Monday, November 18, 2013

Springy Legs

I used to have springy legs. I was never a great tumbler but, for the times, I wasn't that bad, and for the average person I could soar. I was fast and could touch the rim of a basketball hoop at 5'5". I had a wicked volleyball game as well and love to bounce of the trampoline and diving board.
That changed pretty much after my knee injury in '74 but not THAT much. The knee worked fairly well for another ten years and I could still run hard in 1987 if I wanted to.

I got into bike racing because I wanted quads like the pro cyclists I saw, all lean muscle and vascularity.

As a bodybuilder I was obsessed with my quads and worked them harder than any other bodypart.

When I shifted to powerlifting and sitting back in my squats, ostensibly to 'save' my knees I didn't realize how much I was giving up by not training my quads and , really, over developing my posterior chain.

Then it was too late for my knee to actually work anywhere near right and when I discovered kbs it was all I could do to just swing and be happy with that. And I was. There was no getting on my toes anymore and that's where most of the above movements took place; from the bouncing in my tumbling, to the foot position on the bike, to the weight distribution on my foot in my bodybuilder high bar squats. hack squats and leg press and other quad exercises.

But now that I can train my legs again I don't want to make the same mistakes. I wants endurance in my legs, able to hike for hours. And I want some spring in my step, and my legs and the squats and leg movements I do have to prepare that. I don't want to grind grind grind like I did in powerlifting and have legs with absolute strength but no 'looseness' to them, no springy ness :)

Today was a revelation. I've been doing a LOT of quad work, everyday, alternating close stance dynamic stretching( like mobility work) close stance lunging and static stretching days with at least three different stances. And it's working - my ROM is coming along nicely about 123 degrees and I know now that I must keep my weight in the middle of my foot for my leg work and really get my quads back.

I have spent plenty of time on my heels with my power squats and kb swings. Now it's time for a new balance point and it feels right.

I've also grown tired of just grind presses and have tried to do push presses a few time but it just didn't work. It killed my knee and my back didn't like it because of that.
But today was different.

I put my vintage Adidas black and whites on today and thought " cheat the weight up" and it worked like a charm.Just as I had hoped. Using my quads to bypass the 'icky' first part of a dead stop press which just kills the shoulder. Just like in a bench press. It's strong but it's no fun, and I'm not convinced too good for you too. Especially past a certain point. Or age.

Here's my first set with a 28 kg

This felt great.

I did this;
16 kg x 3/3 x 2
20 kg x 3/3
24 kg x 2/2
28 kg x 2/2 x 5 sets
24 kg x 5/5 x 2 sets

this was great! I could have kept on going but thought better of it. No shoulder pain it was fun throwing the weight around for a change.

KB squat cleans

I was going to just do front squat but thought that since my 'springy' squat stretches in the mornings are going so well at increasing ROM perhaps this version of the squat would do the same as well. It went way better than expected! I need to pull the left leg in closer after watching the tape, but the movement really lends it self to a very 'stretchy' squatting motion for me and my legs and knees liked it a lot.

The shoes felt perfect
16 kg x 3 x 2
16 kg x 5 x 3 sets

kept feeling better but again, it's a totally new movement so I stopped short.

4 laps of 30, 20, 15, 15 sets

wow! those were tough! Have to do these more

backwards crawling
3 laps of 10 feet.

even harder! but everything stayed in place.

bodyblade laterals 3 x 10 /10
 rear delts with bands 3 x 15  blue band

this was a great workout, hopefully I can walk and shave tomorrow and then we'll see.:)



Kikolu said...

I really enjoyed that post! I am myself addicted to legwork. I´m a cyclist and now riding a recumbent bike. man, that gets the leg a good working. I believe not in leg strength work for 1RM-strength but more in "legs that never quit" work: Running, CYCLING (uphill), running long windsprints uphill, rucking, jumping a long staircase, distance lunging (try it out) or the leg matrix (are u able to do it now since surgery?).

Mark Reifkind said...


thanks for the reply. I don't know what the matrix is but I'm intrigued. I'm getting more and more into different kinds of leg work every day but the most important thing right now is increasing knee ROM in flexion. so everything is geared towards that.
want to start hiking ( rucking) soon too.

Kikolu said...

the matrix is:

20 squats
20 lunges each leg
20 split jumps (jump lunges)
20 jump squats

for time maybe

Diana said...

I really liked how those squat cleans looked and, frankly, never heard of them....thanks for posting the video, I did some today!