer to other people who don't have the slightest fucking clue, yet whom seem to be in charge of other, like-minded, clueless assholes as the "blind leading the blind"? Well, my friends, that's what's happening when you see a silly bastard in the gym doing leg extensions. He likely learned to do that exercise from one of two sources:
  1. some silly sonofabitch who has all of the leg development of a tent pole.
  2. the same leg training article that's been reprinted several thousand times in every magazine on Earth, inspired by Joe Weider's insipid take on leg training.
Yep, you too could have the massive leg development of Joe Weider. Anyone could. His legs are, at their very best, utterly pathetic.

Since Weider defeated Bobby Hoffman in the battle of the bodybuilding mags, real lifting has taken a sorry backseat to the preening pussies you see waddling around commercial gyms every day,tanned and shaved, arms poking out at their sides, dressed like assholes and doing the dumbest shit ever. I actually saw a guy in Vienna, at the most hardcore gym there, huge as hell, wearing baggy sweatpants and a "Shut Up and Squat" shirt spend over an hour on the leg extension machine and leave. My legs, at 165 lbs, were clearly better than his. It was, to be blunt, a disgrace of epic proportions.

My bloviation and braggadocio aside, I used that story to elucidate my point more clearly- if squats are the cornerstone of your leg workouts, you're a good person. If squats are the only exercises in your workouts, you're fucking brutal as hell. And if you happen to be one of those sorry motherfuckers who does only token squats, or doesn't squat at all, and you're not suffering paralysis or some horrible, debilitating disease, you are a pox upon this Earth, akin to the Weider brothers, Al Quaida, people who cannot discern the difference between their/they're/their or you're/your, and the Jonas brothers.
See what happens when you leave squats out of your leg workout? Don't be this guy.

At this point, you might be thinking, "but why shouldn't I do leg extensions and leg presses and various other machines that involve a padded seat and a vagina holder?" Well, aside from the fact that the answer is contained within the subtle confines of that question, I'll tell you- they're unnecessary.

Throughout the years, there have been literally THOUSANDS of lifters who either eschewed all other leg exercises of their own free will, or because they didn't have access to the namby-pamby machines scattered about modern commercial gyms, from which gymgoers now jump, all nimbly-pimbly like a cat, bereft of any appreciable leg development. Run-on sentences aside, these aforementioned men of valor and might had crazy leg development by relying on nothing but squats, in all of their glory. Witness:
Fred Lowe was a total badass, and get this- competed at 165lbs!

Another tiny guy with huge legs, all from squatting- Shi Zhiyong, 62kg Olympic Gold medalist.

Matt Kroczaleski. Can you imagine him on a leg extension machine?

If you're still unconvinced, google "olympic weightlifter" and look at any of their legs (super heavies not included, obviously). Ripped, striated, and generally awesome.

So, if you were going to do a squat-only leg workout, what should it be? I'd imagine that's what you're asking yourself. Well, I'll tell you. I generally train legs heavy at least twice a week, and then an optional light third training day. Given my propensity for 2x per day training, that means I do between 2 and 6 leg sessions a week, though in the last six months, I've definitely put in a couple of 8 session weeks. That's still far fewer than that of the Chinese or Bulgarian Olympic lifters, but I don't have benefit of being paid by the government to do nothing whatsoever but lift. It is in line, however, with the general training volume of Sheiko and Smolov, though, so it's not impossible to train like this if you have a job and a vague semblance of a life.

Heavy Sessions:

I typically stick to one of the following rep schemes, using either front squats, back squats, or partial back squats.

Scheme 1: Singles
Warmups (Assume a 615 back squat max)

Work Sets
20x1x585 (15-20x1 using ~95% of my 1Rep Max)

Scheme 2: Triples

Work Sets
10x3x545 (10x3 using ~90% of my 1Rep Max)

Light Workouts
I will typically do 2 sets of nonstop reps in the back squat with 135lbs for 3-4 minutes. Thereafter, I might do a set or two of 1-1.5 minute sets with 225. I never go heavier than that, which means I'm using 20% or 35% of my one rep max. These workouts are to work out stiffness and get a little more volume into my program without stressing my CNS too heavily.

"But what about my hammies? Some douche from the gym told me that I have to work my hammies or I'll have incomplete leg development. He looked like he had AIDS and polio, but I trust him!" Well, my friend, do some cleans or deads, and possibly some glute/ham raises or reverse hypers, and then have a coke and a smile and shut the fuck up. Squats work your posterior chain, too, and with all of the other work in ChAoS & PAIN, if you end up bereft of hamstrings, it's because you suck at life.

Now playing: Years Spent Cold - Break All Ties
via FoxyTunes


  1. I jusy found your site a couple of days ago. Very refreshing, entertaining, and informative, thank you.

    In the workout you outlined above, what are the rest intervals youtake inbetween sets?


  2. Speaking of Matt Kroc: http://www.ironmanmagazine.com/site/matthew-kroczaleski/

    I don't if it's his real training, but there are leg extensions there :P

  3. that's his transition into body building split training, so yeah, it's a bit different. he didn't build legs doing it, but he's training under the EFS model for bodybuilding, so naturally he's going to split it up.

  4. I'll bet you can't guess what muscle in your body is the muscle that gets rid of joint and back pain, anxiety and burns fat.

    This "hidden survival muscle" is in your body and it will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic skill when developed.