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Why Put the Leg Press/Squat as Last Exercise?

Dr. Darden,

In some of your routines…you have the leg press or squat as the last exercise…is this because of variety, or is it because of the exercise being to intense to where the rest of the routine suffers from gasping for air

I noticed this whenever I decide to do a failure workout or even an xforce workout

I am thinking to do the leg press last when I do failure workout

Thx, dan

Hi Dan,
Your thinking is spot on - both variety and intensity are factors in determining where in your workout to do them

I like to do Leg Work first to 1) kickstart elevated respiration and HR for the entire workout and 2) so that the legs do not steal blood flow from my upper body pump from the rest of the workout.

Another reason may be an emphasize on other muscles than legs, to be able to push more on those muscles. Frequently seen in Darden specialization routines.

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I got much better results from HIT workouts when I placed leg exercises at the end of the workout starting with shoulders and going down. I think Steve Reeves explained that since legs (thighs and glutes) are the biggest muscles in the body training them first in the workout may be counter-productive for the rest of the body: since they are the largest muscles, they have a lot of blood circulating. Training legs first will mean that the blood will be kept there even more and for a longer period of time. Training rest of the body after legs may compromise the blood flow to smaller muscles and even lead to loss of consciousness.

When I have done full body workouts, I found them more tolerable putting legs at the end.

I don’t mind leg ext and leg curls and calf raises at the beginning, but I think I am gonna try leg presses at the end and see how that goes

Seems like a paradox if legs are your lagging body part.
I would have to split legs out to a separate day to have a clear conscience that I am doing what is best to optimize my physique appearance.

DC training puts legs and big exercises at the end. Lots of training programs do, but for a much simpler reason than what’s been suggested thus far - after I go balls to the wall on a set of leg-anything’s, I don’t really feel like doing shit afterwards. Whether we’re talking high or low volume, starting a workout with legs can ruin your intensity for the rest of the time.


Well, it doesn’t contradict what has been already said on the subject. Intensity is not the name of the game (as has been discussed on this forum) and you can always rest more between sets or rest more between body parts, if you prefer to train all body parts in one session. I personally try to vary things a lot and currently don’t train upper and lower body in one session for the sake of focus and for the sake of recovery. My legs compose of slow-twitch fibers, so balls-to-the-walls intensity doesn’t work for them (but higher frequency and volume do).

I didn’t say it did. I just posited that sometimes things are structured a certain way for a really simple reason. Occam’s Razor kind of thing.