The other thing I don’t hate is Leg Pressing

My philosophy is to always use the right tool for the job. The problem I see with a lot of coaches is that they arbitrarily throw away a lot of tools. For example…how idiotic would you have to be to…I don’t know….let me try to think of some examples off the top of my head…imagine a hypothetical coach who doesn’t let his athletes back squat…or maybe Olympic lift…when the only tools you have a hammers every problem they see ends up looking like a nail.

On Saturday I was testing some basketballers…one of the lads had recently had surgery on his patella tendon to alleviate a tendinitis issue. Now as a part of his recovery he was told to squat…and he has been. How squatting is fine…PROVIDING you actually know how to do it.

Here's the player in question in the bottom position of his squat

Here's the player in question in the bottom position of his squat


Now…for this player…with the issue he has had…and with the technique he has…squatting is the LAST thing he should be doing. Now I won’t go into a big diagnostic of squat technique here….that’s not what this blog is about…but what I do want you to look at is the bar. Specifically I want you to look at the bar position in relation to his hips, knees and ankles. I also want you to take a look at the angle at his knee…keep in mind his hips aren’t even close to parallel…at proper depth the acute nature of that knee angle would be even more extreme. Forgetting everything else about his technique….he’s putting an enormous strain on that patella tendon. Also, considering the advice he had to ‘squat’ was given to him so that he’d build up his quad mass….squatting for him…the way he has been is all kinds of shit advice.
This was me just showing him the difference in our techniques

This was me just showing him the difference in our techniques


So look at the two of us in relatively the same position and look at the bar position in relation to my hips, knees and ankles…then as you did before…look at my knee angle in comparison to his? What do you see?

Now this player doesn’t train with me…him and his team was just in for testing. My advice to him….drop the squats and leg press instead. Leg Pressing will maximise the amount of good ‘stress’ that he is placing on his leg muscles….which is after all the reason he was told to squat in the first place. He will put a much less severe load through his damaged patella tendon…leg pressing in this case is the right tool for the job…even if the guy does have a physique like a nail.

Look at the knee angle here relative to when he was squatting

Look at the knee angle here relative to when he was squatting


Squatting or Leg Pressing? Which do you think is going to maximise the loading that he can safely use to stimulate his leg development? Which do you think is going to put the most stress through his damage patella tendon?

Advertisements

13 thoughts on “The other thing I don’t hate is Leg Pressing

  1. Interesting post, but would say this only applies for athletes who are coming back from injuries?

    If this athlete was healthy, would it change your thoughts? I’m assuming you’d work on technique to ensure that he could squat with safety, as opposed to prescribe leg press.

    I’ve seen some strength coaches say to not force exercises on athletes (basketballers and squatting is often the example used), what are you thoughts on this? Is it sensible coaching (not forcing an athlete to do something he would struggle with), or is it not addressing the weak points of the athlete?

  2. Dave said
    Interesting post,
    You say this like it’s my first?

    but would say this only applies for athletes who are coming back from injuries?
    Absolutely not. I write A LOT of programs…at the moment I am managing the training programs of close to 300 athletes and of these probably less than 50 actually train with me…most of the other guys are just training in regular gyms. If I had a guy at the same stage/level of training experience as this athlete…I would positively choose leg pressing over squatting whether he was injured or not. When I write programs for athletes that I don’t actually coach face to face I am always super conservative…the program won’t be optimal…but even if it gets 80% of the job done…that’s better than some guy totalling himself and spending a few months on the sideline wondering where it all went wrong.

    If this athlete was healthy, would it change your thoughts?
    Nope.

    I’m assuming you’d work on technique to ensure that he could squat with safety, as opposed to prescribe leg press.
    If I was training him face to face…I’d work on his technique AND prescribe leg pressing.

    I’ve seen some strength coaches say to not force exercises on athletes (basketballers and squatting is often the example used), what are you thoughts on this?
    That it is idiotic. I have a lot of really tall athletes. 6’5 and 6’6 or so and they squat no problem. If I have face to face coaching time with them then it isn’t a problem. I wouldn’t ever ‘force’ someone to do something but I’d have no problem showing them how they could do it properly and safely.

    Is it sensible coaching (not forcing an athlete to do something he would struggle with), or is it not addressing the weak points of the athlete?
    Depends on the situation but I’d weigh it further in favour of the latter than the former in most cases.

  3. Thanks for the reply…

    I guess this really fits in with the philosophy of James Smith (Pitt U S&C Coach), who says that coaches often lose sight that the sole objective is mastery of a sport, and whether they are getting their stimulus from squat/leg press/lunges/step ups the body can’t really tell (assuming all things being equal) what is doing the stimulus.

    • Dave said
      Thanks for the reply…
      No problem…that’s what the button is there for.

      I guess this really fits in with the philosophy of James Smith (Pitt U S&C Coach), who says that coaches often lose sight that the sole objective is mastery of a sport, and whether they are getting their stimulus from squat/leg press/lunges/step ups the body can’t really tell (assuming all things being equal) what is doing the stimulus.
      I would agree with that entirely. I think you can take it a step further as well. Not only does it not actually matter where you are getting the stimulus from but after a point when it comes to strength more doesn’t equal better.

  4. I noticed in your photo and the athletes that neither of you have a firm grip on the bar. I have never seen anyone squat with this hand/grip positioning. Why are you using this grip or lack thereof?

      • Your grip isnt tight here Will. It would be very hard to pin any decent weight to your back using this grip. It might be easier to demonstrate with some weight on the bar.

  5. Is this the same reason you won’t let me lift those big blue weights with 20 written on them? Even just to move them from one place to another?

  6. TomD said
    Your grip isnt tight here Will.
    Correct….what gave it away?

    It would be very hard to pin any decent weight to your back using this grip.
    This is true…thankfully it was only 20kgs.

    It might be easier to demonstrate with some weight on the bar.
    Well it looks like I will have to now.

  7. It’s amazing, i write an article saying that maybe the leg press is better than squatting in some cases (I was focusing only on size gains), and I get destroyed in the comments (by a bunch of macho hardheads).

    Will does it and it’s “Oh yeah, I can see that.”

    Most strength coaches seem to come from either a powerlifting or Olympic lifting background and forget that coaching an athlete is not the same as making a PL or OL’er.

    Only PLer’s HAVE to back squat (as it’s one of their competition movements) and while most OL’ers do and probably should back squat there was at least some theorizing at one point (now gone with the demise of Bulgarian dominance) that elite OL training would be clean and jerk, snatch and front squat.

    But nobody else has to back squat for leg training. And, in some specific cases, there are situations where they probably shouldn’t. Get ’em strong (in the safest, most effective way possible) in the weight room, worry about ‘sports specificity’ in their sports training. Back squats are only specific to back squatting, a point forgotten by most.

    But try telling that to a classically trained/close minded strength coach type and all you hear is how back squats are God, blah, blah, blah.

    Lyle

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s