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    Coach Kassem on why anterior loaded squats aren’t necessarily “more quads”

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    Originally Posted by BeginnerGainz View Post
    Seems reasonable.

    My take is that if you want to build your quads, you want a movement where your knees travel as far forward as your mobility allows. That's going to be great both for quad development and for overall knee health.

    The problem with back/front squats is that achieving the above (e.g. going ATG on back squats) is only going to be low risk for guys who are built well for those movements. Other guys will need other movements for this purpose. For instance leg press with feet placed low.

    And then add leg extensions for full quad development
    Last edited by EiFit91; 05-10-2022 at 08:48 AM.
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    Originally Posted by EiFit91 View Post
    Seems reasonable.

    My take is that if you want to build your quads, you want a movement where your knees travel as far forward as your mobility allows. That's going to be great both for quad development and for overall knee health.

    The problem with back/front squats is that achieving the above (e.g. going ATG on back squats) is only going to be low risk for guys who are built well for those movements. Other guys will need other movements for this purpose. For instance leg press with feet placed low.

    And then add leg extensions for full quad development
    You're referring to injury risk?

    I concur that it's more overall taxing for those of us with poorer leverages (and therefore less isolating of the legs), but I wouldn't call it dangerous. Paused ATG squats are extremely difficult for me even at light loadings which are very unlikely to result in injury.
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    Originally Posted by EliKoehn View Post
    You're referring to injury risk?

    I concur that it's more overall taxing for those of us with poorer leverages (and therefore less isolating of the legs), but I wouldn't call it dangerous. Paused ATG squats are extremely difficult for me even at light loadings which are very unlikely to result in injury.
    Weightlifting in general has a low injury risk, so I think it's only meaningful to think of this stuff in relative terms. So my claim would be that all else equal (i.e. comparable load) ATG squats will have a greater injury risk for a lifter with unfavourable leverages than just doing leg presses. And the difference in risk between movements would increase with greater loads as the guy squatting is basically doing a good morning like movement with greater loads than if he were to actually do a good morning.

    For a lifter with good leverages for squatting I'd favor squats over alternatives.
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    Originally Posted by EiFit91 View Post
    Weightlifting in general has a low injury risk, so I think it's only meaningful to think of this stuff in relative terms. So my claim would be that all else equal (i.e. comparable load) ATG squats will have a greater injury risk for a lifter with unfavourable leverages than just doing leg presses. And the difference in risk between movements would increase with greater loads as the guy squatting is basically doing a good morning like movement with greater loads than if he were to actually do a good morning.

    For a lifter with good leverages for squatting I'd favor squats over alternatives.
    Ok, I'd agree with all of that. No matter what I do, my squats always feel more fatiguing of the glutes, hip flexors and lower back, even if the quads are still involved.

    Additionally, I'd also say that if the squat itself isn't deemed sufficient for quad recruitment, then following that reasoning to its conclusion is the way to go, and someone should just do leg extensions on a machine if they're trying to isolate at all. I don't think that's going to yield the best stimulus overall, but at least it would be local.

    Why do what is essentially an assisted squat in order to isolate the quads, if that movement pattern is not ideal for isolating them, and better local stimulus could be achieved with leg extensions anyway?
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    Originally Posted by EliKoehn View Post
    Ok, I'd agree with all of that. No matter what I do, my squats always feel more fatiguing of the glutes, hip flexors and lower back, even if the quads are still involved.

    Additionally, I'd also say that if the squat itself isn't deemed sufficient for quad recruitment, then following that reasoning to its conclusion is the way to go, and someone should just do leg extensions on a machine if they're trying to isolate at all. I don't think that's going to yield the best stimulus overall, but at least it would be local.

    Why do what is essentially an assisted squat in order to isolate the quads, if that movement pattern is not ideal for isolating them, and better local stimulus could be achieved with leg extensions anyway?
    I think a solid overall routine should still be built around multijoint movements as the guy just doing leg extensions would lose out on the overall muscle recruitment and potential health benefits (e.g. cardiovascular benefits)

    You could argue that he could also accomplish that by cutting out leg presses and instead do more cardio and a lot more isolations to replace what he loses from dropping multijoint movements from his program but that seems like a weird and time-inefficient programming choice.

