Training

Lionel Beyeke's Legendary Leg Workout

Build quads, hams, and glutes of historical proportions with this extreme-intensity workout.

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 No. 5: LYING LEG CURL 

Sets & Reps: 4 sets; 15, 12, 10, 8 reps

INSTRUCTIONS: This workout is admittedly quadcentric, with the first four exercises a murderer’s row for that particular muscle. While you’ll finish with two hamstring exercises, the lying curl and one-leg machine curl, you may also want to consider splitting of hams into their own session at least two days removed from your quad annihilation, adding Romanian deadlifts to the mix for a hardcore trifecta. But if you’re running this particular gauntlet, just be sure to put as much into lying curls as you did the previous moves. Full reps are key—picture your hamstrings expanding outward and filling with blood when you bend your knees, similar to how your biceps blow up when you’re curling.

START: Lie facedown on a leg-curl machine and position your Achilles tendons below the padded lever, your knees just off the edge of the bench. Grasp the bench or the handles for stability. Make sure your knees are slightly bent to protect them from overextension.

ACTION: Raise your feet toward your butt in a strong but deliberate motion, squeezing the muscles when the pad reaches your glutes. From there, straighten your legs under control, stopping before the weight stack touches down and launching into the next rep.

TAKE IT TO THE EDGE: The aforementioned biceps might call to mind a technique often used in biceps training—21s. Those familiar know it means curling a barbell or EZ-bar from the bottom position to the halfway point of the rep and back down for seven reps, then seven more reps from the midpoint to the top of the move, followed by seven full-range-of-motion reps. Now, take that same pattern and apply it to the leg curl for 3-4 sets, doing 7 reps in the bottom half of the range of motion, 7 in the top half, and finishing with 7 complete reps.

 No. 6: ONE-LEG MACHINE CURL 

Sets & Reps: 3 sets; 10 reps

INSTRUCTIONS: You can see the finish line from here. (Whether you can actually drag yourself over it with legs that have run through hell and back, well…that’s far from guaranteed.) One-leg curls allow you to put each hamstring individually through their paces, meaning a stronger side can’t carry a weaker one. Do three sets of 10 reps with a weight challenging enough to elicit failure right around that target.

START: Position yourself on the apparatus so that the ankle of your working leg is on the support pad, your other foot on the floor or platform (depending on the machine). Grasp the handles for stability.

ACTION: Making sure the only action is taking place at your knee, flex your hamstrings forcefully to lift the lever as high as you can, then return slowly to the start, stopping before the stack touches down to ensure the tension remains on the muscle throughout the set.

TAKE IT TO THE EDGE: On the very last set, when you can’t complete a full repetition, do partials, anywhere from one-fourth range-of-motion reps all the way down to “pulse” reps, where you are only moving an inch or two, until the burn is too intense to continue. When finished, congratulate yourself— you’ve just joined a very elite group of bodybuilders, those who understand the dedication, perseverance, and all-out effort it takes to build legendary legs.

 

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