Feeding the Wolf – Three "Must-Do" Exercises to Give You Unlimited Stamina

Most people don’t know this expression, “The legs feed the wolf.” But when you think about it, it’s true. I first heard this expression from a client of mine, a pulmonary physician and Master’s level fencer. At the time, we were readying him for the Nationals and I had put together an amazing plan, if I do say so myself.

But first, let me just recall when I was probably in the best shape of my life. It was just over fifteen years ago and I had just re-matriculated into college to take some pre-req’s for a Masters’ Degree.

My workouts, were almost all leg and hip based at the time, as I was training for the sport of Olympic Weightlifting. Squats, deadlifts, pulls, more squats of different variations were all part of a day’s workout.

I rode my mountain bike through town to classes from home – approximately two to three miles between campuses up and down some major hills in the highest gear possible, at the fastest human speed possible – often timing myself and trying to beat my times.

My body fat was around 6{ab94462a053a2ab588073f1ce95eb9eb90ee27f61c6d82493022c3820c6de4c9}, my resting heart rate was 42 bpm and I weighed around 210lbs.

The one thing I noticed was how much energy I had. I had no need for coffee, which, as I write this, I’m ashamed to admit I live on drinking up to a pot a day. (Note to self: Fix this sooner rather than later.)

Why did I have so much energy?

Because, without a doubt, I learned that my priority (by default due to my sport) was to train my legs.

If I ever was in a pinch for time for a workout, unlike most guys who’d hit the bench, I’d hit the squat rack.


Because, remember, the legs feed the wolf.

The stronger your legs, the stronger your body. The more endurance your legs have, the more stamina your entire body will have.

Want to strengthen your heart?

The legs are the answer.

Strip off body fat?

Work your legs.

Now why won’t most people do this – train their legs?

Because working on your legs is hard work. It makes you breathe hard. It makes you sweat. It gets your attention. And, if you train them correctly, working your legs gets your attention unlike any other exercise program.

Here are three exercises that you can perform with just your own body weight. (I’m thinking of this because I’m writing this on a plane spending a weekend in Vegas and unlike a normal person, I’ve already got a menu of leg exercises planned to do in my room…)

Your mission, should you choose to feel great, have plenty of newfound energy, and strip off some body fat, is to perform the following exercises and work up to three (3) sets of 33 reps with 60 seconds of rest between each set. (Don’t start there or you won’t walk for about a week.) The only exception will be the squat, where, your goal will be to work up to 100 continuous repetitions without stopping.

Exercise 1: The Squat.

To Perform: Place your hands on the top of your head or your arms out in front of you and descend like you’re sitting in a chair. Your weight should be in your whole foot. Lower your hips between your knees until the tops of your thighs are just below parallel to the floor. Attempt to push your knees apart as you descend. Keep your chest out. To ascend, reverse the process by pushing your feet through the floor. Finish strong by pinching your gluts at the top.

Exercise 2: The Reverse Lunge.

To Perform: Step back with one leg and gently touch the floor with that knee. Pause momentarily before standing back up. To stand, push from your back foot into your front foot. Push your front foot through the floor and return to standing with your feet together. Repeat for the necessary reps.

Exercise 3: The Jump Squat*.

*Only start performing this exercise once you have hit your target reps of 3 x33 on the Squat.

To Perform: Place your hands on your hips and sit back into a half squat. Explode up into the air as high as you can. Land on your toes/mid-foot first before letting your heels come down. Stop when your legs get wobbly.

Your goal should be to work out your legs three times per week on alternate days, like Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Alternate between the Squat and the Reverse Lunge every other day. Once you achieve your target reps on the Squat, start adding in the Jump Squat. Start with sets of five to ten reps and work your way up slowly.

My client didn’t win the Nationals. He told me was just technically outclassed. But he never tired and neither will you once you make your legs your priority. Remember, the legs feed the wolf. Be the wolf.

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