Strong swing, weak deadlift - how to bridge the gap?

Chrisdavisjr

Level 6 Valued Member
Starting a new thread here to pick up from an interesting conversation on this thread in the kettlebell forum.

I have a fairly strong kettlebell swing - 10×10 one handed with a 40kg bell at 145lbs body weight - but a fairly weak deadlift - 100kg/220lbs seems to be my max, I can just about get 110kg/242lbs off the floor but nowhere near lockout - and I'm wondering what strategies I can use to bridge the gap?

While both the swing and deadlift are built around a strong hip hinge, are there any muscle groups neglected in the swing that need to be trained to improve my deadlift? Possibly there are some additional exercises I could use to boost my DL.

I'm also a fairly strong bench presser, considering my weight, and my current 1RM on bench is 90kg/198lbs. Surely I've got it in me to pull more from the floor.

Experience could be a factor - I've been swinging KBs for two years and deadlifting for less than a month - but I'd still expected more from my deadlift.

I'd love to hear about other people's experiences of training deadlifts and swings and how one affects the other.
 

Chrisdavisjr

Level 6 Valued Member
If you haven't already, take the SFL course or cert, or work with someone in person. Or post a video here.

-S-
Solid suggestions. I think some qualified instruction would be an excellent first step in the right direction from where I'm at. I'll try to get some decent video recorded and look into finding an SFL I can work with, if not locally, then online. Much appreciated!
 

kennycro@@aol.com

Level 6 Valued Member
Starting a new thread here to pick up from an interesting conversation on this thread in the kettlebell forum.

I have a fairly strong kettlebell swing - 10×10 one handed with a 40kg bell at 145lbs body weight - but a fairly weak deadlift - 100kg/220lbs seems to be my max, I can just about get 110kg/242lbs off the floor but nowhere near lockout - and I'm wondering what strategies I can use to bridge the gap?
Kettlebell Swing

The Kettlebell Swing is Power Movement rather than a Limit Strength Training Movement.

The Kettlebell Swing will provide some increase in Limit Strength and is an effective Auxiliary Deadlift Exercise. Power Training for Limit Strength provides a synergistic effect that enhance Limit Strength.

Power Training

Power is best developed with Low Repetitions, from 1 - 6 Reps per Set.

A 10 X 10 Kettlebell Swing falls more in to a Metabolic Training Program and less into Power Training Program.

Thus, if the focus is on increasing Power via the Kettlebell Swing, the weight of the Kettlebell need to increase in conjunction with decreasing the Repetition in the Set.

Limit Strength Training And Development

Power Training alone will only increase Strength to a certain level. To elicit the greatest increase in a 1 Repetition Max (1 RM) the follow must occur...

1) A load of 85% or higher of a 1 RM must be employed.

2) Sets with Repetition of 1 - 5 need used.

3) Rest Period between Set need to be 3 minutes or longer; allowing for ATP restoration, the Energy System for Limit Strength.

4) Limit Strength Exercises that are similar in nature to the Deadlift need to be trained; such as the Good Morning. The movement pattern and muscle involvement replicates the Deadlift.

Deadlifting For Strength

Preforming the Deadlift to increase the 1 RM Deadlift works.

However, the downside is that with each Repetition, technique is altered as muscle fatigue set in; the muscle firing sequence changing.

Thus, when the Deadlift (any lift) is pushed to failure or near failure poor technique is learned and developed.

Many Powerlifter follow the protocol of employing the Competition Lift as a means of increasing Strength. Ironically, they are one of the few group of athletes, possibly the only group with this mentality that is contraindicated for developing technique.

Olympic Lifters: The Poster Children of Technique

Olympic Lifters utilize Auxiliary Exercise that are similar in nature to increase Limit Strength.

You don't see Olympic Lifter preforming Moderately High Repetition; 10 Reps Per Set.

Olympic Lifters preform the Olympic Lift with Low Repetition to develop technique.

Dr Tom McLaughlin

As per McLaughlin's (PhD Exercise Biomechanics/former Powerlifter), the most effective method for developing Technique is to employ load of 85% or higher of your 1 RM in a movement for 1, maybe 2 Repetition Per Set.

