If you’ve ever wanted to have wheels like one of the world’s top bodybuilders, such as “The Giant Killer” Shaun Clarida, a video posted to his YouTube channel on June 21, 2022, might pique your interest. During a massive leg pump day, Clarida takes on the role of your training partner for a 30-minute session.
With six months until the 2022 Olympia in Las Vegas, NV, at the time of Clarida’s video upload, he aims to repeat his success in 2020, when he took home the 212 Olympia title. Instead of throwing around the heaviest possible weight, Clarida focuses on the quality of each movement. He isn’t shy about making individual adaptations, such as using the Smith machine for squats to grow his quads. Strap yourself in and see if you can hang with Clarida on his epic leg workout in the video below:
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Standing Calf Raise & Hip Adductor Machine
Clarida performs a calf movement, such as calf raises, every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. He pauses for a two-second hold at the top, slowing down the motion and getting a good stretch when he lowers.
Instead of just putting on a ton of weight and half ass’ing it, I’m actually dropping the weight a little bit more. I’m controlling it.
Clarida says that a lack of adductor size is a common flaw often seen when bodybuilders pose. By increasing the size of this muscle group on the inner thigh, the “Giant Killer” aims to close the gaps and further the appearance of fullness. He squeezes the knees together, then releases slowly to maximize muscle tension.
That’s one area in my legs, besides hamstrings, that I really wanna bring up.
Clarida moves on from two warm-up sets to his working sets. Using a gym pin, he stacks on additional weight plates and reaches 10 reps of 375 pounds (170 kilograms). Clarida jokingly says that he “doesn’t do maths,” instead preferring to build up the weight towards failure by feel.
Seated Hamstring Curls & Smith Machine Squats
Once again, Clarida goes heavy but maintains a controlled execution of each rep as he moves towards failure rather than reaching it.
[Seated hamstring curls] has pretty much been, predominantly, my main hamstring movement on my quad day. I always start and finish my quad day with a hamstring movement. I do have a separate hamstring and glute day later in the week.
Clarida revealed his affinity for squatting in the Smith matching. The free weight barbell doesn’t offer him as clean of movement pattern as his shoulder mobility is enough for proper stabilization through the full range of motion in the squat.
I feel like it puts me in a really awkward position to where I put the strain on my lower back versus my quads.
Clarida explains that the fixed position of the Smith machine eliminates back pain for him while allowing him to focus purely on the up and down movement of the lift. This allows for better contraction and tension on his quads. As Clarida moves up from the warm-up portion to heavier sets, he wraps his knees for support. With 540 pounds (245 kilograms) now added to the bar, Clarida psyches himself up and cranks out 10 reps.
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Clarida follows up with Hack squats, where he performs one-and-a-half reps for a total of eight reps. As Clarida found out, gauging the half rep is difficult. Filming yourself or having a gym partner check the height of the half rep can help ensure you are not over-extending.
For those that don’t know, we’re coming all the way down, coming half way up, back down, then all the way up. That’s one rep.
With 360 pounds (163 kilograms) in plates added, plus a resistance band, Clarida really feels the burn.
Still catching his breath from those hack squats, Clarida shares that he likes to perform at least one unilateral movement once a week on leg day. The movement for this session was the leg press. A benefit of the single-leg press is that it offers excellent glute activation, is great for balance, and causes less back compression. The “Giant Killer” stacks the plates until they total 360 pounds (163 kilograms). “Today was definitely one for the record books: heavy squats, heavy partial hacks. Yeah, I’m feeling this one. I’m going to be feeling this one for a couple of days,” Clarida lamented.
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Inverse Hamstring Curl
“If you heard what I said at the beginning, I start my leg day with hamstrings, and I finish with hamstrings,” says Clarida, “and today’s finish is going to be the inverse hamstring curl … made to just absolutely destroy your hamstrings. Honestly, I think this is one of the best hamstring machines I’ve ever done.”
The 2020 212 Olympia champ explains that he gets a full range of motion from this machine, including eccentric and concentric movement and resistance. Clarida also shares that this machine doesn’t require a lot of weight to make it challenging.
That was leg day. That’s pretty much how I treat every single leg day. Just hard, heavy, intense… just movin’, movin’, movin’.
We’ll see if Clarida can close that gap in his thighs and bring up his quads for a second Olympia title when he steps on stage again on Dec. 16-18, 2022, in Las Vegas.
Featured image: @shaunclarida on Instagram