Madeleine Albright and the Leg Press: The Controversy Rages On
The afternoon has been a bit slow in terms of news. So let's take you back to the great debate over Madeleine Albright's ability to leg press 400 pounds. We reported about it, and then we questioned it.
Several of you now question our questioning. One of Secretary Albright's students at Georgetown writes:
I've been following your coverage of the great Albright leg-press debate and have some fuel to add to the fire. I am a student in her class at Georgetown and in our most recent class we discussed her leg-press abilities in between discussions about Kosovo and Kim Jong Il. She told us that she slowly worked up from small weights, adding a few pounds on each time. But she asserted that she most definitely can leg-press 400 pounds. And seeing how fit she looks now--she's lost a lot of weight since she was Secretary--I wouldn't doubt her. With guns like that, she doesn't need diplomatic security anymore!
We just saw Albright on CNN -- she was promoting her new book -- and we're inclined to agree. Maddy's looking svelte these days.
And this is just for starters. After the jump, a frighteningly detailed defense of Albright's ability to leg press four hundred pounds.
Check out this email, which tells you more than you ever needed to know about the leg press:
Disclaimer: I've never worked out with her, and I don't know the gym where she works out. But I do have grounds to take issue with the tipster who claimed (apparently without ever seeing Albright leg-press) that 400 lbs was impossible because Albright "seems sort of fragile up close," and accused her of "cheating."
I am an average-weight-and-height 45-year-old woman who blew through 400 pounds on the leg press several years ago. Despite my legs being much smaller and more "fragile"-looking than men at my gym who can't even move half that much, I now leg press 600 pounds, 3 sets, 10 reps each, at every workout. And that is after I do at least three sets of squats with 225. My workout attracts a lot of stares, I think mostly because of the erroneous assumption (shared by your tipster) that my legs look too "fragile" to be doing such a thing.
As to whether it is possible to "cheat" on the leg press machine, I don't know what Madame Secretary uses, but I use a 45-degree Hammer Strength leg press rack which has to be manually loaded with plates. I load the plates onto the rack myself - 4 100-lb. plates, 4 45-lb plates, and 2 10-pound plates for a total of 600, adding more 10s if I feel strong. Unlike some people, I don't count the weight of the "sled" that the weights ride on. (If I did, that would be 750 pounds, but in my book that's like adding your body weight to the amount you squat. In other words, "cheating.")
I've observed several brawny-looking men at my gym (the Clarksburg, WV YMCA) try, and fail, after watching me leg-press, to equal it. I watched one guy who looked like an Olympic powerlifter struggle unsuccessfully with only 400 pounds. I've also had several football-player types outweighing me by at least 75 lbs. ask me to "leave the plates on" after my sets, and then manage to do about two really crappy partial reps before giving up. They look like they could do it, but they can't. I look like I couldn't do it, but I can. Seeing as how I come from the "reality-based" school of reality, I think that means I can, and they can't. Anyone who concludes that Albright can't leg-press 400 because she seems "fragile," apparently without ever seeing her try it, is speaking from that "belief-based" school of reality that Bush and Co. belong to. And we know how reliable that is.
Consider us convinced. And no matter how much Secretary Albright can leg press, it's a helluva lot more than we can!