Pre-exhausting the quads before squatting is tough.

When I decided I needed to add in some leg pressing to help my mediocre quad strength, I originally figured I'd do them after squatting. Those plans changed when I got to the gym and the sole squat rack was occupied and the leg press was open (that never happens!). Did I mention I hate leg pressing? Not because of the movement but because almost all plate loaded leg presses are designed to soothe the egos of douchebags rather than actually provide useful resistance.

Seriously, I think it takes almost as much energy loading the leg press up with weights as it takes to actually do the dubiously effective movement. I had planned on working up to a heavy enough weight to do a single set, myo-rep style but the Oakville YMCA doesn't have a very large supply of 45's and I didn't want to monopolize nearly half the gym's supply. I ended up doing 3 sets of 10 with 7 plates per side. I estimated my RPE to be 7 or 8. Seriously, I can't squat 500 lbs for one repetition but 630 lbs of plates is a relatively easy workout. What idiot designs these things? Despite the lower than expected intensity, my quads still felt worked. By the time I was done stripping the leg press of all of the plates the squat rack looked close to being free so I ambled over. As I did, I yearned for the old Nautilus double leg machine. That machine was plate loaded, designed for single or double leg use, and gave all one could handle.

I could tell immediately that pre-exhausting my quads was going to have a significant effect. My last warmup set with 335 felt HEAVY. My plan was to do three sets of three with 385 so I loaded the bar. Normally this weight would move fast and feel fairly easy, as a set at 82% of my 1 rep max should. First set felt heavy at set up but once in the squat motion I felt in control. Rep speed was slow and I could instantly tell I would have to work much, much harder once I got out of the hole.

I got through the first two sets with much more effort than normal and my quads had a pump! It had been many years since I had a quad pump and it time warped me back 25 years to my early gym days when I still had goals of legs the size of Tom Platz. You know what Arnold said about the pump, I have to admit, he had a point. With pumped and tired legs, I was not looking forward to my third and last set. Nevertheless, I got under the bar. Rep one was slow, rep two was slower, and rep three actually forced me to grind.

Mission accomplished I think. My quads were forced to work harder than normal. I will keep this sequence for volume day for the next three weeks and see if my rep speed with heavy weights improves in the transition from in the hole to lockout.


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