When it comes to leg day, I could run down several mistakes I see people make. The one I’m going to cover is a mistake I am all too familiar with because I made this mistake myself. I will need to share a personal story about myself in order to properly disclose the decisions I made and how I suffered as a result.
I played a lot of basketball as a kid with big dreams of making it in the NBA (which were squashed when I stopped growing at 5’9”) so I ran up and down the court every day for hours on end chasing this lofty goal. When I was 13, I was diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter disease which is a condition where a painful lump develops below the knee as a result of inflammation of the patella. This is a condition that is commonly seen among preteens and teenagers. A combination of my body going through rapid growth spurts compounded by a lot of hard running and jumping would be the causes that lead to this end result for me and the doom of my basketball dreams. As I was going through treatment, I was told by several doctors to limit my running, jumping, and when they found out I was getting into weight training, I was told point blank – NO HEAVY SQUATS!
Legs: Not Listening to My Body
Fast forward to me making progress in the gym and being a teenager, I let peer pressure get the better of me. Being convinced by guys bigger and stronger than me that I had to squat and squat heavy to maximize my potential, I gave in and squatted a lot. I trained legs heavy a hard week after week for years only to end up with more and more knee pain. I had to impress and earn the respect of the superstars of the health club so I kept pushing it. I eventually got where I could squat over 400 pounds for reps but now my flexibility is not anything like it used to be and my knees are as bad as ever. If I run more than a quarter mile, I end up limping. I can do squats down to three quarters parallel but if I go any lower, the emphasis goes immediately to my knees and I get no benefit out of it whatsoever. Now I train legs totally differently than I used to and although I will never have the biggest wheels in the world nor will I ever win a powerlifting meet, I’m satisfied with my progress.
So the biggest mistake I made and I see people make is doing what they know what they shouldn’t do in order to impress others or live up to this imaginary stereotype of being hardcore. If you can’t do a certain movement because of a preexisting condition or a past injury, don’t do something you shouldn’t do only to impress others. They don’t have to live with your injuries and your suffering. They won’t deal with the medical issues and sitting out of workouts. You will. Find safer ways to target the muscles and give it as much effort as you can. In the end, your body will thank you and you will enjoy a much longer and happier gym life.
About the Author
Roger “ROCK” Lockridge is a writer whose work has been seen all over the world. He is most known as a writer for Iron Man Magazine and Bodybuilding.com. In 2009, he was named Bodybuilding.com Male Writer of the Year which along with the Female award is the highest award for writers in the bodybuilding/fitness world.
Roger is also known for his work against child abuse and domestic violence and he was featured as a part of the domestic violence documentary “30” as the only child survivor and the only male survivor in the film.