Bodybuilding legend Jay Cutler’s iconic quad stomp highlighted his genetically gifted quadriceps and etched one of the most powerful visuals in bodybuilding fans’ memory. Having trained for several decades, Cutler has vast stores of bodybuilding knowledge to his disposal and recently shared his six top exercises for lower body development.
Jay Cutler is a retired American professional bodybuilder. He is best known for winning the prestigious Mr. Olympia trophy a whopping four times in his storied bodybuilding career. He won the first Mr. Olympia contest in 2006 by stopping the legendary Ronnie Coleman‘s eight-year unbeaten run. He then went on to win the title in 2007, 2009 and 2010. Cutler and Ronnie’s rivalry is considered as one of the greatest chapters in the sport’s history.
After his retirement from competition in 2013, Cutler has remained immensely popular in the fitness community. He is one of the few yesteryear bodybuilders that adapted well to the age of social media. At the time of this article’s publishing, Jay Cutler has a massive 887 thousand subscribers to his YouTube channel.
The four-time Mr. Olympia still works intensely in retirement and displayed the results of his fit for 50 physical transformation challenge on his 50th birthday. He is now onto the next fitness goal of becoming bigger and leaner. Cutler is one of the most prominent voices in the world of bodybuilding and analyses the current affairs of the sport through various podcast appearances and media activity.
Jay Cutler shares six top leg exercises
Most fitness enthusiasts dread the leg day and prefer working on the more visible mirror muscles like chest shoulders, arms and abs. But Jay Cutler’s preferences are quite opposite. The four-time Mr. Olympia loves training back and legs. He recently put together a workout encompassing his six top leg exercises and shared on YouTube. These exercises were split into two groups – hamstrings and quad-focused movements.
So let’s find out which exercises the legendary bodybuilder recommends for complete lower body development.
Seated Leg Curls
Jay Cutler swears by the benefits of seated leg curls for hamstrings development and hails it as his number one choice to stimulate this muscle. To put his love for seated leg curls in perspective, Cutler narrated a story from his days in Massachusetts. He said:
“I lived in Worcester and I end up choosing to go to a gym in Framingham Mass which is probably 25 minutes away when I had one right next door to my house just to use a seated leg curl…”
Cutler starts his leg workouts with seated leg curls without an exception because of their efficacy in firing up the hamstrings and giving a good pump. Additionally, warming up the knees is essential to avoid training injuries as most lower body movements involve the knee joints. Leg curls are an excellent way to warm up the knees without putting a lot of stress on them.
Jay Cutler performed a couple of feel sets on the seated leg curls machine to get a hang of the movement and then followed up with three working sets. Irrespective of the type of sets, Jay Cutler maintains a 10 to 12 rep range.
For a very long time, Jay Cutler performed stiff leg deadlifts with a barbell and only started using the dumbbells in the later part of his professional bodybuilding career.
“After I won the Mr. Olympia, I really wanted to target my hamstrings a little differently. So I found with dumbbells I’m much easier to engage in this movement,” Cutler said.
Unlike the standard stiff-legged deadlifts where the legs are in a straight upright position, Jay Cutler likes to slightly bend the leg at the knee joint. He explained that this minor modification helps engage the glutes and the entire posterior chain in the movement to a greater extent.
Once again, the four-time Mr. Olympia performed three sets of the exercise for 10 to 12 reps and went up in weight with each set. He started out with 65 lbs dumbbells and performed the next sets with 70 lbs and 75 lbs dumbbells.
Lying Leg Curls
While most people employ lying leg curls as the first hamstring movement in their training routine, Jay Cutler always finishes up with it. While revealing the thought process that went into determining this exercise sequence, Cutler said:
“You see my do the seated leg curl at the start to pump up the hamstrings. Then I do the stiff leg deadlifts. It is to stretch it out… The stretching out is going to allow more blood flow, right? So pump, it gets filled up, stretch it out and you’re going to allow more volume to be able to push in there… By this time, my muscles are already pretty full with blood…”
Cutler annihilated three sets of the exercise controlling the negative phase of each rep and moved on to do the quad exercises.
Similar to the seated leg curls, Jay Cutler usually does three feel sets of this quad isolation movement before starting with the working sets. He feels that quads are the most genetically gifted body part of his physique and after the back, legs are his second favorite body part to train.
The 50-year-old started out with 110 lbs weight on the stack and worked his way up in weight through the working sets.
“I try to keep my hands off the handle so I can feel the legs work a little bit. I always like doing it like this; put my hands on my legs so I can feel the quads engaging. You always want to feel the movement,” Cutler said.
Although Cutler sticks to a 10 to 12-rep range for most of his exercises, he is not opposed to the idea of getting more volume in for the legs to get them engorged with blood.
Alternating leg press on a selectorized machine is Jay Cutler’s second go-to exercise for the quadriceps. According to him, this movement helps with the development of the outer quad head. Similar to other exercises, Cutler executed three sets of the leg press to hit the quads maintaining 45-second rest periods between the sets.
Throughout the duration of the workout, Jay Cutler’s focus remained on getting a good pump and he did not attempt to make any personal records in terms of weight or number of reps etc.
Rogers Athletic Power Squats
Cutler took this up as the final exercise of the workout and the third top exercise for quadriceps. He usually refrains from going above 185 to 225 lbs for squats and free weight squats are no longer a pleasant experience for him. Rogers squat machine takes the core muscles out of the equation and shoulder pads make the load more bearable for Cutler.
After performing three sets of the exercise in the concluding part of the workout, Cutler called it a day in the gym.
Overall, the workout included:
- Seated Leg Curls – 3 feel sets, 3 working sets of 10 to 12 reps
- Stiff Leg Deadlifts – 3 sets of 12 reps (65 lbs, 70 lbs and 75 lbs dumbbells)
- Lying Leg Curls – 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps (110 lbs to 125 lbs)
- Leg Extensions – 3 feel sets, 3 working sets of 10 to 12 reps
- Leg Press – 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps
- Rogers Athletic Power Squats – 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps
Jay Cutler continues to train hard and get in better shape. At this stage of his life, the priorities have changed and he has significantly downsized in favor of long-term health and performance longevity. He is also one of the few elite bodybuilders that retired from the sport without major injuries or health issues stemming from the arduous bodybuilding lifestyle.
He attributes this to his tendency to listen to his body and pivot accordingly. So implement these principles in your bodybuilding journey and ensure performance longevity.
Watch the full video below, courtesy of JayCutlerTV YouTube channel: