So JTF Strong has been a thing since August 2017 and I haven’t shared a workout yet. What. The. Hell.
My current program is a four-day split that I’ve titled “Stronger Things” after I messed up a Stranger Things-esque shirt while trying to cut the sleeves out of it around the time I finished designing this program.
I figure that since I’m building plans fairly regularly now, it wouldn’t hurt to throw you guys a bone every once in a while. Consider this the first free workout bone. It’s my personal leg day. Every Monday. For now, at least.
I’m not going to go into detail about form or technique, though I’ll give you some basics. I’m also not going to specify what weight you need to be using because that’s going to differ from person to person. If you’re just getting started, then use your first workout to get an idea of the weight you can move in the rep range and number of sets I’m asking for.
Sounds easy enough. Let’s get started.
A lot of websites encourage light warm-ups before lifting that include stretches, etc. I can’t in good conscious ask you to do one because I rarely ever do. However, on leg day I often do 5 minutes of jump rope first just to get warm and to hit my calves a little since there’s nothing here that specifically targets them. I also hold all stretching until the end. We’re going to use warm-up sets to stretch, y’all.
Go Heavy: Barbell Back Squats
4 sets; 8 reps; Rest 90 seconds
Primary: Quads — Secondary: Calves; Glutes; Hamstrings; Lower Back
That’s right. Right out of the gate we’re going heavy. But before we start throwing enormous weights on the bar, we’re going to work our way into it. Our goal is 4 sets of 8 reps so you’ll want to go with a weight you can get through it with using good form, but just barely.
Get prepared for this by being a plate hoarder. If you know how much weight you’ll be working with, get those plates out but don’t load the bar yet. Now calculate 50% of that weight and get the plates needed to build that as well. Keep in mind Olympic barbells weigh 45 pounds when doing your calculations.
We’re going to start by just squatting the bar 10 times. This helps grease the ol’ hinges and loosen up the muscles so they’re ready to start pushing big weight. Don’t worry about looking like a bitch. You’re being smart.
Next, we’re going to load the bar at 50% and crank out another 10 reps. Once you finish your 10th rep, rack the bar, load it at your working weight for the day and rest for about 60 seconds.
Now you do your actual squat. Back straight, feet shoulder-width(ish), eyes straight ahead. Inhale on your way down; exhale on your way up. We’re going for 4 sets, 8 reps. Rest about 90 seconds between sets.
(1/3) Tri-Set Circuit: Walking Dumbbell Lunges
3 sets; 10 reps (5 each leg)
Primary: Quads — Secondary: Abs; Adductors; Calves; Glutes; Hamstrings; Shoulders; Traps; Upper Back
No warm-up set is really needed here unless you just want to. You’ve basically warmed everything up with your squat earlier.
The focus here is on the lunge, not so much the weight you’re carrying around. The weight isn’t really even all that necessary for this move but I like the little bit of fatigue it contributes to in addition to the grip strength and shoulder work. My gif is a poor example, but ideally you want to take a big enough step so that your front knee stays behind your front toe. I’m pretty close here. You get the point.
We’re going for 3 sets of 10 reps; that’s 5 reps per leg. If you’re short on space, you don’t have to “walk.” Once you finish your 10th rep, move on to the next exercise in the circuit, resting only as necessary.
(2/3) Tri-Set Circuit: Landmine Single-Leg Romanian Deadlifts
3 sets; 10 reps (5 each leg)
Primary: Hamstrings — Secondary: forearms; glutes; lats; lower back; upper back
I love RDLs (so much so that I’ve included a second variation of them in this same workout) and this is one of my favorite ways to do them. My balance isn’t great, but this is how you work on it. If you don’t have a landmine set up (I don’t) you can nestle a barbell into a random corner and deadlift away.
Your focus here is primarily don’t fall on your face. Keeping both legs straight, back straight, hinging at the top of each leg. Once you’re standing again, rest the toe on the ground for half a second and slowly lower the weight again. No fooling, this will also torch your forearms.
We’re looking for 3 sets of 10 reps; again, 5 reps per leg. Once you’re finished, move on to the last exercise in the circuit, resting only as necessary.
(3/3) Tri-Set Circuit: TRX-Assisted Pistol Squats
3 sets; 10 reps (5 each leg); Rest 60 seconds
Primary: Quads — Secondary: Calves; Glutes; Hamstrings
Like I said earlier, my balance isn’t great. And for that reason, actual pistol squats are still problematic for me but I’m getting better. In the meantime, I like using the TRX bands to assist me in this freaky move, lowering my body slowly and bringing myself up a little quicker.
Your goal here is to burn those quads out but also doing so while using almost all leg strength. It’s very tempting to rely on your upper-body strength to pull yourself up and it’s imperative that you resist that temptation. The bands are only there for balance.
Again, 3 sets of 10 reps; 5 reps per leg. After you finish the last rep, take 60 seconds to breathe and then repeat the whole circuit again … twice.
(1/2) Finisher Superset: Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts
2 sets; 15 reps
Primary: Hamstrings — Secondary: Glutes; Lower Back
Just like I promised — more RDLs! Working the same lower-body muscles but the range of motion is just slightly different. Here, you’re going to want to hold two dumbbells in your hands, stand straight (but don’t lock your knees), feet about shoulder width and your heels driven into the floor. Keeping your back straight and hinging at the hips, those dumbbells are going to drag themselves down the front of your quads and down to your ankles. You’ll feel a stretch in your hamstrings if you’re doing it right. Slowly push your hips forward as you return to the standing position and repeat until you’re out of reps.
We’re looking for 15 reps so pick a weight you can hang on to for that long. It doesn’t have to be super heavy. Once you finish your last rep, move right on to the next exercise in the superset.
(2/2) Finisher Superset: Kettlebell Swings
2 sets; 15 reps
Primary: Quads — Secondary: Hamstrings; Glutes; Delts; Pecs
Set a kettlebell on the ground between your legs with your feet about shoulder-width apart (you can take them wider). You’ll want to hold the kettlebell by the handle with both hands out in front. This is a “swing” so we’re going to swing but our primary goal is to make this a workout for our legs, so we’ll slightly bend the knees, drop the weight down (while keeping our backs straight and eyes forward), then drive with our legs to push the weight out, being sure to keep our arms straight and ending at about shoulder level. Carefully lower the weight back to the starting position as you, again, drop your hips and slightly bend the knees to load up another explosive movement.
This part will be over quickly. Once you finish your 15th rep, take 60 seconds to breathe then repeat the superset one more time and you’re finished.
While I DO skimp on the warm-up most of the time, I rarely ever skimp on the cool down. Stretching is very important to me since I’m often teaching people how to kick and throw knees. Sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day also wreaks havoc on my hips. Once you’re finished with the workout, mix yourself up a protein shake and spend 10 or 15 minutes just stretching and foam rolling, being sure to specifically target those calves, hamstrings and quads.
I realize this is kinda crazy to reference, so after you get the point, I’ve created a handy-dandy Google doc you can reference/print with open spaces for you to input your working weight and take notes.
And there you have it. I’ve finally shared a free workout with you guys. If you give it a shot, let me know how it goes and feel free to pass me any questions you may have.