Saturday, April 19, 2008

Leg Press 2:1 Ratio

I have been lamenting about my deficient leg press abilities. I know that my leg strength is uneven but what I did not know was by how much. I thought the leg press machine could provide me with concrete data. I called my sister and asked her if I could use her home gym. When I arrived, she showed me how the equipment and the weight plates worked. She has a Body Solid home gym. She went back upstairs and left me to work out. I did a few warm up sets and started to increase the weight. I was disappointed and confused by the results.

Over the next few weeks, I worked on increasing the weight of my leg press. I even consulted my PT with the results. It was a good conversation but I could not help feeling as if she was a bit concerned. I had no idea what I was able to leg press prior to ACLr. The last time I used a leg press was my senior year in high school. I signed up for the track team because there was not a girl's softball team. I was terrible. I started as a triple jumper and was also assigned to throw shot put. The coach was just trying to fill the spots so he sent me to the weight room.

I searched the Internet to find out what people are able to leg press. I found that Madeline Albright could leg press 400 pounds and that Pat Robertson could leg press 2,000 pounds. Many weight lifting sites would argue the value of a leg press as compared to a squat. There is a leg press test that evaluates athletes lower body strength. Finally, I researched leg press machines and how they work. For those familiar with gym equipment, you can start laughing now at my naivete. I made an interesting discovery. Some home gym leg press machines work on a 2:1 ratio. I immediately called my sister and asked her if her leg press was a 2:1 ratio. She did not know but she gave me the make and model of her machine. I quickly discovered that my 60 lb single leg press was actually 120 lbs. Thank goodness!


Nonblond said...

Wow, good to know. I would have made the same mistake!

Hack Shaft said...

Hey, for a creative alternative, stand at a wall with an inflated exercise ball in the small of your back. Slowly squat and step out slightly to a 90 degree bend in your knees, optionally holding that position before stepping back and standing up.

The exercise ball gives you an unstable surface, working those core stability muscles you want for good poses during kata!

Lather, rinse, repeat.

And remember, much of martial arts is based on power and explosive strikes, which doesn't equate to strength!