Light squat or heavy leg press???

  1. Light squat or heavy leg press???

    I had a hernia repaired about 3 years ago, and it still makes it difficult/painful to do heavy squats. However, I do not have nearly the pain/discomfort when doing leg presses for whatever reason.

    My question os this: Is it better "anabolically speaking" to do heavy leg presses (i.e. max weight) or to do lighter squats (25-50% of max weight).

    It seems to be pretty accepted that the Squat is king, but if you cant squat heavy, is it still as effective?

  2. I say no. use the leg press. squatting is definitely the most efficient exercise for obvious reasons (most taxing overall, which is why it is also more painful to do them!), BUT you can very successfully incorporate heavy leg presses IMO. I always liked them, you just have to remember it's a more targeted exercise, no longer really affecting the whole body nearly so much etc when you design your workouts.

  3. I have a question on this too, bro, although not necessarily direct to your original question. If you can do 15-20 reps on a ex. some consider this to be using light weight. If you do 4-8 some consider that to be heavy.

    The other "school" of thought seems to be, if you do 15-20 to FAILURE (which is usually misunderstood, see DC's cycle on pennies/ IA's articles, which say "most people don't go to failure, and stop short of what they can really do" or words to that effect) that is still going heavy. So do you consider "doing heavy squats" as 4-8, or do you go consider 15-20 to "failure" as heavy?

    Input on this would be welcomed from ANYONE.


  4. actually DC's idea on 15-20 to failure is through rest=pause sets

    you do around 8 reps to FAILURE on the first portion
    then like 4 or 5 to FAILURE after a 20-30sec rest
    then like 2-3 to FAILURE after another 20-30sec rest

    the whole idea behind it is you hit 15 reps and you also get a HIGH LOAD at the same time

    LOAD is directly related to how many reps you can do to failure; and if you can LOAD your muscles hardcore as you would from 6-8 reps AND GET 15reps from it total... then you've worked your muscle very heavy yet also hit the amount of reps to target hypertrophy

    Rest-pause on the squats OR leg press is a BITCH... I've never been so wore out on a hardcore legs-in-the-armpits rest-pause set of heavy squats

  5. Doing sets of 4-6 reps primarily trains your ability to "fire" heavy. i.e., send a strong signal to the nerves to contract. It does little for size for joe average, with average muscle fiber composistion. High rep squats and deads done properly are past failure eve if the bar never hits a sticking point. They are also past most peoples ablity to push past the pain barrier. While truly thhink they are as good as it gets for adding nuscle ALL OVER your frame, I rarely start any training clients on them. Why? most people bail reps, and reps short of what they could do if they REALLY tried.
    Iron Addict

  6. ???

    WTF, does all this have to do with me and my hernia?

    Originally posted by iron addict
    High rep squats and deads done properly are past failure eve if the bar never hits a sticking point. They are also past most peoples ablity to push past the pain barrier.
    Iron Addict

    you lost me there...could you clarifly that part?

  7. Bro...the discussion became sidetracked in regards to your hernia as someone started questioning how light your light squats were. WHat I mean is that, even though you might not be able to train heavy with squats (4-8 reps real heavy weight), can you still train hard at a 10-12 range weight or is that still to uncomfortable. If you cannot train a good squat at that range...I would tell you to stick with heavy leg presses and do heavy deadlifts either the same day or on back day.
    However, if you can train in a 10-12 range for squat at a good weight, I would suggest IA and DC's way of 20 rep squats. Ie pick your 12 rep range and do them until you cannot do anymore...then take a couple a couple more, all the way until 20.

  8. i was just kidding about the thread being off topic.

    as far as the squats go, when i say light, i mean very low weight compared to what i could max out on. i can still do them, but i just really cant push myself to failure with heavy weights and/or make weight gains. like i can doing the leg press. so if the best stimulus comes from lifting as much weight as possible, my squats really arent going to accomplish much. if a higher rep range (i.e. 20 reps - done the DC/IA way) at lighter (25-50% max) are still effective then i will keep doing them as part of my leg workout. if this is spining my wheels so to speak (too much effort for little rewards) i will concentrate on doing more sets with the leg press at the heavier weights.

    so i guess that is my question - low weight squats at 20 reps vs. heavy weighted leg press.

  9. lvtrojan a lot of people report good muscle growth with squats at 15-20 reps to failure, this exercice being the only exception to the low-reps-high-weight-is-what-makes-you-grow "rule" as per many good trainers.

    Personnally, 10 years ago I had a very major hernia at the l4-l5 disc and my very reputed orthopedic surgeon told me if I touched a weight again in my life, I would probably never walk again. No surgery was suggested though.

    The pain was always there, and of course I wasn't training. After a while I went back to the gym to do some chest/arms work, and the pain diminished. 3 months later I was sqatting again and the pain was GONE. I'm not saying that this WILL happen to you. What I am saying is that MAYBE your back will adapt to squats, your form as well, and eventually your spine gets strong again and someday you can squat heavy again.

    What I would do in your place is to begin the workout with the leg press and finish off with the squats. This will let you recruit the other muscles that the leg press doesn't train so directly, without having to quite rely entirely on squats for your quad growth. Try the FULL squats, too, as they require less weight.

    Also, doing a lot of back extensions, spine-stabilization exercises and ab work helped me protect that vulnerable area. 5 years after the hernia I was deadlifting 405. I know, that's no superhuman weight, but with my condition - Remember, the doc told me I risked becoming a CRIPPLE! - I was amazed.

    I never have pain anymore, and the only thing I can do is wish you the same. How long has is been since your hernia, and what kind of surgery was it?

  10. LunaHotel thanks for the advice.

    btw, it was a right inguinal hernia, right groin area. hurt like hell. it was repaired about 3 years ago but still causes discomfort when lifting heavy (mostly squatting though). plus i play tennis as well , so it gets hit kinda hard from that too.

  11. Oh, that kind of hernia. That's different from a lumbar disc hernia. I also got two of these inguinal herniae (very large ones) from an accident a couple years ago.

    The surgeon said it was gonna be good as new, and it does seem to be... Although it does give me some discomfort (only on one side though). I got the surgery through the abs rather than through the bellybutton. Which one did you get?

    AFAIK you shouldn't be afraid to train heavy with this, as it is either repaired, and will probably not come back, or it isn't and your surgeon does need to get back in there.

    May I ask if you got this hernia in the gym?

  12. at the time i got the hernia i was lifting, playing hockey, and playing it was probably a comination of my grandfather had had one so there may have been some sort of predisposition to have a weakness in that area (according to my surgeon). looked like a golf ball poking out.

    the repair was planned to go through the belly-button, and the incision was made, but then i guess when he was tying to insert the mesh he found there wasnt good access then pulled out (lol) then gave me a traditional repair with about a 4" slice across the lower ab. so it was really miserable (and really painful) to wake up with two sets of bandages on my body instead of one. thank god for narc's though. i can really see how people get hooked on 'em.

    overall though it was a success as i can now do the stuff i love again.


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