Birthday Burgers and Killer Legs

Back to it after another good weekend! I hope you all had a great weekend, too.  Ours was pretty normal, with a few fun things thrown in.

Even though my birthday was technically on Friday, we officially moved it to Saturday so we could celebrate. Saturday is leg day, so it always starts off great – who doesn’t love starting their weekend with the hardest training session of the week?? We had planned on going out to dinner together, likely sushi, but on Saturday morning I was told to have whatever I wanted! I kept that in mind during our workout to really “earn” everything I wanted to enjoy that night. We’ll get to the food in a bit… first, legs.

We’ve been training legs twice a week lately – Saturday is our really heavy day, and Wednesday is a “lighter”, volume focused day. Our workout consisted of:

legday

We’re still training in the 4 set, 10-12 rep range at this point, lifting as heavy as possible. Actually, I’m still pushing to increase what I’m lifting each week when I feel strong, and this weekend was a good one. We like training with high volume, so a lot of different exercises. Normally we’ll also do some sets of leg extensions and walking lunges, but the squats and hack squats were sufficient to exhaust our legs. Even though you might want to do more, there comes a point where the physical benefit is minimal, and we knew we had reached it at that point. I threw in the rope deadlifts at the end to really make sure I hit my hamstrings hard, and just as something different.

Drop sets are great on the hack squat machine. Also, alternate your range of motion (bottom half pulses), or super slow timing... there are so many ways to change the intensity without need to overload the weight.

Drop sets are great on the hack squat machine. Also, alternate your range of motion (bottom half pulses), or super slow timing… there are so many ways to change the intensity without need to overload the weight.

People hate on Smith machine squats for some reason. Granted, they can be done VERY wrong and put a lot of stress on someone’s knees, but if done correctly, they’re a great addition to leg day. We’ll alternate between this and free bar squats to get all the advantages. What’s the advantage of the Smith machine? We’ve found that the controlled movement allows us to really focus on targeting our quads and glutes without needing to worry about keeping our balance. So, when you’re really trying to grow those legs, don’t fear it – just make sure you use it right!

I avoided this exercise for a long time, but now I love it. It's so tough, especially after squats.

I avoided this exercise for a long time, but now I love it. It’s so tough, especially after squats.

Super-setting this with the reverse hack squat was tough. Kyle does this facing out, but I prefer facing in. We both keep our feet together, and really focus on using the quads to push up.

Super-setting this with the reverse hack squat was tough. Kyle does this facing out, but I prefer facing in. We both keep our feet together, and really focus on using the quads to push up.

Another suggestion – through personal experience, we stick to two really heavy exercises per leg day (this one had squats and hack squats). We skipped the leg press to give our knees a break. Next week we might skip squats and do presses instead. Safety first!

Birthday dinner fun!

I opted to go to a burger restaurant, knowing that after this week my refeed meals will likely all be more controlled and healthier. Figured I should make this meal a good one! I had a lime tequila BBQ turkey burger with a huge serving of sweet potato fries.

Burgers and cupcakes = a perfect birthday! Lulu was sadly mistaken to think she was getting any of that cake.

Burgers and cupcakes = a perfect birthday! Lulu was sadly mistaken to think she was getting any of that cake.

And, because it was my birthday, we had to celebrate with a cupcake. There had been no pre-planning done, so we just stopped into a grocery store and hit up their bakery. Of course, at 7:30 pm, the selection was limited, even more so when you hate chocolate, so I was left with a vanilla caramel “mega” cupcake. It was really good, I can’t remember the last time I had cake, but the caramel was overly sweet. I actually ended up eating around it. And, it took me about an hour of picking at the cupcake to finish it, even with Kyle taking a few big bites.

All in all, it was a great (belated) birthday. Now, the focus is shifting to group fitness new release week… procrastination has won out and I’m now crunching to learn the new BodyStep. Who says procrastination ends when you’re done school??  Have a great day!

About Ashleigh

I'm passionate about health and fitness. I work as a Health Promotion Specialist, a group fitness instructor, and also a coach for physique competitors / weight loss clients. I grew up as a competitive athlete, and have continued with this passion as a Women's Physique competitor. Research and writing is another interest of mine, which I use to share my knowledge with the general public.
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