Quad Triset from Hell

Q: Just whipped through Neo-Classical Bodybuilding. Hope to start fully into it in the new year. I'm currently traveling for work every 2 weeks or so, usually to quite rural areas (town's < 2000 population) in Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada. I mostly adhere to body weight workouts (+40lb weight vest) when on the road. However, come the new year I'm going to be back to a city with great access to a gym, and so will be starting the S+P Program as you have outlined in the first half of the book.

I have been training for 7 years now with weights. I've held a body-weight around 200 lbs. now for 6 years after a max of 300 (fatty lb) some 9 years ago. My most recent focused cycle in the gym was fall/winter 09/10. I gained 25 lbs. doing a 5x5 system, with breathing squats 2x weekly added, then pursued a Muscle and Fitness Rock Solid workout program for 10 weeks to cut. I had some great physique changes that have persisted. I have also incorporated some Crossfit training over the past 2.5 years. I train for combined athleticism (love road, cross country and downhill mountain biking and snowboarding) and for a good physique. I have no goals of being a competitive bodybuilder.

As for fitness/medical issues:

1. I have a brachial plexus injury from birth that has resulted in poor innervation to many of the upper body muscles, worst in lat, rotator cuff muscles, biceps, and deltoids. This has also left me with a strange glenohumeral joint and macerated subscapularis on that side. It's an interesting MRI to look at. In the gym it limits my biceps workouts and pull-ups.

2. I've been battling with a patellar tendinopathy in my left knee for 2+ years now. I rehab partially then tweak it through some accident. Better now that it has been since it started, and continues to improve.

So, time for 2 questions after all my rambling (hopefully!).

1. I love squats, but leg extension and sissy squats always aggravate the patellar tendon. Any other suggestions? I was thinking of combining back squats with leg press and maybe Bulgarian split squat for the triset.

2. How do you incorporate cardio? I set up my roadie on a trainer during the winter, and would like to do more miles than just HIIT every 2nd day to prepare for some long distance cross country mountain biking in summer 2011. Any thoughts?

Thanks for all your hard work in this field. Sport and Exercise is pretty important in my life and practice. Need to spread the good word of fitness to the rest of North America.


My Answer: If you can't do sissy squats or leg extensions, then experiment with other thigh exercises until you find one or two that don't cause you any pain or discomfort. Both the leg press and Bulgarian squats would be good alternatives if they don't cause you any trouble. The only problem with Bulgarian squats is that you can only work one leg at a time. One leg is sort of resting while the other is being worked. Trisets require exercises that work both limbs at the same time or in alternating fashion.

If you can do them without pain, then try alternating reverse lunges instead.

Start out light at first then work your way up. They're a great exercise to use in triset training, because you can immediately switch from reverse alternating barbell lunges to back squats using the same weight. So here's how the triset will look:

1) Reverse alternating barbell lunges: 8-10 reps
2) Back squats (using the same weight): as many reps as possible
3) Leg press: 8-10 reps

As for cardio, I suggest jump rope, since it's portable and you travel quite a bit.
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