Tag: Leg Day

Andreas Munzer – The Ideal Way to Massive Legs (1995)

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Forced Rep, Negatives, Free Weights & Machines – People have called me mad. They say no sane man would inflict my degree of discipline on himself. Perhaps they’re right, but I feel that extremism in the quest of your best is no vice.

If I seem to be in be in the iron grip of Spartan self-denial, it’s only because I’m convinced that’s what it takes for me to compete with the greatest bodybuilders i the world. The monsters out there today strain the very definitions as to what constitutes a human being, so I simply have to lift myself that much further beyond mortal effort just to stay with them, not only in training but in diet and lifestyle. If I can discipline myself more than the next guy, I will someday beat him.

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The History of the Leg Press Machine

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Though oftentimes derided on the gym floor, the leg press machine has nevertheless become a staple of weight lifting life through the globe. Yes it’s not as ‘hardcore’ as the squat and yes it’s oftentimes abused by bros quarter repping but this piece of equipment has a long and interesting history behind it.

A long and interesting history, which will take us into today’s post. We felt that having only really covered the Smith Machine in detail, it was time we began to look at the history behind some of the more popular machines known to lifters.

Kathleen Engel, ‘Put Size on Your Thighs with Nasser El Sonbaty’, Muscle & Fitness, 63: 6 (2002), 134-138

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For Nasser El Sonbaty, who has spent 19 years torching, torturing and otherwise harassing every muscle fiber on his 5’11” frame, there are two absolutes. “The first thing is consistency; the second, intensity.” Given his behemoth lower quarters — complete with voluminous muscle bellies, subterranean separation, Gibraltarian density and shape — we took notes.

Nasser pounds his quads once a week, his hamstrings twice. He is loath to describe an actual routine. “To tell you the truth, my routine is always changing. When it comes to quads, I do squats, legs extensions and hack squats, but the order of the exercises changes, the amount of sets for each exercise changes, and the amount of rest between sets changes.” When he trains quads and hams together, he varies the order from workout to workout. “If I think I need more leg development, then I train quads on Monday morning and hamstrings Monday afternoon. Then on Friday I’ll do hams and quads again.”

The History of the Goblet Squat

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Some exercises prove so simple and effective that we often take their existence for granted. The goblet squat has for me, been one such exercise. Over the past five years I’ve helped numerous friends begin their journeys into the lifting world with the aid of this trusty mechanism. While not everyone is as enthusiastic about the Goblet Squat as me, the exercise is a great primer for people learning about correct squat mechanisms. Furthermore it has proven a godsend in opening my hips before a heavy set of squats on leg day.

So what exactly is a Goblet Squat? Who invented it and how did it rise to popularity?

The History of the Zercher Squat

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Mentioned at various points on this particular site, the Zercher Squat has been described by many as one of the most effective but painful methods of building big quads. Uncomfortable to the nth degree, this lift isn’t exactly the most popular amongst gym goers. A point which leads us into today’s post. Why invent such a painful method of lifting? When did it come about and why has it remained with us today?

Dr. Ken Leistner, ‘Hip and Thigh Power’, The Steel Tip, Vol. 1, No. 12 (1985).

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Heavy training for the hips and thighs gives the trainee the most return for the effort expended, but is usually not at the top of the list of “Favorite Modes of Training” due to the discomfort one is subjected to if the training is intensive enough to stimulate gains. The earliest lifting advice I received as an aspiring football player was to train the hips and thighs heavy, hard and consistently, even if it meant reducing the work done for the other body areas. Great gains in “overall body strength” come not from bench press specialization programs but from thigh, hip and lower back work. The proviso is that one train in a meaningful and productive manner, truly taking each set of each exercise to the limits of one’s momentary ability.

The History of 20 Rep Squats

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Though few exercise programmes maintain a venerated status for long in the Iron Game, the mystique surrounding 20 Rep Squat programmes has endured. As hinted by the name, such programmes require lifters to back squat twenty times before unloading the bar, and in my own experience, lying on the ground questioning your decision-making.

Primarily touted for individuals struggling to build mass or to bulk up their legs, such programmes originated in the 1920s and 30s. That they still exist, albeit with some modifications, is testament to their efficacy and popularity. The goal of today’s post is to highlight the original promoters of the programme, to explore the writers who kept the idea in the public mind and finally to question why the programme remains popular in the current age.

Forgotten Exercises: Cyclist Back Squats

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Just this week we spoke about Dr. Karl Klein and his 1960s research on the back squat. As a quick reminder, Klein found that squatting below parallel or pushing the knees over the toes was detrimental to the knee’s stability and long term health. Klein and those following in his wake advised against full range of motion and stressed the fact that knees were not to go over the toes when squatting.

Though discredited in later decades, Klein’s ideas are still prevalent and are perhaps the cause of contemporary fears surrounding the back squat. Disregarding everything that Klein fought against, today’s post looks at the Cyclist Back Squat, an often neglected exercise that not only requires squatting below parallel, it necessitates bringing knees over the toes (Gasp!). Today we’re going to examine what this exercise is, what its origins are and why you should include it into your own training.

The Harmful Squats Myth: Dr. Karl Klein and the Back Squat

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When I began lifting in my teens, the coaches and older men in the gym floor seemed like fountains of indisputable knowledge. Don’t bring the bar all the way down to your chest on the bench press. Stability work on Bosu Balls worked your core and brought muscle gain. Drink a protein shake within 30 minutes of your workout or your anabolic window will shut. The most sacred of their dictates revolved around the back squat.

When learning how to squat we were told two simple things. Never go below parallel and under no circumstances should the knees track over the toes. These rules were so infallible that none of us dared to cross them. Even when we realised their advice on other lifts had been misguided to say the least, we adhered to their squat advice. It wasn’t until I changed gyms that I realised squatting with a full range of motion, even letting those knees slip over my toes, wasn’t going to kill my knees.

Where had this idea about the squat come from? Whenever we asked we were told about vague scientific studies that ‘everyone knew about’. It wasn’t until I dug into the history of the back squat for a recent article on Barbend that I became reacquainted with this subject.

Our goal today is simple. Who first promoted the idea that squatting below depth was harmful and how did this theory become so prevalent? Our story today revolves around Dr. Karl Klein and his followers.