Leg press

10.64 ^ere are at least four main ways of looking at the leg press:

a. As one of the major multi-joint exercises in its own right, regardless of whether or not you squat well.

b. As an alternative to the squat when a break from squatting is felt to be needed.

c. As a squat substitute for people who have very poor leverages for the barbell squat that make the squat only a marginally productive if not dangerous movement. ^is group includes very tall people, and those of more average height but with proportionately long legs and a short torso. ^is group is also likely to be much more suited to the deadlift than the squat, thus making the deadlift and leg press an excellent pairing.

d. As a substitute for the squat when the latter can no longer be performed due to lower-back and/or knee limitations.

10.65 ^e critical condition in all these cases is that the leg press is performed safely and productively on a machine that suits you.

10.66 At least in some quarters, the leg press has acquired a stigma as being only for wimps—for those who lack the guts to squat. In part this comes from the "you must squat" camp. Any exercise selected as an alternative to the squat, in the view of this camp, is deemed as heresy and a cop out from the real work of squatting. I used to belong to this camp, and looked upon the leg press with scorn.

10.67 With maturity and experience I have come to see the leg press in a fair light. I am all for the squat and the leg press, so long as both can be done safely and progressively. If you can squat safely and progressively, then so you should— not necessarily in every training cycle, but certainly in most of them. Assuming that you can squat and leg press with equal safety, the squat is definitively the more productive of the two. But many people cannot squat and leg press with equal safety.

10.68 I should not have had a blind devotion to the squat that deflected me from serious pursuit of the leg press and variations of the deadlift. On hindsight, I should have focused on a different pair of exercises from cycle to cycle—e.g., squat and stiff-legged deadlift, leg press and Trap Bar deadlift, and squat


and sumo deadlift. When recovery and training energy were very high I should even have trained the squat, leg press and stiff-legged deadlift in the same cycle. My aim should have been to exploit fully the great potential of the squat, deadlift, stiff-legged deadlift and leg press, not just one or two of them. I urge you to do the same, if possible.

^e leg press is technically a much simpler exercise than the squat. Because of this it is easier to work yourself to the hilt on the leg press than on the squat. It is easier to maintain good form while leg pressing to failure than it is while squatting to failure. ^is is a big advantage.

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