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Setting up the War Room Strategies Leg Day

Hi CT and anyone else who has done this,

I just did the third workout of the week of DESTROYING FAT – WAR ROOM STRATEGIES TO MAXIMIZE FAT LOSS (from Thibarmy site). The first two workouts were fine, but then I did the leg day today and experienced hell on earth. It calls for:

*Quads and Hamstrings *

A1. Main quad exercise

*No rest (or 10 sec. to change exercises, as coach Poliquin would say) *

*A2. Quad secondary exercise – 6-8 reps *

*Take 2 minutes of rest, then move on to… *

*B1. Main hamstring exercise – 4-6 reps *

*No rest *

B2. Secondary hamstring exercise.

Take 2 minutes of rest then get back to A1. Perform each superset 5-6 times.

So, I’m working out at home with a squat rack, and DB’s up to 60 lbs. I choose 5 rounds of:

Zercher squat, 205 lbs x 6
Split squat 45 lb DBs x 8e

Snatch grip SLDL 185 x 6
SLDL with 60 lb DBs x 8 (shrug at top)

This absolutely and totally kicked my ass. Like I had never worked out before, and like I could never imagine working out again. I usually do 531, and am used to doing sets of 10 squats, then sets of 10 weighted pull ups. But those are easy compared to this.

Question: why was this so impossibly hard? Should I adjust the exercise selections or the weights? It took me about 35 minutes, not counting warming up and warm up sets. Then I laid on the floor for several minutes before I could face life again.

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I don’t know, this workout is just insane. I did one week and then quit. Even the upper body workouts were hell. They were probably designed that way. I guess we just don’t have the fitness level or were using too much weight

Oh I remember now: it was the lactate inducing workouts that made me quit. Just the worst thing ever

I would advice as second exercises, to use something that do not use your lower back (like leg extensions and leg curls) because after squats, RDLs, SLDLs there’s not much of it lol

Indeed in the article, for chest, he mentions flyes or cross-over as secondary exercises: so isolation.

Thanks for confirming and reassuring my pain and misery. I do a lactate inducing workout Thursday, and the first one I did (on Sunday) was tough but nothing like the pain of what I just did.

I agree that using easier, more isolation work for the second movement would make it more tolerable. However, working out at home I don’t have a leg press or extension or curl. I was thinking of BW walking lunges as the secondary quad movement? Not an isolation, but at least a break for the lower back and hands/arms from holding the weights.

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Legs supersets are always tough. Still remember vividly the 4 sets of heavy ass squats paired with slow eccentric leg curls both of them RPE 9-10 that CT made me do

For hamstrings, if you have bands I would suggest seated band curls (or even lying) or Nordic ham curls (eccentric only)

Quads well sissy squats if you’re tough enough lol. Split squats are like BSS right? To me they are harder than lunges. I find I don’t have to use much weight on those so they could do the trick right, or maybe Goblet squat, using a heel-elevated really narrow stance

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Had to look this up. I will give these a try. Seem like a much better idea for a second hamstring exercise. Will try either goblet squats or walking lunges for the secondary quad exercise (unless something better is suggested). I don’t think I’m tough enough for sissy squats, based on today’s workout.

Working out at home makes this a bit harder.

But, it reminds me of Fortitude Training wherein you’d do a compound followed by an isolation lift. Compared to that, 5 circuits is a lot of volume!

How about trying fewer sets/circuits? Maybe 2-3 and do the secondary exercise to failure? I know that’s not how the article is written but you have to find the amount of volume that you can recover from.

And @aldebaran s suggestion is gold. Choose simpler, less compound-y exercises for your secondary. One example is a lying leg curl using a DB. If the 60lbs that you have is too light make it harder by changing the tempo. CTs recent articles on home training should give you plenty of things to try.


I recall from a previous Googling that Scott Stevenson has replied to questions about doing FT with constrained equipment in the past (if you need to go looking for additional ideas).

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I too found the volume excessive when I ran this back in the day (it initially featured here on TNation many years ago). It is the same with the lactate circuits. IMO the volume is too high

As others have mentioned, Scott Stevenson’s method is a sound choice. Keep the same movements but set them up like this:

Ai) Zercher x 6-8 reps (keep one in the tank); rest 90s
ii) Split squat x 6-8 reps (to failure), rest 90s
Then drop the load on the zercher and do one more set x 6-8 reps to failure. Done and move onto hamstrings. Ideally you want a compound and an isolation here. Get a Swiss ball if you’re training at home for the isolation move, or strength bands for leg curls. I wouldn’t deadlift to failure mind you.

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It was published in 07 on T-Nation,

and I cannot help but recollect the following from a recent CT article,

In the past I’ve written programs that had a stress level that I’d see as too high. But those were written years ago, when I didn’t have the understanding of training that I do now.

