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My experience with heavy squats
#1
My leg training used to revolve around heavy, low rep squats. I went over 190kg for 2 reps on back squats and over 145kg on fronts, with a bw fluctuating between 80 and 85kg, not great for but not bad either. Then I started training in a residential gym with no squat rack, for lack of options I did a lot of single leg exercises (DB bulgarian squat in special) and goblet squats for high reps (front squats holding a DB in the chest). My knees and hips started to feel a lot better and I dare to say that my legs may have even improved in this time, since now I felt that I was really overloading my leg muscles rather than moving the heaviest weight possible (sometimes the back being the limiting factor).
Now that the gym has a squat rack I started to squat again, but I decided to keep indefinitely using a weight a little over bw (I usually weight between 80 and 85kgs, so I use 40kg per side since I estimate the bar being 8-10kgs) for both back and front squats and do a resonable number of reps, usually after other leg exercise (such as bulgarian SQ or Leg Press). Since the weight is not the focus anymore, I can keep extra strict: slowing the way down, good ROM, not resting breathing at the top, etc...
That way I can keep the mass that my genetic potential allow, my legs are in good shape strength and endurance wise for whathever I want to do and more importantly I'm pain free. 
One thing that is not "functional" is moving around with hip and knee pain.
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#2
(01-13-2020, 09:02 PM)Mass_Bixo Wrote: One thing that is not "functional" is moving around with hip and knee pain.
Every strength elitist needs to hear this.
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#3
Had the same experience when i tore my bicep tendon 6 months ago. Still trained my legs after surgery. But could only do 185-225 for reps. Did this for a few months and my knees never felt better. Compared to when I used to chase number constantly lifting heavy.
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#4
There is no point going heavy.

Either you have good leg genetics - natural legs (you see these guys fairly often - mostly they lack in other areas). In which case training legs for hypertrophy (the real goal) is a dream and often these guys barely train their thighs (if they also have big calves then they hardly train them either).

Or you have bad leg genetics no amount of high reps/low heavy reps/supersets/pre-exhaust is gonna make them hypertrophy to a substantial degree.

Even if you manage to build some muscle on them, the legs tend to turn into chicken legs as a natty if you decide to go on diet and get lean (below 15% bf). Of course the guys with natural legs will not lose much size when they diet because their legs are more muscle than fat. However like I said earlier their training matters very little on their leg size.

Another reason not to train heavy for legs if you have bad genetics is that heavy squats grow the glutes like nothing else. Nothing looks more unaesthetic than a guy with a big butt and upper thighs but diminishing muscle around the knee and no calves (resembling drumsticks).

No matter what camp you fall into its better to keep leg training to a minimum (1 x week), one or two exercises for moderate weight. Focus on upper body hypertrophy instead (broad shoulders, chest, traps, arms) - after all its the V-taper that attracts women not the wobbling quads when you walk around at 20% bf.

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#5
(01-15-2020, 03:24 PM)Brett Wrote: There is no point going heavy.

Either you have good leg genetics - natural legs (you see these guys fairly often - mostly they lack in other areas). In which case training legs for hypertrophy (the real goal) is a dream and often these guys barely train their thighs (if they also have big calves then they hardly train them either).

Or you have bad leg genetics no amount of high reps/low heavy reps/supersets/pre-exhaust is gonna make them hypertrophy to a substantial degree.

Even if you manage to build some muscle on them, the legs tend to turn into chicken legs as a natty if you decide to go on diet and get lean (below 15% bf). Of course the guys with natural legs will not lose much size when they diet because their legs are more muscle than fat. However like I said earlier their training matters very little on their leg size.

Another reason not to train heavy for legs if you have bad genetics is that heavy squats grow the glutes like nothing else. Nothing looks more unaesthetic than a guy with a big butt and upper thighs but diminishing muscle around the knee and no calves (resembling drumsticks).

No matter what camp you fall into its better to keep leg training to a minimum (1 x week), one or two exercises for moderate weight. Focus on upper body hypertrophy instead (broad shoulders, chest, traps, arms) - after all its the V-taper that attracts women not the wobbling quads when you walk around at 20% bf.

In research looking at rugby players who were 21 years old, 5’11 and 195 pounds, the average thigh at it’s widest point was 24.5 inches in circumference, at mid thigh (mid way between the knee cap and hip) the thigh was 22 inches, and bottom of the thigh, down near the knee was 16.5 inches… so it may be this ‘right above the knee measurement’ that biases us towards thinking a thigh is big or small.
So even if you are 5’10” and have 25 inch thighs at their largest, they may still look ‘smallish’ if the majority of the mass is up closer to your butt as opposed to down by your knee.
Also, it seems that the thigh is viewed relative to your hips and waist, so big butt or big waist (either by being overweight or muscular imbalance) will make you thigh look smaller by comparison.

https://bradpilon.com/weight-loss/never-skip-leg-day/
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#6
My experience is 3 (2 severely, 1 meh) herniated discs in the lumbar spine. Deadlifts probably just added to the insult. 

Anyway, what I've learnt the hard way is that training your legs through loading your spine isn't the smartest idea. Now I focus on lunges, bridges and hamstring curls as main legs exercises and my legs didn't shrink.
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