Killer Leg Workout (EVEN WITH SORE KNEES!)

Killer Leg Workout (EVEN WITH SORE KNEES!)


What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.COM. An ATHLEAN XPRESS Video for you. Taking you
behind the scenes once again. A leg workout. My leg workout. For those of you guys who don’t know, I’ve
been dealing with some pretty bad leg issues my whole entire life. Having an athletic background, I pretty much
trashed my knees back in, oh, I don’t know, 1993 or so. And then never really recovered since, but
I’ve still got to train my legs. And as all athletes, we’ve got to find ways around our
ailments. If you’ve got bad knees, figure out moves
that don’t bother them so much because the moment you stop working your legs period is
the moment you’ve got nothing left at all because you’re legs are going to anchor you through
every single thing you do. I don’t care what upper body workout you’re doing. You better have your legs underneath you.
So, that being said, I’ll take you through my workout. What I did here was, I start off with my squats,
of course, always. But I do something a little bit unique for me. I do an isometric hold, I start down at 135.
My goal here is to literally just try to hold this for about 20 seconds if I can. and I’m just trying to build up some real
good stability to feel like I have a good foundation because again, every time I approach my leg workouts, I never
know what I’m going to get whether my knees are really marking or if they feel pretty
good on a certain day. I’ve got to test it, and I usually do that
right here with this isometric squat hold. Today, they felt pretty damn good so I moved
up to 225. And again, I’m not looking to push heavy,
heavy weight like I used to guys. For me, it’s all about stability and strength, and to be able to hold my own body in the
positions I know I’m going to need them in. And for an athlete, that’s going to be way
down deep in this squat position. And we’ll do it here with pause squats with
225. Ultimately, I work my way up to around 350 and again, I’m going for pause squats
here. I’ve got to make sure that my legs always
feel good, I always feel in control of what I’m doing because I’ve had too many issues
in the past. Secondly, probably my all-time favorite and
here, I’m actually able to load up on it because I found a version of the Lunge that does not
hurt my knees. and that is here in the Reverse Lunge. I like
to do it with a barbell. I feel like I’m moving bigger weights, and I don’t have to worry
about, necessarily, my grip giving out. So, I load up 225 and I go into Reverse Lunge.
Again, I’ll do that and I’ll move onto my, and I say ‘my all-time favorite’, this might
be my all-time favorite. Again, for an athletic carryover, I love the
Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat, and here I’ll try to load up and do something a little bit
unique. Again, this position, I don’t feel a lot of
pain in my knees because my weight is traveling down and back. Any time I try to move my weight down and
forward as I move with a forward-stepping lunge, it bothers me. But if I can go backwards, as I do in a Bulgarian
Split Squat, I don’t really feel the pain so much. So, I can do that and I try to add this explosive,
we call it the Bulgarian Split Squat Hop, right. We want to explode up as fast as we can. Basically,
what I’m using is the 65s here. It’s really more about acceleration because I really can’t
move those 65s all that fast. But, as soon as I drop those weights, I always
like to speed it up again. So, whether we’re slowing down the movement because we’re adding
weight, I do as an athlete like to speed up the movement
at the very end so I’ll drop the weights and do a bodyweight version of this until I fail. And then of course I move on over to the other
leg. For the back side, you guys know I don’t like
Lying Hamstrings Curls, Open Chain exercises for hamstrings. So what I like to do is closed
chain alternatives. Here, I’ve got my 2 favorites. Physioball
and Glute Ham Raise. Again, here the physioball is acting as a spot for me. As I move myself out and extend out into eccentric
hamstring overload, I then can switch it around, use the ball as my spot to actually grab in
case I go too far. And then work concentrically to really, really
pull up that hamstring, ball up at the top to feel as if I got a really, really intense
contraction. And again, I really focus as I do for most
of my other exercises, on eccentric component. I feel like if you can’t control the eccentric
component, you have no business doing the concentric part of it. So, we’ll do that for
the Physioball and Glute Ham Raise. And then finally, I move on to a Barbell Hip
Thrust, and again, closed chain movement. Feet in contact with the ground. You’ve got to play around with this one a
little bit. I’ve got, it looks like 205 on the bar here. You’ve got to really push the bar forward
on your hips so it obviously doesn’t obviously roll back towards you. And you want to find that comfort spot sinking
into the crease of your hips so it doesn’t really hurt where the barbell is and you feel
like it’s really killing you. You can always lay a couple of towels over
you if that becomes an issue. Again, if I’m wearing my hoodie here which, as you see,
sometimes, when I really want to focus, I’ll flip the
hood up because I feel like, you know, there’s no playing around. I cannot afford to have
even a single bad rep. Then, you’ll see I’ll have this on for a secondary
purpose because it provides some extra cushion on that last exercise. And on that point, guys, you know, when I
do legs, I kind of go into another mode. I will literally take my hood, which I never
wear, and I’ll put it up over my head because I
want to be zoned in, because for me it’s really, really serious. My legs, my knees, can’t absorb many more
bad reps in my life before I can’t use them at all. So, I want to make sure that I’m extremely
focused. I’ll put my headphones on. I’ll stay really,
really driven. I don’t want any distractions. And I really concentrate. That’s why I do all those pause reps in the
isometric hold. I really want to concentrate on each and every rep. I can’t give one in. I can’t give one away
because I might give away my ability to do that exercise form that point on. So, hopefully, guys, this little look into
a leg workout for me will help you guys to understand a little bit more that there are
different ways to attack your legs. The key is, have as much athletic carryover
as you can if you’re an athlete. Try to stay closed chain. Keep your feet on the ground.
Try the unilateral stances. Have split squat stances like you do in a
Lunge, and like you do with the Bulgarian Split Squat because that has a high carryover
and transfer to what you do athletically. And if you’re just looking to build, more
powerful, athletically strong legs, then you can do that. Add the weight as you can. Guys, if you found this helpful, make sure
you leave a comment and a thumb’s up below. In the meantime, let me know what else you’d
like to see, and if you want a complete program, and we train legs pretty intensely in the
ATHLEANX System as anybody that has the program can tell you, we hit them from every single angle, and a
lot of times guys will curse me out the next day saying they cannot move following our
leg workouts But I’ll tell you this, just like every other
workout we do, we hit them hard and we hit them quick. Twenty to forty minutes, all out intensity.
We’re training in workout length for that intensity to get you better results. Head over to ATHLEANX.COM right now. In the meantime, I’ll be back here in just
a couple days.

