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Squat Controversy-Ken Leistner
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SteveHIT

http://www.gridironincny.com/...sh/ken/ken.html

Putting the Squat Exercise Controversy To Rest
by Dr. Ken Leistner

On April 22, 2000, I agreed to allow my training partners to videotape one of my workouts. This was done for two purposes, both I believed, to be worthwhile. First and foremost, my children were anxious to have a tape of my training session, something to add to the family collection, something to remember me by in future years. It would be meaningful for them because it would have captured me doing something I enjoy, perhaps more than other things I do. It was also an opportunity to help raise needed funds for the Lakeview Youth Federation. LYF has been my "other work" for over twenty five years. A group of dedicated adults, almost all with a "street related" background, spend a lot of time funding, organizing, sponsoring, and directing educational, cultural, and athletic programs that benefit the young people in the community. We pay for college scholarships, books, and clothing for deserving students; send children to summer camp; organize food and clothing collections during the holiday seasons; direct the largest indoor high school track meet in the United States every year; and plow any profits directly back into the community. We even started and funded the Little League baseball program in the late 1970s. Charles Nanton, LYF founder and president, thought we could hawk the tape and add money to the coffers.

Unfortunately, a legal problem involving music copyright law prevented us from selling the tape although I have given a number of them as gifts. The editor of the cyberpump site asked if he could show a clip of the deep knee bend. It was to be done without the music of course, which also negated my many curses and comments so that one would not truly understand how very hard the set was for me, as was the entire workout. We agreed, however, that it would probably be enjoyable for his site visitors. It has produced a firestorm of controversy that is not at all understandable to those dedicated coaches and trainees that are not part of the so called HIT community, slightly understandable to those like me who realize that there are some who have wedded their understanding of training to a very narrow interpretation of exercise performance, and a source of humor for most who know me and who have trained with me. While no one is owded an explanation, there are many who see me as a public figure and who are influenced as such, thus, this attempt at clarification, one that should put the matter to rest.


My definition of what has been termed High Intensity Training is quite simple and has been published numerous time. If you train hard enough to stimulate changes in your physiology, you will have to train very hard, so hard that you will then have to limit frequency and volume of training. This is a more concise summary than some I have used previously, but it serves the purpose. Its hard training with the emphasis on the effort put forth in each set, taking a weight you have achieved a certain number of reps with last time and forcing yourself to get more, this next time. You then get enough recovery time to benefit from that session and approach the next one. Rep speed HAS NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with that definition. If your definition however, involves rep speed, that's fine with me except, and this is a major exception, it first needs to include the provisio that one is training "all out" or we will not agree on the definition of hard or high intensity training. To maximize the potential of each rep, one should create tension in the muscle. Despite widespread misunderstanding of this point, this does not mean one uses a specific or particular speed of movement. It means, in my opinion, that you move so that you don't become injured and create tension in the muscle. Relative to potential limb speed, even an Olympic lifter cannot move a loaded barbell "fast". If your definition of proper training includes the admonition that nothing move, including one's eyelids other than the working body part, it may or may not be realistic and it may or may not be productive. The emphasis has just been shifted from "hard, all out work" to something else and in my opinion, the quality of the workout has just suffered. I will repeat what was noted in a previous issue of the Hard Training Newsletter: for decades if not a century of strength training, rep speed or cadence was a NON FACTOR, a NON CONSIDERATION. Yet many many men, without the use of drugs, became tremendously strong and well muscled.

In our early days at Nautilus, the emphasis was on some of the hardest work one could imagine, work that brought almost all of the involved trainees to their physical limit each session, and to the point of vomiting and illness. We all grew stronger and benefitted. If one is using a machine, it is certainly easier to "control" the resistance than it is with a barbell or dumbell and in fact, this is one of the supposed disadvantages cited by those who don't agree with the use of machines in the training of competitive athletes. With a barbell, one has to accommodate for their own leverage factors and bodily proportions. One has to be able to stabilize their body and its position under load. One has to find what is safe technique for them. I prefer that all dumbbell pressing overhead be done with palms facing each other to reduce rotation of the humerus during the movement. I have some trainees who cannot comfortably do that, or safely do that due to their proportions or the way in which their muscles attach from origin to insertion.

I believe too that one has to squat if they can, as it is the most difficult and demanding exercise one can do. If this is so, it also becomes the most potentially productive exercise one can do. I don't believe one can squat "slowly". One can and should squat "rhythmically" with enough body lean and movement to maximize their leverages and maintain what is for them, a safe position and this is what they should do. This is what I do when I squat, especially when I squat heavily. Remember, one DOES NOT EVER SQUAT "UPRIGHT". There must be some body lean (without rounding the back) so that the hips are behind the bar, the upper body and lower body are aligned so that the resistance can be counterbalanced, and most importantly, so that the hips "have some place to go" as they are driven forward as one comes out of the bottom position. If one tries to stay literally upright, the hips cannot be moved forward and one cannot then squat with a weight that will stimulate changes in their body.