The focus is solely on Technique Training. At any point in the movement when muscle fatigue sets in, STOP the movement. Continuing in a fatigued state ensure poor technique is developed.

As per McLaughlin, Auxiliary Exercise that are similar in nature to the movement are utilized to increase Limit Strength.

Westside Powerlifting Training Method

This method came about the same time as McLaughlin's research, circa early 1980s. The Westside Powerlifting Method utilizes the same protocol as McLaughlin's research does.

The Westside Template is based on Olympic Lifter, who develop Technique via the Competition Snatch and Clean and Jerk via low reps and high load. They employ Auxiliary Exercise to increase Limit Strength in the Competition Movement.

Developing Training Technique with Lower Percentages

There is a progression of using lower weight to develop Technique. However, the key is to progressively increase the load to 85% plus of your 1 RM.

To make long story short, practicing a movement with let's say 60% of your 1 RM doesn't transfer to a 1 RM.

Baseball Batting Analogy

Learning to hit a 60 mph Fast Ball doesn't make you good at hitting a 90 plus mph Fast Ball.

Kenny Croxdale
 

RS12

Level 5 Valued Member
Swings and deadlifts are both hip hinge movements that use similar muscles, but the abdominal bracing and grip requirements of the deadlift are far higher than that of swings.

You say you can get 242 off the floor but not lock it out; where do you fail? Above the knee or below?Does your low back round or does your grip give out?

You have only been deadlifting for month so it is more likely a bracing and technique issue rather than a muscle weakness issue. Steve is right about diligence and patience.

Keep practicing your abdominal bracing and try to squeeze the bar like you're trying to break it in your hands every time you lift. Barbell lifts take time to get good at, just like everything else.

Just keep practicing and don't rush. I have hurt myself several times trying to force myself to be where I thought I should be rather than where I actually was. Your strength will increase quickly if you keep practicing and stay injury free.
 

Chrisdavisjr

Level 6 Valued Member
@kennycro@@aol.com Thank you for your detailed response! Great stuff, as always.

You say you can get 242 off the floor but not lock it out; where do you fail? Above the knee or below?Does your low back round or does your grip give out?
I can get the bar about 1-2 inches off the ground and then I'm stuck; I can't seem to bring my hips forward and raise the bar any further. I feel like the 'weak link' in my deadlift is my legs, or possibly my glutes. I think the key is being able to progress the lift gradually as there's a 22lb no-man's land between a working weight I can manage for sets of 3-5 and a weight I can't budge more than an inch off the floor.

Acquiring some lighter plates and following PTTP to the letter would make more sense than me just scratching my head and thinking "I should be able to deadlift more than this," and getting nowhere. I'll definitely try to get a video of my deadlift just in case I am doing something goofy.
 

Sean M

Level 6 Valued Member
@kennycro@@aol.com Thank you for your detailed response! Great stuff, as always.



I can get the bar about 1-2 inches off the ground and then I'm stuck; I can't seem to bring my hips forward and raise the bar any further. I feel like the 'weak link' in my deadlift is my legs, or possibly my glutes. I think the key is being able to progress the lift gradually as there's a 22lb no-man's land between a working weight I can manage for sets of 3-5 and a weight I can't budge more than an inch off the floor.

Acquiring some lighter plates and following PTTP to the letter would make more sense than me just scratching my head and thinking "I should be able to deadlift more than this," and getting nowhere. I'll definitely try to get a video of my deadlift just in case I am doing something goofy.
Video would be good. If you can break off the floor, you may be allowing the bar to come forward of the mid-foot (or shoulder blades drifting in front of the bar) by losing tightness after liftoff.
 

kennycro@@aol.com

Level 6 Valued Member
I can just about get 110kg/242lbs off the floor but nowhere near lockout
After reading RS12 post, I realized that I didn't address this.

Conventional Powerlifting Deadllift

The Powerlfiting Deadlift Technique is different than the Deadlift Technique used by an Olympic Lifter; for increasing Limit Strength in the First Pull.

With that said, a Conventional Powerlifting Deadlift utilize the back in breaking the weight off the floor. McLaughlin's research demonstrated that. McLaughlin's anecdotal data indicated the exercise that increased Lower Back Strength.