100 comments on “Killer Leg Workout (EVEN WITH SORE KNEES!)

  1. DNA Fitness Post author

    I have bursitis in the upper portion of my knees and it's been hurting for 3 months what's the best leg workout for that?

    Reply
  2. Phillip Almeraz Post author

    Hello
    I am considering purchasing your app upgrade. will the app give me a total workout. arms, back, abs and leg?

    Reply
  3. dave Post author

    fissuring tissue cartilage causing any workout that requires me to flex and support weight makes my bones rub and gives a strong shooting pain. courtesy of the Navy. I've tried everything I feel like. any suggestions?

    Reply
  4. Kynthia Johnston Post author

    I can hear my knees cracking against the ground with those closed chain hamstring curls. 😣

    Reply
  5. powskier Post author

    If you used a bench at least half as low as that tall one in the Bulgarian split squat, you really would have less knee pain.

    Reply
  6. Joshua Whitton Post author

    I ran 6 years short story 10th grade year didn't stretch once 25 mile a week and wore 0 support shoes.Knee swelled and I could only run one lap. year later present now I can only lift 10 pounds on a knee lift. I have knee cap problems when I do lunges. So there OUT for a long time until I'm dominate.Any exercises and stretches that would be good for my VMO muscle?

    Reply
  7. J Post author

    Hey Jeff,
    I know you're busy and probably wont answer me but if you can that would be great.
    I have had a torn ACL/PCL on my left knee and its very hard to maintain stability. Honestly i am scared to crap that my knee may bend a way it is not suppose to.
    Can you give me some type of exercise to help me strengthen knee!!!
    Thanks for all your knowledge.
    Best Fitness channel on youtube.

    Reply
  8. anddudewaslike Post author

    sore knees and pause squats 315

    If I tried even 225 with my knees, my patellar tendons would snap

    Reply
  9. Evelyn Farfell Post author

    play soccer,run for 2hours of course its fun with friends no rest though drink eat shower sleep.

