T Nation

Leg Press Transfer to Squat


#1

So I know everybody says leg presses isn’t squatting, obviously, and it doesn’t transfer well. So heres my situation. My max was 365 squatting, I could handle 315 for maybe 3 times or so. Pretty much everything over 275 was uncomfortable. I had never leg pressed over 700 pounds. My last leg day, I did my squats, my box squats and decide to hit leg press instead of hack squats for a change up, I hit 800 for 5, moved up to 900, felt 1000 and still got 3, 1100 for a painful 2 reps. I squatted light the next day, 315 for 1, 225 for 10. Then this morning, I was doing my squats, went up to 365 and I felt really good and comfortable. So I went up to 375, and up to 385, still feeling like I could handle more but I didn’t wanna push my luck, I did my back off set at 315, only expecting maybe 3-4, but I got 8. a good solid 8. Out of nowhere.

Maybe: Leg Press over a certain weight to the point that its actually strenuous will transfer fairly well for strength.

Thoughts/facts/opinions?


#2

Interesting! I’ve read an article on this site that says leg press also helps with deadlifts specifically the bottom of the lift


#3

I think - after one leg press session - it’s a little early to draw any conclusions.

However, congrats on the PR.


#4

yeah dont do low reps shit on a leg press


#5

I dont normally, but maybe going excessively high does have its benefit? Honestly was just having a good day and felt like pushing the limit a bit.


#6

No I completely agree, I’m also on about week 3 of a cycle of DAA so that could be a part of it too! I don’t want to jump and like overwhelm myself mentally I guess, and not be able to do it again. But I’m thinking my water, carbs, energy, warm up was just right an extensive squat session. like I still felt comfortable at 385, enough to go for more, I just didn’t have a spot and didn’t want to over do it. Thanks by the way!


#7

Going for 405 my deadlift sticks about 2 inches from the floor, who knows, ill hit it some more and keep working at it and maybe it’ll work. I’ll hit you back I think it helps!


#8

I use leg press as an accessory lift which means no less than 8 reps a set and closer tho 12 or more. I don’t think you can ever say working a muscle will have no carryover to a big lift with that muscle. What I would say is there are training stimuli that are better than others. I think where some people get up in arms is when someone says they can leg press 1000 for sets of 8 but can’t figure out why they struggle with a three plate squat.


#9

Im not perfect, always open to learn and experiment for the hope and sake of getting better! But I get what your saying! Im sure you know where I’m coming from with the whole leg press vs squat thing though. maybe a big factor was priming or pre exhausting myself with heavy squats, then putting myself under such a load on the leg press.


#10

The main reason leg press doesn’t transfer to squat is usually 1) practicing good squat form and 2) lower back/other muscle involvement besides quads. If you just got really strong legs doing other stuff like leg press and enough other lifting to get your lower back muscles then its reasonable you can put up a good squat number without squatting. You are missing some weigh though by skipping out on #1. Also for your lift numbers technique/form are not as important, if you wanted like a 500lb squat I don’t think any amount of just leg pressing will get you there.

I don’t think anyone agrees that leg press has zero transfer to squat but its a different lift so the transfer is not as much as other lifts.


#11

I get what your saying, you wrote my, and I’m sure other peoples thoughts. Im not the best at putting my thoughts on paper. I widened my legs slightly to resemble my form on box squats and boom, I felt golden with all the weight I was putting on the bar where id normally be having a rough time. maybe that stance resembled my body mechanics on the leg press.


#12

I’ve noticed this too actually. My squats are nowhere near as impressive as yours, but I’m on 5/3/1 and for the last 3-4 weeks I’ve been throwing in leg presses as accessories after my squats. I’m making more progress than I ever have on my squat in my life, which is awesome. I don’t know if it’s because I’m finally on a strict program, or if it’s because I’m using leg press as an accessory. Maybe a little bit of both.

My previous best rep record with 255 was 7, and yesterday I hit it for 14. I don’t want to give leg press all the credit, but my belief is that it does have significant carryover to the squat. The weak point of my squat is not my posture (been squatting high bar for 5 years), it’s exploding out of the hole which I think is mainly the quads. That must be why I’m having success with leg press as an accessory!

So yeah. Just thought this post was interesting because it’s something I’ve been curious about for a while. It’s cool to hear that i’m not the only one who’s had success using leg press as an accessory!


