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

kennycro@@aol.com

Level 6 Valued Member
I visited family and went to a gym where my father has a trainer. The trainer observed my deadlift and said, "You're using your back. Use your legs more and you'll have a stronger deadlift."
Your Deadlift Technique

Without seeing your Deadlift, it's hard to know if the "Trainer" was correct in his assessment of using your legs more.

I've provided information on this in topic in several post. Here a brief synopsis...

The Conventional Powerlfiting Deadlift

1) The Back initiates the drive off the floor with the legs assisting (Research Dr Tom McLaughlin)

2) The Conventional Powerlifting Deadlift Muscle Firing Sequences is: Back > Legs > Back

3) Upper Back Rounding usually occurs with great Deadlifters. It enables Deadlifters to keep the bar closer to the Body's Center of Gravity, COG; it decreases the Torque. (Reference Dr Tom McLaughlin and Dr Bret Contreras, independent of each other).

The Sumo Powerlifting Deadlift

This is a Leg Dominate Deadlift. The Legs break the weight off the floor with the Back assisting.

The Sumo Powerlifting Deadlift Muscle Firing Sequence is: Legs > Back.

The Olympic Deadlift

That meaning employing the Deadlift as a Auxiliary Strength Movement the First Pull in the Cleans and Snatches.

The Legs drive the weight off the floor. The Back need to maintain a neutral position; positing the bar for the Second Pull.

"hip dominant." (example here: PTTP program) To me it is definitely the strongest style. I did try a set more his way... probably not as much as he had in mind, but still found it was not as strong. Not a surprise to me.
Leg Drive Max Deadlift Not As Strong

That was Contreras finding, as well as your.

Trying to pull a Max Deadlift by using the Olympic Deadlift/Legs Drive to initially break the weight off the floor ensure you will Pull less weight.

McLaughlin noted that using the Legs to initiated the drive off the floor screws up your Powerlifting Deadlift Technique.

In other words, a Conventional Powerlifting Deadlift and Olympic Lifting Deadlift are two different animals; as is an Olympic High Bar Squat vs a Lower Bar Powerlifting Squat.

Kenny Croxdale
 
Last edited:

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Yes! Maybe we could organise some kind of multi-venue powerlifting competition (like the TSC) for members of the SF forum...
I've participated in PL competitions that were called Championships - done over more than one weekend and in more than one place, with results tallied, much like, as you say, the TSC. But, IMO, there are plenty of competitions out there already - not sure we need another one. I think we're OK just to tell each other how great we are. :) :)

[RAMBLE]

Change of subject: I feel an obligation to be public about what I do because there are so many people who don't think:
  • you can look like me - thin - and be a powerlifter.

  • you can be older and be strong and thin.

  • you can deal with a back injury by strengthening your back.

  • you can improve your physical condition by relying on your brain and character as well as your body.

  • being strong of body can carry over to being strong of brain and of character.
[/RAMBLE]

So I think it's good we cheer each other on here on the forum. We are the few who, I hope, set an example for others, and our forum has, as do many online places, more readers-only than participants.

-S-
 

Chrisdavisjr

Level 6 Valued Member
you can look like me - thin - and be a powerlifter
You have no idea how grateful I am for your example as well as that of other lightweight lifters (Dr. Judd Biasotto, Naim Süleymanoğlu, Lamar Gant etc.).

Were it not for people like you, I would either be eating myself into an early grave trying to gain as much weight as possible or I would have just given up on strength altogether.
 

kennycro@@aol.com

Level 6 Valued Member
Here's a recent example, but as I noted in the other thread (PTTP Program thread), I don't usually pull this slow. That's about as fast as the weight was moving that day (and it's heavy)

Anna,

Very Impressive Pull

Your 300 lbs X 3 Reps is very impressive

Power Off The Floor

Your power off the floor, how long it takes you, concerns me.

I'm interested in one that demonstrates the normal amount of power off the floor/speed you usually have.

Kenny Croxdale



 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Your power off the floor, how long it takes you, concerns me.

I'm interested in one that demonstrates the normal amount of power off the floor/speed you usually have.
Thanks, Kenny... Here's my top working set this morning, 285 lb x 5. Probably normal speed for this weight. Still slow off the floor... that's always the hardest part for me. Lockout is always easy.

 

kennycro@@aol.com

Level 6 Valued Member
Thanks, Kenny... Here's my top working set this morning, 285 lb x 5. Probably normal speed for this weight. Still slow off the floor... that's always the hardest part for me. Lockout is always easy.

Anna,

Better Speed But Still Slow

Yea, your Speed is better but still slow.

Anomaly

Your Conventional Deadlift is an anomaly; weaker and slower off the floor and stronger and fast at the top.

As you know, the reverse is true with the majority of Conventional Deadlifters; strong and faster off the floor and slower and weaker in the knee area.

