Hammer Your Hamstrings and Quads With Bodybuilder Shaun Clarida’s Intense Leg Workout

The former 212 Olympia champ teamed up with Swedish bodybuilder Ashkan Aghili for a punishing leg-day.

Shaun Clarida is looking to regain his 212 Olympia crown after finishing in second place behind Derek Lunsford in 2021. To display that he’s as dialed in as ever, “The Giant Killer” posted a blistering leg workout to his YouTube channel on Sept. 7, 2022.

This time, Swedish bodybuilder Ashkan Aghili joined him at Destination Dallas in Allen, TX, for what Clarida describes as a high-rep, high-volume session. Check it out below:

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Shaun Clarida’s Leg Workout

If you want to follow along with Clarida’s leg workout, here are the moves, followed by a breakdown of each one:

Seated Leg Curl

Typically, Clarida says he has a separate day for hamstrings and quads, but for this workout, he bookended his routine with hamstring-specific moves. First up was the seated leg curl, which is a solid option for posterior chain work as it targets both the hammies and the glutes.

Clarida and Aghili mixed up their tempo throughout the exercise, hitting negative reps, partial reps, and static holds. Every rep was performed in a controlled fashion through the full range of motion. Clarida reached full extension and kept his body firmly connected to the seat — he doesn’t rock back and forth.

Leg Extension

Next up was the leg extension. To start, Clarida hit lightweight for a warm-up set. He does this specifically to help him get deep form during his later compound movements. Once warm, Clarida ramped up the weight for a set of 10 and then went right into a drop set for a quick 20 reps to exhaust his quads.


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A post shared by IFBB Pro Shaun Clarida (@shaunclarida)

[Related: Pull Day In The Gym — Shaun Clarida’s Intense Back and Biceps Workout]

Pendulum Squat

Next up was the pendulum squat machine — a hard-to-find piece of equipment that shares similarities with the hack squat. The big difference is that the hack squat moves in a straight line, whereas the back pad on a pendulum squat swings with the user and allows for more bias towards the quads.

Form and depth are absolutely key here — not going to go super heavy, but going to make it feel like 1,000 pounds.

Clarida said the hamstrings should sit on the calves at the bottom of the squat to reap the benefits of the move. It seemed as though his warm-ups from before paid off.


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A post shared by IFBB Pro Shaun Clarida (@shaunclarida)

[Related: Shaun Clarida Utilizes Single-Arm Movements On His Back & Biceps Day]

Hip Press

For this machine, Clarida positioned his feet shoulder-width apart and hung his heels slightly off the bottom of the sled to get more knee flexion. This put more emphasis on the quads.

Four 45-pound weight plates were loaded on each side, and the goal is to get 15 to 20 reps per set. Anything less than 15 is a failed set, according to Clarida. (Spoiler: They don’t fail.)

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Stiff-Leg Dumbbell Deadlift

Clarida circled back to his hamstrings for his final exercise of the day: the stiff-leg dumbbell deadlift (though Clarida says Romanian deadlift interchangeably). With dumbbells held at his side, Clarida stood straight up with minimal knee flexion and bent over until the weights were at his shins. He then drove back up to complete the rep.

By standing in the stiff-leg stance, Clarida and Aghili targeted their hamstrings and lower back. This one wasn’t about heavy weight, either — they performed moderate sets of 10 reps with a deliberate pace with a full range of motion to maximize each movement.

Cooling Down

The key to the workout was high reps and high intensity. While the duo went heavy at times, it never came at the expense of reps or form.

“I’ve trained with a lot of people, so the cool thing was the mix of heavy and intense,” Aghili said, reflecting on the workout afterward. “So it’s both conditioning-heavy but also compound-heavy.”

Clarida agreed, saying one can get just as much of a burn from adding a few more reps to moderate weight as you can from training heavy all the time.

We’ll see the result of Clarida’s punishing leg workouts when he steps on stage at the 2022 Olympia on Dec. 16-18, 2022, in Las Vegas, NV.

Featured image: @shaunclarida on Instagram