High Volume Lower Body Workout | Stephanie Sanzo, aka StephFitMum

by Primeval Labs on May 13, 2019

Looking to build bigger, stronger quads, glutes, and hamstrings? Then check out this high volume, muscle building lower body workout from Primeval Labs Athlete Stephanie Sanzo.


After the workout, Stephanie takes your through an intense leg burnout using the leg extension machine to help build better quads, including some of her favorite muscle-building tips.


Let’s get to it!

Stephanie Sanzo High Volume Leg Workout


Exercise

Sets

Reps

Leg Press

5

10

Zercher Lunge

4

20 / 15 / 12 / 10*

Leg Extension

5

15-20

Seated Leg Curls

5

10-15

Kettlebell Swings

5

15-20

*Indicates number of reps per leg for each set

Leg Training Tips

Leg Press

For today’s workout, Stephanie is using a slightly more narrow stance than usual. This allows her to shift more of the tension onto the outer quads (vastus lateralis). Increasing the size and strength of this muscle helps build thigh thickness and accentuates the difference between the upper and lower portion of the legs, similar to how having well-developed delts and lats give the illusion of a better V-Taper in the upper body.


If you are a physique athlete, using different stance widths, as well as how high or low you place your feet on the leg press platform, can help to emphasize different aspects of the quads, to create greater overall aesthetics.


We know you can’t “spot train” or target a particular area of a muscle and isolate it from the rest of itself, but using different toe angles, stance widths, and feet placement can shift more of the tension onto one area more than another, which you can use to your benefit when trying to bring up certain points of your physique.


To create even more stress on the quads, Stephanie also avoids locking out at the top of each rep, stopping just short of it to maintain high levels of tension on the quads throughout the entire working set.

Zercher Lunge

You may have performed Zercher squats before, whereby you place the barbell in the crux of your elbows and squat for reps. The same setup is used here, except that you will be performing walking lunges rather than squats. Due to the unique loading of this exercise, you may need to use a slightly lighter weight than you typically would for walking lunges, until you get the feel of the exercise.


The reason Stephanie likes this particular lunge variation is that by placing the weight in front of her body and holding in the elbows changes the center of mass, forcing her to keep a more upright torso and tight upper back (which is essential during any type of squat.

Leg Extension

Stephanie likes to use the leg extension machine to help increase the strength of her VMO (vastus medialis oblique). The VMO is an incredibly important muscle, as it is heavily involved in knee extension, especially as you approach full extension.


The VMO is also an important knee stabilizer. As such, having a strong VMO is vital to athletic performance and limiting the risk of injury in sports or other physical activities that require frequent changes in direction.


Having a well-developed VMO also helps create the “teardrop” look in the quads.


To help establish a stronger mind-muscle connection with the VMO, Stephanie likes to perform a few lighter weight, higher rep sets on the leg extension and she will even palpate the VMO to make sure it is fully active during the exercise. After ensuring that her VMO is active, she moves onto her heavier working sets (still using high reps) to help force as much blood into the muscle as possible.

Seated Leg Curl

Now that you’ve thoroughly hammered the quads, it’s time to train the back half of your legs, and that begins with the seated hamstring curl. Stephanie prefers the seated variation of the leg curl as it allows her to use slightly heavier weights than the lying leg curl.


When performing the seated leg curl, make sure to flex your feet (pull your toes back toward your body). This helps limit the involvement of the calves during the exercise, forcing the hamstrings to work that much harder.


Also, you can point your toes inward to emphasize more of the inner musculature of the hamstrings or turn them out to shift more tension onto the outer portion of the hamstrings.

Kettlebell Swings

This is a great explosive exercise to help build strength in the glutes and hamstrings. But, many people do not get the full benefits of the exercise as they tend to try and squat the weight down at the bottom of the movement and lift the kettlebell with their arms, rather than allowing the power generated by the hips to bring the weight up.


Remember, the kettlebell swing is really an explosive version of a hip-hinge, it’s not a squat coupled with a front raise. Keep your shoulder pulled down and back, chest up, and hinge at the hips to initiate the movement.


Another important thing to remember is that you do not need to bring the kettlebell overhead during the swing. Doing so places extra stress on the shoulders and spine -- something you don’t really want.


Remember, you're training your hips, glutes, and hamstrings with the kettlebell swing, not your shoulders.

Stephanie Sanzo Lower Body Burnout

While the leg extension machine might seem like the ultimate uni-tasker at the gym, on account of it can really only be used to train knee extension, Stephanie has come up with a few creative ways to get more out of this staple leg day exercise.


To perform this lower body burnout:

  • Perform 8 reps using a weight you could do for approximately 10 reps
  • Drop the weight by 30% and then perform another 8 reps using a 5-second eccentric
  • Increase the weight to 10% above your starting weight and perform 8 partial reps

You can perform this circuit 4-5 times at the end of your workout for the ultimate quad burnout.


Another way to perform this lower body burnout is to reverse the order of the exercises and begin by performing the heavy partial reps, followed by the full range of motion reps, and ending with the 5-second eccentrics where you rep out until complete concentric failure (the point at which you can no longer lift the weight with good form).

Fuel Your Workout with Intracell 7 Black

Primeval Labs Intracell 7 Black offers supreme training fuel for the high-level athlete. It’s an all-time favorite product of Stephanie Sanzo, and one that she uses to fuel all of her high volume training sessions.


Intracell 7 Black supplies 20 grams of fast-digesting carbohydrates along with a comprehensive profile of essential amino acids, hydration elements, and blood flow enhancers to create an intra workout supplement that’s second to none.

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