Anyone versed in orthopedics will state that you NEVER PAUSE ON THE BOTTOM POSITION OF A SQUAT with a loaded barbell. The so called pause squat done by powerlifters is ill advised as this places forces on the collateral ligaments that can be dangerous. Recoiling under load, at very fast speeds can also be potentially damaging if there is no attempt to keep the muscles in the buttocks and thighs "tight". If one goes to the bottom position without first properly "setting" or aligning their bodyparts and does so quickly, there is potential for injury. I squat the way trainees have been squatting since the beginning of the century; under control, tight abs, butt, thighs, and low back. If you watch a skilled Olympic lifter squat clean and come off the bottom, that is an example of recoil and as much as I don't like that kind of training, the injuries they get are often not caused by that maneuver.

Thus, the criticisms of my squat focused on two major points; I supposedly went 'too fast" which I will disagree with because I went fast enough to make it safe for me, and I paused between reps. Now, I did not rack the bar between reps, I stood with the weight and attempted to force air into my lungs. If you are squatting with a weight that DOES NOT FORCE YOU TO BREATHE HEAVILY BETWEEN REPS, you are not squatting in a demanding manner and thus, in my opinion, are not squatting productively. You are supposed to breathe between reps, you are supposed to need to breathe between reps, and do so while holding your body position.

This episode is an example of taking one aspect of training and emphasizing it to the extent that you have now altered the entire activity. I won't pat myself on the back but I'm smart enough and I've been around the game long enough to know that few would want to squat 407x23 nor would they train hard and consistently enough to actually be able to. For me, its a natural extension of my forty years of training and a repeat of something I've done numerous times in the past. The tried and true emphasis on hard work, remains effective for the average trainee. It works for those with differing philosophies. If your definition of productive training includes anything other than an emphasis on hard work, you are selling yourself short.

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dhitquinn

Great article Steve, enjoy it while it lasts before its hijacked and turned into one about the leg extension
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SB2006

Dr. Ken's April 2000 workout is phenomenal! It is truly inspirational. The 407 lb. Squat for 23 reps at a BW 0f 160 and age 53 is out of this world!! Dr. Ken is the epitome of extreme strength and toughness!!!
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Michael Petrella

Ontario, CAN

Dr. Ken seems to be on a short list of guys who really get it. I can't wait to read all his steel tips.
Anything people have online regarding Dr. Ken should be posted on this thread.
We will all benefit.

Michael
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Bastion

ddhitquinn wrote:
Great article Steve, enjoy it while it lasts before its hijacked and turned into one about the leg extension


Or before it turns into a pissing match about rep speeds, or squats VS leg presses.
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Bastion

Michael Petrella wrote:
Dr. Ken seems to be on a short list of guys who really get it. I can't wait to read all his steel tips.
Anything people have online regarding Dr. Ken should be posted on this thread.
We will all benefit.

Michael


Absolutely!.

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SteveHIT

Michael Petrella wrote:
Anything people have online regarding Dr. Ken should be posted on this thread.
We will all benefit.

Michael


Agreed.

http://hammproductions.com/.../www/drken.html

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SteveHIT

Classic Doctor Ken (Shop Cart Pull)

http://www.gridironincny.com/.../ken2/ken2.html

Sensible Training - A Logical Approach to Size and Strength by Dr. Ken E. Leistner

http://www.cyberpump.com/...view/sense.html

UNIQUE TRAINING TIPS FROM DR. KEN

http://www.naturalstrength.com/...-dr-ken-by.html

Squat Perspective-Ken E. Leistner

http://www.bodybuilding.com/.../cyberpump2.htm
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Crotalus

I can't wait to read all his steel tips.
Anything people have online regarding Dr. Ken should be posted on this thread.
We will all benefit.


Not discrediting others who write about high intensity training , but in my opinion the Steel Tip was the best thing ever written on this style of training.

But his squatting with 407 X 23 .... didn't he go too fast and used some wood plates in there ? I read that somewhere , but can't remember where .

I'd like to see how many leg extensions he could do at an 8/8 cadence ... WITHOUT the cursing, spitting and vile language. I was very offended with that. His friends watching were very rude too ... yelling and shit ... terrible behavior at a workout.

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natemason5

Ontario, CAN

Yeah..Wow! He is straight to the point. Makes you think...
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natemason5

Ontario, CAN

Crotalus wrote:
I can't wait to read all his steel tips.
Anything people have online regarding Dr. Ken should be posted on this thread.
We will all benefit.


