Photographs by Per Bernal
If you’re like the average gym rat, there’s probably one day of the week that you don’t really look forward to: leg day. You see people waiting for chest and arms machines, but rarely will you see a line for the squat rack. But Juan Morel is not you’re average gym rat. He's one of the top IFBB pro bodybuilders in the world. Oh, yeah, and he loves leg day.
BRING THE PAIN
Morel’s unbridled passion for leg training stemmed from what was once a competitive disadvantage. “My legs used to be a weak point,” he says. “I used to train like a powerlifter when I first started out, so my legs were really strong, but they were very undeveloped. Going through the bodybuilding ranks when I was younger, people constantly told me I had to bring up my legs, so it forced me to train them harder and train them differently. Some people hate training their weak points. Not me. I look forward to it. I love training legs, so for me I go to the gym on leg day, and I’m just excited. I’m getting ready to have fun. It’s one of the hardest workouts you can do, and for me the harder it is, the better.”
SUNDAY FUN DAY
For Morel, Sunday really is Fun Day, because that’s when he hits his legs the hardest with an onslaught of barbell squats, front squats, and leg presses. The volume is high, the reps are high, the weight is high, and apparently, so too is Morel’s pain tolerance. He also ramps up the intensity, supersetting more than half of his routine. Exhibit A: He pairs squats and leg presses for eight heavy, high-rep supersets to start the workout. Some people spend their Sundays watching football. Morel spends his with more than two hours of training legs in the morning and then devoting the rest of the day to hanging out with his family. The better the workout goes, the happier he is the rest of the time. “Most of my workouts are really good,” he says, “but when I have a really great leg workout, it just makes my day.”
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