The Black Chapel

On paper, this actually doesn’t look too menacing.
But when you do it, you’ll quickly realise why it’s not to be fucked with.

The purpose of this workout is leg growth, pure and simple. Each of the exercises have a specific place and feed into the ones that follow. I’ll talk you through each one, what it does, why it’s there – and how to nail it.

Don’t do a low calorie or low carb day when you attempt this workout, and I would highly recommend you use this workout as it’s written – if you don’t have a Smith or a leg press at your gym, find one that does.

It’s very fucking hard to sustain appropriate intensity AND technique using free weight alternatives like barbell lunges or squats and you’ll quickly learn why when you start the session.

We don’t want your technique to suffer and go to shit during high intensity training as this is an injury waiting to happen. At least when you use a machine, if you get to failure, your technique is less of a limiting factor and you’ve got the ability to rack the weight and stop before you hurt yourself.

Crank the playlist during your session and let’s fuck your legs up, shall we?!

A1 Alternating, single leg hamstring curls on Swiss ball – 3 x 12 each side

So during the following lunges and leg press exercises, you’ve created the ability to get deeper down, without the hip flexors impeding your movement – and we’ve also helped to fire up the core to keep hip stability “on” as much as possible. By using unilateral exercises both to begin with and during the tri-set, we’re also helping to iron out any lateral imbalances and cause some pre-exhaustion.
This exercise may look easy, but you’ll find after the very first rep that it creates a sustained, focused burn from start to finish. The length of each set is also significant, so there’s plenty of time under tension here.

B1a Smith Machine rear foot elevated split squat – 2 x 10


More unilateral work, this time with some isometrics / high intensity methods on your last set.
This exercise is very specific to your glute medius and hamstrings because the rear foot position creates a great moment arm for the hips. The lower you can get, the better the glute stabilisation needed and the harder the exercise becomes.
Keep your torso to a forward lean, don’t make the mistake of trying to stay perfectly upright. Because of the need to lean forward slightly, you’ll also need to adopt a low bar position on your shoulders, so keep the bar on your rear delts, not on top of your traps. (To learn how to get into this position, watch this video.)


Depending on the temperature in your gym, you will need some chalk to stop the bar from rolling around while you’re squatting. Warm up to a set where you’re using a weight you can only lift 11-12 times, then do two sets of 10 each side. You’ll need to do at least 2 warm up sets first before you can find the right weight, I’d suggest doing warm ups of only 6-7 reps in ascending weight. This helps you nail the bar, foot and hip position for the working sets and to really hit the expectations I have of your intensity on the final set with the intensity amplifiers.

Every rep, pause for a little bit at the bottom and go straight back into your next rep. Try not to rest at the top, you want to accumulate tension, so don’t shy away from it. If you can’t finish the whole set without resting maybe consider dropping the weight down for the final one, so that you can go straight through without stopping. 


B1a Smith Machine rear foot elevated split squat – intensity set

Around about this set you should already be feeling a little dead. I was sweating so badly I couldn’t hold onto the bar properly, so more chalk is highly recommended.

What you’re going to do here is do your final set of 10, but on the very last rep you’re going to pause at the bottom before VERY SLOWLY rising to the top. This time, as you’re coming back up you’re going to lift your rear foot off the bench completely.

Take 3 seconds to come up, then at the top of the rep pause just below lockout and squeeze your glutes as hard as you can, before taking 3 seconds to go down again. Do 3-5 reps like this, taking your rear foot off the bench as you start pressing back up.
If you’re not praying for the end of the session by now because you haven’t worked hard enough, you rested too long or you’re holding back – you should probably go get a cup of tea instead. This workout isn’t for you.

C Quad and Glute tri-set

This is the final series of exercises, but it’s also the hardest. This not only ramps up the intensity but it also creates a bit of a cardio effect – your heart will be trying to burst out of your chest and you may be worried that you’re going to fall over and shit yourself during the lunges.

You’re going to do this tri-set three times, in the following manner.
Rest for up to 3 minutes in between, enough time to fully recover so you can give it 100%.

C1 Leg press – x 15


For the leg press, we want a high and wide foot position, as you would have during a low bar squat. We are doing plenty of single leg work here with more of a medial foot position (in line with your hips), so let’s adjust your stance to hit more of the medial glutes again and to get some quad sweep.

You’re going to do the leg press with a 3 second negative and without locking out fully. Pause for a bit at the bottom, and try to come down as low as possible. Sometimes it’s better to NOT hit your knees to your chest, particularly if this causes your lower back to round.

Choose a weight that would allow you to get out about 20 reps, but you’ll do 15. The first set should be only a 7/10, with every set accumulating intensity so that the last set is a 9-10/10.

C2 Walking DB lunges x 10 each side


Keep a forward torso lean, bring the trailing knee down so it is nearly touching the floor. Make sure your knees don’t fall in / collapse and drive them so that they are bending exactly towards your toes.

Don’t bring your feet together after each step. Keep forging forward, this gives the hammies a nice stretch and sets up the quads and glutes to fire maximally. When you get tired, don’t bend your elbows – keep the weights down by your sides with your arms long, and don’t swing them to make it easier. If you’re training with a training partner – keep each other accountable. Don’t allow each other to be pussies. 10 reps each side, no resting between exercises.

C3 Leg extensions x 15

Last one in the series and probably the worst point of the whole session. Same as the leg press, choose a weight you could rep out 20 times (if you weren’t doing all this other bullshit, too.) Each set the intensity will accumulate, so if your first round is an 8/10, last round should be 10/10. Pause for one second at the top of every rep where your legs are fully extended.


If you don’t get to failure on this exercise at some point in the 3 rounds, you’ve been far too conservative or you’ve rested too long either during the set, between exercises or between the rounds.

So now that you’ve prayed at the Black Chapel, it’s time to crawl out.

As I left the gym yesterday, I had to walk down the stairs sideways holding onto the rails, because my knees kept buckling.

Sitting here writing this, I had to periodically get up off my chair and walk around because it actually hurts to sit. From my knees to my ass, I am on fire.

If you try this workout, don’t fucking hold back. It’s not intended to be a nice, easy session. If you’re training with a partner, don’t accept any tomfuckery or spend too long talking shit to each other – this is supposed to be TOUGH.

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