If you walk into a gym, any gym, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Mumbai, it doesn’t matter, sooner or later you will be asked how much you squat. After how much you bench but that is a separate post.
It is a very fair question, in the testosterone filled playground we all want to know where everyone stacks up. Putting a shitload of weight on your back and standing up is pretty awesome. You look like a badass, and people will be impressed. But do you want to be more impressive? Of course, you do.
I have spent the better part of my adult life inside of a gym, I have trained with professional athletes in multiple sports, we’re talking about seriously strong men.
I am most impressed by the amount of weight someone can RFESS. (Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat) I have noticed that the strongest players are beasts on one leg, that holds true across all sports. They possess the ability to load obscene amounts of weight on their back while looking like a stork.
In regards to lower body strength and power, the RFESS is King. Not only is it a reflection of athletic strength (I don’t know if that is a term but I’m using it) it is also amazing choice for injury prevention. Below are a few reasons why you should add this exercise into your routine, start with your body weight only and progress.
#1 Transferrable Application-
We spend the majority of our life on one leg. Walking is essentially a repeated single leg plyometric, climbing stairs is a repeated step up. Sports are nearly always played in some single leg variation. If we develop our single leg strength, we can improve our overall athleticism and make daily tasks much easier. We also decrease the likelihood of falling, which may not be a huge concern when we are younger but the more strength we can carry into old age, the better our quality of life. The idea of sliding half dead into a coffin, spending the last 10 years miserable does not appeal to me. Joe Defranco knows how to make super string athletes, watch the video below from his gym.
#2 Back Health Certified-
Back injuries have become an epidemic (that’s for a different post) in our present society. StatsCan released a recent review stating that 5 in 10 Canadians experienced back pain within a 6-month period and 85% of the working population will experience back pain. There is a myriad of reasons for these staggering statistics but it’s safe to say we need to select exercises that will not aggravate our back and hopefully prevent us experiencing pain in the future. RFESS do NOT load the spine in the same manner and as a result, we can lift a shitload of weight without the same injury risk. It also allows us to lift more weight with our legs rather than being limited by our lower back strength. (Completely separate from our lower body strength.)
#3 Injury Prevention –
I’m assuming that if you are reading this you likely participate in some sort of exercise activity, or at the very least rolled around the idea of starting. I would guess that most of us play some sort of sport and the last thing we want is an injury. RFESS are a phenomenal way to build glute strength and stability. This is essential to avoid ankle, hip and knee injuries. Glute strength reduces the stress on the hip and hamstrings as well as keeping the knee in a better biomechanical position. The person below is about to tear something, that or feature in Drake’s hotline bling video. Either way, it’s not overly safe,