5 Rules For Leg Day

With Steve Cook

Training legs is hard enough when you know what the hell you’re doing, but if you don’t know where to start, when to rest and when to go hard, you’ll mess yourself up big time. That’s why we asked IFBB Pro and International fitness model Steve Cook for his 5 rules for a kick-ass leg day. You can thank us later.

A photo posted by Steve Cook (@stevecook_32) on

RULE #1: Use Compound Movements:

“I switch up my leg training often with sets, reps and exercises. But my leg training is based on getting stronger and bigger. I use heavy and compound movements. Exercises like lunges, leg presses, front squats, and back squats all are included.” He also includes straight-legged deadlifts to isolate the hamstrings effectively.  

RULE #2: Go Heavy, Then Light

“I typically pick 1-3 strength training exercises where I’m going to do 4-8 reps, then I’m going to do supersets 12-15 rep range– really controlled movements, working on the mind and muscle connection, and concentrating on the tension and contraction.”  

RULE #3: Mix It Up

Because Cook does some Olympic lifting, he incorporates his legs in many other exercises other than the typical leg presses and hamstring curls. “I have a very heavy day and I also do a plyometric leg day. I’ll have one complete leg day, and at other points during the week ill be using my legs through other leg movements whether it be pistol squats or in the form of front squats if I’m doing cleans.” By hitting the legs indirectly with Olympic-style movements, he is working his legs throughout the week without completely smashing them.

A photo posted by Steve Cook (@stevecook_32) on

RULE #4: Rest To Grow

As anyone knows who has had a particularly rough leg day, it’s important to rest at least a couple days a week to allow the muscles to properly recover and grow. Cook typically rests two days: one is an active rest day where he is doing abdominal training and stretching, and the other is a complete day off.

RULE#5: Carb-Up

Complex carbs are the key source of energy for any leg day, especially if you’re going to go heavy. Steve’s typical pre-leg day meal of choice is sushi, but he also needs an extra boost of energy, like a pre-workout to power through. “I typically will carb-up on my leg day. It’s taxing for your body. It’s a good day to have maximum energy, but no matter what, even if you’re dieting on restricted energy, you should take a pre-workout. Leg day is the day that I take pre-workout because it takes a little bit more focus and mental toughness.”


Exercise Sets Reps
Front Squat-
*65%-70%-75%-80% of 1 rep-max
4 6
Reverse Lunge (each leg) 3 6
Back Squat
*65%-70%-75%-80% of 1 rep-max
3 6
Romanian Deadlift
*60% of regular deadlift
3 6
Giant Set
Perform 3 sets of x 8-12 reps of each of the following exercises, back to back with no rest between. Rest for 1-2 minutes after the entire giant set. You should reach failure in the 8-12 range.
Leg Press
Lying Hamstring Curls
Leg Extensions
Hip Abductors
Hip Adductors
Standing Calf Raises

A video posted by Steve Cook (@stevecook_32) on