I know Quinn hates this
But, she's faster than all of us
Actually I don't hate Leg Press- and I'm not as religiously devoted to Starting Strength as you might think.
I have done a bunch of leg-press, both single and double... I also recomend leg press to certain people who ask me for training advice- admittedly people who I worry won't take the time to learn to squat correctly- but it's a decent way to train legs- and it's not a Smith Machine- which I do hate.
That said- here are my issues with Leg Press.
1) the 2 fixed surfaces, at the foot and at the back, forces the machines plane of movement with no allowances for size or other morphological differences. This is the main fault with all "machines" and it's no different on the LP. The fixed plane causes potential joint injuries and does not bring in stabilizing muscles. The squat is a very natural movement.
2)the LP is amazing at accomplishing its goal of isolating the major muscles of the leg. Almost too good! The nature of the movement, the fact that little or no other supporting muscles are necessary, puts the lifter in a position of being able to add lots of weight. This can really stress the knee and hips, especially as you get into heavy load situations where form may slip- and injuries can happen. On the other hand- a back squat requires that you be able to mount the load on your shoulder, pick it up, walk backwards with it and keep it in place while you execute the reps, and then walk it back into the J-cups... It takes a lot of development to do that- and that makes your whole body stronger in the process- it also keeps your weight range in check.
3)the tendancy when doing LP, and iirc especially when doing the 1 leg version, is that the knee has to take a weird line out in order to get enough travel on the sled. This tends to put a heavy emphasis on the Hip Joint- as it's a highly unnatural movement, especially for cyclist.. I don't want hip issues.. Maybe that's just me.
4) people have trouble not throwing the weight at the top. Somewhere out there someone said Cyclist should lift "explosively" and that translated to throwing the sled in a way that it either loses contact with the feet, or just unweights- the impact that follows is horrible for the knees and likely the ankles and hips as well.
At the end of the day- the LP is a short cut a lot of people (not everyone) want to take, because it takes Zero technical Skill and allows them to get to a place where they are pushing big loads. Ask people about their gym day and you'll hear about the insane number of 45lb plates they loaded on the Leg Press- as far as I can tell, anyone with a pulse needs 5-7 plates on each side to get a workout... It's more impressive than squatting 225 with just 4 45's on the bar.. It also takes less skill and yields less dividends..
Contrary to what a lot of you might think- I am a fairly conservative lifter. I take small incremental jumps in weight, I reset to reinforce form and allow extra adaption often- I rarely miss a squat, or put myself in a position where I could get injured. I believe in playing the long game with weights- I like being brutally strong and appreciate the patience and attention it takes to get there, and I plan on being strong and lifting weights forever.
Last edited by Quinn8it; 02-18-14 at 09:36 PM.
I'm not baiting you man. And I totally agree with your assessment.
Back squatting is an efficient and effective exercise. But I've seen programs make use of other exercises as well for various reasons.
The leg press can be effective, if you do it right, just like the squat. But with the leg press you'll have to supplement somehow to get what you missed from not doing the back squat (core and balance muscles). Every exercise must be done properly (leg press, single leg press, front squat, or back squat). Hack squats aren't very useful and neither are half-ass leg presses. To properly use the machine above, one must squat deeper than would be possible with a back squat:
I've never had access to this machine. I posted the pic above because it's interesting to see what those who are faster than us (personally and as a national team*) are doing.
*Our national women's TP team is tops, though
Last edited by carleton; 02-18-14 at 08:16 PM.
Quinn, that's a super readable, informative, thoughtful, experienced post. Thanks.
After a little prompting, I thought I'd post my home setup. Occupying a corner of my farm shed, I have my squat cage, jump box and old flexy road bike in my trainer.
It gets very cold in winter, so some heating will be sorted for this winter to assist in lifting progression. I struggled with increasing weight last winter as it is often <5°C in the early morning or afternoons when I get the opportunity to lift.
I am a junior specializing in distance events so lifting is not extremely important. I got into it though as I took a class at my school. I only weigh 135.
My Pr's are
clean 80 kilo
snatch 55 kilo
How do I go about my lifting program to peak for nationals in late june.
Id say you have a damn good squat- you probably want to just maintain that strength with one lifting session a week as your other training intensifies on your build into Nats..
Thanks so much. Will do.
strength is going really well. Ever since taking some advice earlier in this thread I've made a ton of progress in my squats. I'm up to 1.7x my bodyweight. Feels good, man.
Knowing that some folks say that lifting heavy weights slowly will make you strong and slow, I want to make sure that I develop not just strength but power.
One person told me to do my squats explosively. Sounds good... but it also sounds like that would necessarily involve backing off of my weight a bit.
I've done lots of plyometrics in the past. Will just bouncing around with my bodyweight be sufficient to develop the power I'm looking for?
Y'all have good knowledgeable input and I am open to it.
Context: I'm an enduro, my strength is in surviving hard races but my limiter is explosive power. And there are two or three other riders at NSC who can also survive hard races, and have a better sprint than me.
the alternative is to go for plyos straight after lifting. Our rugby guys are moving in that direction - also very power based.