    Reply
  10. Amin Pervaiz Post author

    Hello Jeff. Ameen from Moreno valley, CA here. I've been always so afraid of doing leg exercises because of my injured ankles. And honestly they never recovered. But when I heard your story about your knees, I just suck it up and today, I followed your video on leg exercises and it feel good. any tips for my ankles?

    Reply
  11. mark bonello Post author

    painful knees long tendons and weak quads. not to mention a weak core. thanks for the advice.  looking forward to buying your total program. I'm 58 years young and hopefully getting better.

    Reply
  12. Rodney Frederick Post author

    I'm staying at a hotel in Austin for work. my right knee has soreness on the left side of that knee. it hurts if I try to do certain excercises. I've been in the gym almost 2 years and I've never squatted with a barbell. advice?

    Reply
  13. what the Post author

    weighted step ups are a more natural movement and better option for bad knees then squats

    Reply
  14. Glen Ciszewski Post author

    I admittedly hate leg day and I'm ashamed to say skip it more then I like to admit.  But I want to get better at it and looking for new better way's to work them out. Question for you though.  I've always been scared of squats due to a lot of lower back issues with an unstable disc.  I'm deathly afraid of herniating it again as I've had surgery on it once and just did my 3rd shot recently.  when it's popped out I'm unable to do anything for weeks and that kills my workouts.  I tend to do presses on the sled and I'm wondering how much worse that is compared to squats?  Same goes for any type of dead lift. those freak me out too. I know those are probably 2 of the best ones that I'm missing out on.

    Reply
  15. Genacks Mark Post author

    Thanks buddy, Get video. I'm going to work in these.. Totally love the part about Hood up Focused FULLY on LEG days… My knee are like yours. Thx for the Tips buddy.

    Reply
  16. guitar78ish Post author

    Jeff Cavaliere MSPT, CSCS served as both the Head Physical Therapist and Assistant Strength Coach for the New York Mets during the National League East Championship 2006, 2007 and 2008 seasons and coached some of the game’s most accomplished players including future hall of fame pitchers Tom Glavine and Pedro Martinez, and perennial all-stars Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran, David Wright, Jose Reyes, and Billy Wagner to name just a few. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).
    Jeff received his Masters Degree in Physical Therapy and Bachelor of Science in Physioneurobiology / Premedicine from the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT (one of the top 5 universities in the country in physical therapy and sports medicine). Off the field, Cavaliere is a much sought after author and lecturer, speaking on the topics of baseball injury prevention and sport specific conditioning and has appeared numerous times in print media writing (including Men’s Fitness Magazine) on the topics of sports training, injury rehabilitation and prevention. Consistent with his desire to leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of creating the “complete and functional athlete”, Cavaliere also possesses an extensive knowledge of nutrition that he has simplified for the masses and both practices and preaches with outstanding results.
    source: https://athleanx.com/about-jeff-cavaliere

    Reply
  17. Seb V Post author

    I can't even do the 1st exercise (squats) with my body -what other exercise besides the one on this vid. Do you suggested would be best for someone that has a knee injury or pain in the knee do you suggest?? Because these aren't working. Should I use knee wraps and do body leg exercises??

    Reply
  18. Leo On the Go Post author

    all you say is always pure gold.
    Thank you I also have knees problems and I also Zone myself when leg workouts for the same reason it really scares me to hurt myself in a way I can´t wo anymore. so thank you for all the advices

    Reply
  19. roco z Post author

    I cannot ever get the same amount of reps on the Bulgarian split squat in both legs, how you guys do this? one leg and the the other right away or just wait a minute between each leg?

    Reply
  20. rafaldorian Post author

    You can tell jeffs getting old…. "back in the summer of 1993" but don't look so… great vid

    Reply
  21. David T. Post author

    even if you don't have knee problems, would this just be good for maintaining the health of your knees?

    Reply
  22. Bread_loof Post author

    I'm waiting for my docors apointment and see what they say worse case sancerio no leg workours but thats not bad as its rugby season soon and ur legs are always stiff in that season… or I wear knee wraps and do less leg workouts a week

    Reply
  23. Ka Mo Post author

    I recently switched from barbel squat to Bulgarian split squat for 2 month and seeing incredible growth on my quads and gluts.

