Goal 7: Pre-Exhaust Your Legs

This workout starts by targeting just your quads with a single-joint movement. By the time you get to the multijoint exercises that follow, your quads will already be highly fatiguedbut your glutes and hams will have been spared. Neither muscle group will be the weak link in those follow-up exercises; you’ll be pushing your quads, however, to their limit.

This more advanced method of training is a great way to rise above a plateau. Even though you’ll be significantly stronger on your leg extensions which you normally do toward the end of your workoutkeep the reps relatively high to avoid overtaxing the knee joint. With the quads prefatigued, everything that follows will feel harder, so lighten the weights up here, too.


Do as many warm-ups as you need, but never take them to muscle failure.
Choose a weight that allows you to reach muscle failure by the target rep listed.
By flip-flopping the exercises, you’ll be a little stronger on your single-joint moves but weaker on multijoint ones, so adjust your weights accordingly.

Pre-exhaust Routine
1 Leg Extensions

5 sets, 8-10 reps

2 Smith Machine Squat

4 sets, 8-10, 8-10, 10-12, 12 reps (Lighten the weight after your first two sets.)

3 Hack Squat

3 sets, 10 reps

4 Dumbbell Lunges

3 sets, 12 reps (per side)