Legs and Learning

You are certainly never old enough –or know it all to learn. Even after all these years –I learn something or re-learn something that has been gathering dust in the back of my mind.
The points I am going to explain here are basic as hell –but non-the less soooo- valuable.
Recently –as many of you know that read the odd bits I put here and there –know that I have been doing a spot of powerlifting.
For me –great for strength –shit for building muscle—for me the reps are too low to elicit a response.
Some guys grow on lower reps I need a mix –with a slight lean towards high end.
Now –everything was going good, stronger –a little fuller –felt good then I did a body-fat test and measure up.
Jo is in prep for a show –so I went with it and did a test also.
OMG –no bodybuilder wants to see that the test showed the lowest lean mass I had ever had and my thighs were down some 2-inch off my normal/average off-season size.
This triggered a six-week –gain muscle back mission—which at the end of it I am pleased to say things are heading in the right direction.
I gained three and half pounds of lean tissue and lost a percent of body-fat, Jo did even better with her prep in motion.
So putting that aside –I have another measure up planned in another six weeks.
What did I do and what have I planned for the next six weeks?
Well …
I stopped lifting heavy –only doing low reps at the very end of many other sets of high reps.
Look –I’m old-ish ok and just plain old heavy kills me now –tried that, thinking it would keep my youthful fullness –nope end up like a skinned chicken.
I my constant search to hold onto –and gain mass back I am always trying to learn from and test what others have found helpful.
With that said I am a big fan of Doug Brignole , picked a huge amount of this guy-so look him up and buy his book.
One of the main things is his cable squat –again look this up –I have found it awesome for my legs doing high reps and working on keeping the tension all in the quads has been a game changer for me.
Has it worked –well half an inch so far in six weeks and a loss of fat on the quads also as the look leaner –so I am looking for an inch gain in 12 weeks and keep on improving till I have what I use to have-or close.

When performing these squats I had my feet around ten inches apart so the knee travels somewhat over or towards the toes. This got me thinking about how I use to squat when I was a kid versus my powerlifting squat I have done for the last 10-12 or so years.
My power squat is for the soul purpose to get below parallel with as much weight as you can and of course get back up.
I checked my stance with a tape–20 inch –for a short bloke like me that’s wide and nowhere near the same amount of quad stimulation –add that to low reps and –again ‘for me’ –not all trainers –skinny pins!!

I looked at old pics of the afore mentioned Doug squatting and noted a close stance –I dug out my old books and photos of ‘back I the day’ –noted also a –close stance.
Now –you will have to study –and experiment to find your stance.
I am 5 -3 and 10 inch for me is bang on, I can keep upright and tight and really work the quads.

I also noted that I use to wrap my knees –not in a powerlifting way but just on the knee –this was again reminded to me by pics of Doug.
Note here is –don’t just look at pics only for motivation –but study them and ask yourself –questions. If it seems viable to you –try it and if it fits your goal and needs add it into your own toolbox.
So my knee wrap is wrapped from mid shin –just to the very top smidge (tech term) of the knee and not above on the quad.
This I felt that I could protect my old knees and feel the muscle action on the entire quad, so much so that so that today in training I constantly –excitedly mentioned this.
The rage of movement was not compromised or held to stiff but just right.
This was a whole new level of squatting and muscle involment was just awesome –from something so simple.

So a few very basic –but very important points…
Higher reps —10 –to 15 or 20 –maybe good for you experiment and see what makes you grow.
If you are up in years try 30 -50 –and work down –this ensures fluid movement and no joint stress. Therefore allowing you to work the legs better as when you get up in the weight you are very very warm and glide like the old days.

Try your feet closer –but only if you can keep upright and not use the lower back –the movement must come from the legs. Jo said it right today when she said it was like leg pressing with your feet low on the board.

Try the knee wrap trick –I have used sleeves but found this far more isolated –for me.

Without further a-do –here is the session today

Calf Raise
30 -25- 20-15 -10 adding up
Leg Extensions 2 x 30 reps
20 -15-12-10-8-6-4 adding up
All done non-lock out and with only enough rest for Jo to do her set –so this was fast
Job done
So the morel is –look –read –study –experiment and never think you know it all –also what you know changes with age and ability.
Yours in health and strength Ian

2 replies
  1. Sean Marlow
    Sean Marlow says:

    Hi Ian ,your findings regarding powerlifting low rep training I can definitely relate to ,over the years I have combined power training with bodybuilding training with my quads and hamstrings responding to higher rep leg work and heavy lower rep squats,for the past two years I have been mainly training for powerlifting meets in the three to five rep range getting stronger still at 50 ,but I like you have noticed a definite reduction in lean body mass and feeling beat up training heavy all the time ,Will be trying higher reps again combined with lower in the future Good info ,regards Sean


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