the Bruno squat test and leg presses

Had an excellent time at the second UnitedLifters Powerlifting social last night at Emma's Back Porch in Burlington.  Lots of lifters, lots of interesting points of view and experience levels and everyone with a passion for strength.  Nothing better for motivating one to get off the couch and get to the gym for a scheduled session to blast some weaknessses.

Normally, I would start the workout with single leg leg presses but since the leg press was being used, I decided to squat first.  I had it in my head that I would to the Bruno squat test.  It's not really a test and Ben Bruno never intended it to be one for anyone but himself but after he posted a video of him doing a set of 225x35 no-no-no style (no belt, no wraps, no spotter), I thought I'd give it a shot.
Now, when Ben Bruno did his set, he did it after his workout so I'm taking some liberties by doing my set first but after seeing all the redonkulous single leg stuff he can do, I figured I needed a head start.  I did a warm-up set of 10 with 135 and then it was time to try the 225x35. Since I didn't video my set, I'll end any suspense and say that I was able to complete the set and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  I don't want to do it again anytime soon but it wasn't a 9.5 out of 10 on the RPE scale (Rate of Perceived Exertion).   Since I can't do bodyweight single leg squats or pistols and definitely can't do the weighted single leg squats and pistols that Ben Bruno can do, I can only mark it down to the specificity effect.  

That is, Ben Bruno rarely if ever does two-legged back squats whereas I do them two times a week, virtually every week of the year.  I simply have alot more practice with the motor patterns for a two-legged, high bar back squat.  This practice effect more than makes up for my relative lack of strength demonstrated by other movements that isolate the quads.  That being said, if Ben Bruno's back was up to the task of a few training cycles spent back squatting, he would far surpass his 225x35 effort and his max squat would absolutely destroy mine.   He simply has more raw strength available to re-pattern into his squat motion.

After that realization and while I was catching my breath, I moved to the leg press.  These went very well and I was able to match last workout's top set and then go up another 25lbs per leg.  This top set of 315 loaded onto each platform done 5/5/5/5 style was hard.  Hard enough that I had a bit of tunnel vision during my last repetition.  Afterwards, I endured the most pervasive, deep fatigue in my upper quads in a long while.  Even with quite a few years of experience in the gym, I still love the rapid progress one experiences when first learning or re-learning an exercise.  It reminds me of the beginning doing those traditional 3 sets of 10 rep programs when it seemed like one could add weight every workout.

Time was running short and the gym was about to close so I banged out some pre-hab/re-hab 20 rep sets of face pulls and then did three sets of 10 with 135 in the bench press.  My shoulders are still very sore but I figure I've got to keep working the range of motion even if the weight is very light.



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