    Reply
  24. JamieTaucher Post author

    I have a muscular imbalance that's pulling my kneecaps laterally. Do you have any good suggestions for building up the VMO?

    Reply
  25. callmesabs Post author

    I've got an L5-S1 disc issue and watching you do the BB Squats KILLS me, would the split squat still help as an alternative?

    Reply
  26. Desmond Menon Post author

    Here's a fact for you from our research (I do exercise physiology research – as therapy for patients), Eccentric exercises show significantly greater gains in health markers compared to concentric exercises. So, good that you advocate eccentric. Cheers.

    Reply
  27. Sean Barrett Post author

    I'm only 21, blew out both knees playing rugby. It's nice to have some smart advice rather than the usual crap

    Reply
  28. YOHAN HENRY MUSiQ Post author

    Cod liver oil & omega 3 foods are good for knees, & also vastus medial is exercises..these were great for me..Great info in this vid as usual

    Reply
  29. Fully Involved Outdoors Post author

    I never comment on videos, but REALLY drop the even with sore knees part of your title. Two minutes into video I'm finished. 315lb with bad knees, bad idea. Your knees are fine. Real exercises for knee problems are more like dead lifts, pulling a sled or tire forward and rear facing, sprinting up a high inclined hill or treadmill ( low impact). These exercises will build quality muscle. Supplement with Glucosamine/ Chondroitin, MSM.

    Reply
  30. _EastCoastBorn Post author

    What would you suggest for me with a knee that is prone to dislocation? I pretty much have weak legs and knees, but for my left knee (only) , if I do a motion towards the left side my kneecap would dislocate popping out of place and then pop back in again. A solution told to me was to make my thighs and calf’s stronger in that leg. What are some exercises that I can do that would be good for strengthening my legs and knees?

    Reply
  31. Donald Swett Post author

    You've changed my whole perspective on training I'm old I trained with Bill Pearlman in Pasadena,CA in the 70s as a kid and really know my way around a wt room but your a fuckin genius I'm losing some fat so I don't get light headed but the change from linear movements to athletic changes is great I'll get your series when I can but I'm wondering with a BB how do you prevent strong side over reach

    Reply
  32. Dan Mel Post author

    I find that the quad press squat machine thingy is easier on my knees than regular squat. I just use the whole stack which is 315 pounds and do high reps. With regular squats even with 100 pounds my knees dont like

    Reply
  33. Andrea Post author

    My knees do not hurt but they crack every time I bend them. Weighted squat or just body weight. So I get scared to try to go heavier.

    Reply
  34. Emiasis Post author

    Just tried this workout today, gotta say it kicked my ass haha. Thank you so much for this!! Liked Subscribed and sharing for sure!

    Reply
  35. Eddy Jimenez Post author

    Love ur leg workouts, now if i could only, arthic knees and hips, but i will try, as always thanx for recomondations.

    Reply
  36. Welder Myass Post author

    How about a leg video for those of us with total knee replacements, it gets more common every year

    Reply
  37. gerardo candelario Post author

    Do forward lunges, reverse lunges and Bulgarian split squats work the same muscles?

    Reply
  38. KRE8TIF LIFESTYLE Post author

    Awesome brother. Probodybuilder here. This is exactly what I needed to get my head back in the game. CRUSH. KILL. DESTROY.

    Reply
  39. Rachelle Martique Post author

    Best quad exercises for people with messed up knees:
    bulgarian split squats
    reverse lunges
    cable rope walk out
    inclined tredmill
    trap bar deadlift
    box squats
    sumo goblet squat

    Reply
  40. David Harris Post author

    Thanks, Jeff. For me, education equals motivation. No amount of “believe in yourself” pep talk will ever be as motivating as science-backed information. This is the primary distinction between your channel and many other fitness channels. We appreciate that you approach training from a sound, anatomical perspective.

    Question: How do you feel about barefoot leg training? I feel it is helping my legs recruit more nuanced muscles in my chain. I feel pronounced development in the shins, hamstrings and even hips when I squat and lunge barefoot. Thanks.

    Reply
  41. Liam Morgans Post author

    People need to Develop vastus lateralis more, to balance the load on the knee joint.
    Most people I see have underdeveloped vastus lateralus and over developed vastus medialis.
    Think about what that means for the load in the joints. It’s uneven.

