Gaspari Nutrition

Ron Harris


My newest injury, a blessing in disguise
10/12/2013

So it's clear now that I have suffered a very minor tear of my left quadriceps, specifically in the 'outer quad' or vastus lateralis. Ironically, this is the area I was blessed with in terms of shape that gives my quads that pronounced outer sweep that so many others can never attain.

It happened while training legs with IFBB Pro Hidetada Yamagishi at about 8:30 PM on Monday, September 30. I had flown in from Las Vegas that morning and hadn't slept at all on the flight. We were really just warming up on the leg press after extensions with 3 plates a side and then 5 plates. This is not anywhere near a heavy weight for me. But, there had been some odd feelings of tightness in that area on and off for a while so I can't say the injury was out of nowhere. It was hurting bad for a few days and then seemed to be fine again.

So that next Sunday my buddy Matt Puglia wanted to train. We can only meet on weekend days due to his job as a Physical Therapist during the week. Well, I could trrain with him during the week if I didn't mind training in the evening and spending a couple hours in traffic. We did hamstrings first and all was well. Leg extensions went smoothly too, though I was being cautious and keeping my reps at 20 or more, even doing a 50-rep set to finish on that. Then we moved on to the apparatus I wanted to use, the Frank Zane Leg Blaster. You can see a video I shot of Matt using it that day on my YouTube channel, RonHarrisMuscle. Again, it happened with a weight that should have been no problem - I felt that quad go 'ping' as it re-tore, undoing any healing that had taken place in the previous six days.

That did it. I was forced to admit this was not something to take lightly. The only smart course of action for the time being is to limit my quadriceps training to leg extensions with moderate weight. How long will it take to heal? I have no idea, but I am going to err on the side of caution. Luckily for me, if there is one thing I can afford to not train for a few weeks or more, it's my quads.

I began training consistently with weights as the start of ninth grade, and for all four years of high school I mainly did bench presses, curls, overhead presses, chin-ups here and there, and skull crushers. In ninth and tenth grades I trained at home with my own weights, then at my friend Paul Poirier's attic. For the last two years of high school, I worked out at the Waltham Boys Club. One of those years, a kid in my grade named Mike Rossi was doing squats, even though there was no squat rack. He was taking the weight off the posts of an incline bench. I had no idea what squats were for. When he told me legs, I laughed and replied, "Why would you want to have big legs? That would just make your upper body look smaller!" What an ironic statement that turned out to be for me.

In my first year of college, I trained at a Nautilus center on campus at UCSB, and used every machine there including the leg extension and leg curl. There was no press. Still, my legs grew. That next summer, I stayed in Los Angeles and trained at another Nautilus gym (I had read books by Arthur Jones and Dr. Ellington Darden and was convinced anything but Nautilus machines was worthless garbage), and this time I used the Duo Squat machine. By the time I returned to Boston at the end of the summer to start up at Emerson College, my quads were already ahead of everything else on me except maybe my chest and traps. This was both puzzling and frustrating, as it was really my undersized arms that I wanted to see real gains in.

As the years went by and I began working hard on squats, leg presses, and hack squats, my quads kept growing and growing. They did in fact get to the point where they made my upper body look smaller!

So on my leg days, I am going to focus on hamstrings and calves for a while. I'm not going to add any more arm training, since I already have this rotation:

Day 1: Arms

Day 2: Legs

Day 3: OFF

Day 4: Shoulders, chest, and 3-4 sets for triceps

Day 5: Back and 3-4 sets for biceps

Day 6: OFF, repeat

Could the extra energy not being used for the training and recovery of my quads translate into more of it being available for my arms? Maybe, who's to say?

In the meantime, though injuries are never fun; I have to thank my lucky stars that this one is purely interfering with a bodypart that's always responded very well and that really doesn't have to get any bigger until the day comes when my upper body and specifically my arms have become noticeably bigger.

That's all for now, talk to you later!

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