It’s Leg Daaaaaay!

It’s Leg Daaaaaay! What can be better? When it comes to training legs, you’ve got to be ready. Done right, it’s brutally hard work! That’s why some lifters avoid legs altogether - but not true hardcore 5%ers, and no one was more hardcore than the man himself, Rich Piana. He had some of the best wheels in the business, and you can too.


It makes sense to understand the muscles you’re working. Knowing what they do and how they function makes it easier to establish the mind-muscle connection. It also helps you get the most out of your workouts.

The Quadriceps

The four parts of your quads all work together to allow you to stand, run, squat down, and jump.(1)

Rectus Femoris

The first quad muscle is the rectus femoris. This is the largest quadriceps muscle. It originates from your pelvis and goes down to your femur. Also, it engulfs the other three muscles of your quads. The rectus femoris keeps your legs and hips in sync with each other. Primarily, it flexes your thigh and flexes your pelvis in towards your thigh.

Vastus Lateralis And Vastus Medialis

These muscles are located on the outer edge of your femur. This is the muscle that bulges out to the side. Together, the vastus lateralis and vastus medialis make up the middle portion of your quads.

Vastus Intermedius

This muscle is a little more hidden than the others. It's in between, or tucked underneath, your vastus medialis and vastus lateralis. Yet it’s critical to the function of your legs because it extends your knee.

The Hamstrings

Primarily, your hamstring muscles:

  • Bend the knee joint
  • Rotate the hip joint
  • Extend the hip joint

There are 3 hamstring muscles and they are located on the back of the thigh. They start at your hip and insert into the knee.(2)

Biceps Femoris

This muscle is closest to the outside of your body. 


Next, this muscle is closest to the middle of your body. 


Finally, this muscle is between the semimembranosus and the biceps femoris. 

The Workout

When Rich competed, he had an amazing lower body. It was obvious that he hit his legs hard, and he did squats. For many lifters, squats are the ultimate leg exercise. There’s a good reason for that - they work the entire body, especially legs.

Leg Extensions
Supersets: 5 x 20, 15, 12, 10, 8 reps per exercise 
Go deep, and hold at the fully stretched position of both exercises for a 2 count.
Leg Presses
3 sets x 12 reps 
Use a full range of motion, perform your reps slow and controlled, hold the bottom position for a 3 count.
Hack Squats
3 sets x 8 reps 
Use rest-pause to extend every set. For example: Fail at 8 reps, rest pause for an 8 count, knock out as many reps as you can, rest pause for an 8 count, and again knock out as many reps as you can. That’s 1 set.
Lying Leg Curls
5 sets x 20, 15, 12, 10, 8 reps 
Hold at the fully stretched position for a 2 count.
Stiff-Legged Deadlifts
4 sets x 15 reps 
Hold at the fully stretched position for a 2 count.

Performance Notes

The thing that separates this leg routine from others is the fact you’re doing a lot of pausing in the fully stretched position. The reason for this is that loading the muscle in this position activates mTOR. That means protein synthesis stimulation. The other thing that does this is performing your eccentric phase slower, taking about 3-4 seconds to complete that portion of the rep. Unless otherwise noted, perform your reps using a 2-2-4 tempo.

We’re also adding pre-exhaust supersets and rest pause, so this routine is all about maximum intensity. That means that while you should train as heavy as you can, keep the weights light enough to do these sets justice. Each set should be brutally challenging, but not so much you’re rushing through your reps just to get done. Work your sets! If you can walk normally after completing this routine, you aren’t working hard enough.

Nutrition & 5% Nutrition Supplement Suggestions

Make sure you’re eating a quality pre-workout meal about 2 hours before you drink your pre-workout. The primary consideration here is to take in quality protein and fast-digesting carbs while allowing enough time for this meal to fully digest. As an example, your meal could consist of egg whites (with a couple of yolks) and white potatoes. Of course, another option would be to have a serving or 2 of Real Carbs + Protein.

Heading into your workout, for a tough training session like this, you’ll want to use 1 scoop each of 5150 and Full As F*ck. To optimize protein synthesis and limit catabolism while training, mix up 1-2 scoops of All Day You May, freeze it (if desired) for 20-30 minutes, and sip it during your workout.

As soon as you end your last set and catch your breath, crawl over to your tub of Real Carbs + Protein. Mix up 2 scoops for your post-workout shake. Rich believed in drinking this right away, and that makes sense, especially after a workout like this. From there, eat your post-workout meal within 1-2 hours. This meal should consist of a high-quality protein source and plenty of quality complex carbohydrates. As an example, your meal could consist of lean beef or chicken and brown rice. 


There’s nothing like a great leg workout. They are not easy to train, and it takes a true hardcore 5%er to get in the gym and push it hard. If you want to look your best, you have to do whatever it takes, right? That means killing it when it’s Leg Daaaaaay!


  1. Quadriceps Anatomy, Muscle Function, Injuries, Exercises, and More (
  2. Hamstring Muscles: Location, Anatomy & Function (
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