    I don’t really think squats are good because of this. Except close stance squats.

    Lunges in all forms are great for building vastus lateralis, but if you are already vmo dominant, you will need to learn how to load the glute and lateral chain better.

    Preferably without weights.

    Biceps femoris, vastus lateralis and glutes should be swelling after a lunge workout.

    Not adductors, vmo, semitendinosis/membranosis.

    Drive through the heel, push the ground slightly away from you to initiate glutes, then drive straight down through the heel and squeeze the glute.

    ✌️

    Reply
  42. RNZIRBAT6XCOY2002 Post author

    Jeff your full of shit man, stop making so many false claims about training and injuries, plus your legs are absolutely pathetic buddy , pigeons legs and that’s being kind!
    So put a shirt on , lose the tracksuit pants, actually train legs every now and then, and stop making so many bullshit videos about fake as fuck theories and examples because I used to try a lot of your methods and guess what? They where bullshit buddy.

    Reply
  43. Team-Tennis.fr Post author

    How do you know you don't hurt your knees more with those exercices ? You put heavy load on them. I did a lot of sport, have bad knees and my doctor would never tell me to do such exercises. Seems very dangerous to me.

    Reply
  44. Adam Burroughs Post author

    "I'm not looking to push heavy, heavy weight like I used to guys"…. *Proceeds to pause rep 315*….

    Reply
  45. Robin Lundqvist Post author

    I don’t have bad knees but I still do knee friendly workouts because I really don’t want any problems with my knees in the future.

    Reply
  46. נתנאל netanel Post author

    not scaring at all.. about the risks of injuries like the knees and stuff.. but that's a good thing

    Reply
  47. Garrett Leffers Post author

    Could you talk a little more about open and closed chain exercises? Also, could you talk more about correct form with single leg bench squats?

    Reply
  48. Gheorghe Inab Post author

    I do you say and last night i cant sleap beacause of knee pain. What cant i do?irs better to do iso?

    Reply
  49. Todd Victorson Post author

    Jeff is awesome no doubt. Its hard for me to imagine his knees are THAT bad if he's doing squat isometric holds with that much weight. The issue i have is lower back soreness after squatting. But I've learned the hard way my legs lag behind my upper body development without squats. Leg presses, hack squats simply don't give you the gains squats do. I really hate squats but they seem like a necessary evil.

    Reply
  50. Strength In Ethics Post author

    Jeff…. If you can squat with that weight, then we need to swap knees. I can't even squat with the bar anymore. Your knees are not bad at all! Or maybe you're just lightweight and you hate doing legs.

    Reply
  51. Gamer101 Post author

    Hey Jeff
    Been following you from some time and follow a lot of what you say regarding form.
    I have knee osteoarthritis and my doctor(s) have told me to stay away from squats , lunges etc. All the main leg exercises. I have no restrictions with my upper body and it's frustrating. Can you suggest safe exercises to burn fat and build muscle for my quads which is safe for someone with arthritis?

    Reply
  52. John Bland Post author

    Thanks Mr. Jeff,
    Just tore my left (medial and lateral)knee tendons 2-3 months ago and trying to recover. Do you think this is a viable recovery workout with low weights or none for BSP and RLngs.

    Reply
  53. skateforbaker1999 Post author

    my right knee is super fucked up from years of skateboarding jumping off stairs and roofs and shit lmao hopefully this is a helpful workout

    Reply
  54. cz productions Post author

    To anyone with actual knee problems, one of the best leg exercises you can do is riding a bike whether it’s the machine or an actually bike

    Reply
  55. Tavastian Post author

    My knees would split and breakdown from these. Id know, Ive tried. I also cant do backsquats without pain. But for some strange out of the world reason, I can do front quats, heavy and high reps without any pain.

    Reply
  56. Amanda H Post author

    If these are the exercises for bad knees. What the hell are the exercises if your knees are Ok!???

    Reply
  57. dpla9752 Post author

    I wish Jeff would comment on EVERY video, and EVERY exercise with tips regarding bad knees, shoulders, hands, etc. It is a great help to know what you shouldn't do if you have common problems, and some alternatives!

    Reply

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