The experts will have better insights on some of those specific points for sure, but since we are in somewhat similar circumstances here is my perspective.
it is not necessary or optimal to try to develop your strength and your power in one movement. its better to maximize your strength gains on strength moves (Squat+Deadlift) and maximize your power with power moves (box jumps, Jump squats, power cleans)
i mentioned this as a downside of the leg-press, but its true for the squat as well.. somewhere out there on the internet someone said "cyclist need to lift explosively" and people started squatting fast and explosively. Typically if you watch someone do one of these "explosive squats" they aren't that much faster through the core of the move- then they incorporate a push at the top.. that push slightly unweights the bar, which often results in the bar position changing, which leads to other problems..ie elbow or wrist issues or worse a dropped bar..
the Jump-Squat is another option- but it requires using a High Bar placement, and is a highly technical and potentially dangerous move, that i think should be left for people totally focused on high level lifting.
The power clean is also very technical- but the necessary technique more limits progress than it effects actual safety. it is very possible to hurt yourself with a bad clean- but you aren't in a situation like you could be with a heavy jump squat.. PowerCleans also add speed to the middle of your dead lift- bringing that lift up as well...
Box Jumps are a great option also.. sets of 5-8 seem good. I've super setted them with squats and deads and had good results
Also great Advice!Originally Posted by Velocirapture
while i don't think the immediate transition to the bike necessarily helps you to enact the muscle faster- i do believe it helps adapt the muscle to a more cycling useful state.. i also believe it helps tremendously with recovery (thats for all you guys who think weights make you feel slow on the bike!!)
i do 45-minutes on the rollers after every weight session.. steady progressive warm-up and then into max spin intervals..
Getting back to training and it was suggested that this forum may give me some better direction.
Background: I’m 55 210lbs 5-11, raced a few years and have fallen behind in my general training this winter due to some unlucky injuries, bad luck and work have pushed me
way behind where I usually am at this point in the year.
Finally have gotten back to the gym about 4 weeks ago and am trying to squeeze in time on the road ,if the snow ever stops. I do better outdoors than indoors on the bike.
So I am trying to build my legs and am unclear what I need to do to get them stronger for the track, season begins here April 23, but my goal for getting into fighting shape is now June 15.
Of course everyone loves squats but I had a bad upper back injury Nov. 2012 in the gym while doing a squat (bad form on my part).
The recovery from pain was a long haul and I was always just pissed that I was sooo stupid and it really could have been way worse.
Of course stuff happens so I just went forward and had a very good season last year.
So here's my issue. FOR NOW, I am excluding standard squats from any program as I'm still a bit bugged out about another injury.
I have on the other hand been working myself back up with 45 degree Incline Leg Presses, doing 3 x 10 @ 500-550lbs., proceeded by 2 x 10 @270-450 warm up.
Also dumbbell step-ups, Leg curls, body weight squats.
So am I gaining anything from this?
Should I be adding weight , lower reps? I get in the gym 2 maybe 3x a week.
The bottomline is what I should be doing to get the most bang for my money with the time I have.
Not The Slowest, Never The Fastest, even Solo
One of the reasons the Back Squat is the best training for cycling is because of the huge amount of supporting muscles it brings in- ive heard upwards of 90% of your muscles are engaged while squatting. That includes a huge amount of core and back, as well as arms.
Think about how you engage your muscles when applying high power on a bike.. There is a huge amount arms involved, since you have to oppose your pedal force, and the fact that the hand position is not directly above the pedal position requires that you use you back and core to brace and stabilize while you apply and counter the force..
I've burst blood vessels in my eye on standing starts, and I feel my toes curl into the bottom of the shoe on hard accelerations.. Sprinting is a full body sport- head to toe.
The fact that the Back Squat incorporates the use of all these muscles into one movement is a plus for developing strength that is actually usable in real world athletic situations..
All that said....
And I am in no way trying to steer you towards Squatting if you don't want to, you will need to figure out ways to add full body training to your program to supplement the Leg Press.. Strong legs are only half the equation..
I ufnfortunantly can't help you with that
As for programming- I would do 3 sets of 5, increasing weight by a manageable amount every time you lift...
All makes sense and thanks. I plan to add Back squats but most likely will have an MRI later this year to make sure all is fine internally.
I do a full body workout in the gym, with Bench Press, Leg Curls, Weighted Step Ups, Farmer walks of 100-120 pounds for about 3-5 minutes. Back rowing and the usual Tri-bicep workout. The truth is I need to redo my workout with a focus in strength and speed.
Not The Slowest, Never The Fastest, even Solo
hmm.. this reminded me of an interesting table i came across a while back. And clearly forgot, since i have been doing 4x 10 at bodyweight (getting heavier, newbie lifter :-))
(For some reason i'm unable to change the size - the settings panel is greyed out :-S)
lots of other interesting info on that page, too. worth the read.
including this - perhaps dont try it at home ;-)
Last edited by Velocirapture; 03-01-14 at 08:32 AM. Reason: tried to resize pic - failed
I've heard it repeated that squats make the body release (or produce?) testosterone. I think even earlier in this thread I was all, "Squats make me feel good bro" and Quinn was like "Testosterone bro."
As we all likely know, testosterone is used by ne'er-do-wells to increase muscle and improve recovery time.
Is there a way to time hard workouts with other testosterone-producing/releasing activities (to be clear - weightlifting. not anything nefarious) in order to boost adaptation and recovery? Or is that not feasible for a variety of reasons?
I have soooo many jokes...that are not appropriate
The increase in test isn't large enough to make a massive difference IMHO.
Lifting in general is going to cause an increase, it's not like squats are the only good compound lift.
You could just take testosterone if recovery is very important to you.
Or sleep more, eat more, eat lots of good fats, try D-aspartic Acid, take contrast showers, foam roll. There are a ton of ways to enhance recovery or increase your natural test levels.
I like Quinn's idea the best though.