Leg day’s my favourite day at the gym... said literally no one, ever. Still, it might not be fun, but it is necessary. Skip it at your peril.
In the latest instalment of their YouTube workout series, Brothers Matt and Ben Morsia took on a leg day to end all leg days. The pair make perfect ambassadors for leg day’s tendency to split opinion. Matt never misses it. Ben, in the other corner, trains legs only “under a full moon”.
Their primary focus was on building strength rather than size, starting out with high weight and fewer reps. Towards the end of the session, they switched to muscle-building and increased the rep ranges. Here’s how they got on.
As always, if you're heading to the gym for the first time or trying out a new exercise, consult a PT first to make sure your form is spot on and to avoid nasty injuries.
- Rack a barbell so it sits at roughly shoulder height.
- Rest the barbell on your back below your shoulders.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Bend your legs at the knees and go down as low as you can.
- Drive the weight back up through your heels until you’re standing.
- Increase the weight slowly as you work towards your working set so your body can adjust to the movement.
Back-off weight (lighter working sets):
- Stand with your legs wider than shoulder-width apart with a barbell set up on the floor in front of you.
- Point your toes outwards.
- Keep your feet a couple of inches away from the plates on either side of the bar.
- Drive your hips backwards while bending your knees, and grab the centre of the barbell with both hands.
- Lift the bar by straightening your legs and driving your hips forwards until you’re standing, keeping your back straight.
- Lower the bar back down to the floor by reversing the movement.
- Sit on the leg press machine and place your legs slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on the platform.
- Push the platform away from you by straightening your legs — but don’t lock your knees.
- Bend your legs at the knees and allow your knees to flare out slightly to the side to increase your range of motion.
- Sit at the leg extension machine.
- Ensure the back of your knees rest against the edge of the seat.
- Make sure the weighted pad sits on your shins just above your feet.
- Drive the weighted pad upwards until your knees are straight.
- Slowly return to the starting position without releasing tension.
Seated leg curls
- Sit on the leg curl machine, ensuring the back of your knees rest on the edge of the seat.
- Rest the supportive pad across your quads, just above your knees.
- The weighted pad should sit just above your ankle on the back of your leg.
- Push against the weighted pad until your lower leg is at 90 degrees to your upper leg.
- Slowly release the tension against the weighted pad until your legs are straight.
Machine calf raises
- Rest your back against the seat of a leg press or a calf raise machine.
- Ensure your weight is on the balls of your feet and not your heels.
- Press against the balls of your feet.
- Slowly release the movement until your feet return to their natural position.
Take Home Message
Looks like that was a tough one... in a good way, of course. If you’re prone to skipping leg day — or just want to make it a little more bearable — try taking a friend with you. You can laugh — and cry — together.