It was leg day today, which is my least favorite workout. Though I like it more than I used to, I always am happy when it is over and it’s another week before I have to do it again! I changed things up a little this week from what I have been doing before. Looking over my past programs, I hit quads hard but tend to neglect hams somewhat. I am realizing my ham strength is not in proportion to my quad strength, so I definitely need to do some more quad work. You can check out the workout I did today by clicking here.
Anyway, one of the things I have recently started doing is pre-exhausting my legs somewhat before starting the heavy lifting. My warm-up usually consists of five minutes on an exercise bike, and then some light dynamic stretching. Now I have added leg extensions before I start leg press or squats. While this does tire me out a bit, there are some added benefits of doing this.
One of the main advantages of pre-exhausting your legs, is that you will further warmup your legs before doing heavy lifting. How many times have you hurt your knees doing squats or leg press? If you have worked out for a long time, you probably can’t count this on one hand. If you start heavy squats or leg press fairly cold, you are just asking for injuries. Doing the exercise bike for five minutes and some light stretching sure helps, but ever since I have been doing leg extensions before my main exercise, my knees have not been injured yet. You would think that I wouldn’t be able to lift as much weight since my legs are starting to get pumped and a bit tired from leg extensions, but that’s not true. Since they are warmed up more, I am actually able to lift more than I normally can.
Another benefit from pre-exhausting your legs is simply for a change of routine. So many people get to the gym on leg day, do a quick stretch and immediately start piling the plates on the squat rack. While that’s good and all, you really need to mix it up. Try doing leg extensions first, or maybe even add in some hamstring curls. If you do too much, you will sacrifice some strength from your squats and leg press, but you certainly won’t sacrifice muscle growth. You will already be halfway pumped before you even start squats! I guarantee you it will be tough, but you will have a killer workout if you have not tried this before. Give it a shot and let me know what you think!