Monday, November 28, 2016

Leg Press Challenge

A footnote to the challenge: This is all about time under tension (TUT). If you can't get to 100 reps without stopping reduce the weight. Of course you can't reduce the weight below the weight of the sled (On some machines the sled weighs 125 pounds or more) so perform the 100 reps in as few sets as possible shooting for at least 50 reps on the first set. And try to increase the reps each day.

I think It’s Time For A New Challenge

This one is going to concentrate on the lower body for all of you who skip leg day or just give lip service to leg day.

 Never skip leg days sport memes:

I know, leg day is hard. But if you skip it or just do leg day half-assed once or twice a week you are doing yourself a huge disservice. The muscles in the lower body are the largest in the body. Working hard on the legs produces much more of the hormones (mainly human growth hormone and testosterone) that builds muscle mass throughout the entire body. Want bigger arms or chest? Work the legs! Want to lose fat faster? Work on the legs! This will also lean you out fast.

I’ll be doing this challenge right along with you. In a word, my leg size sucks. My leg strength is not bad but size is another story. This challenge is more about building muscle and shape (ladies) than building strength.

The 100 Rep Leg Press Challenge

This challenge comes from Florian Bianchi. Bianchi works with pro body builders, elite pro athletes and Olympians.

For this challenge the 45 degree leg press machine (also called a vertical leg press) is preferable but a horizontal leg press machine will work if that’s all you have available.

·        You’ll be doing the challenge every day.

·        Perform the challenge at the start of each workout

·        Use a very light weight to start. You may need to begin with an empty sled to begin with.  That can be anywhere from 45 to 125 pounds depending on the brand of machine.

·        Shoot for the full 100 reps without resting the first time with an empty sled to determine a good starting weight. If you must rest, use just a pause at the top with locked legs without racking the sled.

·        Use a moderate speed and tempo. Not too fast or too slow.

·        Add weight as you progress. But this challenge is not about doing 100 reps as heavy as possible. The goal is to get the blood flowing and getting pumped.

The whole 100 rep set should take about 2 to 3 minutes and can change you lower body forever!

Over time (4 to 6 weeks minimum) this will increase the number of capillaries to your legs. The result is easier and faster blood flow to your legs thus speeding up the uptake of oxygen and nutrients and more efficient clearing of lactic acid and nitrogen molecules between sets.

Increased vascularization also makes it easier to mobilize fat in the legs and working the legs daily improves your ability to recruit the muscles.

I’m going to add my own wrinkle to Bianchi’s challenge….

·        Vary your foot position on the plate each day (high, middle and low) and foot width (narrow, medium and wide) to work all the muscles of the upper leg (quads, hamstrings, abductors and adductors and the glutes).

The higher you place your feet on the plate the more you transfer the work to the hamstrings and glutes. Lower position puts the work on the quads.

The wider the foot placement  the more the work is transfered to the inner thigh.

A narrow stance transfers the work to the outer thigh.


  1. I am a woman who will be turning 52 next month on the 13th. I am in pretty good shape for my age but am dealing with severe arthritis in my thumbs as a direct result of my job as a mail carrier; however, my legs are just fine and I feel like this challenge is perfect for me! I have a vertical leg press at home and will be starting off with lighter weights. It looks like you're suggesting alternating foot positions each day, is that correct? Can you do a 100 rep leg extension alternating with hamstring curl or deadlift challenge?

  2. You are correct, Angela. Alternate foot position every day. Different foot positions (Higher on the sled plate, lower, wide, narrow, toes turned inward, toes turned outward) determine which leg muscles are isolated and worked the hardest. If one part of the leg is lagging (hamstrings, for example) give it more attention. Not working all parts of the leg can cause imbalances and lead to problems later on.

  3. OMG! you responded! lol Ok great! I am holding myself accountable and am proud to report that I actually DID 100 "normal" position reps with a mere 45 pound plate, and just 2 pauses. I am so super stoked to do it again tomorrow!(different position) I think I should stay at the same weight for a few days and gradually increase, what do you recommend?

    1. Great, Angela! Stay with the same weight until you can do the full 100 reps in only 1 set-no rest periods.


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