A top trainer shared his most effective leg day workout of 100 reps

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In a recent video on the Athlean-X Channel, strength coach Jeff Cavaliere CSCS breaks down the “most effective” workout he uses on leg day to relieve the quads, glutes, and hamstrings, based on the principle that it’s the last handful of reps that you perform in each exercise that will have the most impact.

To start, select the weight where you would normally fail in the 8-rep range, and use that to perform an “ignition set.” Then, after a short rest of just 15 seconds, the real work begins.

“It’s in this ignition set that you’re probably reminded of how easy those first few reps are…but they serve a really important point in this workout,” explains Cavaliere. “They’re going to pave the way for those more energizing, growth-promoting reps that will come after this point… That ignition set was just to pre-fatigue the muscles, to prepare them for what happens next.”

Starting with the dumbbell Bulgarian split squat, Cavaliere demonstrates the ignition set and 15-second rest, then launches into 15″ effective reps. (The ignition set of 8 reps and 15 effective reps must be completed on both legs each.) The key here is to perform each rep in good form, and you can rest/pause as many times as you need to reach that goal, as long as you limit each pause to 15 seconds.

Cavaliere switches to the back chain with the barbell RDL and increases the ignition set to 12 reps, then 20 effective reps after the short rest. Then he goes back to the front chain with alternating reverse lunges, using dumbbells so he can put them down more easily if he fails. Again, the ignition target here is 8, followed by 15 effective reps. (When performing this exercise, he advises stepping both outward and backward to help you keep your balance.)

The ignition set and effective reps go back to 12 and 20 for the cable run, with the cable and rope helping you naturally position your body during the hinge.

To hit the quads in a way few other exercises manage, Cavaliere uses the Spanish squat, a band exercise, and adds a pair of dumbbells for added difficulty, doing an ignition set of 8 and 15 extra reps. “This is a way to perform resistance leg extension in a closed fashion,” he says. “These will burn you like never before.”

Finally, he finishes the workout with seated calf raises, again with dumbbells, performing 8 ignition reps and 15 effective reps.

Here’s the full workout, totaling 100 effective reps:

  • Dumbbell Bulgarian split squats, 8 ignition reps and 15 effective reps on each leg
  • Barbell Romanian Deadlifts, 12 ignition reps and 20 effective reps
  • Dumbbell alternating reverse lunges, 8 ignition reps, 15 reps on each leg
  • Cable pull-throughs, 12 ignition reps, 20 effective reps
  • Dumbbell Spanish squats, 8 ignition reps, 15 reps
  • Dumbbell seated calf raises, 8 ignition reps, 15 reps
Portrait photo of Philip Ellis

Philip Ellis is a UK-based freelance writer and journalist covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV.

A top trainer shared his most effective leg day workout of 100 reps

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