[quote]Mr. Moose wrote:
“You’ll be hard pressed to get a strength coach to admit it, but for taller athletes, leg presses may be superior to squats for hypertrophy.”
The way I read it is that it might be better for HYPERTROPHY!! What about strength? Will ever legpress beat ass to grass squat in regards o gaining strength? I don’t think so.
The only thing I use the legpress for is doing calfraises.
The squat involves more muscles, including the glutes and lower back, so it necessarily will provoke more hypertrophy just for that reason alone.
Also, it involves the glutes so much more means a lot, since the glutes are the largest muscle in the body. Stimulating that muscle so much is probably one of the main reasons the squat supposedly provokes the release of so much growth hormone that the entire body can grow from doing squats. At least that’s my guess.
Also, squats require constant balancing and stabilizing from the core muscles – obliques, abs, lower back. Again, more muscle stimulation and work to both fire up the CNS to release GH and, well, simply to provoke muscle growth in those particular muscles. Even the chest and upper back play a part in stabilization.
Squatting also exposes virtually the entire body to high weight – another signal to the CNS for GH release.
But what about the argument for hypertrophy on the leg press side?
Especially as a tall skinny beginner, leg presses let you handle a much greater amount of weight than a squat does. Tall skinny guys often have to squat with very low weights for quite a while.
So you have a trade-off here. In presses, you lose the hypertrophy that squats would give the lower back and glutes and perhaps arguably the biceps femoris. You don’t use as large of a body motion so your CNS loses out on the practice of coordinating your body movement to heft weight, and you won’t have that until you are indeed doing work using full-body movements. But since it’s much easier to put heavy weight on a leg press machine than on a squat, the much greater weight you put on the quads and biceps femoris stimulates them to grow more rapidly than they would with more lightweight squats, and the especially heavy weights does a bit of CNS stimulation to increase GH release on its own.
Higher weight, higher intensity over a smaller number of muscles vs. lower weight being applied in a coordinated fashion but for probably lower intensity for quite a while, until the tall skinny guy gets a lot of strength built up.
A good deal of that strength, what’s more, could actually be built on the leg press, as well as a bit of confidence to go with it to make the squat feel easier and less intimidating.
The truth is, the leg press is great for the quads and biceps femoris, but growing those muscles doesn’t do anything for the lower back nor much for the glutes. Nor does it help develop the balance or refine the “groove” you’ll move in for the squat. It’s great for what it does, but not as complete an exercise by far.
It can still be very beneficial, however, as a confidence builder and a builder of some real leg strength and mass. It can’t replace the squat, but isn’t a bad way for a wobbly-kneed beginner to get some basic strength, control, and confidence. The squat will still be there waiting for him to work into his routine at his own speed. Which he should definitely plan to do.