The New and Improved Leg Day

muscles used for a deadlift
Photo credit:

Today’s “Leg Day” was fantastic…and intense.

It was also somewhat driven by the activities of everyone else in the free weight room, since I had to make adjustments based on who was occupying a particular machine at any given moment. You wouldn’t think the place would be so crowded between 5 and 6 a.m. on a Wednesday.

As I previously predicted, my adjusted leg day workout didn’t allow me time to do cardio and I barely had time to do 2 ab workouts.

Here are the details. I rested ~60-90 seconds between sets:

Barbell Hack Squats

  1. 10x 110lbs/49.89kg (warm up)
  2. 8x 120lbs/54.43kg
  3. 6x 130lbs/58.96kg
  4. 6x 130lbs/58.96kg
  5. 5x 140lbs/63.5kg
  6. 5x 140lbs/63.5kg

Straight Leg Deadlift

  1. 6x 150lbs/68.03kg
  2. 6x 150lbs/68.03kg
  3. 6x 160lbs/72.57kg
  4. 5x 180lbs/81.64kg
  5. 5x 180lbs/81.64kg

Plate Loaded Seated Calf Raises

Warm up with dumbbell standing calf raises 10 x60lbs/27.21kg in each hand.

  1. 10x 135lbs/61.23kg
  2. 10x 135lbs/61.23kg
  3. 12x 135lbs/61.23kg
  4. 12x 135lbs/61.23kg
  5. 12x 135lbs/61.23kg

Plate Loaded Leg Press

  1. 8x 270lbs/122kg
  2. 8x 270lbs/122kg
  3. 5x 340lbs/154kg
  4. 5x 340lbs/154kg
  5. 5x 340lbs/154kg

Weighted Decline Bench Ab Crunches

  1. 20x 35lbs/15.87kg
  2. 10x 35lbs/15.87kg
  3. 10x 35lbs/15.87kg

Weighted Cable Crunch w/Rope Attachment

  1. 20x 50lbs/22.67kg
  2. 20x 85lbs/38.55kg
  3. 15x 145lbs/64.77kg
  4. 15x 145lbs/64.77kg

And all of that took nearly an hour. I wanted to insert a third ab workout but there just wasn’t time.

The most surprising difference between last week and today was how wimpy I was at leg presses. The weights listed above are exactly the same as I set them at last week, and yet, I was only able to do 8 reps per set at 270lbs and 5 reps per set at 340lbs. Of course, last week, I did leg presses first and didn’t do my barbell work until the very end of my routine. I think all of the heavy (for me) work I did with hack squats and deadlifts tired out my quads and hams so that, by the time I got to leg presses, I was already fatigued rather than hitting leg presses fresh.

The other, more pleasant surprise, was how I exceeded what I thought were my 5 rep max weights for the barbell exercises. For hack squats, I deliberately went light for my one warm up set, but I truly thought 120lbs was going to be my limit, at least for today. However, by the time I raised the weight to 140lbs, I discovered that it was sufficiently challenging and is probably where I’ll begin next week.

barbell hack squatsThe same is true for the deadlifts except I probably made a mistake going up to 180lbs. I meant to add two 5lbs plates for the last 2 sets but grabbed two 10lbs plates instead. I really felt the lift for the final two sets of deadlifts. I think I’ll back off a tad for next week. No use getting too cocky and ending up getting hurt.

I’ve done decline bench crunches before, but this was my first time trying out cable crunches. I had a heck of a time finding a challenging weight and finally settled on 145lbs as something I could actually feel in my gut. I really wanted to do Captain’s chair leg lifts to top off the tank, so to speak, but the clock was telling me I had to get out of the gym.

Even without cardio, I was dripping with sweat by the time I was done. I was so wiped out that even my ab work left me out of breath between sets. My shirt was soaked and I was dripping sweat on the benches and floor. Good thing I had my towel with me.

I have to admit, I’m kind of proud of what I was able to do today overall. It was a terrific workout and amazingly, I’m still able to walk. Of course, the DOMS will tell the tale tomorrow morning when I get out of bed.

One more milestone. As of this morning, according to, I have officially lost 10 lbs in the last 60 days. It’s been tough restricting my calorie intake, but it’s worth it to be killing nasty, ol’ belly fat. The plan is working.

I’m actually looking forward to next week’s Leg Day just to see what happens then.

You measure the size of the accomplishment by the obstacles you had to overcome to reach your goals.

Booker T. Washington


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