Furthermore, I have been “cursed” with training elite athletes and high-level bodybuilders. These guys (for different reasons) were able to handle a lot more work without crashing. Also, I’m blessed with a very fast COMT which means that I clear adrenaline super-fast and am unlikely to burn out.

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You could also do came resisted leg extensions for quads. Not sure how great of a movement they really are but it’ll definitely flush the muscle with blood.

That’s interesting. Because this was recently posted on his Thibarmy site, my impression would be that he still finds the program effective. My plan was to run it for 4 weeks, but I definitely need to adjust this leg day.

I am going to go to the garage today and see if I can figure out the banded leg curls and extensions (I have some pretty thick bands) to use as the secondary exercise on leg day. Honestly, the other days are challenging but doable for the next few weeks, especially given that I have three days off (which I use for walking, easy bike rides, and some yoga/mobility).

I appreciate all the feedback and support! I didn’t realize this was posted here well before I ever visited this website.

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If you have thick bands it’ll be great

Bands are awesome. I use them for all kinds of stuff, both assisted and resisted. Most common:

  • Nordic leg curls (assisted)
  • Pull ups (assisted)
  • Dips (resisted)
  • Viking (landmine) press (resisted)
  • Curls, e.g. EZ bar or band onto rope attachment (resisted)
  • Face pulls, rear delts (resisted)
  • Band lateral raises (resisted)
  • Flat DB press (resisted)
  • Reverse lunges (resisted)

The list is endless. I also have a leg curl/extension attachment for my bench, which is pretty poor mechanically. Yet, adding a band for added resistance has transformed it in terms of usefulness.

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I just did this today. You’re right that it’s very hard, but I think because I have done lots of running, triathlons, and soccer I found it doable. Here’s what I did (please give any feedback or suggestions for improvement):

Round 1 (3x through with no rest)
15 push ups
12 DB squats (25 lb)
12 DB rows (25 lbers)
12 SLDL (25 lb DBs)
15 bicycles

Rest 2 min

Round 2, 3x through no rest:
15 DB shoulder presses (25 lb DBs)
15 walking lunges (15 lb DBs)
10 ring pull ups
15 KB swings (35 lb KB)
15 sit ups

Round 3, 3x through no rest between rounds
15 DB curls (25 lb DBs)
20 calf raises (25 lb DBs)
15 tricep kickbacks (15 lbs DBs)
15 mountain climbers
15 lat raises (12 lb DBs)

Total time: ~ 27 minutes.

Then, 25 min on Airdyne.

Definitely wiped me out, and the first 10 minutes on the Airdyne were tough even though I wasn’t pushing the pace at all. Then I started to get my wind/energy back and felt better.

Instead of doing this twice a week as prescribed, I choose to do a Metabolic pairings workout for the other day (this was recently on Thibarmy). It’s a bit more fun, and involves Oly lift variations immediately followed by burpees or something similar.

It certainly helped ahah. I tried to see what I had done but it was before my log. I had not been doing cardio for a while when I tried this, and certainly not circuits (I’m usually more the wait 3-7 mins between sets kind of guy). So I just went at it like a regular session. I think I did barbell squats (yeah) and DB RDL i’m sure I used at least the 30 kgs DBs. So yeah you can imagine… I just did the first 2 circuits lol and I’m not sure I did it 3 times.

If you managed to do it then great, I don’t think we should really scratch our heads over this workout. I see your doing pull-ups and all amongts this so really you are in great shape! I think your exercise selection is good! Even if personally, triceps kickback never were my favourites

This session must have torched a lot of calories

Yeah, I’m all for variety! Beware, these are brutal ahahah

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Here’s one I developed based on John Romaniello’s work. The interesting factor is you base your rest interval (RI) on the exercise in question.

Circuit A
Ai) Wall press x12 20s RI
ii) Walking lunge x15 15s RI
iii) Close grip pull up x10-12 20s RI
iv) Ab movement
Rest 1 min; repeat for a total of 2 rounds then move to B

Circuit B
Bi) BB Row x8-10 20s RI
ii) Swiss ball leg curl x6-8 15s RI
iii) Jumping lunge x15 5s RI
iv) Bulgarian split squat x10-12
90s RI then move immediately to C

Circuit C
Ci) Step up x6-10 15s RI
ii) Dips x 6-10 10s RI
iii) Star jumps x 15 5s RI
iv) Rear delts x 10-12
v) Superman holds 20-30s
45s RI x 3 circuits

Thanks for the workout idea! Looks like a good one. I think changing this workout up will make it easier to get through my planned 4 weeks of the program.