Methods of Developing Leg Strength

A. A. Zenalov, Grodno

Tyazhelaya Atletika, :29 – 31, 1976

Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.

Results in the snatch and the clean and jerk are dependent on strength, particularly leg strength; because, the legs bear the brunt of the load in these exercises. However, there is insufficient information in the special literature dealing with methods for developing leg strength.
Our experience over the past six years with many athletes (105 men) of various qualification (classified, master of sport, international master of sport), many of whom have gone on to become Byelorussian champions and record holders, medal winners of the Armed Forces and USSR championships; enables us to recommend an original method for strengthening the legs.
It is known that one does not have to train with near – limit and weights all of the time in order to strengthen the legs. One can make significant improvement employing primarily small (up to 70%) and medium (up to 80%) weights. This loading should be combined with large and limit weights. However, these weights should make up only 16% of the total load in squats.
It has also known, that noticeable improvement in squat results can be achieved, after only six weeks of specialized training. By chiefly utilizing small and medium weights for squats one can preserve a good “functional state”; a necessary condition for systematic training.
So, what is this method we recommend?
First of all it is designed for the preparatory stage. The six  week training cycle of squatting is divided into two stages. The volume rises in the first stage, with a relatively constant average weight of the barbell. In the second stage, the volume decreases while the intensity increases. Each stage consists of three week cycles. Weights of 70 and 80% of the best back squat are employed in the first stage. In the second stage the weight of the barbell is 80 – 105%.
The volume of the loading in squats rises in the first stage, since it subsequently decreases in the second; which in turn is punctuated by a “standard loading” throughout the cycle. A “standard loading” plays a role in active rest. Squats are performed three times per week and with no more frequency than every other day.
The sixweek cycle begins with the “standard loading” (see table 1). The cycle progresses (in the first stage) with an increase in one lift of the fundamental training weight, at every other session. The odd numbered workouts are the “standard loading” (uniform volume and intensity).
The general volume in squats in the first stage is 204 lifts; with an average weight which is 78.7% of the maximum.
The athlete has been training with only small and medium weights in the first stage and now begins the second stage already with 85% weights. Then after each “standard loading” the fundamental training weight increases by 5% while the number of lifts per set and the number of sets is decreased by one (see table 2).
At the end of the second stage the athlete can usually squat 105% of his maximum in the 18th workout. Of course, this figure could be slightly more or less.
The general volume of squats in the second stage is 139 lifts, with an average weight of 81.8%. This is 3.1% greater than in the first stage. Of this 139 lifts 41 are with large weights (81 – 90%) and 14 with maximum weights (over 90%).
For the entire six – week cycle the lifter executes 343 squats with an average weight of 80% of maximum. If for example, the athlete does 1,000 – 1,100 lifts in the preparatory period (four – week cycle), squats will comprise 20 – 23% of the general volume of loading in all exercises. This meets the contemporary requirements of training.
The result achieved at the final workout is to be used as the new maximum and this figure is to be employed when calculating the fundamental training weights for the new cycle.
If the athlete is unable to cope with the loading in the second half of the first stage of training; for instance, if he cannot do all six sets for the proscribed repetitions, then it will be necessary for him to repeat the loading planned for weeks two and three. After this, he can proceed to the second stage.
When this program employed in subsequent training cycles the athlete can utilize variability in doing the standard loading of the cycle: for example, the first standard loading – back squats; the second overhead – squats (55 – 65%); the third – lunge squats with the bar on the chest; the fourth – front squats.
If the lifter begins the cycle after a lay – off, where his maximum squat would now be lower; then the fundamental training weight in the first stage should be 70% of his maximum registered in the prior training stage. In this instance the warm  up weights would be with 60 & 65%. The aforementioned schedule of percentages should be adhered to in the second stage of the squat program.
In order to improve joint mobility and the elasticity of the muscles and tendons, besides squats, one should do cross – country running, sprints, standing and running long jumps, vertical jumps and sport games.
On the average, the results in the back squat should be 134% of the results in the clean and jerk. If one’s squat results are substantially below this figure, the volume of squats should be increased to 30% of the general volume of loading.
Table 1

The distribution of loading in squats in the first stage

Week

Workout

Warm–up

Fund. Wt.

# of lifts

Avg. Wt.

1

1

70x2; 75x2

80 x 2 x 6

16

78.1

1

2

70x2; 75x2

80 x 3 x 6

22

78.6

1

3

70x2; 75x2

80 x 2 x 6

16

78.1

2

4

70x2;75x2

80x 4 x 6

28

78.9

2

5

70x2; 75x2

80 x 2 x 6

16

78.1

2

6

70x2; 75x2

80 x 5 x 6

34

79.1

3

7

70x2; 75x2

80 x 2 x 6

16

78.1

3

8

70x2; 75x2

80 x 6 x 6

40

79.2

3

9

70x2; 75x2

80 x 2 x 6

16

78.1

Table 2

The distribution of loading in squats in the second stage

Week

Workout

Warm–up

Fund. Wt.

# of lifts

Avg. Wt.

4

10

70x2; 75x2

85 x 5 x 5

29

83.3

4

11

70x2; 75x2

80 x 2 x 6

16

78.1

4

12

70x2; 75x2

90 x 4 x 4

20

86.5

5

13

70x2; 75x2

80x 2 x 6

16

78.1

5

14

70x2; 75x2

95 x 3 x 3

13

88.1

5

15

70x2; 75x2

80 x 2 x 6

16

78.1

6

16

70x2; 75x2

100 x 2 x 2

8

86.2

6

17

70x2; 75x2

80 x 2 x 6

16

78.1

6

18

70x2; 75x2

105 x 1 x 1

5

79

At the 18^{th} workout, the warm – up and the procedure for progressing to the maximum result can be altered by adding several more warm–ups or progressions to the maximum weight.
