Why you Shouldn’t Use the Leg Press 45 degree weight-loaded Sled machine at the gym

Squats vs Leg Press

Even though the leg press machine can be used with good effect, some people just take it too far.

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This is the most hated guy in the gym right now. Of course we aren’t going to take the time to body shame him because that’s not nice even though we do notice that it wouldn’t be impossible for him to take in many simple carbs and alcohol.

It happened at my gym.

I rolled in around 8AM to the local squat rack, ya see. First, I hit the cables for a little bit to get the joints and movements warmed up and I noticed that the usually strong squatters are not squatting much weight at all today. Some of them definitely squat more than I do.

I was working upper body anyway that day.

So I went to one of the open racks and began some warm up sets for the barbell press. My goal was to hit some rounds with the 135lbs so I needed two 45s. I only had one available. Then, I looked at the other guys trying to squat near me and said something to which we all agreed was unfortunate that one guy had stolen all of the 45 pound plates nearby for his Leg Press machine partial range of motion circuit training.

To make it worse, he was circuit training on other machines for the upper body and also using more 45 lb plates. Next time I see something like that, I’m going to engage that person because I am seriously curious as to what the mindset or thought process was.

Here is your answer: Squats are far more efficient for the amount of weight used.

Let’s put it this way: 45 lb plates are a limited resource in this busy city neighborhood gym. One guy took almost all of the plates in the weightlifting area for his 45 degree sled.

Think back to junior high for a second and realize that the math is simple. You need far less force to move an object on a machine fixed path forward and upward compared to the stability demands of a loaded barbell completely on top of you.

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Reason why Leg Press is inefficient for the amount of weight used

The squat utilizes those 45 plates more economically for the lifters that less 45 plates actually need to be used. This means more 45 plates will be available for everybody else.

If you can’t squat, Learn to Squat.

It’s that simple. Yes, squatting is completely necessary. Even if you have bad knees, you should practice some healthy range of motion in pretty much any squat variation of your choosing. Of course barbell squats are more advanced, so starting with a dumbbell in the goblet position as a novice lifter could help you get mad gains.

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How to Structure a Weight Training Workout for Regular People interested in Fitness

If I’m not training full body (which I am a fan of actually), then I’m training upper/lower splits.

Even though in bodybuilding, many people will train chest on one day, back on one day, legs on one day, arms on one day, and shoulders and abs on one day, I’ve never found that style to be effective for me. I like to train the basic upper body exercises on the same day.

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Dumbell Row

Upper/Lower split is like this:

Monday: Lower body

Tuesday: Upper body

Wednesday: Rest day

Thursday: Lower Body

Friday: Upper body

Sat/Sunday: Rest days or other workouts, yoga, exercise classes, various activities, outings, etc.

Full Body workout would be like this:

3-5x per week with various daily emphasis and listening to your body for recovery purposes. If you are doing Orangetheory Fitness, then it’s possible you’re already doing this. That being said, if you’re serious about gaining more strength, you’ll want to do dedicated strength training sessions and not just cardio/weights combination every time.

I mostly believe in either Full Body training and in Upper / Lower training.

If you read the muscle magazines, you really need to understand that mainstream bodybuilding magazines are full of men and women on steroids and/or performance enhancers. The reason is because illegal steroids are easy to order online and widely accessible to anybody who’s willing to do a little research. Also, they work really well and have a lot of side effects.

What those people put into their bodies is none of my business, but it creates false perceptions when it comes to the, “what,” “how,” and, “when” can I see those results for myself. Most fitness magazine cover models have bodies that are simply unattainable for people who are unwilling to risk their health by taking steroids.

Benefits of full body training and upper/lower splits: Frequency

You really shouldn’t be so concerned about shredding/destroying your muscles during an excessively long weight training session full of drop sets and exercises to failure. Instead, train for frequency and continually get stronger in key exercises such as squats, deadlift variations, bench press, rows, weighted pull ups, dips, overhead press, arm curls/extensions, and leg curls.

All you have to really do is practice on the key exercises and make progress. Most people can recover the muscles sufficiently within 48 hours as long as you didn’t burn yourself out or always going for 1 rep maxes or always going to failure.

Just imagine if you trained your bench press 2-3x/week, your db row 2-3x/week, squats and leg curls 2-3x/week! You’d make progress way faster than just doing it once per week along with a bunch of isolation exercises.

Train like an athlete and follow prominent personal trainers that train athletes.

Of course my demographic is not bodybuilding on this blog even though some people will have an interest in bodybuilding. Let me tell you, I am also interested in bodybuilding and I follow it sometimes, but I am not interested in being a bodybuilder. Fitness is my game. There’s no shame in that.

overheadpress

Standing overhead press is more athletic than seated overhead press and yields more benefits for fitness.

Athletes are probably the fittest people on the planet and most of them are required to take some sort of drug tests. I’d suggest to look into how athletes train — be goal oriented and don’t spread yourself too thin in your training.

Keep it simple stupid: KISS was the mantra of a personal trainer I worked with.

For my upper body workout, I’ll usually spend a couple months prioritizing about 3-4 exercises that I would typically do first in a training session. For example, on lower body, I have recently prioritized rear-foot elevated split squats and I went from doing 135lbsx8 reps per leg to doing 205lbsx6 reps per leg — the glute growth was noticeable and my running strength improved.

No need to be fancy, just set a goal on a few exercises at any given point and prioritize them. All of the other exercises are just to support the goal of increasing strength in the ones that you are prioritizing (or to promote injury prevention).

Weight training is a lifestyle.

I can program an exercise routine for you that is top notch, guaranteed to be effective. However, if you constantly go to bed late, drink alcohol often, and neglect your nutrient intake, then you’ll never make it past the “newbie gains.”

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It’s not a damn secret — vegetables are the best for you.

I love strength training with weights because of the sense of accomplishment and because I know that there is literally no way I am going to make progress in the weight room if I don’t take care of my nutrition and sleep. The weight room teaches me lessons about myself and encourages me to take care of my body.

Having some muscles doesn’t hurt either.

I feel confident from my experiences, not so much from my body. But I can tell you that if I didn’t didn’t take care of myself, then those experiences I’ve had over the years wouldn’t have been as rewarding or opened nearly as many doors.

 

Thanks for reading and I’m excited that this blog is growing. It seems like we’re getting new followers everyday!

How to Get over the Intimidation of the Gym Weight Room: 5 Ideas

If the racks of dumbbells, freeweights, squat racks, and other machines aren’t intimidating enough, there’s also a large proportion of ripped humans in their natural habitat!

This article is dedicated to all the people who’ve had to walk past the weight room equipment in order to get to their cardio machine, for all of the athletes who’ve never received formal training and want to improve their game, and for the regular person who worries about the intimidation of the weight room. Read on!

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