Donkey Calf Raise:
Lagging calves are a problem for a lot of people. Instead of tagging calves on the end of a leg day, Nathan priorities calf growth by starting his leg day off with calves. Set up the donkey calf raise so that the pad is resting on the mid part of your back and the height so that you can get a good stretch at the bottom of the movement. To start, push through the balls of your feet and come up onto your tiptoes explosively. Hold for 2 seconds at the top of the movement to get a hard contraction. Slowly bring the weight back down, stopping at the bottom to eliminate momentum. Do 1-2 warm up sets and do 3 working sets of 18-20 reps.
Standing Single Leg Calf Raise:
Even though this is a quad focused workout, Nathan puts a hamstring exercise in the beginning of his workout. This is a trick he learned from Fouad. By starting with hamstrings, you drive blood into the legs and warm up your knees without putting a direct load on the knees. Stand up tall with the thigh of the working leg on the pad and adjust the ankle pad about 2-3 inches above the heel. Curl the weight up towards your glutes, focus on not letting your hips raise up from the pad. Once at the top, hold for a second and then control the weight back down, getting a good stretch in the hamstrings at the bottom. Do 2-3 warm up sets of 10-12 reps, increasing weight each set, switch legs after you finish each set. Once you work up to a weight that is challenging to do 10-12 reps, perform 2 working sets to failure.
Next Nathan moves on to leg extensions. Adjust the seat depth so that the back of your knee is touching the front of the seat and that the shin pad is about 2-3 inches above the ankle. Drive your feet up towards the ceiling and extend your legs, squeeze hard and hold for a second at the top. Control the weight down and stop completely at the bottom. Do 2 warm up sets and a cluster set for the working set. A cluster set is a set that the reps are broken up by short periods of rest. Do as many reps as possible to failure, rest for 5-8 seconds, do as many reps as possible and then pause for 5-8 seconds and then do as many reps as possible to failure.
The big compound movement of this workout is hack squats.. Set yourself up in the hack squat so that your shoulders are on the pads, chest is up high and feet are in about the middle of the platform. Begin by standing up tall and disconnecting the safeties. Begin to lower yourself down in a controlled manner for 2-3 seconds and stop at 90 degrees or below for each rep. Once at the bottom explode up. Perform warm up sets of 8-10 reps, working weight up each set until you get to a weight that you can barely do 10 reps and do two working sets to failure.
Walking Dumbbell Lunges:
The final exercise to completely trash your legs is lunges. With a dumbbell in each hand perform walking lunges down an open space of your gym. Step your front leg out far in front of you, stop and lower yourself down and then explode up. Once at the top, step forward and switch legs. Be sure to squat down and not forward to not put unnecessary stress on your knees. Do 10-15 reps per leg, taking 2-3 sets to failure.