Q: I am blown away by your Positions-of-Flexion training. My gains have been unreal since I started using some of the three-position POF bodypart programs in the 3D Muscle Building e-book]. My question is that I’ve had knee surgery and therefore have some pain doing sissy squats [the stretch-position exercise for quads]. Is there a sissy squat substitute?
A: Ironically, we’ve had a couple of inquiries about finding a sissy squat substitute this week. The sissy squat is THE full stretch-position move for quads because the legs and torso remain on the same plane through the entire set. That provides full elongation in the quads in the bottom position.
However, anyone who has a predisposition to knee pain or has had knee problems in the past should avoid the exercise. It’s not dangerous to individuals with normal knee strength and function, but when weakness is present, the sissy squat should be avoided—just as shoulder pain and/or injury should keep you off the bench press.
The solution for you is to do an extra set or two of a different quad midrange exercise. For example, if you begin with squats as your midrange move, instead of going to sissy squats next, go to leg presses, front squats, or some other squat variation that doesn’t produce pain for one or two work sets. Then end with leg extensions, the contracted-position exercise.
If leg extensions ever hurt your knees, drop them as well. You could do a third midrange squatting move, but flex your quads for two seconds at the top of each rep. While there is no resistance in the contracted position, a static contraction can increase neuromuscular efficiency and activate more fibers.
Injury is not something to gamble with. If an exercise causes joint pain, delete it from your program immediately, even if it means missing a key position of flexion. Remember, the midrange-position exercises produce some stretch in the target muscles, so you’re still getting some stretch overload, which can make your muscle mass explode!
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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