How to Maximize Leg Pump: Expert Tips from Dana Linn Bailey

The 2013 Women’s Physique Olympia winner, Dana Linn Bailey, is renowned for her rigorous exercise routines. Her leg muscles were among her most notable assets during her professional bodybuilding days. Even though her last pro competition was in 2015, she maintains an intense and heavy training regimen at the gym.

Bailey employs a blend of high-volume supersets and Tabata workouts to optimise her leg pump. Research by the National Strength and Conditioning Association has established a significant positive relationship between muscle pump and muscle growth. The study states, “Immediate muscle swelling following a resistance training session correlates positively with muscle hypertrophy.”

For an in-depth look at Bailey’s specialized leg-training techniques, don’t miss the video released on her YouTube channel on August 28, 2023:

Dana Linn Bailey’s Leg Workout with a Focus on Quads

Below is an overview of Bailey’s leg exercise routine:

  • Calf Raises on Leg Press Machine
  • Close-Stance Barbell Back Squats
  • Superset: Box Squats with Goblet Grip & Kettlebell-Powered Jump Squats
  • Barbell-Powered Walking Lunges
  • Superset: Leg Extensions & Kettlebell Sumo Squats
  • Tabata-Style Superset: Assault Bike & Broad-to-Close Jump Squats

Calf Raises on Horizontal Leg Press

Bailey starts her leg workout by focusing on her calves, which she identifies as a weak point. She addresses this muscle group first in her routine when her energy levels are highest.

In each set, she performs a total of 21 reps: seven with her toes angled outward to target the inner head of the gastrocnemius, seven with toes angled inward for the outer gastrocnemius head, and seven with a neutral foot position. She holds a pause at the apex of each rep, entirely contracting her calves.

High-Bar Narrow-Stance Back Squats

With the barbell positioned high on her rear deltoids, Bailey maintains an erect posture to focus on her quadriceps more effectively. She also employs a squat wedge and adopts a stance narrower than hip-width to maximize knee flexion and further engage her quads.

Goblet Box Squat Combined with Kettlebell Jump Squat

Bailey utilizes a box to facilitate excellent hip and knee flexion during the eccentric phase. Holding a kettlebell at chest level, she leans her torso slightly forward as she pauses at the bottom of each rep. After completing 12 goblet box squats, she switches to 12 sumo-stance kettlebell jump squats. Keeping her torso upright, she ensures the tension remains on her quads.

Barbell-Assisted Walking Lunges

Bailey opts for barbells over dumbbells when executing walking lunges, as dumbbells can sometimes make gripping an issue. Keeping her chest elevated, she takes shorter steps to ensure her back knee aligns with the heel of her front foot at the lunge’s lowest point. This alignment optimizes knee flexion and emphasizes the quads. In contrast, taking longer strides, which bring the upper and lower legs to a 90-degree angle, would shift the focus to the glutes and hamstrings.

Leg Extensions Paired with Sumo Kettlebell Squats

Bailey goes through 12 full-range reps on the leg extension machine and follows up with an additional five partial reps in the upper half of the movement. She then transitions to a superset with sumo kettlebell squats, gripping a kettlebell between her legs with arms fully extended downward. This combination effectively targets different aspects of her lower body muscles. She wanted to target her glutes or hamstrings so she could adjust her hip hinge to elongate those muscle groups.

Tabata Superset ( Bike & Wide-to-Narrow Jump Squat)

Bailey concluded her quad-focused workout with a Tabata-style superset, a form of high-intensity interval training that spans four minutes. She engaged in 20-second intense activity in this format followed by 10-second rest periods. She started with an all-out 20-second effort on the Assault bike, paused briefly for a 10-second pause, and then switched to wide-to-narrow squat jumps for another 20 seconds. After a subsequent 10-second rest, she returned to the Assault bike and alternated between the two exercises for four minutes.