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Gut-check leg workout yesterday; Heart Rate Recovery PR matched again.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


After Sunday’s very intense two hour mountain biking cardio session, I was not surprised that yesterday my legs felt pretty fatigued. My legs were not sore yesterday (actually my calves were a little sore), but they felt weak and wobbly.

Last Monday’s leg workout was outstanding, and I hit my target reps on every exercise. Whenever I hit my target reps that means I add weight the next time I do that same workout. Between the added weight and my tired wheels (pun included at no charge), I knew I was in for one of those workouts where I was going to have to dig deep.

My squat station has seen a lot of pain over the years.

My squat station has seen a lot of pain over the years.

First, about my current leg workout. As many of you know, one of my favorite leg workouts is a modified version of the old SGX leg routine. It’s become sort of a tradition that I start my cut off with this workout, and that’s because it’s very, very effective. My modified version of this leg workout is actually a little more difficult than that original SGX workout: I added 4×20 lunges or Bulgarian split squats after the barbell squats. I think I originally made that change as a challenge to myself, and then once I did it I couldn’t very well allow myself to back off from it, right?

The workout:

4×20 Leg extensions
4×20 Lying leg curls
4×20 Barbell Squats
4×20 DB lunges or Bulgarian split squats

Here are the two simple, but critical, keys to getting the most from this workout:

1) You must use enough weight so that you can barely get the last few reps up.
2) Keep the rest intervals very short – just 60 seconds between sets, 2 minutes between exercises.

If you don’t cheat on the rest intervals and don’t wimp out on the weights you use I guarantee you’ll crawl out of the gym after this one. Crying is optional, but allowed.

Getting back to yesterday’s workout, I added five pounds to my leg extensions and lying leg curls, 10 pounds to my squats and 10 pounds to my lunges (5 pounds per dumbbell). After the first couple of sets I knew I was in for a war. My legs were visibly shaking as I banged out set after set, I was screaming and grunting (I’d last less than 30 seconds at Planet Fitness) and I was spraying sweat and spit all over my mirrors.

It’s probably good that I train alone in my home gym, as I tend to be pretty obnoxious. That’s how I like it, and I make no apologies–I’ve got a job to do in there, and accomplishing that job is my only concern. Mirrors and gym equipment can be wiped down, and Loki doesn’t mind my screaming and cussing. If you’re worried about being polite when you train, then you’ll get polite results.

Somehow I managed to hit my target reps on every single exercise, but it really was an all out battle and test of will. I remember on my last set of squats I felt like I was going to collapse after the 12th rep, but I just kept counting them down, refusing to rack the bar as I worked my way up to the magic number. When I put the final rep up I felt incredible. I sobered pretty quickly when I remembered that I still had 80 lunges (per leg) to do. 😀

As a follow-up to last Monday’s new Heart Rate Recovery personal record of 86, I’m happy to report that it was duplicated again yesterday. It was definitely not fluke. Exact same numbers, too: 185 BPM after the final set of lunges, 99 BPM after two minutes of rest for a Recovery Heart Rate score of 86.

I probably don’t have to tell you how my legs are feeling this morning. Thankfully today is my day “off”, so I’m just doing 45 minutes of fasted LISS cardio this morning. I’d better wrap this up and get to it.

Stay focused and train hard!

John Stone Fitness Comments

2 Responses to “Gut-check leg workout yesterday; Heart Rate Recovery PR matched again.”
    • Yeah, thankfully no lower back issues at all. Staying away from very heavy squats/deadlifts and moving from a hardtail to a full-suspension mountain bike seems to have made a world of difference with my lower back problems. Fingers crossed.

      I know I’ll probably never squat or deadlift ultra-heavy (1RM) again, but that’s not such a big deal to me anymore.

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