Old School Bodybuilding Leg Workout (6 Greatest Classic Exercises)

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Today, Blue Star Nutraceuticals® Pro-Trainer and IFBB® Pro Jordan Wheeler is taking you back to the Golden Era, and running you through an Old School Bodybuilding Leg Workout with 6 of the great classic exercises – with a modern day twist.

Because we’re in the Blue Star state-of-the-art training facility – loaded with the best leg training equipment in existence, from Arsenal Strength and Westside Barbell – we wanted to mash up old-school exercises with new-school equipment.

Make no mistake – there’s no mainstream fitness equipment and gadgets here – just old-school classics – made better.

Welcome to the Old School meets New School Leg Workout.

You will be starting with a weight that you would hit failure with at 15 reps.

Then, you will be adding a bit of weight to each set, and performing fewer amounts of reps. The goal is to hit failure on the last 2 sets.

Set 1 – 12 reps
Set 2 – 10 reps
Set 3 and 4 – 8 reps
Set 5 – 6 reps.

You will only have 90 seconds rest between sets – so use the stopwatch on your smartphone. The shorter rest period means you’ll get a tonne of volume in during a short period of time.

As always, perform a dynamic warm-up before you begin.

Exercise #1: Barbell Back Squat (12,10,8,8,6 Reps)
Because this exercise allows you to load up a ton of weight, it’s a serious mass builder for your entire lower body. Remember to brace the core, keep your knees out and squat down past parallel for full range of motion. This will likely be your heaviest exercise of the entire workout, so remember to bring the intensity!

Exercise #2: Sissy Squat (12,10,8,8,6 Reps)
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, grab on to a support, and as you bend down lean your upper body back so you’re in a straight line from head to your knees and your torso is about 45 degrees with the floor.

If you’re strong enough, you can hold a plate on your chest while performing these, but be careful not to overload your knees, bodyweight alone on this one is a struggle for most. If you’ve done them correctly, your quads should be on fire.

Exercise #3: Walking Lunge (12,10,8,8,6 Reps)
Next we’ve got walking lunges, this is a good transition exercise after performing mostly quad dominant to more hamstring activation exercises.

Throw a barbell on your back or grab a pair of dumbbells – drive through the heel of your front leg and explode right into the lunge on the opposite leg. The real work on this one comes from the explosive raising portion of the movement, not the lowering. So stay explosive and keep constant tension on those hamstrings.

Exercise #4: Russian Leg Curl (Nordic Ham Curl) (12,10,8,8,6 Reps)

Keep your core braced and your back straight throughout the whole exercise, no arching the back or sticking your butt up. Slowly lower down to a full stretch position in your hamstrings, then forcefully contract your glutes and hamstrings to pull your body back up.

If you’re performing this on a lat pulldown or bench with a partner, be sure you have a pole or something to assist you as bodyweight for this exercise is a feat of brute strength in itself, that not many can easily accomplish.

Exercise #5: Barbell Deficit Stiff Leg Deadlift (12,10,8,8,6 Reps)
The stiff leg deadlift is an awesome compound exercise for building those sweeping hamstring drops.

This allows you to go beyond your normal range of motion and get an even deeper stretch in the hamstrings to help you develop truly iconic hams. Keep the back straight, don’t round; keep your knees slightly bent so you don’t hyperextend them, focus on feeling the stretch in the hamstrings at the bottom and flex your hamstrings and glutes to pull the weight back up.

If you feel too much strain in your lower back, you’re likely lacking flexibility or lifting too heavy, so make sure you feel it where you’re supposed to.

Exercise #6: Donkey Calf Raise (12,10,8,8,6 Reps)
To finish off this epic old school leg day, we’ve got donkey calf raises. This is Jordan’s all-time favourite mass builder for the calves, and an exercise famously portrayed by the Old School lifters back in the day who would do these with 3 big bodybuilders sitting on their back.

Keep your back straight, lower your heels below the foot pad, pause at the bottom in the full stretch position, then forcefully contract your calves to raise yourself up.

And there you have it! Try out this classic, Old School Bodybuilding Leg Workout on your next leg day and let us know how it went for you!
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