Aaron Clark Trains Quads and Hams

Ask 212 bodybuilder Aaron Clark who his heroes are and he will cite the champions of the late ’90s, like Kevin Levrone and Flex Wheeler, as those who stoked his initial interest in bodybuilding. Now he finds he looks up to guys who have longevity, the ones who look outside of bodybuilding to have fun. He names Dexter Jackson, another athlete known for his aesthetic look, as a great example of staying in the game—still in great shape, still winning shows, still injury-free.

There is a note of caution as Clark approaches his leg-day training. Taking care to lessen the risk of injury is part of his process. “If it’s leg day, and you’re exhausted, don’t go to the gym. You’re not going to get as much out if it, anyway. Forcing yourself through a tough workout when you’re not at top form is just risking injury. Get rested, fuel your body, then hit it hard when you come back tomorrow.”

Clark works legs twice, four to six days apart, with five days being ideal for recovery and recuperation. In the first of those two workouts, he will focus on the quads but include exercises for hams as well. On the second, hams take the spotlight position. He hits calves almost every workout. “Separation and density in the ham and glute area win a lot of contests, so I target that area directly with my leg workouts,” he says.

aaron-clark-legs1

HYPEREXTENSION

SETS: 2 REPS: 20+

“It’s important to loosen up the glutes, hamstrings, and hips to get started. Hyperextensions help, especially if the tendons are hurting. Don’t start pressing with your hamstrings cold and tight—you want to do warmup sets to make sure the joints are completely ready for both the negative and positive contractions. Sometimes I hold a plate.”

 

aaron-clark-hamstring-curl

STANDING ONE-LEG LEG CURL

SETS: 3 REPS: 10 (each leg)

“This is a great way to isolate the muscle and to focus on the stretch and on the contraction. Don’t forget to focus on the negative contraction. If you want full muscle-belly development, and you want to build strength and lessen the chance of injuries, you need to focus on lowering under control. The negative phase of a rep is very important.”

aaron-clark-leg-extension

LEG EXTENSION

SETS: 3 REPS: 8–10

“Leg extensions are a warmup exercise. I usually prefer to do them one leg at a time to make sure each leg gets equal work. Again, I focus on doing the negatives slowly to maximize development. I never let the weight drop back to the starting position.”

 

aaron-clark-lying-leg-curl

LEG CURL

SETS: 3 REPS: 10–12

“Squeeze at the point of peak contraction and then slowly lower the weight back down. I do slow negatives with this exercise because hamstrings are prone to tear.”

aaron-clark-front-squats

SQUAT MACHINE

SETS: 3 REPS: 8–10

“I will usually do the squat machine as a superset with the leg extensions. I’ll go to failure on a set of leg extensions and then jump on the squat machine and do reps to failure. Squats hit quads the best; using the machine helps me reduce the risk of injury.”

 

aaron-clark-squat

SQUAT

SETS: 3 REPS: 10–15

“I try to do squats every leg workout. Space your feet shoulder-width apart. Turn your toes out slightly. I like to go below parallel, for the deep stretch, as well as for the contraction of the glutes and quads as I power out of the bottom on my way back to the starting point.”

aaron-clark-leg-press

LEG PRESS

SETS: 3 sets REPS: 8–10

“I use rest-pause with leg presses. I like the leg press because I don’t have to stabilize myself, which helps me to dig deep. I start with a weight where I will fail at 10 to 15 reps. I do a set, rack the weight, and count off ‘one Mississippi’ before I follow with one set of 10 to 15 and a third set if I can make it to eight.”

STIFF-LEG (ROMANIAN) DEADLIFT

SETS: 3 REPS: 10–12

“I use dumbbells or a barbell. Dumbbells give me a freer range, and my arms can move a little bit, which helps if my wrists are sore. I’ll go with a barbell when I want to use more weight.”

 

Aaron Clark Trains Quads and Hams

 CLARK’S LEG ROUTINE 

QUADS

  • Leg Extension SETS: 3 | REPS: 8–10
  • Squat Machine SETS: 3 REPS: 8–10
  • Leg Press SETS: 3 REPS: 8–10
  • Squat SETS: 3 REPS: 10–15

HAMS

  • Hyperextension SETS: 2 REPS: 20+ 
  • Standing One-leg Leg Curl SETS: 3 REPS: 10 (each leg)
  • Leg Curl SETS: 3 REPS: 10–12
  • Stiff-leg Deadlift SETS: 3 REPS: 8–10

 CLARK’S TRAINING SPLIT 

  • DAY 1 Chest
  • DAY 2 Arms
  • DAY 3 Off
  • DAY 4 Legs (Quads focus)
  • DAY 5 Shoulders
  • DAY 6 Cardio, abs
  • DAY 7 Back
  • DAY 8 Off
  • DAY 9 Legs (Hamstrings focus)

 FLEX