The new Conan movie hits UK shores this week. As a fan of the savage barbarian, I felt it only fair we find you 3 muscle building legs exercises hotfoot from the Hyborian Age.
Just like our sword-wielding Cimmerian, these exercises are guaranteed to get your heart racing and your blood pumping.
1. First into battle is the leg press.
When attacked with vigor, this movement is a sadistic slayer of your leg muscles and merciless metabolism booster.
Writing in HARDGAINER, here is what Jan Dellinger had to say about the leg press: "The effect of the cardiorespiratory system is an indicator of the value of an exercise. In my case, I noted that heavy, all-out sets of leg presses (especially those for reps of 8-20) got me significantly more breathless and rubber-legged than squats under the same conditions."
And now for your barbarian twist...
Under normal circumstances the leg press exercise is a brute, but how can you turn it into a savage? One-legged negatives are your answer. Here is what you do:
The next time you use the leg press, add one-legged negatives to the end of your finished set. Beginning with the left leg, SLOWLY lower the weight for a count of 8 - and do everything in your power to RESIST THE URGE TO HURRY (believe me, you will want to hurry). On completion, take a good pause to catch your breath, then return the leg press machine to full extension with both legs and repeat the same single-legged negative only this time with your right leg.
By the time you finish, your heart will be a hammer and your legs will be jelly. How barbaric is that?
2. Next we wreak havoc on the squat.
Much has been written about this monster movement for good reason: you will never find a more productive muscle building legs exercise which puts your body in anabolic mode.
Beyond Brawn author Stuart McRobert has this to say about the squat: "If you do not squat, you will greatly reduce the potential value of your training. The benefits from the squat go well beyond just developing the directly involved musculature of the thighs, glutes and lower back. Do your utmost to master the squat!"
To go with this battle cry comes your barbarian twist...
The next time you squat, add a static hold to the end of your set. Here is what you do: in the fully contracted position, hold your weight until you reach a point of muscular failure, i.e., until your static strength is exhausted. Then, as you note your static strength about to go, begin to slowly lower the weight.
What makes this so savage? Holding the weight in a fully contracted position to static failure and then finishing with a single negative creates a greater inroad into functional ability. How fierce!
3. Finally we wage war on the deadlift.
The average gym-goer does not deadlift and I do not blame them. Why? The barbell deadlift is a demon movement capable of making grown men (and warriors) weep.
Here is what Jan Dellinger had to say about the deadlift in HARDGAINER: "Of course, deadlifts for high reps is the ultimate self-torture with a barbell."
Did you catch that? Ultimate self-torture with a barbell. We don't have to look too far for our barbarian twist, now do we? Here is what you do:
The next time you deadlift, you are going to perform 20 repetitions. You are also going to take 3 deep breaths between each rep, filling your lungs and chest to their utmost capacity. And finally, you are going to perform the deadlift in a strict, smooth, unhurried fashion to positive failure.
Crom! Such savagery would make even Conan gulp. Yet it is this kind of intensity that builds battle-hardened bravehearts.