A Device for Developing Leg Strength

A Device for Developing Leg Strength

S.M. Minaker, Minsk

Tiazhelaya Atletika 67-68: 1976

Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.

Sportivny Press©

Everyone employs back squats to strengthen the legs. However, the joints and the back muscles are subjected to a large loading which result in a large energy expenditure and stress on the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

In our training we have employed a device to strengthen the legs along with the back squat. It consists of a tube to which discs can be loaded and attached to a cord fastened to a belt around the waist.

The exercise with the device is performed in the following manner: the sportsman stands astride two plinths which have been placed 50 cm. apart. The weights loaded onto the tube device are placed between the plinths. The sportsman attaches the device to his waist and standing astride the middle of the plinths the athlete performs squats (see picture).


  hip- belt squat picture


Depicted in the illustration is USSR Junior bronze medalist Alexei Yefimov.

Yefimov began weightlifting training in 1972 at age 14. His physical attributes were not exemplary. He weighed 85 kg at a height of 176 cm. Alexei made the following results in his first competition: 60 + 75 = 135 kg. He made rapid improvement and grew taller. After two years of training Alexei weighed 100 kg at a height of 181 cm. and had results of 107.5 + 130 = 237.5 kg. He experienced low back pain from doing pulls and squats.

We decided to reduce the volume of pulls, eliminate back squats altogether from his training, and use the training device to develop leg strength.

The volume of squats with the training device comprised 30% of the general volume of training and varied significantly in the weekly cycles. The number of repetitions per set varied from 1 to 15 for 5 to  8 sets of squats in one workout. The main portion (35 to  40%) of the loading in squats with the device were performed with weights 75% of the best result for 10 repetitions in one set. The number of repetitions per set were reduced from 6 to1, along with the increasing weight. The volume of loading with 80, 85 and 90% of maximum comprised 15 to 20% in various months and from 1 to  3% with more than 90% weights. The volume of loading with 60 to 70% of maximum was 30% and 10 to 13% with 50 to 60% of maximum in this exercise. The number of repetitions per set varied in the range of 6 to 15. The intensity of the squats increased constantly since the sportsman’s strength increased quickly, but the relative loading remained almost unchanged.

The use of the training device for squatting had a positive effect on the improvement of the classic exercises. Alexei Yefimov cleaned and jerked 140 kg after 2.5 months and snatched 125 kg, an increase of 10 and 17.5 kg respectively. The sportsman increased his leg strength significantly. The athlete was able to squat 185 kg with the training device and back squat 200 kg.

It is necessary to point out that the ratio of the average training weight with the training device and the best result in this exercise along with the back squat are strictly individualized.

Squatting with the training device, for the most, part develops the knee extensors because the force arm is larger for this joint than the force arm for the hip and ankle joints with this movement; on the other hand, the reverse is true for the back squat. This is why we recommend both exercises be included in training. 

In our experience with the training device we observed a faster increase in leg strength and recuperation in comparison with an identical loading in back squats.