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Thread: Leg Press vs. Squats

  1. #1
    Wannabebig Member
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    I've got some questions about leg training, I hope you guys can help:

    I've been training now since March and I've always done squats and not leg presses. Until this week there was no problem, however on Monday I had some back pain while doing squats. I have a slight case of scoliosis, and it felt like that kind of pain. My doctor said it wouldn't be a bad idea for me to switch to leg presses, since they don't compress the spine like squats do. Also to avoid standing calf raises and do only sitting calf raises. Of course I want to prevent further back pain, so I don't see any reason not to do what he says. I've always heard that squats are much better than leg presses. Could someone please explain why that is, if it's true, and is there anything I can do to supplement the leg presses? By the way for legs I also do leg curls and leg extensions. Also, if any of you have scoliosis, how has it affected your training? Any tips?

    thanks
    -JungleJim

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bigmofo's Avatar
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    Do what your doctor said, why risking your lower back?. What is scoliosis?

  3. #3
    Reborn hero Sinep's Avatar
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    I don't see that much difference but there's 2 that seems obvious to me...
    - squat is free weight
    - squat uses more muscle than legpress
    Last edited by Sinep; 07-10-2001 at 08:19 PM.
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  4. #4
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    if u can't squat because of pain then give deadlifts a try. doing deads and legpresses together is an idea also.,
    "Discipline is never an end itself, only a means to an end." - Robert Fripp

  5. #5
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    Yes, Bigmofo, I plan on doing what my doctor says, I'm just seeking information on ways to maximize my leg training without doing squats. Scoliosis is a lateral curvature in the spine. There are two types, lumbar (lower back) and thoracic (upper/mid back). I have thoracic so it's my upper back that I'm worried about. My lower back is strong like wood
    -JungleJim

  6. #6
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    Try this combo, stiff-legged deadlifts combined with leg press. Do the stiffs first, followed by the leg press. Keep your feet wide to allow you to go down further in the leg press (this is one reason they are not as good, limited range of motion). Then perform leg extensions last in the routine. You will have great legs without squatting with this routine (and a strong lower back).

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the comments.

    Chris, just to clarify, you're suggesting dropping the leg curls since the hamstrings would be worked by the SLDL's, right? Fine with me, the leg curl machine at my gym sucks. Also, would someone mind posting the right way to do SLDL's? I've never done them before, and when I asked all my friends who are diesel they each told me something different. I think form is especially important for this one so I want to make sure I do it right.
    -JungleJim

  8. #8
    Party of "No." Tryska's Avatar
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    A little learning is a dangerous thing...

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  9. #9
    Reborn hero Sinep's Avatar
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    Is that your webpage Trysk?
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  10. #10
    Party of "No." Tryska's Avatar
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    *lol*

    no..i wish! she's my weightlifting idol though.
    A little learning is a dangerous thing...

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  11. #11
    Senior Member Anthony's Avatar
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    My gf has both scoliosis and spondylolisthesis and is able to squat and do standing calf raises quite well. At one point before she joined the gym she was scheduled for surgery, but eventually cancelled because her work in the gym helped strengthen her midsection enough so the pain stopped.

    I am not advising you to go against your doctors orders, because your back is not something you want to screw up further. If you can't squat or do standing calf raises without pain - then don't do them. If you can squat without pain, I'd probably get a second opinion.
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  12. #12
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    Yes, drop the leg curls. I will tell you how I perform them (and I never injured myself). You need to stand on a raised platform so that you can lower the weight far enough down. Place your feet close together (mine would actually touch at the heel and the toes would be turned outward---like a reverse triangle). Ok, remove the weight from the rack to a standing position and get your feet set. Bend your knees slightly (despite the name of the movement), and begin to lower the weight. Make sure to keep the weight as close to your body as possible as you lower it. Lower the weight until you get a good stretch. A lot of "authorities" will tell you to really stretch at the bottom, but this is not necessary or advisable. I go to just above the ankle or so (sometimes a little lower). Just remember, you are most prone to injury in the bottom position, so don't get carried away with how far down you go. Now, reverse the movement. I recommend that you do NOT return to the fully erect position until you are complete or need to take a brief rest in order to get a few more reps. You will feel, as you perform the exercise, the point in the movement (usually about 3/4ths of the way up) where the resistance drops off of the target muscles, stop and this point and then lower the weight. This will allow for continuous tension on the target muscles and makes for a more effective set. Always perform the reps slowly and under COMPLETE control. This is especially important in during stiffs. I would recommend that you experiment with reps to find what is ideal for you, but I would suggest that you start with 10 reps.

  13. #13
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    Okay thanks for the tips. I didn't realize you needed a platform, I'll have to check and see if my gym has one.
    -JungleJim

  14. #14
    Rockin' the midlife crisis xraygirl's Avatar
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    You don't unless you're using 45# plates and/or are flexible.

    D.

  15. #15
    Party of "No." Tryska's Avatar
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    Actually if you don' t have a platform.....you can do it using one of those step platforms from the aerobics room.....haul it out into the weight area, with 2 blocks underneath each side and go for broke.

    at least that's what we do at my gym.
    A little learning is a dangerous thing...

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