    I also think there are benefits to doing movements where you load your leg in a bent position whereas with leg extensions the resistance is greatest with legs straight so I’d expect there to be some knee health benefit to doing squats/leg press over leg extensions

    I personally prefer ATG split squats as a compound to target the quads btw :P
    Last edited by EiFit91; 05-10-2022 at 11:12 AM.
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    Originally Posted by EiFit91 View Post
    I think a solid overall routine should still be built around multijoint movements as the guy just doing leg extensions would lose out on the overall muscle recruitment and potential health benefits (e.g. cardiovascular benefits)

    You could argue that he could also accomplish that by cutting out leg presses and instead do more cardio and a lot more isolations to replace what he loses from dropping multijoint movements from his program but that seems like a weird and time-inefficient programming choice.

    I also think there are benefits to doing movements where you load your leg in a bent position whereas with leg extensions the resistance is greatest with legs straight so I’d expect there to be some knee health benefit to doing squats/leg press over leg extensions

    I personally prefer ATG split squats as a compound to target the quads btw :P
    Oh, I certainly think a freeweight squat should be primary, but was just following that line of reasoning to its natural conclusion.

    I belong more to the school of thought that one should have built up an intermediate base of strength everywhere before isolation work becomes anything less than secondary or optional.
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    Originally Posted by EliKoehn View Post
    Oh, I certainly think a freeweight squat should be primary, but was just following that line of reasoning to its natural conclusion.

    I belong more to the school of thought that one should have built up an intermediate base of strength everywhere before isolation work becomes anything less than secondary or optional.
    I am not sure the reductio ad absurdum works though as it assumes that the guy only cares about his quads. From that perspective the argument works but if the person just wants to increase emphasis on the quads within the context of his overall program I think it makes sense to rely on a combination of multijoint and isolation movements.
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    Originally Posted by EiFit91 View Post
    I am not sure the reductio ad absurdum works though as it assumes that the guy only cares about his quads. From that perspective the argument works but if the person just wants to increase emphasis on the quads within the context of his overall program I think it makes sense to rely on a combination of multijoint and isolation movements.
    Well, it seemed implicit that freeweight squats are not preferred because of their holistic aspects (ergo isolation is the way to go across the board), but maybe I'm reading that into it, in which case you're certainly right in my book.

    The squat is just such a demanding lift for me. For anyone, it takes some mental toughness to challenge yourself with it, but the lift mechanics do seem to come more naturally for some and not for others.

    For longevity of mobility, it's probably one of the most important lifts you can do: imagine someone safely and regularly squatting in one's 70s and 80s. That person probably will never lose the ability to walk while they are alive, and while this is a guess, I don't think leg extensions themselves would confer the same benefit.
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    Originally Posted by EliKoehn View Post
    Well, it seemed implicit that freeweight squats are not preferred because of their holistic aspects (ergo isolation is the way to go across the board), but maybe I'm reading that into it, in which case you're certainly right in my book.

    The squat is just such a demanding lift for me. For anyone, it takes some mental toughness to challenge yourself with it, but the lift mechanics do seem to come more naturally for some and not for others.

    For longevity of mobility, it's probably one of the most important lifts you can do: imagine someone safely and regularly squatting in one's 70s and 80s. That person probably will never lose the ability to walk while they are alive, and while this is a guess, I don't think leg extensions themselves would confer the same benefit.
    Leg extensions by themselves? Possibly not. Even though they do make the quads stronger.

    Why people still dispute their usefulness in that regard I’ll never know.

    Will it carry over to your squat? As far as the movement goes no it will not. You still have to practice the movement. Will it help with extending the knee out of the hole until the glutes take over to extend the hip? Yes it will.

    Unless you’re one of the weirdos who INSIST on squatting as low as possible even though the lower you go the more your quads LOSE tension and your adductors are the muscle responsible for digging you out.

    I squatted “ATG” (whoever made that term up needs to be dug up and kicked in the balls IMO) for my first time seriously training after lockdowns were lifted because I didn’t know any better. All I got out of it was adductor strains and hip pain. Stopping just below parallel (hamstrings on gastrocs) fixed that.
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    Originally Posted by BeginnerGainz View Post
    Leg extensions by themselves? Possibly not. Even though they do make the quads stronger.

    Why people still dispute their usefulness in that regard I’ll never know.

    Will it carry over to your squat? As far as the movement goes no it will not. You still have to practice the movement. Will it help with extending the knee out of the hole until the glutes take over to extend the hip? Yes it will.

    Unless you’re one of the weirdos who INSIST on squatting as low as possible even though the lower you go the more your quads LOSE tension and your adductors are the muscle responsible for digging you out.

