James Hollingshead Shares His 3 Key Movements for Leg Day

James Hollingshead Shares His 3 Key Movements for Leg Day

At the 2022 Mr. Olympia competition, December 16-18, 2022, in Las Vegas, NV, Great Britain’s James Hollingshead finished outside the top 15, scoring 159 points (80 points in the preliminaries and 79 points in the finals). Overall, he placed 16th, as all other Open Men’s competitors on the leaderboard outside the top 15 were awarded maximum points (one more than Hollingshead).

On January 5, 2023, Hollingshead took to his YouTube channel to express his happiness with his result. Despite this, he aims to improve his physique after a difficult year physically. In the video, Hollingshead performed a leg day and shared the three key moves that helped him develop his strong quads and chiseled hamstrings. Check it out below:

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1. Hamstring curls

Mushroom curls are the first element in Hollingshead’s leg workout. The Olympia bodybuilder suggested that the hamstrings are the most neglected leg muscle group for most gyms.

He finds that most people will hit leg extensions, leg presses, and the like, and by the time they do Romanian deadlifts or any other thigh-focused movement, they’re already tired and “halfway” the work. For this reason, he positions his work at the beginning of training and not at the end.

I always advise choosing a hip movement first.

Hollingshead finds that his knees warm up better when worked from the back than the front — meaning a leg curl is a better warm-up for him than a leg extension. Kratos-cosplayer suggested that any leg curl would suffice if one prefers standing or seated leg curls to lying leg curls.

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2. Leg extensions

Hollingshead used a leg extension machine that allowed him to place the weight plates in different positions—a weight sleeve at the bottom, middle, and top of the machine. Positioning the weight on the sleeve with different weights emphasizes different parts of the quad throughout the range of motion.

For example, as Hollingshead progresses into his heavier work sets, he prefers to move the weight plates in the upper weight sleeve to the machine, which will bias the fully contracted position. While sitting in the leg extension machine seat, Hollingshead leans back slightly to help activate his quads so they’re already under tension at the end of the movement.

I lean back a little and lift my hips to get that quad tension.

Hollingshead believes that sitting back a little and allowing a “drop” into the quad instead of sitting too far forward on the quad is a technique that helped him develop his “deep quads.” He suggests others try it to see what works for them individually. He doesn’t have any training research to support that leaning back is beneficial, just anecdotal evidence from his own experience.

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3. Compound movement

Hollingshead uses compound movements to help build mass in his legs. The choice in this particular workout is flat-heeled safety bar squats.

A squat safety bar (SSB) helps maintain a more comfortable position when holding a loaded barbell on your back. It removes the necessity for the necessary shoulder mobility required by a standard barbell. This is common among elite Open Men’s bodybuilders, who are so densely muscled that getting into a proper squat position with a standard barbell can be very uncomfortable.

After Hollingshead loaded up 200 pounds on the SSB, he also put on knee sleeves and a weight belt. If Hollingshead is to return for a third career Olympia appearance in 2023, he will need to win a professional show in the 2023 season.

Featured Image: @hollingshead89 on Instagram

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