4 sets, 12-15 reps, 270-540 pounds
PHIL’S TAKE “This is a natural follow-up to barbell squats.”
DO IT RIGHT Taking a seat on the leg press machine, Phil places his feet shoulder-width apart in the center of the platform. With his chest elevated and lower back flat, he straightens his knees and unlocks the safeties. He then lowers the weight, bringing his kneecaps toward his chest as deep as he can go, before extending in a powerful motion to a point just before his legs lock out.
ERRORS & OMISSIONS Flexibility can be an issue—when you bring your knees toward your chest, you don’t want your lower back to curl up of the back pad, which can compromise your spine. If this is an issue for you, you’ll want to add lower-body stretching as part of your regimen.
INTENSITY TIP “I’ll vary my foot position on this exercise, sometimes going a few inches wider than shoulder width. You can also try putting your feet a bit higher on the platform for a different feel in your quads.”
HAMSTRING EXERCISE: DUMBBELL STIFF-LEG DEADLIFT
5 sets, 10-15 reps, 70-120 pound dumbbells
PHIL'S TAKE “I end my hamstrings workout with stiff-legs, another five sets. It’s a lot of volume in this workout, but that’s what my hamstrings have responded to.”
DO IT RIGHT Standing with feet shoulder-width apart and holding a dumbbell in each hand, arms at his sides, palms facing in, Heath bends at the hips. As he lowers himself, dumbbells close to his legs throughout, he maintains the arch in his lower back and keeps his spine straight—all of which is key to engage your hams and not shift the burden to your lower-back muscles. Heath stops the descent when the dumbbells reach shin level, with his torso roughly parallel to the floor. From here, he fires his hams and glutes while pushing his hips forward to bring himself back to a standing position.
ERRORS & OMISSIONS “A lot of guys don’t think they really feel this exercise in their hamstrings,” Heath says. “You have to relax, poke your butt out, and let your arms hang down with the dumbbells…get that stretch. You also want to keep the weights close to you, almost dragging them along your body.”
INTENSITY TIP “If you do these without thinking about them, you won’t get much. Instead, on every rep, mindfully flex your hamstrings and glutes. Keep the pressure on them throughout the set.”
FLEXOnline breaks down Phil Heath's leg routine, exercise by exercise. Click "Next Page" for: Walking Lunge!