Leg press and squat

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Leg press and squat

Postby Konstantin » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:57 pm

If this is a stupid question from someone new to lifting, I apologise in the enormity.

I don't squat in the gym. There's no rack, no spotters and other than doing minor weights I envisage myself getting injured or rolling around on the floor like an upturned turtle. But there is a leg press and that seems OK.

Which gets me wondering how different the two are. In both cases it's leg straightening to lift a set of weights vertically. In the leg press the movement is horizontal, but in relation to the lifter, they seem similar. How different are they and which different muscle sets are targetted?
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Re: Leg press and squat

Postby baldy » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:12 pm

I think the key point is that you dont engage your core as much, so liable to develop unusable strength. Also maybe bigger risk of injury because your strong legs will be braced against a weak core.

You need to find a new gym with a squat rack (its not really a gym if it doesn't have a squat rack).
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Re: Leg press and squat

Postby Talyn » Mon Dec 19, 2011 4:05 pm

Unless you front squat or do back squats with a very narrow stance, leg press > squats for quad development. But squats are better for everything else, hamstrings, calves, lower back, hips, ass, etc.

I think you could address the lack of core-involvement by deadlifting.

Eg deadlift & leg press. I think that would work well, and you wouldn't have to worry about a spotter or having to dump the bar if you miss it.

I wish my gym had a leg press.
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Re: Leg press and squat

Postby ninearms » Mon Dec 19, 2011 4:28 pm

Decent enough for bodybuilding purposes, only really good for getting strong if you combine it with a big compound movement like Talyn suggested - work up to a heavy top set in the deadlift then do 3-5 sets of 10 reps on the leg press. This will still leave areas like hip adductors lagging, so best bet to address that without going on the special machine for ladies is to use the goblet squat. You can always plonk the DB on a bench to help you get into a better starting position.
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Re: Leg press and squat

Postby Konstantin » Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:23 pm

Thanks, that's all helpful.

baldy wrote:You need to find a new gym with a squat rack (its not really a gym if it doesn't have a squat rack).


I think that's the bottom line, I need to look at a different gym. Until then I'll do leg presses but I won't kid myself they're the same as squats.
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Re: Leg press and squat

Postby wannalift » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:12 pm

Leg presses are very undervalued by the squat-or-die community. Not every sport will see greater benefits from squatting than pressing. Lots of sprinters and sprint cyclists only do unilateral leg work and the one-legged press is a favorite (along with olympic lifts, etc.). Personally, I can't even do front squats now because of my shoulders, but I do one-legged press for 20 reps on each leg. Additionally, I do one-legged throws (also on the leg press machine) and Romanian deadlifts. My legs are super strong and I can crank out some very high wattage on my cycling sprint intervals. Higher wattage than when I was doing front squats and RDL.

Contrary to popular belief, you can get exceptional work on your hamstrings and glutes with the leg press. It really just matters where position your feet (re: the angle that your shin travels). I have done sessions of only one-legged pressing and throws and had SUPER sore hams/glutes the next day. I've even had my hamstrings totally cramp up and stop me on the 20-rep death sets.
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Re: Leg press and squat

Postby JP » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:52 am

any work is good, better than nothing :)

sport specific reasons can favour leg press over squat in many cases.

one size doesnt fit all :)
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Re: Leg press and squat

Postby rattus » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:27 pm

I think it's worth noting that squatting doesn't necessarily mean using a weight that bends the bar!!

Squatting with 20kg on your back doesn't need a cage, doesn't need a squatter, and isn't going to start adding mass you don't want (I know that regarding mass as a bad thing is kind of hard to comprehend :D ).

You can go high rep sets or do super dynamique jump sets.

You can alternate leg width during a set from very wide to very narrow.

You can incorporate calf raises.

You can even alternate good mornings with the squats during the same set or add a few lunges.

Get the 20kg on your back and do 25 reps. Don't worry about how long it takes, just keep the bar on you back. If you're good with 25 reps try 50! If 25 turns out to be too many do 10.

When you're done just shoulder press it off.

Repeat until you are sick.

If you have trouble feeling stable then buy a cheap bergen and put a few rocks, bottles (plastic) of water, bags of salt, or bags of sand in it and use that.

You can also use the bergen full of water bottles to do a hill climb. Heavy as you can manage (30 kg 40 kg 50kg !!!!), sky is the limit. Haul it up the hill and (important!!!) dump the water before descending so your knees don't take a battering.

Alternatively an old army kit back held in a bearhug while you squat is totally dumpable and will give an unbelievable full body workout.

It's not going to make you a strongman, or body builder: it's just a bit of variety.

No need to be too serious about it.

Just have a bit of fun.

It's all good.
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Re: Leg press and squat

Postby Konstantin » Fri Dec 23, 2011 2:45 pm

Makes a lot of sense Rattus, at least squatting would build some muscle.

I've got 34.5kg in weights at home, it has to be worth a try.
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Re: Leg press and squat

Postby sosso » Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:17 am

I tried hack squats for the first time the other day, just as assistance after regular squats. They felt so unnatural and weird. I probably won't do them ever again.
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Re: Leg press and squat

Postby muchluv » Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:45 pm

There's quite a lot said on the net about leg press being unsafe due to compressive loads on the spine. Might be something to look into if you are concerned about that. If you google 'leg press sine flexion', it brings up a few things.
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