Sticking Point For Conventional Deadlifter

The Sticking Point for most Conventional Deadlifter is in the knee area.

Increasing Limit Strength in this area with Rack Pulls and Partial Good Morning are effective.

However, were the bar stops is NOT the Sticking Point. Think of it like a car running out of gas. The car will continue to roll down the road. So, where the car stops isn't where it ran out of gas. It the same with the Deadlift.

That means Rack Deadlift and Partial Good Morning need to be trained a few inches below where the bar stop in the Deadlift.

Also, developing Power in the knee are will assist slide through the Sticking Point. Exercises such as: Olympic Pull (specifically in the knee area) such a Dead Hang Pulls, preforming Olympic Pulls with a slight plyometric bump off the thighs with the bar, Kettlebell Swings. Trap Bar Jumps preformed similar to Olympic Pulls, Hip Extension/Back Raises with a moderate load performed explosively, etc. work.

Back Rounding

Upper Back Rounding isn't a issue with a Max Deadlift. Dr Bret Contreras' addressed this in one of his article; as have other sources.

Some Upper Back Rounding allows you to keep the bar closer to your COG, Center of Gravity.

Lower Back Rounding isn't good, it need to be avoided.

Kenny Croxdale
 

kennycro@@aol.com

Level 6 Valued Member
I can get the bar about 1-2 inches off the ground and then I'm stuck; I can't seem to bring my hips forward and raise the bar any further. I feel like the 'weak link' in my deadlift is my legs, or possibly my glutes.
Weak Link

Strengthening the Quads and Glutes will help assist in breaking the weight off the floor.

However, if your a Conventional Deadlifter, increasing you Lower Back Strength is fundamental to driving the weight off the floor.

Kenny Croxdale
 

Deleted member 5559

Guest
I noticed I could pull singnificantly more when I focused solely on how fast I was moving the bar. Trying to essentially jump while holding the bar and repeating in my head, "faster". Lighter weight with bands or chains seemed to help that mental progression.

Additionally, I think squats are under prescribed here at SF.
 

kennycro@@aol.com

Level 6 Valued Member
I noticed I could pull singnificantly more when I focused solely on how fast I was moving the bar. Trying to essentially jump while holding the bar and repeating in my head, "faster"
Dr Fred Hatfield's "Compensatory Acceleration"

The focus should be on pulling the bar as hard and fast as you can. Doing so innervates a greater number of Fast Twitch Muscle Fiber.

Also, the more Power you display, the greater your changes of getting through your sticking point.

Lighter weight with bands or chains seemed to help that mental progression.
Band Or Chain Loading

For an Ascending Strength Movement like the Deadlift, it provides a overload through a greater range of the movement. You learn to continue to push or pull the weight up; the Bands or Chains provide resistance at the top.

The Weight and The Band/Chain Load

Power is best developed in Traditional Barbell Exercises (Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift) with a load of 48 to 62% of a 1 RM, Repetition Max.

That means the top end load of the Bar Weight need to fall within the 48 - 62% top end load of movement, in the completed lift; Sanding Up in the Deadlift and/or Squat or Locked Out in the Bench Press.

Inverse Relationship of Band/Chain to Bar Load

There is an Inverse Relationship with Bar Weight and Band/Chain Load

An increase in Band/Chain load dictates a decrease in Bar Load

An increase in Bar Load dictate a decrease in Band/Chain Load.

The objective needs to be, in a large part, in maintaining the Power Training Percentile Range: 48 - 62% of 1 RM, Repetition Max. in the lockEed out position of the Deadlift, Squat or Bench Press.

Kenny Croxdale
 
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Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
If you want to be bigger and stronger, add squats. If you don't want to be bigger but want to improve your deadlift, just deadlift. My vote would be for conventional if you want to deadlift for the purpose of getting overall stronger. If you really just want the number to achieve, then sumo will get you there too, again, with practice.

A caveat to "just deadlift", however, is the programming is important. Much more important than with kettlebell swings. Novice deadlifters are not good at judging when they do too much or too little, and recovery from intelligently designed stress is when you get stronger. So deadlift according to an established program, and let time and practice work its magic.
 

Pavel Macek

Level 8 Valued Member
Master Certified Instructor
-
Starting a new thread here to pick up from an interesting conversation on this thread in the kettlebell forum.

