Baghdad Winter Weight Training for the Legs

So most athletes will be about 5 – 6 weeks into their winter training, reaching the end of Phase 1. This phase usually revolves around general strength and conditioning for the event using circuit training and weightlifting. The weights are to increase muscle growth (hypertrophy) and to stimulate the hormonal system so the body will adapt to the high work loads in this phase. For many years I have traditionally used 3 x 10 reps @ 70% max for the olympic lifts. This year as I´m no longer a competing athlete so I fancied a change, and as you get older and more experienced the training needs to be different to give the same hormonal responses. I started training a few times with a guy call Khadam who is a coach to professional body builders. As coaches I asked if I could join in on his own leg workout which was MEGA!! Basically I did at lest half the weight he did. That may sound lame but considering he is about 125kg of pure muscle and can pump out 6 reps @ 600kg on the leg press, it was good going. Khadam moved to Oslo from Baghdad 3 years ago and looks like he eats US soldiers for breakfast! I have written below my work out that I have been doing on mondays for the last few weeks with great results. This work out requires 72 hours recovery (seriously it does!!) to be effective in building muscle. So I only do once a week at the moment due to my work schedual. I also have a Baghdad chest and back workouts that are really good to. Principally it is 4 x 15 reps but as always with body building there is a large element of repetition till failure and striping down the weight to carry on the reps. Warm up and cool down are done properly with some healthy walking at the end + steam room + sauna. The rest period is kept short except with leg press and squat. I use ´grasp´ knee wraps on leg press and squat that are really good and I highly recommend. I am recovering from a ruptured calf muscle (1 x 3 cm area on my left medial gastrocnemius) a few months ago, so the calf work is lighter that at full fitness. I was also stronger on all exercises before my injury, with up to 360 kg for 6 reps on the leg press. I weigh 76 kg and I´m 1.86 m tall.

I use this PDF work sheet to record my training, you can download and use it for free by clicking the link. Baghdad Leg Workout

Seated Hamstring Curls – 4 x 15 @ 30, 40, 50, 60 kg (also some of these and the lying sets should be single leg)

Lying Hamstring Curls – 4 x 15 @ 20, 30, 40, 45 kg

Single Leg Press (full range) – 1 x 15 @ 70 kg

Double leg Press (full range, knee wraps + belt) – 1 x 15 @ 150 kg, 1 x 12 @ 190 kg,               1 x 10 @ 230 kg, 1 x 6 or 8 @ 270 kg

Squat in Smith Rack (knee wraps + belt) – 1 x 10 @ 60 kg full range, next 3 sets thigh (femur) parallel to floor – 1 x 8 @ 100kg, 2 x 6 @ 120 kg

Leg Extension – 4 x 15 @ 25, 35, 40, 45 kg (slight pause at full extension)

Hack Squat – 4 x 15 (or failure) @ 40, 50, 60, 60 kg + 15 reps straight leg calf raise at the end of each set before rest.

Seated Calf Raise – 4 x 15 (or strip down) @ 35, 45, 45, 45 kg


About Simon Hunt

As a professional for over 15 years with a strong academic background, Simon has developed dynamic style of personal training. Effective, functional training routines, tailored towards your personal health and fitness goals are what he loves to work towards. This style of training is based around a wealth of experience that includes, working with numerous World and Olympic athletes, developing Norwegian sport champions, preventing heart problems and other diseases through exercise as a medicine, as well as countless private clients. www.sihunt.wordpress,com As professional athlete and personal trainer, i have over 24 years experience in athletics where my expertise lie in the jump events and sprints. I also have knowledge of basketball and gymnastics. I have 15 years experience working as personal trainer 6 of which as an exercise physiologist training heart patients, ranging from angina to transplant, as well as many other specialised conditions i.e. diabetics etc.
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6 Responses to Baghdad Winter Weight Training for the Legs

  1. jamie chase says:

    im a jumper and trying to stay lean. do you have anything for brutally strong triple jumpers?


    • Simon Hunt says:

      Well Jamie I will recommend for you to be doing clean, squat, leg press, chest and shoulder press. All at 3 x 10 @ 70 % max this will keep the focus on the fast twitch IIb fibres. These lifts need to be combined with plyometrics between sets, e.g. box jumps or rebounds. This needs to be done in the style of Yuri Verkhoshansky´s “powermetrics”. 6 weeks phase 1 is 3 x 10 @ 70%, 6 weeks phase 2 is 3 x 6 @ 80%, 6 weeks phase 3 is 3 x 3 @ 90% +. With the plyometrics and other training being more specific in phase 3. If you have done this for years and you are over 30ish then I would recommend trying the Baghdad workout with sets of 10 reps max just for the phase 1 muscle building ground work.


  2. Darren Joseph says:

    Hi Simon,
    Only me, having had a long discussion with Mike Homes about weight lifting two weeks ago. Please be to the point on which athlete this is design for, as it’s not suitable for high jumpers because any number more than ten at most will have a different effect than we need. As we know body builders look pleasing to the eye, but can not actively use there strength in the desired way which is need for an active sport… Just saying!!!!

    All the best

    Darren Joseph


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