A very happy new year from anandspeak | live smart. Hope the new year has rolled out smoothly so far. It has been quite an exciting ride for me. One of the biggest items for me this year is to work and increase my leg strength/size. In the last couple of months, I have been experimenting with different techniques and exercises, but with very limited success.
Squats are the greatest method known to the body building world, that can bestow great strength/mass to the leg muscles. But unfortunately, in my gym, i do not have a power rack for doing old school squats. As a substitute, I have been trying free squats, dumbbell squats, lunges, stair climbing, etc. All these did make a significant contribution in my overall endurance, but my original goal of massive thighs still remained a distant dream.
Due to the equipment limitations in my gym, I am usually forced to apply my mind and try to innovate solutions. For example, due to lack of a leg extension machine, I started mimicking the leg extension movement by holding a dumbbell between my feet, while seated on a pec-dec machine. And it has been quite effective. During one my random research sessions, I came across this exercise called ‘box squats‘ it is a modified squat movement where you place a box underneath you and while you lower the weight, you sit on the box. And them in one swift motion, you push the weight up and stand up using your quadriceps. Now the original illustration showed doing this exercise doing this exercise using a power rack and a box – in fact this was reason for my initial frustration as I did not have power rack 😦 in the first place. I started to think and came up with a very effective modified version of the box squat using the flat bench.
Now the flat bench (typically used for bench press) is quite high for box squats, at its normal position. But my gym has an adjustable bench and I set the bench to one notch lower than flat; set the weight holders to 5 notches out. And voila!. My indigenous box squat infrastructure was ready. This provided just enough height in the sitting position, where my hips were lower than my knees (for added intensity). It also provided me with the convenience of loading up on weight, without the hassle of doing a ‘clean & jerk‘ from the floor first (wasting precious energy) and then working the squat movement.
The biggest pain of doing squats without a power rack (other than lifting the weight off the floor) was, that at the end of the set, there was hardly any energy left to jerk back the weight over my head, to the front and then slowly keep it back on the floor, along with the added risk of injury.
My improvised setup for the boxed squat had me so excited that I was able to push 6 reps on the 4th set with 154lbs (70kg) on day one. Really brought back fond memories of the good old days. Now my goal is to quickly cross the 220lbs (100kg) mental block and get massive thighs in 6-8 weeks time frame!
If you are also one of those enthusiastic folks who are faced with a similar predicament of limited gym equipment, hope this post is of some help.
Do share your wonderful thoughts in the comments section.
Once again, wishing you and your family a happy & prosperous 2013.