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MV Owner

Squats v Leg press

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Friends,

Thanks to all those who have helped me previously on these forums.

As mentioned previously I am getting back to the gym after being out for about 20 years.  I have been working out for a month and  I have two basic routines which I am concentrating on and I go to the gym 3 times a week.

I have aways been uneasy about doing free weight squats so my routines include seated leg presses which I am comfortable with.

I was chatting to a chappie the other night who was using a Smith Machine to squat as he felt uncomfortable about squatting without a spotter and he felt the Smith Machine provided more safety and stability.

I would appreciate thoughts on whether seated leg presses (which I am now comfortably pressing the complete weight available) are a good alternative to squats, or should I be moving to Squats as free weights or if not in a Smith Machine.

Many thanks

 

 

MV

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Thanks Troll,

I certainly have no medical reason not to squat,  I guess I'm just slightly concerned to squat as I havent before and certainly wont have a spotter.

There is no doubt about it, the leg press (4 sets x 12 reps until failure on every other workout) is certainly making me feel like the exercise is an assault on my entire body in a way that no other exercise does.

I suppose the question I am asking is whether the effect on your body with leg presses is as I understand it is with squats.  I believe (perhaps albeit wrongly) that squats are a major assault on your body which promotes growth etc and I am trying to understand whether leg presses are a credible alternative.

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9 hours ago, MV Owner said:

Thanks Troll,

I certainly have no medical reason not to squat,  I guess I'm just slightly concerned to squat as I havent before and certainly wont have a spotter.

There is no doubt about it, the leg press (4 sets x 12 reps until failure on every other workout) is certainly making me feel like the exercise is an assault on my entire body in a way that no other exercise does.

I suppose the question I am asking is whether the effect on your body with leg presses is as I understand it is with squats.  I believe (perhaps albeit wrongly) that squats are a major assault on your body which promotes growth etc and I am trying to understand whether leg presses are a credible alternative.

squats are more functional 

have more carry over to just about any other physical endeavor

build everything from your upper back down 



leg press builds your legs.



but you don't have to be confined to one and squats will put more overall meat on you for the reasons I mentioned 

the reason I said physique based is you could replace squats with leg press, weight planks, adductor machine and back extensions and build the same kind of physique but then again that's 4 exercises to replace 1 so....  

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As above. I struggle a bit with leg recovery due to other sport I play.

I could do (using machine weights) 3-4 sets of leg press, 3-4 sets of leg curls, 3 sets of leg extensions OR 4x6 (working sets) of squats. Squats recruit all muscle groups at the same time rather than isolating them. The main benefit is it saves lots of time.

You can make really good progress by just doing 5 x 5 or 4 x 6 working sets of squats twice a week.

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Thanks for your help all.

Yesterday I tried to do some Squats in a Smith Machine which turned out just fine.  The only thing I may have done wrong was slightly poor leg position which I suppose wasnt helped by using a Smith Machine.  I am now going to include these in my routine so many thanks

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Just now, MV Owner said:

I sort of get that, the plane doesnt follow natural motion but Im going to experiment

You are also taking out muscle recruitment as the machine is preventing the bar from moving side to side. By all means start on the smith but you’ll struggle to find anybody who will not say that free weight is far superior 

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5 hours ago, MV Owner said:

We also dont have a squat rack which makes me a bit uneasy.  I dont want to bust myself

Fair enough. I wouldn’t squat the weight I do (which isn’t much) without a rack. In the absence of equipment I’d shift the focus to deadlifts instead. You can work the quads without squats on the press plus leg extensions as you suggest. Dead’s will sort the rest (and more) out. I personally don’t think that combining the two (dead’s and squats) on the same day is optimal given how taxing they both are. 

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I personally think you need a very strong back / very good form / very good endurance to _really_ put enough weight onto your legs to make them grow when squatting. But everyone does say it's such a great exercise.

Happy to admit I was never able to do this and squats do bugger all for me - and yep I'm probably just not strong / big enough. But leg press is such a solid stable exercise you can absolutely pile on the weight and really feel it hit your legs.

Leg press has grown my legs like squats never could.

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Start light on squat rack and build up slowly. Nail your technique. No need for a spotter IMO unless going for 1RM. 

All the compound stuff technique is number 1 but the overall benefits are worth the effort. 

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3 hours ago, JohnnySack said:

I personally think you need a very strong back / very good form / very good endurance to _really_ put enough weight onto your legs to make them grow when squatting. But everyone does say it's such a great exercise.

Happy to admit I was never able to do this and squats do bugger all for me - and yep I'm probably just not strong / big enough. But leg press is such a solid stable exercise you can absolutely pile on the weight and really feel it hit your legs.

Leg press has grown my legs like squats never could.

I totally agree with this post. I play second row at rugby union. Squats are ideal for me because of the overlapping upper and lower body athleticism are ideal for strength in this position.

If your goal is aesthetics only then the effort might* be better spent on the press.

*I say might because ultimately I don’t know. On balance I’d say it probably is for aesthetics 

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