Leg day’s always one of the sweatiest and toughest workouts of the week. Sometimes the temptation to skip it is just too strong. But we know two guys who never skip leg day — Tom and Luke Stoltman, AKA the world’s strongest brothers, with Tom the reigning World’s Strongest Man.
The brothers and their coach Dan Hipkiss have come up with a leg day masterclass, running through one of their typical training sessions, and why each exercise is so important. As you might expect, things get pretty heavy. So, if you’ve ever wondered how the World’s Strongest Man trains legs, here’s your answer. After watching this, you’ll never want to skip leg day again.
The guys are on reduced calories and carbs at the moment as they’re in the earlier stages of training for competing. So they’re focusing on higher reps and lower weight just to “keep the body healthy”. They started the workout with squats.
Squats aren’t the biggest consideration for strongmen, but they need to feel confident in them. So In this session Luke focuses on box squats with a deadlift stance as he tries to build strength in his deadlift. Meanwhile Tom’s kicks off leg day with a standard back squat.
Coach Dan explained how the brothers approach squats in their training.
“Squatting for strongmen isn’t necessarily a priority movement so it’s something we want to tick over in case it turns up at Worlds”
“For Luke, he’s doing them close to his deadlift stance so we’re using it to build that raw power for the start of his pull.”
The guys start with five sets of five for their squats, and training will soon intensify as as competition season gets closer and things get heavier.
“Training’s been super intense and the comp schedule at the end of the year was really heavy — so lots of competitions back-to-back. So 5x5s on fairly easy weights at the moment just means that they can tick over, move some weight, get some blood flowing.
And then probably in 3-4 weeks things are going to get heavier, the reps are going to come down and we’ll start seeing them shift some bigger numbers, and hopefully it’ll translate to Luke’s deadlift as well.”
Bulgarian Split Squat Holds
Bulgarian Split Squats are tough at the best of times. And Dan’s made them even harder for the guys, with three 30-second holds on each leg.
But there’s good reason for it — here’s why Dan’s added this isometric movement into the Stoltmans’ routine.
“It’s mainly for knee health and a bit of a quad pump as well. Isometric movements mean that very small muscles are firing really quickly, and that allows us to get some blood into a tendon — tendons generally don’t have a really good blood flow. They can get a bit dry and dusty especially lifting heavy weights all the time so these isometrics get some blood flowing and can get the knees healthy and a bit more stable.”
Lying Leg Abductions — 3×10
On to another accessory movement — lying leg abductions. Dan’s added this one in for a few laughs as well as a building stability in the hips.
“We’ve got the guys doing a fairly typical booty workout — a lying abductor raise. Again, in this phase of training we’ve got a bit of time until competitions, we can make decisions about healing little injuries, getting rid of any weaknesses.
This is just getting the medial glute working, building a bit more stability through the hip girdle, and it looks really funny so it’s always worth doing in a public gym…”
Hack Squat — 3×10
As it’s off-season, the Stoltmans are prioritising packing on muscle mass more than nailing comp-focused movements. And the hack squat is guaranteed to get the quads fired up and packing on more muscle.
“At the moment the training is less competition focused, more about putting some muscle mass on, healing any injuries we’ve got, so the hack squat’s a really good exercise. It takes a load of the lower back which means they can focus on the quads focus on getting a good pump.
We want a good range of motion — as close to full depth as they can get on the machine.”
Calf Raises & Planks
The guys finish off their leg session with some bodyweight calf raises and a few planks to get the core fired up.
After a gruelling workout, Tom was feeling good but eager to get home and tend to his DOMS.
“Nice and sweaty today, it’s been good. I’m going to have some DOMS tomorrow I think we’ll be suffering a little bit so thank God it’s Friday tomorrow.”
Take Home Message
So that’s how the World’s Strongest Man trains legs.
While we don’t recommend using the same weights as Tom and Luke, if you’re looking for a new routine to switch up your leg day, trying this strongman workout could get you out of that rut. Remember to only use weights you’re comfortable with, and see how you’re feeling the next day. Chances are you might be sore.