4 sets of hip thrust for 6-30 reps (I did them on the smith machine or Nautilus Glute Drive), 4 sets of either Nordic ham curls (3-5 reps) or lying or seated leg curls (10-20 reps), Sports Science Topics & Research Guest Articles, Peer-Reviewed Articles (Journal Publications), Coaching, Personal Training, Programming, & Nutrition Topics, Coaching, Personal Training, Programming, & Nutrition Guest Articles. This was surprising as I hadn’t performed a single rep of squats or deadlifts in 8 weeks, nor had I performed anything with a wide stance in that same amount of time. These studies used beginner trainees as their subjects, however, not advanced lifters. Sometimes in training, we must take one step backwards in order to take two steps forwards. My knees (especially my right one) were dodgy, and my low back was feeling beat up more often than not. Squats and deadlifts have been my bread and butter lifts for as long as I can remember. Over the past four weeks since performing this experiment, I’ve gone on to tie numerous squat and deadlift records despite just performing 1-2 hard sets of them per week and I’m still pain free. I don’t think leg extensions are tremendously helpful at retaining squat strength, but I do feel that Nordic ham curls are effective in helping retain deadlift strength. This 8-week program can allow you to unload your body and heal up while retaining most of your strength and muscle mass (possibly even gaining muscle). If you are finding yourself in a lot of pain from squats and deadlifts, you can try this experiment too.

Bear in mind this is an n=1 experiment. In fact, when I perform smith machine hip thrusts, I use a taller bench than normal. 4 sets of hip thrust for 6-30 reps (I did them on the smith machine or Nautilus Glute Drive) 4 sets of leg extensions for 10-20 reps; 4 sets of either Nordic ham curls (3-5 reps) or lying or seated leg curls (10-20 reps) Video Discussion of the Blogpost This is a lot more repetitions than I’m used to, but my body responded well. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Pain inhibits muscle activation, so you’ll never experience maximum muscular gains if your body isn’t feeling good. I hit a 405lb full squat and a 565lb sumo deadlift. But over the past couple of years, I’ve felt myself getting beat down from them. and receive my FREE Lower Body Progressions eBook! I believe I likely could have hit a 425lb squat if I wanted, and I probably could have a hit 585lb deadlift if I allowed for more slop. I get more hip flexion compared to when I use the Hip Thruster. I believe my glutes have grown slightly during this time, and my legs don’t seem to have lost any size. For this reason, I decided to embark on an experiment. Today, I tested my 1RM squat and deadlift strength. What’s awesome about the smith machine and Glute Drive is that they allow me to go very deep.

Twice per week, I would perform 4 sets of either smith machine or Glute Drive hip thrusts, 4 sets of leg extensions, and 4 sets of either lying or seated leg curls or Nordic ham curls. Having realized that the smith machine allowed me to hip thrust pain-free and recently having received the Glute Drive, which also feels good on my knees, I wanted to see what would happen to my leg and glute size in addition to my squat and deadlift strength if I just performed hip thrusts, leg extensions, and Nordic ham curls (or leg curls) twice per week (zero squats and deadlifts – not even single-leg patterns). Any low back and knee pain has vanished, and my workouts have been highly productive. This is right around what I was lifting 8 weeks ago. I felt that going deeper would help me retain more squat and deadlift strength due to hip range of motion specificity.

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