Not discrediting others who write about high intensity training , but in my opinion the Steel Tip was the best thing ever written on this style of training.

But his squatting with 407 X 23 .... didn't he go too fast and used some wood plates in there ? I read that somewhere , but can't remember where .

I'd like to see how many leg extensions he could do at an 8/8 cadence ... WITHOUT the cursing, spitting and vile language. I was very offended with that. His friends watching were very rude too ... yelling and shit ... terrible behavior at a workout.



Too fast for what? Why criticize? It's his gym! If I had my own gym I wouldn't be nearly as well-mannered as I am at my commercial gym. I probably wouldn't spit on my own floor, but I've never tried 407 for 23 reps. His friends were supporting him.

Leg extensions? Let's give that one a rest...please.

Nate
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SteveHIT

natemason5 wrote:
Too fast for what? Why criticize? It's his gym! If I had my own gym I wouldn't be nearly as well-mannered as I am at my commercial gym. I probably wouldn't spit on my own floor, but I've never tried 407 for 23 reps. His friends were supporting him.

Leg extensions? Let's give that one a rest...please.

Nate


Its sarcasm Nate.

Steve
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FiremanBob

Thank you for posting that excellent article and the followup references. This is valuable stuff.

Unlike 90% of the posts on this board.
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SteveHIT

FiremanBob wrote:
Thank you for posting that excellent article and the followup references. This is valuable stuff.

Unlike 90% of the posts on this board.


No problem,

I especially like this part of the article "for decades if not a century of strength training, rep speed or cadence was a NON FACTOR, a NON CONSIDERATION. Yet many many men, without the use of drugs, became tremendously strong and well muscled."
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natemason5

Ontario, CAN

stevehit wrote:
natemason5 wrote:
Too fast for what? Why criticize? It's his gym! If I had my own gym I wouldn't be nearly as well-mannered as I am at my commercial gym. I probably wouldn't spit on my own floor, but I've never tried 407 for 23 reps. His friends were supporting him.

Leg extensions? Let's give that one a rest...please.

Nate

Its sarcasm Nate.

Steve


It's funny how I can't pick up on the sarcasm on the internet. Tough to know when people are joking...

Nate
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BIO-FORCE

California, USA

stevehit wrote:
FiremanBob wrote:
Thank you for posting that excellent article and the followup references. This is valuable stuff.

Unlike 90% of the posts on this board.

No problem,

I especially like this part of the article "for decades if not a century of strength training, rep speed or cadence was a NON FACTOR, a NON CONSIDERATION. Yet many many men, without the use of drugs, became tremendously strong and well muscled."


Dr. Ken is correct and the reason is trainees used an intuitive effort and speed to their training relative to their set goals.

The focus on a particular "congruent" rep cadence for each rep is a rather new direction.

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MDieguez

As impressive as those full squats were ( 407 x 23), how about the overhead presses of 253 x 4 or at the vey end of the workout curling what is approx. bodyweight ( 155) for strict reps.
Mike
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SteveHIT

MDieguez wrote:
As impressive as those full squats were ( 407 x 23), how about the overhead presses of 253 x 4 or at the vey end of the workout curling what is approx. bodyweight ( 155) for strict reps.
Mike


Good stuff, If anyone is a donator to cyberpump, Dr Ken videos No.27-30 show the full workout on bodybuildingtube.com

I dont think you can see it anywhere else online, maybe someone else has a link?

Donating to cyberpump isnt very expensive anyway, I think it gives a years membership.
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Crotalus

MDieguez wrote:
As impressive as those full squats were ( 407 x 23), how about the overhead presses of 253 x 4 or at the vey end of the workout curling what is approx. bodyweight ( 155) for strict reps.
Mike


Oh yeah, so much attention went into the squats that the curls and presses have taken a back seat in that workout. Both the presses and the curls blew me away ... especially when both came AFTER squatting over 400 pounds.

I believe it was after watching this video that I realized that just listening to Dr. Ken might be as bad as listening to a genetically gifted bodybuilder.

With Dr. Ken being so gifted in strength, using only 'his' type workout might not be the best thing for me any longer and maybe it was time I should start experimenting with other HIT methods.

Seeing him press almost 100 lbs over his body weight and curl his body weight just fucking killed me. Is there anyone on here that can do a set of overhead presses with 100 lbs over their body weight ... even BEFORE a set of heavy, 20+ rep squats ? How about one 'push press' rep with 100 lbs over their body weight ?

Anyone here curling their body weight .. even for one 'cheat rep' ? The guys is incredible !

