Johnnie Jackson’s Size & Strength Leg Workout
IFBB Pro Johnnie Jackson, the strongest man in professional bodybuilding, explains how to train legs for maximum gains in both power and mass!
Strategy: “I use this move to bring in the outer sweep of my quads,” Johnnie says.
Start: As with barbell squats, Johnnie stands with his feet just beyond shoulder width and points them slightly outward. “Some leg presses have a flat platform and some have a bent one,” he notes. “On the angled one, I place the balls of my feet in the spot where the two planes of the platform meet.”
Execute: Lower the weight at a slow to moderate speed, keeping your lower back flush against the pad. “Bring your knees toward your chest until your thighs are a little deeper than parallel to the platform,” Johnnie says. Press out of the bottom to full leg extension, exhaling once you pass the toughest part of the rep.
Caution: “Don’t let your lower back round or arch off the pad during the set,” Johnnie advises. You may think this nets you more power, but it actually reduces the load on your target muscles and dramatically increases the risk of injury.
Change Up: “If you want to target your outer sweep more, bring your feet closer together,” Johnnie suggests. To emphasize your inner thighs, place your feet a little wider.
Lying Leg Curl
Strategy: “While the hamstrings get worked to some degree during the eccentric phase of traditional quad/glute exercises, you still need to include dedicated hamstrings moves to optimize growth,” says Johnnie.
Start: Lie facedown on the bench (an angled bench is preferable because it positions your hips so the hamstrings are put on stretch). The ankle pad should rest on the back of your lower legs, just above your Achilles tendons.
Execute: Hold your breath as you curl the pad toward your glutes under control. “You’ll work your hamstrings more effectively if you use a slower contraction,” Johnnie says. Exhale toward the top, then lower the weight slowly, emphasizing the stretch in your hamstrings.
Change Up: For better isolation of the hamstrings, perform this move one leg at a time. “Complete a full set for one leg and then switch to the opposite leg and repeat the same number of reps,” Johnnie says.