Monday, 8 April 2013

Increased Leg Strength

In February this year I started looking into the Hepburn Method to increase strength. I was looking at lifting heavy loads over a short rep range.
With regard to leg strength when I started this programme, I was performing barbell squats in sets of 2 reps at 100kg.
As I only weighed in at 85kg I was happy with this.
By the end of March I was performing sets of 3 reps at 100kg.

In March I started using the French Contrast method to start building power in my legs and increase my vertical jump.
I was performing 3 sets of 3 barbell squats at 105kg over a 5 week period. Now we're at the end of this phase and I've increased my vertical jump by 2.5" from 45" to 47.5"
Clearly my legs are now stronger and more powerful.

Interestingly, I also started squatting in my Vibram FiveFingers and found them to be much more comfortable in this range of motion than regular trainers. I felt grounded and stable. Definitely going to lift in them more often!
110kg barbell squat
So today I wanted to find my barbell squat 1RM, just out of curiosity. I warmed up with 80kg, then a couple of reps at 100kg, then loaded up the bar with 130kg (that's 20kg heaver than I had ever lifted).
I performed 2 comfortable reps at 130kg and decided to try 135kg.
With the bar loaded up to 135kg I went down comfortably, waited too long at the bottom then ditched the bar, feeling that I was unable to safely lift the load.
Determined to get that lift, I waited 10 minutes for my body to recover, staying warm and mobile while resting.
Then I got under the bar and performed one rep at 135kg.
Very pleased with myself and quite fatigued, I called it a day.

Using 3 weeks on the Hepburn Method followed by 5 weeks of French Contrast I have added 35kg to my squat and added 2.5" to my vertical jump.
I'd say that's some impressive gains in a relatively short time!

 130kg barbell squat

 135kg barbell squat

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