Two-time reigning 212 Olympia champion Shaun Clarida intends to leave a legacy as the winningest 212 champ in the division’s history. To do so, he’ll need to win his third title at the 2023 Olympia and then win five more times to surpass James “Flex” Lewis‘ record of seven 212 Olympia title wins (2012-2018).
On Sept. 14, 2023, Clarida took to his YouTube channel to share the quad-focused leg workout that prioritizes conditioning nine weeks out from the 2023 Olympia. Clarida has shared his training consistently, including his FST-7 training with coach Hany Rambod, his first leg day after moving to Texas, and his back and biceps programming. Check out Clarida’s leg conditioning below:
Shaun Clarida 2023 Olympia Leg Workout
Here is a snapshot of Clardia’s leg workout:
With Clarida’s cutting phase in full swing, he experiences a noticeable decline in his energy levels. However, he trains with high-volume workouts to maintain as much muscle tissue as possible while in a caloric deficit.
Adductor Machine & Seated Hamstring Curl
Clarida warmed up on the adductor machine, followed by three sets of seated hamstring curls. The adductors and hamstrings have been primary focal points for Clarida during his off-season to improve for the 2023 Olympia — he has an adductor machine in his garage gym. He trains his inner thighs twice or thrice weekly.
Clarida trains lagging muscle groups multiple times per week from different angles. The higher training frequency and volume also apply to his calves via the three calf machines in his home gym.
The science supports Clarida’s methodology for high training frequency. A meta-analysis by Sports Medicine concluded that “frequencies of training twice a week promote superior hypertrophic outcomes to once a week.” (1)
Performing isolation exercises at the beginning of a leg workout helps Clarida develop his mind-muscle connection and limbers up his joints, leading to greater depth (read: better range of motion) on squats and leg presses.
Since Clarida is in a calorie deficit, he performed 12 to 15 leg extensions with four 45-pound weight plates. The higher rep, lighter weight approach can improve muscle conditioning while lowering the risk of injury. During the off-season, Clarida usually does 8-12 reps with much heavier loads.
The leg press was the first compound movement of Clarida’s quad-focused leg workout. He planted his feet at the bottom of the machine’s foot platform and used a slow rep cadence to better bias his quads.
Clarida opened with four 45-pound weight plates on each side before bumping to 11 plates per side by his final working set. Clarida performed a back-off set with six plates on each side to mechanical failure.
A 2021 study by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that “resistance training performed to failure showed a greater increase in muscle hypertrophy than resistance training not done to failure.” (2)
Reverse Banded Hack Squat & Hip Press
Clarida tied a resistance band to the hack squat machine to tweak its resistance profile. The resistance band fully stretches at the bottom of the squat to alleviate some difficulty of getting out of the hole. However, the resistance band offers less assistance on the way up as it retracts to its original shape, making the load progressively heavier.
Clarida performed three sets of unilateral hip presses to finish his leg workout. Training one side of the body at a time can help identify and remedy strength and muscle imbalances. Clarida positioned his foot on the platform’s edge, with his heel extending beyond it, to achieve greater knee flexion, thereby biasing the quads.
Road to 2023 Olympia
Clarida is scheduled to compete at the 2023 Olympia on Nov. 2-5 in Orlando, FL. The 2022 Olympia silver medalist Angel Calderon Frias and Ahmad Ashkanani will likely be Clarida’s most formidable competitors.
Former 212 Olympia champion Kamal Elgargni qualified for the Mr. Olympia contest via his win at the 2023 Masters Olympia Men’s Open title. At the time of this article’s publication, Elgargni hasn’t confirmed if he will remain in the 212 division or challenge the reigning Mr. Olympia champ Hadi Choopan for the Sandow trophy.
- Schoenfeld BJ, Ogborn D, Krieger JW. Effects of Resistance Training Frequency on Measures of Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Med. 2016 Nov;46(11):1689-1697. doi: 10.1007/s40279-016-0543-8. PMID: 27102172.
- Vieira AF, Umpierre D, Teodoro JL, Lisboa SC, Baroni BM, Izquierdo M, Cadore EL. Effects of Resistance Training Performed to Failure or Not to Failure on Muscle Strength, Hypertrophy, and Power Output: A Systematic Review With Meta-Analysis. J Strength Cond Res. 2021 Apr 1;35(4):1165-1175. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003936. PMID: 33555822.
Featured image: @shaunclarida on Instagram