T Nation

Leg Press Instead of Squats

Hi

I have always had a problem with my dead lifts and squats I have a strong upper body with a relatively weak lower body for example I can bench 130kg and only dead lift 140kg. I have a few problems with my knees and while doing squats I get a shooting pain down the side and behind my knee cap.

The other night I tried using a leg press instead of doing squats and it caused no pain in my knees at all and was actually able to lift more than I could doing a squat. Is the leg press a good alternative to build the strength in my legs or is it a shite substitute and I should stick to squats?

Also I play basketball and am trying to increase my vertical was wondering if anyone has any good exercises for this? Currently Iâ??m doing leg presses, dead lifts, lunges and calf raises?
Thanks any advice would be greatly appreciated.

The fact that you can leg press with no pain tells me that you’re simply squatting with incorrect form, and that is why it hurts.

Fix your technique.

[quote]zz ALL 57AR zz wrote:
Hi

I have always had a problem with my dead lifts and squats I have a strong upper body with a relatively weak lower body for example I can bench 130kg and only dead lift 140kg. I have a few problems with my knees and while doing squats I get a shooting pain down the side and behind my knee cap.

The other night I tried using a leg press instead of doing squats and it caused no pain in my knees at all and was actually able to lift more than I could doing a squat. Is the leg press a good alternative to build the strength in my legs or is it a shite substitute and I should stick to squats?

Also I play basketball and am trying to increase my vertical was wondering if anyone has any good exercises for this? Currently Iâ??m doing leg presses, dead lifts, lunges and calf raises?
Thanks any advice would be greatly appreciated.
[/quote]

Post a vid of your form. Squats are good for you. Also, you should be able to leg press A LOT more than you squat.

The leg press can be used to take some pressure off your back, but squats are still king.

Agree with all advice here.

As for information on increasing your vertical, check out the speed/vert thread in the conditioning forum.

Reduce weight on squats until you get good form in some way that does not hurt. At home can you do 20 squats without any weight and not have any pain? If so there’s your starting weight and just go up from there. Don’t worry if you have to squat with less weight than some girls use (at least in for a few months). If your only doing the leg press anytime you see a girl do squats at the gym shes squatting more than you.

get some one who knows there shit to show you how to box squat properly and perfect technique till you can do it with out a box.

EDIT: how much can you squat?

My right knee was completely screwed up from squats, till i realized i had problems with my form. Not huge problems, like my right knee would cave in slightly, i would lose my arch completely and I would go way too far down. Put some box squats in, and havent had a problem since then. So, do box squats with proper form and if possible, warm up with box squats before doing back squats.

Front squats helped my knees for a bit, so much so that I was able to add back squats back in after a month or so. I guess my form fixed itself.

I’d also say to do both, but work on your squats so you can do them without pain. Watch the Squat RX videos on Youtube to see good form and how to do some stretches exercises. You may also have a muscle imbalance that’s causing your pain. Curious…does your knee cap pop when squatting?

I also leg press in addition to squats. Leg press is good imo, but it sucks that it takes over 3 times the number of plates to get an effective workout. Hopefully your gym has more 45’s than my gym, although I do get a kick out of forcing people to bench with a bunch of 35 lb plates.

I can help with the vertical jump more than why you can’t squat.

Depending on how high you can jump at the moment I would simply suggest you keep getting strong in the lower body. Quads, Hams, Glutes and Calves.

I have a video in my profile of some dunks I did a few months ago, so that you know I’m not a theorist.

Work on your form squatting, you need to sit back not just descend.Stick your butt out and stay on your heels.

OP: I have a very similar problem with my left knee. I get shooting pain on the lateral side of my patella upon load bearing extension. However, everything feels normal during load bearing flexion.

Just get a $20 knee brace from any drug store. Nothing fancy. The one I use has a velcro strap above and below the knee and an open patella w/ a ring of stabilizing material. I wear it when working legs and the extra stabilization alleviates all the pain I used to feel in the knee. My left knee feels completely normal when I wear it while training. When I wrap my knees for my heavy squat sets, the brace comes off, but the knee still feels fine.

You may just need some extra stabilization on the knee.

Also,

It is my experience that unless you have IFBB caliber genes, you CANNOT get big if you don’t squat. I suggest you do yourself a favor and get rid of this whole ‘i can only leg press because it doesnt hurt’ bullshit.

Make sure you warm up properly for leg day: 5-10 min walking on incline treadmill + 10 min stretching + 2 very very light sets of 15 rep leg extension. Experiment with different braces till you find one that works. Think of it like this: even if you end up spending $50 on various braces until you find one that works, its still a hell of a lot cheaper than the thousands you would spend getting the problem corrected with surgery. Good luck.

I think even if you do have IFBB caliber genes, you cannot get big if you don’t squat.

TBH the leg press has the same basic movement pattern as a squat…its just the loading is different.

[quote]Clown Face wrote:
I think even if you do have IFBB caliber genes, you cannot get big if you don’t squat.

TBH the leg press has the same basic movement pattern as a squat…its just the loading is different.

[/quote]

Also, one is closed chain, the other open, I think.

[quote]Clown Face wrote:
I think even if you do have IFBB caliber genes, you cannot get big if you don’t squat.

[/quote]

Uh, no. LOL