Jeff Nippard is one of the biggest fitness experts in the world today. He is known for his popular YouTube channel and for his unbelievable lower body strength. At his peak Jeff could squat 502 pounds and deadlift 518 pounds.
If you want to learn how Jeff trains his lower body then this article is for you!
- Part 1: The Jeff Nippard Training Splits
- Part 2: The Jeff Nippard Leg Workouts
In this comprehensive guide I will show you how Jeff Nippard trains his legs for size and strength. Jeff Nippard trains his legs anywhere from 2-5 times per week using many different training splits.
Here are some of his favorite options:
Jeff Nippard is a huge fan of higher frequency training programs. He says training each muscle group at least twice per week is probably optimal for size and strength gains, so he tries to follow this advice in his own training.
So how does Jeff Nippard organize his actual leg workouts?
Jeff likes to use bodybuilding and powerlifting training principles together in his leg workouts. For example, he usually starts his workout with a few heavy sets on the squat or deadlift, and then moves onto higher-rep accessory exercises for his quads, hamstrings and lower back.
This hybrid training style is sometimes called a “powerbuilding” approach. You can read my article “Powerbuilding: The Ultimate Guide!” for more information.
Here is a squat-focused lower body workout that Jeff Nippard uses when he is trying to build size and strength simultaneously. Check it out:
- Exercise #1: Back squat, 3 sets of 4 reps
- Exercise #2: Romanian deadlift, 4 sets of 10 reps**
- Exercise #3: Walking alternating DB lunge, 3 sets of 8 reps****
- Exercise #4: Leg extension, 3 sets of 10 reps******
- Exercise #5: Lying leg curl, 3 sets of 20 reps********
- Exercise #6: Leg press calf raise, 3 sets of 15 reps
- Exercise #7: Cable rope crunches, 3 sets of 15 reps
**Use a 4-second lowering phase on each rep
****Perform 8 reps per leg, then use 50% lighter dumbbells and perform 8 more reps per leg
******Lift the weight with 2 legs and lower the weight down with 1 leg. Perform 10 total reps on each leg. Alternate which leg is lowering the weight down on each rep.
********Perform 8 reps with a 3-second lowering phase, then immediately perform 12 partial reps in the mid-range position.
Here is the training video:
Talk about a high-volume leg workout! Jeff likes to perform this type of workout twice per week for his lower body. Jeff starts this workout with a few heavy sets of the barbell back squat.
Here is Jeff describing this exercise:
“The first exercise is the back squat. I’m a huge fan of the standard barbell back squat.
It may not be the best glute builder of all time but it still does a great job of building the quads, glutes and spinal erectors while building raw strength and having great carryover to other exercises in a way that almost no other exercise can.”
Next Jeff performs a variety of accessory exercises for the rest of his lower body, including different compound and isolation exercises. Jeff also throws in some interesting techniques on each exercise.
For example, Jeff throws in some ultra-slow negative reps on his Romanian deadlifts. Here is Jeff describing this technique:
“The research on accentuated eccentrics hasn’t shown a hypertrophic benefit so far, I think there is still merit to using them.
Slowing down the negative lets you get a better hypertrophic stimulus with lighter weights.”
One of Jeff Nippard’s favorite training strategies is to perform one squat-focused workout early in the week and one deadlift-focused workout later in the week.
Here is what Jeff’s deadlift-focused workouts might look like. Check it out:
Workout #2 (posterior chain focused)
- Exercise #1: Deadlift, 2-4 sets of 5 reps
- Exercise #2: Box squat (wide stance), 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Exercise #3: Barbell hip thrust, 3 sets of 12 reps
- Exercise #4: Leg extension, 3 sets of 20 reps
- Exercise #5: Seated leg curl, 3 sets of 20 reps
- Exercise #6: Seated calf raise, 4 sets of 8 reps**
- Exercise #7: Ab wheel rollout, 3 sets of 8 reps
**Perform 8 full range of motion reps, then perform 8 partial reps in the mid-range position:
Here is the training video:
As unusual Jeff starts this workout with his heaviest exercise of the day: the deadlift. Jeff is using a double progression model for this exercise: he performs 2 sets on week 1, 3 sets on week 2 and 4 sets on week 3. Then on week 4 he increases the weight and drops back down to 2 total sets of the exercise.
