Best Legs Workout Routine during a Cutting Phase of Periodization

Cutting is the most important phase of a periodized training program for bodybuilders. You could say it’s a do or die situation for them. During this phase, all bodybuilders aim to cut fat or get lean before appearing on the stage. It’s not an easy target to lose fat with a restricted-calorie diet plan, and with higher repetitions of a set.

Now the question is when to start cutting Phase?

It depends on different factors like the physique of the bodybuilder (Arnold Schwarzenegger), which shows how well he built during the bulking phase, and what is the current level of fat. If he gained much weight during the bulking phase, then he will have to start cutting phase, 3 to 4 months prior to the competition.

Key Points to Remember during a Cutting Phase

  • The rest period will be short for straight sets and when he performs the reverse pyramid, the rest would be 2 minutes for proper recovery.
  • When performing drop sets, and supersets, the rest would be 1:30 to 2 minutes after completing 1 superset and drop set.
  • Reps, volume, the total number of sets during the cutting phase are different than hypertrophy and foundational phase.
  • Reps, volume, and intensity would be different during the first 4 weeks as compared to 6 to 9 weeks.
  • The workout routine includes supersets, giant sets, and drop sets.
  • If a bodybuilder is following a caloric deficit plan at this stage and he feels tired or lacks the energy can divide his training into two sessions.

Following is the leg workout routine during the cutting phase

Week (6-9) Legs and calves Exercises Sets Reps Rest period
Reverse pyramid Weighted Back Squats 3 5,8,10 2 minutes
Straight Set Kettlebell Lunges 3 10 each side 20 seconds
Superset (a,b) Laying Hamstring (a) 3 12 1:30 to 2 minutes
  Leg Extensions (b) 3 12  
Drop Set Leg Press 3 12,10,8     1 to 2-minutes rest after completing 1 drop set
  Standing Calf Raises 4 20  

Coaching Cues for Performing Leg Workout Routine

Weighted Back Squats:

One of the most technical compound exercises for developing peak strength, coordination, and balance.

How to Perform Back Squats Correctly

Starting position, First adjust the machine according to your height by putting the nobs slightly down the shoulder level then put the barbell on your posterior shoulders, lift the barbell up and move one leg back then another leg so you stand straight. You need to maintain the Distance between feet according to your shoulder width and toes pointed little outside. Now gradually go down by pushing your hip back, and keep going down until your hips become parallel to the floor. Then move upward towards your starting position. Do not forget to inhale when going down and exhale when moving up. For safety purposes, you can put a foam roller behind your neck and wrap your knees for better support.

Kettlebell Lunges:

How to Perform Kettlebell Lunges Correctly

Start Position, Grab the Kettlebells in both hands, keep your posture straight, and then press one leg forward by controlling your knee movement so that your knee shouldn’t move ahead of your toe. The important thing when you press one leg forward your opposite knee, hip, the shoulder should align in one direction from sideways and knee shouldn’t touch the floor. You need to perform the same move for another leg but do not stop when you press one leg.

Kettlebell Lunges during a Cutting Phase
Kettlebell Lunges – Leg Workout during a Cutting Phase

Laying Hamstring:

How to Perform Lying Hamstring Correctly

Adjust the pad, so that it fits slightly above your heel. Lie on your stomach on the machine would be your starting position, grab the handles of the machine, put your face down, place your heel slightly down under the pad, now curl your legs upwards but avoid jerking when curling legs, hold your torso firmly. Curl your legs up until pad touches to your butts then lower your legs to starting position. Exhale when curling up.

Leg Extensions:

How to Perform Leg Extensions Correctly

The seated position is key when performing leg extensions, adjust the seat so when you sit your legs can freely move that means the back of knees shouldn’t far away from where the seat ends or not to close so when your curl down it hurts your back of the knee.

Starting position, sit then put your feet under the pad, this part of the machine is freely moving, set the pad in that way your toes pointed upward and your legs are perpendicular to the floor. Now extend your leg to the extent it becomes parallel to the floor. Your hips should remain on the seat. Once your legs fully extended then move towards the starting position.

