Tip: The Light-Weight Strength Test

Can you pass this high-tension test of leg strength?


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Light weight can go a long way. After all, your muscles can't tell whether you're lifting 800 pounds or 80 – they only know TENSION.

Mechanically induced tension, produced both by force generation and stretch, is essential to muscle growth. And the combination of these stimuli has a pronounced additive effect.

This movement serves as both an exercise and a test of strength. All you need is a band (I like the NT Loop), a light dumbbell, and a wedge for your heels.

Set up with your feet on a wedge or some type of elevation. Step back to get tension on the band and hold the dumbbell as shown.

Now try completing 5 reps with a 5-second descent, 5-second hold at the bottom, and 5-second concentric.

Just remember to...

  1. Keep your torso upright.
  2. Drive your knees forward while keeping your weight evenly distributed.
  3. Slow the heck down and let the band do its job.

Why It Works

The band keeps your body more upright while increasing the stress placed on your quads (mainly the VMO). That's why this can also be a knee-saver for those experiencing anterior knee pain.

The test is brutal, but if you can hit 5 reps with a 5-second descent, pause, and concentric, then you can safely say that your legs are strong and your knees are healthy!

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  1. Schoenfeld, Brad J The Mechanisms of Muscle Hypertrophy and Their Application to Resistance Training, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: October 2010 - Volume 24 - Issue 10 - p 2857-2872
    doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181e840f3
Mike Over is an NASM Master Trainer and owner of Over-Achieve Fitness in Pennsylvania where he works with hundreds of everyday gym goers and athletes of all levels, both in person and remotely.

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