The 💯 Leg Workout (MOST EFFECTIVE!)

If you want a leg workout that is going to be most effective at helping you to build bigger legs, this is the one. Continuing on in the 100 workout series, we are hitting the quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves in one efficient routine that is going to help you to build muscle in your legs.

The workout’s efficacy revolves around the concept of effective reps. Whenever you perform a set of, say 12 reps to failure, the first 7 or 8 are not really challenging at all. In fact, some argue that they serve no purpose other than to fatigue your muscle to get to the point where the reps do start to become difficult. Well, what if there was a way to tap into these more effective, growth inducing reps more quickly? There is, and that is where this 100 leg workout steps in.

We kick off the workout for legs with one of my favorite leg exercises of all time, the dumbbell bulgarian split squat. Grabbing a pair of dumbbells that will cause failure in our first set at 8 on each leg, we perform what we call our ignition set. Keep in mind, these reps are not going to count towards your 100 rep total for this workout. They are just serving to kick off this exercise and pre-fatigue the reps that are to come after on this leg exercise.

After reaching failure on the ignition set you will rest/pause for just 15 seconds before jumping back into your first set of effective reps. Now keep in mind, leg workouts can be grueling for many. If that is the case for you, feel free to extend your rest slightly but do so realizing that the spirit of the workout as written is for you to ultimately be able to do this with your rest limited to just 15 seconds each time.

Perform 15 effective reps on each leg, making sure to get all of them done on one leg before proceeding to the other.

The next exercise up is one for the posterior chain which will give a much needed reprieve to the quads and anterior chain muscles – and it’s the barbell RDL. The key to doing this glute and hamstring exercise right is to hinge at the waist and soften at the knees. Don’t lean the barbell out too far in front of you as this puts unnecessary strain on your low back.

Aim for 20 effective reps after your ignition set of 12 to failure to kick it off.

The next exercise is going to take you back to the anterior chain with the dumbbell alternating reverse lunges. Two great tips that make this exercise easier to perform are to remember to keep your back foot traveling not just back, but out as well. This will broaden your base of support and help you to maintain balance from the split stance position. This is especially helpful when you are handling heavy weights as you will on this leg exercise that is to be performed at an 8RM ignition set leading into 15 effective reps each leg.

Once again, we keep this leg workout moving by heading back to the posterior chain exercises, this time with a cable pull through. If you struggled to perform the hinge the first time around, you will not now. This is because the cable and rope help to pull your body into the proper position on every rep. Just remember to squeeze with the glutes to bring you back to the top into full hip extension.

The DB Spanish Squat is an amazing way to train resisted closed chain knee extension without having to use the open chain alternative leg extensions. The addition of the dumbbells to this leg exercise make it even more brutal and capable of trashing your legs in just the 15 effective reps I’m asking for.

Finally, you can’t complete your workout for legs without a little bit of calf work. Most people focus too much on the gastrocnemius and not enough on the soleus. Let’s change that by performing 15 effective reps on the seated DB calf raise. Remember to squeeze your contraction at the top and also slow down and hold the bottom position of stretch to remove some of the ballistic tendency of the achilles to dominate the calf muscles.

For a quick summary of this 100 leg workout, it looks like this:

DB Bulgarian Split Squats x 15 effective reps each leg (do one leg at a time to completion)
Barbell RDL’s x 20 effective reps
DB Alt. Reverse Lunges x 15 effective reps each leg
Cable Pullthroughs x 20 effective reps
DB Spanish Squats x 15 effective reps
DB Seated Calf Raises x 15 effective reps

If you’re looking for more workouts in this series, remember to subscribe to our youtube channel via the link below and turn on your notifications so you never miss a new video when it’s published.

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24 thoughts on “The 💯 Leg Workout (MOST EFFECTIVE!)

  1. ATHLEAN-X™ says:

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  2. Joseph Jones says:

    The best cue I’ve ever learned for the Romanian deadlift is to, through the feet, push the hips BACK&UP towards the corner of where the wall and the ceiling meet

  3. Looping Artist, Just Dave says:

    I’ll be 58 in three months, look damn good for my age, but lost a lot of muscle over the years because of scoliosis and stress, which caused me to not only miss a lot of workouts, but also to just do short workouts to keep me looking good for my age.

    This video came to me at a much needed time, because I’m 6 foot five, 200 pounds, very lean legs, and I’d like to put some mass on them. I have the adjustable bow flex dumbbells at home, plus a 50 pound kettlebell, so I’m going to try this workout at home before I try it at the gym.

    Absolutely love this channel.

    • Maurice P says:

      It’s easy to lose muscle at our age, I’m 60 and have gone through similar things. After knee surgery at 58, I went downhill real fast, lost a ton of muscle while I recovered, got to a point that my legs were so weak I couldn’t squat. This looks like a killer exercise, just what I need.
      You can do this, just ease into it.

  4. Sunny says:

    Hey Jeff, been following you for years and eventhough i see people come and criticizing you, you have been amazing in teaching me the right form, technique, clearing myths and most important explaining with science. Thank you!!

  5. hi5011 says:

    Added the previous 100 workouts to my routine and damn does it leave you sore.. I lift on my lunch break (1 hour) so these have been great for time saving and they leave you absolutely gassed. Good stuff and I endorse these 100 workouts.

  6. Robert DiPietro says:

    It would be awesome if sometime you can touch on how you decide between (8 ignition, 15 effective) vs. (12 ignition, 20 effective). I’ve been trying to apply these ideas to almost everything since seeing your 100 chest/back videos, and am happy to see the (8, 15) bulgarian split squat recommendation. (12, 20) was killing me. Thank you! Your content rocks (and your programs and ab app)

    • David Quirke says:

      My guess would be how intense the exercise is and how much effort would be needed to complete it and then how many reps you could do after the 15 rp (also it may be so you can do a heavier weight for the exercise if the ignition set is lower)

    • Robert DiPietro says:

      @David Quirke yeah I was thinking similarly but if this were true then the calf exercise in this video would be (12, 20). I’m guessing it’s nuanced which is why it’d be interesting to hear Jeff talk about the logic / trade offs

    • Robert DiPietro says:

      @Jonathan I can’t say yes or no definitively but I can say that it makes me sore as hell. After (12, 20) bulgarian split and (12, 20) single leg RDLs (not in this video), I am sore for many days

  7. InStrong Workout says:

    Never skip legs day!
    Thanks for this workout, I’m working out from home so there are some exercises I do instead. But thanks for the motivation, I also started filming my workouts and I really love that, hope one day to become such a great fitness influencer as you!,

  8. Too Much Music says:

    This is a great leg workout! The concept of effective reps is so important and you’ve outlined it perfectly. The combination of exercises targeting quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves is perfect for a full leg workout. The inclusion of ignition sets is a great way to pre-fatigue the muscles and get to the effective reps more quickly. The workout seemed challenging but also very effective. I also share workout videos on my channel that focus on music playlists that would be great workout companions, I think they would be a great addition to this workout routine. Keep up the great work!

  9. DRIS says:

    I’ve been doing all my workouts with 12 – 20 effective rep workouts since I first saw your video about it a couple months ago. I’ve busted through plateaus that I was stuck on for nearly a year. In some ways it’s brutal but in others it’s actually easier mentally because you can stop reps when needed.

  10. Mart54 says:

    Did squats for years, to the point of hurting my knees a couple of times. Found myself in lockdown, no gym, but with dumbbells. Did tough Bulgarian split squats, high reps, put more muscle on my legs in quicker time than ever. Now have them in my routine for good.

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