I was one of the first group to get the 'Training Hard with Dr. Ken " video as I got it before the copyright problem was encountered.
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MDieguez

Crotalus
Doc is a freak! - no doubt. But, his ideas work for everyone. You are right to experiment with your training. I dont think it is good to be so rigid with one's training. As Doc would say it is a, " participatory art ." As long as you are training real hard for the majority of your training, with good form, focusing on the basics for the majority of your training and allowing for recovery then you are pretty much good to go. A huge part of Doc's training or being trained by him has to do with the attitude you bring to the table. Literally blocking out all the b.s. and getting after it. Dont worry if your training HIT or 5x5 or dino or A.J.--just get after it. Training becomes so much more productive when you learn to block out all the little distractions eg.-tough day at work, no sleep because one of your 4 children under the age of 6 kept you up all night.... no one cares and what are you going to do about anyway....you can either piss and moan or do your best...whatever that may be. I remember him telling me early on ..." all you can do is what you can do....but just do it better than the last time." Simple but true. With a few individual tweaks his advice works for everyone.

Mike
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jn6047

Great post on a great thread. Dr. Ken definetly a very smart guy being able to see through all the junk that clouds productive training.

I have personally found that when I have a shitty day or get to the gym and don't feel like working out (tired, low motivation, etc), that these tend to be my best workouts.

I tell myself that I need to be consistent and that I'll just go through the motions, but something takes over. It's like my body goes on auto-pilot and my preconceived notions of what I'm capable of doing are wiped away.

Train hard, eat hard, be consistent. These three things cannot be emphasized enough.


MDieguez wrote:
Crotalus
Doc is a freak! - no doubt. But, his ideas work for everyone. You are right to experiment with your training. I dont think it is good to be so rigid with one's training. As Doc would say it is a, " participatory art ." As long as you are training real hard for the majority of your training, with good form, focusing on the basics for the majority of your training and allowing for recovery then you are pretty much good to go. A huge part of Doc's training or being trained by him has to do with the attitude you bring to the table. Literally blocking out all the b.s. and getting after it. Dont worry if your training HIT or 5x5 or dino or A.J.--just get after it. Training becomes so much more productive when you learn to block out all the little distractions eg.-tough day at work, no sleep because one of your 4 children under the age of 6 kept you up all night.... no one cares and what are you going to do about anyway....you can either piss and moan or do your best...whatever that may be. I remember him telling me early on ..." all you can do is what you can do....but just do it better than the last time." Simple but true. With a few individual tweaks his advice works for everyone.

Mike


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Crotalus

Mike ;

No doubt it works and like you say , your attitude is the key.

I've always had a 'problem' of picking one or two guys to follow ( whether it was strength training, music, photography, etc ) and blocking out all others. Not the best approach, for sure.

But Dr. Ken's way of writing had me hooked on doing what he said even when I saw it wasn't giving me the results any longer ... when it became obvious I wasn't ever going to " ... squat 400 X 20, press 1 1/2 times your body weight , curls the same ... etc etc " after years of killing myself trying to get to that point. Back then my head was as hard as the concrete floor I was collapsing and falling asleep on on after my workouts.

A few years ago, for part of the year I changed my routine to pre-exhaust / JREP ( I know, bad words to most Dr. Ken advocates, LOL ) routines yet still train with the intensity that has me cross-eyed and numb after 20 minute. Like you said, it's HOW you do what you're doing.

Yeah, Dr. Ken is a beast .... a 140 lb beast, LOL. He's fucking scary !

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SteveHIT

Pressing Advice From Dr. Ken Leistner

http://www.atomicathletic.com/...il.asp?ArtID=55

Smart words from Dr. Ken Leistner

http://optimumsportsperformanc...

Dr. Ken Leistner: Memories, Zuver?s Hall of Fame Gym

http://www.davedraper.com/...ll-of-fame-gym/

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natemason5

Ontario, CAN

stevehit wrote:
MDieguez wrote:
As impressive as those full squats were ( 407 x 23), how about the overhead presses of 253 x 4 or at the vey end of the workout curling what is approx. bodyweight ( 155) for strict reps.
Mike

Good stuff, If anyone is a donator to cyberpump, Dr Ken videos No.27-30 show the full workout on bodybuildingtube.com

I dont think you can see it anywhere else online, maybe someone else has a link?

Donating to cyberpump isnt very expensive anyway, I think it gives a years membership.


Is there no other way to see the videos?

Nate
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SB2006

I agree that Dr. Ken's Press and Curl performances were phenomenal as well (especially after the Squats!!). I was beyond impressed by the Squats because of the extreme discomfort that high rep limit Squats cause (particularly with over 2.4 times bw @ age 53!!!).
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