6 Ways to Make Your Leg Workout Harder

6 Ways to Make Your Leg Workout Harder

Those “skipping legs day” memes didn’t show up out of nowhere. So why do so many people find excuses to bail on their quads, hams, glutes, and calves? Because the challenge of shambling to the car with sweat-soaked clothes and shaky legs isn’t for everyone. But we’re willing to bet that it’s for you, right? You can get there with these tips provided by certified personal trainer.

Pre-Exhaust Your Quads

Pre-Exhaust Your Quads
Pre-Exhaust Your Quads

Muscle & Fitness Executive Editor Arnold Schwarzenegger provided an insightful explanation as to why pre-exhausting you quads is a useful technique. And one way to employ the pre-exhaust method, says Rowley, is to perform four or five sets of leg extensions prior to any squat exercises. “Do 25 reps of leg extensions, and then move to 10-12 squat reps,” he says. “The following week, switch it up to 10-12 reps of extensions and 25 squat reps. Make sure all reps are done with control — three seconds down, and then back up.”

Read More: 10 Lower Ab Workouts for Men

Giant Sets for Giant Legs

Giant Sets for Giant Legs
Giant Sets for Giant Legs

A giant set combines four or more exercises with minimal rest in between. “Try this: leg extensions to leg presses to squats to hack squats, and back to leg extensions —that’ll take care of your quads, and you still have hams and calves to work!” Rowley says.

Hammer Your Hamstrings

Hammer Your hammies
Hammer Your hammies

The high-and-wide leg press. Every heard of it? “Sit in the leg press and place your feet as high and wide as you comfortably can. Point your toes toward the edge of the top of the sled,” he advises. “This should place 90 percent of the stress on the hamstrings.”

Tri-set: Leg curls + high-and-wide leg press + stiff-leg deadlift

Giant set: leg curls + high-and-wide leg press + stiff-leg deadlift + back to leg curls

“Do 20-30 reps for your last set of leg curls,” he says. “When doing stiff-leg deadlifts, maintain an arch in your back and bend at the waist. Do not round your back.”

Make Each Calves Rep a Twofer

Make Each Calves Rep a Twofer
Make Each Calves Rep a Twofer

A slight tweak to your calf raise technique can fetch impressive results. “Larry Scott told me this calf raise tip a while ago, and it can work with any variation of calf raises,” Rowley explains. “Do a calf raise, and then do a second push to really engage the calves and overload the muscle. After the second push, take three seconds to return to the start position.”

Read More: Workouts for Men to Get Ripped at Home

Apply the Squat Gauntlet

Apply the Squat Gauntlet
Apply the Squat Gauntlet

Back squat. Front squat. Zercher squat. Hack squat. Single-leg squat. There is no shortage of squat variations to choose from. However, your body type may not be suited to execute all squat types, says Rowley. “Pay attention to what your body is telling you. Does a hack, front, or back squat hurt your knees, or otherwise feel bad before or after you do the movement?” he asks. “If you’re not going too heavy and you’re using control but there’s still pain, it might mean that your body isn’t suited for that squat variation.”

Try The Harder Hack Squat

Try The Harder Hack Squat
Try The Harder Hack Squat

Use this tip to make the machine hack squat a quad-killer: “Larry Scott and Vince Gironda showed me how to hack squat years ago,” Rowley explains. “Start off by pinning your butt against the pad. When you descend into the squat pick your hips up and do a thrusting motion. Then bring your hips back to the pad when you get to the top [of the movement]. This places all of the stress onto the quads during the rep.”