I have a fairly strong kettlebell swing - 10×10 one handed with a 40kg bell at 145lbs body weight - but a fairly weak deadlift - 100kg/220lbs seems to be my max, I can just about get 110kg/242lbs off the floor but nowhere near lockout - and I'm wondering what strategies I can use to bridge the gap?

While both the swing and deadlift are built around a strong hip hinge, are there any muscle groups neglected in the swing that need to be trained to improve my deadlift? Possibly there are some additional exercises I could use to boost my DL.

I'm also a fairly strong bench presser, considering my weight, and my current 1RM on bench is 90kg/198lbs. Surely I've got it in me to pull more from the floor.

Experience could be a factor - I've been swinging KBs for two years and deadlifting for less than a month - but I'd still expected more from my deadlift.

I'd love to hear about other people's experiences of training deadlifts and swings and how one affects the other.
Swings help deadlift a lot - if you are already deadlifting for some time. So:

- deadlift technique first + all skills of strength (setup, lats, abs, squeezing the bar, breaking the bar, wedge... ) - as taught at our Barbell Course of SFL Cert
- simple program (PTTP! is an excellent choice)
- ...and after 6 months write back and let us know about your awesome progress!
 

Steve W.

Level 6 Valued Member
@Chrisdavisjr
Lots of good advice on this thread. I think it basically comes down to the fact that you have to learn how to grind. The swing is a ballistic movement with a rhythm of tight and loose. The DL is about sustaining the tension through the whole ROM. It's a new skill that you just have to spend some time learning.
 

Chrisdavisjr

Level 6 Valued Member
Additionally, I think squats are under prescribed here at SF.
If you want to be bigger and stronger, add squats.
Interestingly enough, I gave barbell back squats a proper try (i.e. with something heavier than a broomstick) for the first time ever today and really enjoyed the movement. I worked up to 70kg/154lbs before calling it a day. I felt like I could easily do more but didn't want to push it. If I get to the gym more, I'll definitely be doing more barbell squats.

- simple program (PTTP! is an excellent choice)
Yes! I'm going to get my hands on some 1.25kg and 2.5kg plates so I can follow the cycles outlined in PTTP! properly (I've heard some people using ladders to make larger jumps in weight but, at my level, that kind of volume would probably break me). I must have read and re-read PTTP! many times and I seem to pick up something new each time.

If I had to choose a favourite between PTTP!, The Naked Warrior and Simple & Sinister, it might just come out on top. Tough competition, though!
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
I think squats are under prescribed here at SF.
We have squats in the warmup of S&S, squats as part of the program in ROTK, squats taught in our barbell curriculum (including the Zercher squat), squats taught at our kettlebell instructor certifications, and a one-legged squat is taught in our bodyweight program.

I want to talk about "prescribed" - our focus is on strength education, and on teaching the skills necessary to pursue strength. What one chooses to do with those skills depends on many things. Squats are important parts of the strength training for athletes in many sports, but many people either don't necessarily need a bigger squat to pursue their chosen sport or simply don't have a sport-specific goal or even a specific goal other than "get and stay in shape." For those people, a wide variety of lifts will help, and to someone new to strength training, almost anything will "work". And there are those among us who are strong enough to squat weights that will add muscle, and therefore weight, to our frame but don't want to be bigger, only better.

There are other organizations in the strength world who equate bigger with better - we do not count ourselves among their number, but neither are we against that if it's the right route for a particular person and their goals. For those who equate bigger with better, squats tend to receive a more prominent place.

Having been in this program and its predecessor, as a reader of its books, then an attendee at its functions, then an instructor in its instructor certification programs, since getting my first kettlebell and the original book in 2001, I can tell you that people look at me and, depending on what I'm doing, ask me if I'm a runner, or a gymnast, or if I do yoga, or if I practice a martial art, but almost no one asks me if I lift weights based on my appearance, and that is exactly how, for me, I like things. If you choose to squat heavy on a regular basis, I say Power To You, enjoy, and if you come to me as a student, squatting will be in my prescription for you, just not necessarily heavy on a regular basis.

JMO, YMMV, of course.

-S-
 
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