Maximize your strength training routine by cutting out these time wasters.Read article
After taking second at the New York Pro and first at the Toronto Pro SuperShow in 2018, Juan Morel still wasn’t happy with his physique. “Diesel” ditched his leg routine, cutting down on the weight while increasing the reps to carve out some quality detail and better stimulate muscle gains. “I was focusing too much on lifting heavy, and it was hurting my knees,” he admits.
The result? A fresh three inches on his thighs when he took the stage at this September’s Mr. Olympia. The 36-year-old New York native credits his double-split routine, in which on Wednesdays and Saturdays he hits quads in the morning and hamstrings in the afternoon.
Morel hits two body parts per day, six days per week. The first at 11 a.m. and the second at 5 p.m. He does legs on Wednesdays and Saturdays, chest and arms Mondays and Thursdays, and back and shoulders on Tuesday and Fridays. He says that this split “helps release more natural growth hormone in the body.”
Morel goes light while training legs, but that’s a relative term. On leg presses, he’s still topping out at 1,500 pounds on his final set, while pyramiding up on hacks to 600. “For the leg press, I’m pushing for the pump in the quads, which is why I go as high as 20 reps,” he says.
“I’ll do four sets of standing calf raises at the end of the morning and afternoon leg workouts,” he says. He’ll go as high as 20 to 30 reps per set, working through a full range of motion on each rep to prod muscle fiber recruitment throughout the thick gastrocnemius muscle that dominates the back of the lower leg.