Hybrid Leg Training
21st Century Bodybuilding for Awesome Leg Growth
I love training legs—always have, always will. I love it because it’s what separates the men from the boys. I love it because it creates a euphoric pump (when doing bodybuilding workouts, at least) that can’t be “beat” by the pump that’s achieved in any other sort of training. I love it because leg training will add muscle everywhere.
About twenty years ago, I attended a seminar with Tom Platz. He was back in awesome shape at the time, and when I saw him, he had just finished doing some photo shoots with several of the top magazines—namely Iron Man and MuscleMag International. (I wrote for both of those magazines back then, which made it even cooler, and the rumor mill was saying that Platz was going to get back into competition—Masters Olympia, or something of the sort. He never did compete, but he still looked unbelievable at his age—huge, shredded, vascular; in a word: freaky!) Anyway, there were only ten or fifteen of us at the seminar—Platz was a celebrity to myself, at only 20 years of age, but most people in Pelham, Alabama had zero clue who he was—and all kinds of questions were bantered back and forth. Questions about diet, his extreme form of training, drugs, and whatnot, but I won’t ever forget when one of the bodybuilders asked him what he does for his big arms. (Platz—in pictures—may not appear to have had large arms, but while they were not aesthetically pleasing, they were big as hell.) Platz’s reply: “Lots of squats.” He then was asked about his back training, his chest training, and so on. To each question, he replied that the key to his upper body mass was his lower body training. Voluminous lower body training. Out-of-this-world lower body training.
In a word: If you want to be big, if you want to look awesome, you have to make sure that you put the hard work in with hard-as-hell leg workouts.
Which finally brings us around to the subject of this article: hybrid leg workouts. (Before we go any further: If you haven’t done so, make sure you read the first two installments of my “hybrid training” before continuing with the rest of this one, otherwise you could be a little confused.)
Massive Leg Training—Hybrid Style!
For a bodybuilder who wants outrageous muscle growth in his (her) lower extremities, a certain form of training needs to be followed the majority of the training sessions. Here are my “rules” for a typical (even though there’s nothing “typical” about these workouts) training session involving the quads, hamstrings, and calves (primarily quads):
- The bodybuilder needs to train as frequently as possible while being as fresh as possible. This means that a fine line must be walked between overtraining and undertraining. This means also training each muscle group every 72 to 96 hours, although sometimes it could mean training every 48 hours, and sometimes it could mean waiting more than 96 hours before training again (especially if the bodybuilder has put him/herself in a purposeful state of overtraining).
- The bodybuilder needs to get a good “pump” in the majority of his leg workouts. When performing a “bodybuilding” workout—as opposed to the “hybrid” options that we’ll discuss shortly—your quadriceps and hamstrings should be as “pumped” as possible. Also, there’s no reason to train past the point of being pumped. In other words, once the pump has been achieved, the workout can then cease at that point.
- A minimum of 100 reps should be performed for the legs during a “typical” workout. Earlier, when discussing hybrid split training, I mentioned that one should average 100 reps per muscle group. But the legs are not the other muscle groups. They are a unique breed. They respond well to VOLUME… and lots of it!
Okay, if that’s what you should be doing the majority of the training sessions, here are the rules for what needs to be followed the rest of the time.
1. Some of the workouts should focus on “strongman” training. The legs—not to mention the entire body—respond really well to sled dragging, pushing the Prowler, flipping tires, etc.
2. Explosive training, also known as the “dynamic effort” method. These training days are set aside exclusively for speed. Multiple sets of low reps using only 50-60% of a one-rep maximum should be used.
3. Maximal effort training. These workouts focus on working up to a maximum triple, double, or single on one or more lifts.
4. Multiple sets of low reps. This should be the second most-often used form of training (after the 12 to 16 sets of 6 to 8 reps workouts). These workouts should consist of multiple sets (15 to 20) of low reps (5 or lower).
Here is an example of several weeks of workouts using the “hybrid” system. Each week you will perform two workouts. Mondays and Thursdays, Sundays and Wednesdays, etc. are the optimal way to set it up. (Remember, these workouts are just “examples”—unless I specifically say to do it, I don’t want any readers following my programs to a “T”.)
Day One (typical):
- Squats: 10 sets of 10 reps
- Walking Lunges: 5 sets of 20 reps (each leg)
Day Two (strongman):
- Sled Drags: 5 sets of approximately one minute each. Choose a weight where one minute of sled dragging is very hard.
- Farmer’s Walks: 5 sets of approximately one minute each.
- Tire Flips: 5 sets of 10-12 flips
Day One (typical):
- Bulgarian Squats: 5 sets of 20 reps (each leg)
- Reverse Lunges: 5 sets of 20 reps (each leg)
- Front Squats: 5 sets of 20 reps
Day Two (dynamic):
- Box Squats: 12 sets of 3 reps
- Deficit Sumo Deadlifts: 10 sets of 2 reps
Day One (typical):
- Barbell Hack Squats: 6 sets of 6 to 8 reps
- Bottom Position Squats: 6 sets of 6 to 8 reps
- Sissy Squats: 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps
Day Two (maximal effort):
- Squats: Work up over progressively heavier triples until you hit a max triple.
- Conventional Deadlifts: Work up over progressively heavier doubles until you hit a max double.
Day One (typical):
- Front Squats: 8 sets of 8 reps
- Olympic-style Pause Squats: 8 sets of 8 reps
Day Two (multiple sets of low reps):
- Bottom Position Squats: 15 sets of 3 reps
- Rack Lockouts (1/4 squats): 10 sets of 5 reps
That’s it for this installment of “Hybrid Training”. Until next time, remember the keys to gaining massive amounts of muscle (in your legs or otherwise): eat big, lift big, be big!
 You will notice that these “rules” differ slightly from those I outlined in my “Hybrid Chest Training” piece. This is because leg training—and the quadriceps in particular—require a different form of training than the muscle of your upper body.
 If you are at all confused as to how you should be training—or if “Hybrid training” is even for you—read my previous post entitled “My Training Philosophy.”