    I squatted “ATG” (whoever made that term up needs to be dug up and kicked in the balls IMO) for my first time seriously training after lockdowns were lifted because I didn’t know any better. All I got out of it was adductor strains and hip pain. Stopping just below parallel (hamstrings on gastrocs) fixed that.
    No, I'm not interested in maximal ATG squats, but that mostly has to do with the fact that I'm more interested in amateur powerlifting (and might compete soon just for fun even though my stats are beginner level in the sport), so just below parallel is what I would aim for. Paused ATG as a training variation is something I've done a couple of times and would like to incorporate more regularly, but not as main work. Also, the more advanced calisthenics stuff that EiFit does are something it would behoove me to become acquainted with.

    I also agree that leg extensions are really important, because if your leverages are such that a maximal squat fries the glutes, hip flexors, etc., while your quads are only getting 70% of the work they could, they will never be built up completely, and focusing on them specifically will also mean that they can bring more into the squat itself. A more ignorant me a year or two ago would probably not have appreciated the importance of this.
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    He takes some of his home brew bio mechanics a bit too far, much like isreatel does with his stuff.. But generally, i can't disagree that ant loaded squats aren't more quad in general.
    Originally Posted by BeginnerGainz View Post
    Leg extensions by themselves? Possibly not. Even though they do make the quads stronger.

    Why people still dispute their usefulness in that regard I’ll never know.

    Will it carry over to your squat? As far as the movement goes no it will not. You still have to practice the movement. Will it help with extending the knee out of the hole until the glutes take over to extend the hip? Yes it will.

    Unless you’re one of the weirdos who INSIST on squatting as low as possible even though the lower you go the more your quads LOSE tension and your adductors are the muscle responsible for digging you out.

    I squatted “ATG” (whoever made that term up needs to be dug up and kicked in the balls IMO) for my first time seriously training after lockdowns were lifted because I didn’t know any better. All I got out of it was adductor strains and hip pain. Stopping just below parallel (hamstrings on gastrocs) fixed that.
    I can build my Squat with skill work and leg extensions.. Not a big deal that at all. And tension on the quads doesn't really matter squatting deep, it still stretches and loads the quads through a lengthened state, the adductors only 'take over' if your ass kicks back with too much load. Keep knees forward out of the hole and it's irrelevant.

    Ass kicking back and quads not being able to hang is usually a load management issue ime. For hyp the trch<load.
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    Kassem designed the new Atlantis Hack Squat Pro, and then did a study on banded hack squats.

    The idea that you can use a multijoint compound movement that heavily favors quads, combined with the ability top load way more weight than you could parallel squat, makes for likely the best quad mass builder overall.

    Just putting it this way, lets say you normally squat 315 lbs for reps. Add 90 lbs of bands from the top of the hack squat, and add more plates. Now you're hitting 315 lbs equivalent at the bottom of the rep, but 405 lbs equivalent at the top of the rep. I'm assuming you correctly calculate the actual load depending on the angle of your hack squat machine.



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    Originally Posted by EliKoehn View Post
    Well, it seemed implicit that freeweight squats are not preferred because of their holistic aspects (ergo isolation is the way to go across the board), but maybe I'm reading that into it, in which case you're certainly right in my book.

    The squat is just such a demanding lift for me. For anyone, it takes some mental toughness to challenge yourself with it, but the lift mechanics do seem to come more naturally for some and not for others.

    For longevity of mobility, it's probably one of the most important lifts you can do: imagine someone safely and regularly squatting in one's 70s and 80s. That person probably will never lose the ability to walk while they are alive, and while this is a guess, I don't think leg extensions themselves would confer the same benefit.
    I think there's a difference between wanting to increase emphasis on the quads within the context of your overall program (so say increasing the growth rate of the quads compared to the rest of your body) and only caring about quad growth in which case one may as well just do isolation work and drop compound work. In the latter case one could do a reductio ad absurdum on the position that you should leg press instead of squats as it would follow that one could might as well drop compounds altogether - and that argument would be compelling if it worked, that's why I spent some time thinking about it!

    But in the former case I think it makes sense to argue for movements like the leg press, depending on the anatomy of the lifter. The lifter has a lot of different goals and an importance weight attached to each goal, and while swapping leg press for leg extensions could be better for one of those different goals (quad growth) it would be inferior for a lot of other goals (e.g. cardiovascular health, mobility, growth in other body parts). So from this perspective if the aim is to increase quad growth, it would make more sense to rely on a combination of compounds and isolations than to just add more isolation movements.

