Oh, what a joyous time when a bodybuilder gets to play with new toys in the gym. On May 10, 2022, former 212 Olympia champion Shaun Clarida got to experience his high-volume, quad-focused leg day with new equipment. The “Giant Killer” is amidst his off-season, putting on mass in training for what could be a triumphant return at the 2022 Olympia on Dec. 16-18, 2022, in Las Vegas, NV.
Clarida could attempt to recapture the 212 Olympia title from 2021’s champion, Derek Lunsford, or Clarida could opt to move up a division to the Men’s Open category thanks to his win at the 2021 Legion Sports Fest. While he has not yet announced which division he will compete in on the sport’s grandest stage, his training remains high octane. Check out Clarida’s leg workout that incorporates new equipment in the video below, courtesy of his YouTube channel:
This particular leg day deviated from other recent leg sessions where he went super heavy in the eight to 12 rep range for a set or two. On this day, Clarida hit upwards of four sets per exercise and included drop sets and cluster sets to emphasize blood flow to his lower body and get a legitimate pump.
Calf Raises & Adductors
Clarida opens his workout with seated calf raises with a single 45-pound weight plate and focuses on holding the squeeze at full contraction. By Clarida’s fourth set of seated calf raises, the weight increased to 150 pounds. While he aimed for 10 reps, each of the eight he managed appeared very difficult. By Clarida’s fourth set of seated calf raises, the weight increased to 150 pounds. While he aimed for 10 reps, each of the eight he managed appeared very difficult.
Moving on to the adductor machine — an exercise he performs near the beginning of every leg session — Clarida has found that it helps build his inner thighs to remove the gap that would otherwise be present during front-facing poses, such as the front double biceps or the front lat spread. The visual gap in the lower body during those poses can undermine the aesthetics on stage, and Clarida is mindful not to fall victim to it.
The first new toy — a gym pin — comes in handy during the adductor training. A gym pin is a barbell sleeve attached to a pin that can be inserted into a machine’s weight stack. Weight plates can then be loaded onto it for more load when the weight of the entire stack isn’t enough. Two 25-pound weight plates found their way onto the gym pin by his third and fourth sets.
Hamstring Curls & Leg Extensions
No stranger to heavy leg curls, Clarida hits three sets while bracing himself against the seat pad. This ensures his lower back remains braced and puts on the load on his hamstrings without too much help from his glutes. After sufficiently fatiguing his hamstrings, he moved onto leg extensions and admitted that his legs felt tight. During the leg extensions, it was his hamstrings that still burned. Clarida completed three sets of leg extensions topping out at 200 pounds and then finished with partials.
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Pendulum Squats & Leg Press
A pendulum squat machine is named for the appearance of swinging on a pendulum. It looks like a hack squat, except instead of the movement behind a straight line, the user’s feet are planted on a tilted platform, and the back pad swings with the user during the squat. The benefit of a pendulum squat over a standard back squat is a better stretch in the quads.
Clarida ensures each rep goes through the full range of motion, including good knee flexion to emphasize the quads. By his third set, he added knee wraps and lifted four 45-pound plates for eight reps. He found that work “easy” and proceeded to move up to six weight plates total — 60 pounds more than his 210-pound bodyweight, not including the weight of the pendulum machine, which is approximately 80 pounds. He closed out with six reps of 320 pounds.
That last set rocked my life.
Clarida continued the punishment of his quads on the leg press machine. By positioning his feet narrowly towards the bottom of the leg press machine’s platform, he could bias the quads.
Romanian Deadlifts & Chain Lunges
With his lifting belt on and lifting straps around his wrists, Clarida performed Romanian deadlifts with 120-pound dumbbells in each hand. He upped it to 130-pounds in each hand for his second set. After knocking those sets out briskly, Clarida closed the leg day with walking lunges with thick chains on his shoulders. He is seen walking the length of the gym three times but did not share how many total reps he performed.
Clarida is not pulling punches…err, kicks with his lower body training during his off-season. We’ll see if his legs are the difference that pushes him back to the top of the podium at the 2022 Olympia in December.
Featured image: @shaunclarida on Instagram