Manipulating both the weight and the number of sets is an interesting way to stimulate strength gains in an advanced lifter.
“I like this volume focused double progression for technical lifts like the deadlift, overhead press and even the pull up because it gives you more practice with the lift and it helps with size gains because of the increased volume.”
Jeff gets a lot of questions about his decision to use sumo deadlifts in his routine. Jeff says that both styles have merits.
“You can pull either sumo or conventional. However, if you are accustomed to pulling with one variation then you may want to switch to the other one for the next month or two.”
Jeff Nippard has some controversial opinions on strength training. He actually believes that 5-day full body splits can be an effective way to train for many people.
When Jeff uses a full body split he usually only performs 1-2 leg exercises per workout. For example here is what one of Jeff’s deadlift-focused leg workouts might look like. Check it out:
- Exercise #1: Deadlift, 3 sets of 5 reps
- Exercise #2: Dips, 3 sets of 8 reps
- Exercise #3: Leg extension, 3 sets of 20 reps
- Exercise #4: One-arm pulldown, 3 sets of 12 reps
- Exercise #5: Cable rope face pull, 3 sets of 15 reps
- Exercise #6: Cable rope overhead extension (low pulley), 3 sets of 15 reps
Here is the training video:
For this full body workout Jeff uses two exercises to stimulate his lower body: deadlifts and leg extensions. Jeff was training his legs 5 times per week when he performed this workout so it makes sense that he kept his leg training volume down.
Jeff says that you should continue using heavy compound exercises like deadlifts in your routine, even if you are in a muscle-building phase. Check it out:
“Sometimes deadlifts get a bad rap as an inferior hypertrophy exercise.
Personally I think they are one of the best exercises for all the muscles on the posterior chain, all the way from the traps to the hamstrings.
They are also one of the best lifts for testing overall body strength.”
The rest of the workout consisted of exercises for his upper body. Jeff designs his squat-focused full body workouts in a very similar way to this one: he starts with squats, maybe performs 1-2 more lower body accessory exercises and then moves onto his upper body exercises.
Every once in a while Jeff will perform a bodybuilder-style lower body workout where you smash your legs with many different exercises.
For example, here is a bodybuilder style leg workout that Jeff performed with John Meadows. Check it out:
- Exercise #1: Lying leg curl, 4 sets of 8 reps**
- Exercise #2: Machine leg extension, 4 sets of 8 reps**
- Exercise #3: Safety squat bar squat with chains, 4 sets of 6-8 reps****
- Exercise #4: Smith machine split squat, 4 sets of 8 reps******
**On the last set perform a double drop set, then perform 10 partial reps in the stretched position, then perform a 10-second iso-hold in the stretched position
****Perform 4 sets, working up to one heavy set of 6-8 reps performed just shy of failure
******Perform 4 moderately heavy sets of 8 reps with the same weight
Here is the training video:
Talk about an intense leg workout! This is more of a high-intensity bodybuilding style leg workout.
For the first 2 exercises Jeff works up to one all-out set where he trains to failure, then performs a double drop set, then performs several partial reps and a brutal iso-hold for 10 seconds. Ouch!
Here is Jeff describing these sets:
“That’s harder than it looks! It just goes to show you how much more you have in you than you think you do.
If I was training by myself I probably would have stopped on 6 on the first set honestly.”
After the isolation work Jeff works up to a very hard set of 6 reps on the safety squat bar squat with chains. Jeff performs this set explosively to target the fast-twitch muscle fibers. Finally Jeff performs a few moderately heavy sets on the smith machine lunge to stretch out his legs.
Jeff normally performs more moderate volume / intensity workouts because he likes to train his legs 2-5 times per week. However, he isn’t afraid to unleash the intensity when he is training with someone else.
Jeff Nippard uses many different training splits to train his lower body. He uses the push / pull / legs split, the upper / lower split, the full body split and even the bodybuilding-style bro-split to build bigger, stronger legs.
If you are looking for a new way to train your lower body then you have to give Jeff Nippard’s leg workouts a shot. They may be just what you need to take your training to the next level.
Here is John Meadows’ words of advice for surviving the brutal drop sets in the last leg workout:
“There is an ancient samurai maxim: ‘Only when man is at the brink of destruction does he truly realize his potential.’ You can handle a lot more than you think you are capable of.”
Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!