    I am sort of thinking of this as a kind of microeconomic optimization problem lol, so say we have two options A and B where A is to swap compounds for isolations and B is to instead use leg presses to further target the quads. And the lifter has a "time budget" to spend over different exercises. Say the guy who swaps out compounds for isolations (option A) could increase his quad growth by 10%, but the cost of that would be to lose 10% on overall total body growth and 5% of cardiovascular fitness and that cost would need to be compensated for by adding more isolation volume and some cardiovascular exercise, which wouldn't be possible if we are already spending all of our time budget in both options. And the guy who relies on leg press (option B) maybe increases his quad growth by 5% but loses 0% on total body growth and 0% of his cardiovascular fitness. So viewed as an optimization problem like this it's not obvious that the lifter's utility would be higher from option A than option B and that's why I feel the reductio ad absurdum doesn't immediately work, it requires further assumptions - on the lifter's preferences and how the two options affect the various different goals he cares about. For instance in this framework you add the assumption that the lifter only cares about his quads and nothing else, it immediately follows that option A is superior. But no bodybuilder has preferences like this.

    On the mobility point: Obviously they are better than doing nothing and I agree they are superior to isolations. But if you do them to parallell or slightly below you are not working your mobility at all in a large ROM and it would be better for long term mobility to work in a larger ROM.
    Last edited by EiFit91; 05-10-2022 at 10:53 PM.
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    Originally Posted by EliKoehn View Post
    Also, the more advanced calisthenics stuff that EiFit does are something it would behoove me to become acquainted with.
    .
    I think I'd barely be concerned intermediate as far as calisthenics goes. Advanced would be stuff like one armed chinups, full front lever pullups, free standing handstand pushups etc.

    It doesn't help that I am "heavyweight" from a bodyweight training perspective.

    Concerning barbell training and calisthenics I've found that there's good carryover both ways. For instance after training barbell rows for a while I noticed that I found it easier to get into a proper position for the rows in the other thread than it was before.

    The only movement where I've found no carryover at all is pistol squats. It's a crappy exercise. And it's actually easier to do them weighted because the weight helps you balance lol
    Last edited by EiFit91; 05-11-2022 at 04:41 AM.
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    Kasseem has some interesting exercises, but if I were to do them half of the gym would probably hate me for taking up their space.

    I tried some of the delt/tricep stuff on cable that he recommends and hmmm... mixed feeeling... maybe it's my technique.
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    Originally Posted by Camarija View Post
    Kassem designed the new Atlantis Hack Squat Pro, and then did a study on banded hack squats.

    The idea that you can use a multijoint compound movement that heavily favors quads, combined with the ability top load way more weight than you could parallel squat, makes for likely the best quad mass builder overall.

    Just putting it this way, lets say you normally squat 315 lbs for reps. Add 90 lbs of bands from the top of the hack squat, and add more plates. Now you're hitting 315 lbs equivalent at the bottom of the rep, but 405 lbs equivalent at the top of the rep. I'm assuming you correctly calculate the actual load depending on the angle of your hack squat machine.



    Here's the awesome new atlantis hack squat pro

    As Everyone knows.... ill put bands on EVERYTHING! bars, machines bodies.

    I love the rev banded hack, done it for years for clients - my opinion is its NOT BETTER than just using it normally.

    And im not convinced the science kas argues is actually all that sound, or at least their isnt enough data that lines up with it.
    *its arguable that* Given the data suggests that more work done at the lengthened position is the biggest stimulus and this limits total work done at that position by exhausting you muscle quicker and getting less of the harder work at the bottom where its most productive

    kas even accepted he doesnt actually have a concrete data much past anecdote and theory and that his knees are shot and its better for him. (totally valid btw)

    But im HUGE on variations for countering overuse issues, to change the stimulus and to give slightly different regional hypertrophy, biasing proximal or distal/mid... and this is definitely a case for it been useful, and ill certainly still do this stuff (when done appropriately for person and situation)

    aint no holy grail tho.
    FMH crew - Couch.

    If a post sounds like N=1 and that they have no experience coaching anyone but them selves?

    Do the math. You ain't that person, their experience probably isn't going to be yours. Can still be useful for inspiration - try things, follow athlete response and track trends In your training.
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