#13

Honestly I dropped leg pressing completely for a couple months, hack squatted until I got comfortable with it(which sucked all of the balls by the way), but I went back to it and did significantly more weight than I ever had before. Maybe I just had a huge test jump that day or something, but regardless I was more comfortable and held better form than I normally would. I will admit I’m slow out of the hole. My weak point is definitely there. But I’ve been pushing through those sticks luckily and not “failing”.


#14

Have you been injured or anything in the past? This just doesn’t make any sense without it


#15

I agree with bulldog’s statement unless you want a ton of knee pain and shit. Also, be weary of tension headaches and such. It seems very easy to bust a blood vessel in your head and get tension headaches from either going super high rep (100+ sets) or super heavy on leg presses because you can push yourself so far.mGood luck though man, and congrats on the squat PR


#16

yeah unless you aren’t like, truly pushing yourself you should be well past that. I’ve moved up what I think is considerably fast. I kinda built my foundation in about 6-8 months, took a few months off due to lack of motivation, pushed myself back into it and"rewired" my brain if you will. Completely regard my mind set and mentality for lifting. Since, I have mad significant progress. I went from 225 as a one rep max to now 315(I can get a could singles), my squat went from a troubling 225 to 385, my deadlift went from barely 315 to 395(My most troubled spot right now, but not my most focused either). All that was in probably 6-7 months of this “rewired” mentality.


#17

Thank man, I appreciate it! I don’t intend to make that a regular thing, I just wanted to see how far I could go and I think that day I just had an exceptionally high motive.


#18

It wasn’t an injury, I just used to be the guy who was scared to squat. So when I say I’ve been high bar squatting for 5 years, what I really mean is that if I were forced to squat as a sophomore in high school, I would use a high bar style. I wasn’t good at squatting as a freshman in high school, but I was really good at clean + jerk and snatch, so that’s what a majority of my program was based around for football and track (I threw shot and disc). I was 6’1 150 as a freshman, so not the best frame for squatting, and I struggled to squat my bodyweight for reps. I looked across the weight room and saw the 200lb kids squatting 225 for reps and decided I would stick with cleaning and snatching because I was the best at that.

After high school ended, I had never really squatted so I didn’t really have the mental fortitude to nut up and get under a bar with some truly heavy weight. Since then, I went through phases where I’d do 5x5s and try to increase the weight, but that doesn’t work if you only squat every 1-2 weeks lol.

So here I am, extremely far from my genetic potential in the squat. That’s why I’m making progress right now; I’m finally on a program, I’m finally a man, and I finally understand why squatting is so important.

Sorry to bore you with my life story, but yeah, it’s not an injury, it was just me being a p***y. Thankfully that’s over with. The reason I squatted high bar was because my coach was a very big proponent of training like olympic lifters, and since that’s how they squat, that’s how I squat. I haven’t had trouble handling the loads that I’m squatting (255 isn’t a ton, I know) so I haven’t switched to low-bar. I suppose I will in the future though


#19

Well, its admirable that you acknowledged you were being a p*ssy about it. I can respect that because I did the same thing. I hated leg days, squat would be minimum(maybe body weight tops), I was trying to push it thought, I took two weeks and squatted every day, that was enough for me to find my “love” for squatting. Like, Literally fell in love with it, my form still suffered though. until recently like the past month, I was squatting up to 275 regularly and sometimes up to 315, but with shitty form. I implemented box squats in my back off and working sets, and it helped tremendously with getting comfortable in the low zone of the squat. So, here I am, standing there with my current max (365) on my shoulders, and I get curious,I push my legs out another 2 inches or so, and I go for it. The most comfortable thing I’ve ever done. I replicated the form I used on box squats. my knees were forced out because of the additional width in my stance, I didn’t have to strain to focus on pushing my knees out like I normally do, they did it on their own. and 365 was easy. So I went for 375,easy, 385, easy. I just didn’t wanna push it too much without having a spot so thats where I stopped, then as I said above, my back offset at 315 was a solid setoff 8 when I’ve never gotten more than 2-3 before. I think it was a mix of the additional strength I found from such a heavy leg press and the stance alteration. Now I’m on day 5 of squatting every day for 100 days. I forget who I saw post about this idea, I wish I could give him credit for it but I can’t find the post again, but well see how this one goes!


#20

I read a long time ago about the leg press being better for muscle activation or recruitment or something, so maybe thats what happened.

Don’t quote me on that though. After too many years of internetz my head is like a garbage can of fragmented bro-science and porn clips.