T Nation

Good Bye Squats. Hello Leg Press.


I like many others fell into the squat til your legs burst mind set. Problem was I wanted a pair of quads that matched my upper body. All I got was some gains in my glutes and groin. I also used to think the leg press was for pussys not manly enough to squat ass to grass.

Since pre exhausting on the leg extension and doing most of my work on the leg press I actually have some swelling and soreness in my wait for it quads! I'm strong enough and want to lift for aesthetics now so if I do squat it will be front or high bar with a narrow stance and it will be my finisher, not my staple.

On a side note. Are leg extensions a healthy exercise? I don't go extremely heavy and pause at the top for a nice pump. I believe Cressey is not a fan and I love his articles so I'm torn.


I think leg extensions are fine if you keep the reps high. I know I've read that somewhere before and I remember a T-Nation member, Dirty Gerdy, I think he used to do them for like 20-25 reps or more.


Cressey doesn't coach bodybuilders so don't listen to what he says. Leg extensions are good if they don't give you pain.


IDK, a guy at my gym I hang with often, who is a former Competitive Power lifter, strong man and surgeon says that machine is a potential knee wrecker. This being subjective but he recommends that if you are going to do them keep the weight relatively light and do higher reps kind of like a burn out kind of thing.Also keep the knees straight so that the patella tracks normally. That turn your foot in or out to hit the quads at angles stuff he says is what really can damage the patella supporting ligaments.

I think a better exercise would be a TKE or Terminal Knee Extension.


I use a squat machine. i don't do barbell squats. I also don't deadlift. You have to find what works for you....and by that I mean actually finding what works and not avoiding movements just because you aren't good at them or are lazy.

If my back was't growing I would probably try deadlifts. If my legs were making no progress, I would probably add squats back in.


Oh. I turn my feet out and feel a better contraction in my upper quad as apposed to my tear drop. I'm not gonna go heavy though, I just fatigue my quads so the leg press is more effective. I do see some guys load that thing up and do like 8 reps. I cringe when I watch them, but they wouldn't listen if I told them anyway.


I think the people who experience pain when doing leg extensions are usually the ones who allow their legs to go all the way back and hyperstretch the patellar tendon. I've never had any issues doing heavy extensions, and will note that I like to start my leg sessions with them (usually followed with hacks - all the way down! - and then front squats - which I feel more in my quads than doing back squats)



I had a similar issue with squats too, I switched to leg press for a while and then back to squats, I changed my form up and my squats have been fine ever since.


Agreed. I have severe knee pain and I still do leg extensions. I also was good friends with an orthopedic surgeon in the military who gave me the best advice....don't adjust the seat so that your legs go less than a 90 degree angle under the seat.


Better stop adjusting my seat then, good leg saver advice guys


How much could you squat before you switched?


One thing that always comes to mind when people like pro x who have been in the game for awhile state they don't do squats/deads any more is did you build a very strong foundation doing squats/deads before you switched or you strayed from them very early in your lifting life?


leg extension might be good for bodybuilding, esp for bringing up the VM... but functionally they're pretty useless (if you participate in sport) - Mainly because they train a motor pattern that you'd never use and they put a shear force across the knee which isn't very healthy...just my 2 cents.


I think that's pretty misleading. If you make your quadriceps stronger - you will be able to run faster. My best friend has an elite 100m and he can do leg extensions all day with 250lbs.

Those whole bodybuilding vs. functional arguments are bullshit.


Agreed. It holds no water and personal trainers get clients by spreading this bullshit.

The belief that a stronger bigger muscle can somehow ONLY perform the way it was trained makes no logical sense.

It implies that squatting or leg extensions won't help you push a truck down the street. Using this logic, you could only push a truck if you trained doing walking lunges.


[quote]Professor X wrote:
I use a squat machine. i don't do barbell squats. I also don't deadlift.


I never did deads on a regular basis. I did them once or twice when training with two other guys, but it was never something done on a regular basis. My back pic is above. I just took that two days ago with no pump after getting off work.

As for squats, I got up to nearly 500lbs on those before I started to add in my leg presses (I didn't feel comfortable trying to go any heavier than 4 plates a side meaning I felt at risk of injury).

I am not against deadlifts OR squats. In fact, there is no doubt that squats work to build a great deal of size. There are simply alternatives that may work even better for some people after they gain an initial base of size.

I do think squats are something no beginner should avoid unless there is an injury.

deadlifts are not needed in my opinion. There are too many other alternatives.

I do mostly Hammer Strength for back training now along with lat pull downs. I also HOLD THE CONTRACTION now when doing lat pull downs to squeeze that muscle. My lats didn't start to stick out until I slowed the weight down....but this was also after I had built enough strength to do the whole stack slowly.


Oh, and Ben White has written that he never did deadlifts until recently (mostly to compete in that strong man contest)...and his back is fucking ridiculous.


i am on the taller side and i could always destroy the leg extension machine for the full stack, almost since the first day i started training....its very good for my quad development, just focus on the squeeze at the top...and if it gets too light you start working one leg at a time


Tried squats (again) yesterday...epic fail. They have never felt right to me. High bar, low bar, shoulder width stance, PL stance. Doesn't matter. Same thing with floor deads. My body isn't right for them. However I have no problems doing bb, db, or t-bar rows (but with a wide stance to help with balance issues). I sometimes throw in dorian yates style rack pulls as well.

Definitely have to find what works for you based on your body type. Try to find a good squat machine like X said. Leg presses are also awesome, especially if you add 400lb to your top set and also work on your high-rep sets. DB lunges are also great.