Leg Press:

How to Perform Leg Press Correctly

Sit on the machine, place your feet on the platform. You can put the feet above or below on the platform depending on which muscle you want to hit more. Anyhow maintain a distance between your feet, grab the handles on both sides. Keep in mind the back and neck should remain on the pad, tighten your abdominal when you lift the platform and extend your legs but do not lock them. Lower the platform until knees past 90 degrees.

Standing Calf Raises:

How to Perform Standing Calf Raises Correctly

Adjust the machine so when you stand on the lower platform your knees slightly bend. Starting position: Stand on the platform with bending knees, toes on the platform, heel outside the platform. Grab the handles which are attached to both pads. Place pads on the shoulders, squeeze your abdominal while lifting up. The important thing when you stand must engage the thumb then getting down but do not bend your knees, keep going down until your heels are below the platform. Avoid touching the floor.

5- Warm-up and cool down:

  • Warm-up and cool-down both are an integral part of any workout routine. Warm-up basically prepares you for your workout. Choosing warmup wisely can be effective for your session. The properly warm-up body prevents you from injuries.
  • I would prefer to do high-intensity interval training for 10 minutes on the treadmill. It could be in the form of sprints. You can do 3 to 5 sprints so your legs get completely warmed before weight training.
  • Start with a walk for 2 minutes then 1-minute jog, then you do sprints 30 sec with a 1-minute recovery. Perform 3 to 5 sprints, then a 1-minute walk.
  • Walk at level 5 or 5.5, jog at level 8, sprint at level 15
  • Once all done you go for following exercises and do 20 reps for each exercise

Jumping Jacks:

How to Perform Jumping Jacks Correctly

Starting Position, Lateral jumps with your arms extended over the head. Do not open legs too much, in fact, keep the distance normal between your feet so when you land on the surface, your knees do not bend inwards.

Military March:

How to Perform Miltary March Correctly

This exercise is very simple, keep your hands up, small jumps on the toe one after another.

High Knees:

How to Perform High Knees Correctly

Hands parallel to the floor, lift your one leg up towards chest by bending your knee. Slightly lean back so you repeat this move fast.

Butt Kicks:

How to Perform Butt Kicks Correctly

Stand straight, hands with your hips, kick back so your heel touches to your hips.

Cool Down:

Once all your workout is completed the next thing is cool down. It’s necessary to cool down for 10 minutes to avoid blood pooling. Also, your heart rate increases when you exercise so returning to a normal rate, your body needs cool-down phase.

Cage Exercises:

You can do static stretching in the cage.

How to Perform Cage Exercises Correctly

You put your one leg on the platform then press forward without bending the opposite leg. Repeat it with another leg but you hold 10 seconds when repeating this process to another leg. 5 reps each leg would be enough. It relaxes your quadriceps muscles.

Stand straight, extend your leg put it on the front of the platform in the cage, then try to reach with your hands as far as possible then hold it for 10 seconds when you reach your feet. Repeat the same procedure to another leg. 5 reps each leg. It relaxes your hamstring muscles.

Grab the cage with both hands then make a squat position with your chest up, so all your back muscles get to relax. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 5 times.

How to Perform Calves Stretching Correctly

Put your hands on the floor directly under your shoulder, lift your hips, put the fingers of one foot on the toe of other foot and gently push the heel down. it relaxes calf muscles. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 5 times.

Recumbent Bike:

You can incorporate a recumbent bike at the end just for 5 minutes at a very low speed. Recumbent bike work as a therapy for your legs. Adjust the seat of the bike so when you sit on it your knees do not touch the handles.

How to Perform Recumbent Bike Correctly

Starting position: Sit on the bike, your back should stick to the pad, put your feet on the feet area and tighten the straps. Start paddling, so your knee hips and feet are moves in one direction, avoid leaning forward. actually, you need to maintain the posture. 

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