Strong Pull Off The Floor

As McLaughlin's research indicated, the majority of Conventional Dealifter initiate the drive off the floor with the back with the legs assisting.

Based on your technique and how slow your pull is off the floor, it appears that you are utilizing more Leg Drive than Back. Based on that here's some basically common sense suggestion. Since I am not familiar with your Training Program, you may already be performing some of them.

Working The Weak Point

To increase your Limit Strength off the floor, I'd suggest employ and rotating these exercise in and out of your Training Program.

1) Deficit Conventional Deadlifts

2) Stiff Leg Deadlifts (with a slight break in the knees). These can also be performed as "Stiff Leg Deficit Deadlifts"

3) Good Morning; This is essentially a "Standing Deadlift"; the bar is on your back. The overloading is in the lower part of the movement, as with Deadlifts.

4)

Yea, my buddy Mark demonstrates this.

The Haulting Deadlift movement is a partial range movement that focuses on your weak point to make it stronger. The Haulting Deadlift can be performed for Deficit Deadlifts, Stiff Leg Deadlifts, Good Mornings, etc.

5) Trap Bar Stiff Leg Deadlifts; This work the back from a somewhat different angle; as noted in some of my previous post, Varying Exercise has been shown to increase Limit Strength in a movement.

Avoiding The Weak Point

Another alternative is to avoid you weak point and play to your strength.

In other words, if you can pull more with a Sumo than Conventional, go Sumo.

If you can pull more with a Conventional than Sumo, go Conventional.

Since you appear to have a great deal of "Leg Drive Strength" in your Deadlift, you might experiment with the Sumo Deadlift; it play to the Limit Strength of individual whose "Leg Drive Strength" is greater than their "Back Drive Strength" in the Deadlift.

With that said, a Conventional Deadlifter can increase their Limit Strength by using Sumo Deadlift as an Auxiliary Exercise.

A Sumo Deadlift can increase their Limit Strength by using Conventional Deadlifts as an Auxiliary Exercise.

My Personal Conventional Deadlift Weak Point Training

I have a strong pull off the floor. So, years ago, I stopped training my Deadlift off the floor.

Instead I worked on Partial Heavy Rack Pull Deadlifts and Partial Heavy Good Mornings from my knee area sticking point to increase my Limit Strength.

To increase my Power in the knee area, I preformed Olympic Hang Power Cleans and Hang High Pulls.

That method dramatically increased my Deadlift.

A third alternative to consider is...

Tip: Do the Squat-Stance Deadlift | T Nation

This is a hybrid between the Conventional and Sumo. A friend of mine wasn't doing well with Conventional or Sumo. He found the "Squat Stance Deadlift" work and felt better to him.


Ed Coan is the "Poster Child" for the "Squat-Stance Deadlift.

Kenny Croxdale
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Thank you, Kenny, that is a wealth of great information!

I have done the halting deadlift in my training in the past 6 months or so, but a different form of it than what Rip shows in that video. What I was doing is a regular deadlift with a 1-second motionless pause just below the knee. I think the version shown here might be more helpful for me. I particularly like the emphasis on "staying out over the bar." Incidentally I was just at that gym (link to photo) where the video was filmed last month, at a Starting Strength Seminar, with Rip coaching. He is the best platform coach I've ever seen - sees, cues, corrects, and teaches all in a way that directly contributes to getting a lifter to move in accordance with his lift model. Whether that lift model (described extensively in "Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, 3rd ed) is the best is debated in the world outside of Starting Strength of course, but there's no doubt that he and his staff coaches are experts at coaching it. He's quite an amazing communicator.

I have tried Sumo in the past and I was stronger with it around 2016 when my 1RM was about 260, but I went back to conventional because I prefer it, my knees like it better, and I deadlift mainly to build back strength. So I think I'll stick with conventional.

As for the other options, I've done deficit deadlifts but I can't tell what they're specifically improving. Have not tried stiff leg deadlifts - that might be a good one to add. I learned the Good Morning at the SFL but I haven't used it since then.

@Bill Been has been coaching me this past year and we've increased both my 1RM and 5RM deadlift by about 70 lbs in 10 months, and that was well past the newbie gains since I had been deadlifting for 4 years already. We'll talk about options for this next cycle.

Thanks again @kennycro@@aol.com for the thorough response and helpful info.
 
Last edited:

watchnerd

Level 6 Valued Member
And this, kids, is why the deadlift and weightlifting pull are different creatures.
I have a powerlifting friend who has a clean grip deadlift that smokes mine; as an Olifter I'm only interested in my clean grip deadlift being 'good enough'. His clean grip deadlift is a good 50% higher than mine.

(although this was no straps, so he was using mixed grip, while I was using hook grip)

So in a goofing moment, we decided to compare snatch grip deadlifts. I figured he'd be able to still beat me, but by less. I was wrong. My snatch grip DLs were significantly higher. I don't know if it was ROM, grip, or just lack of training the move, but it was interesting.

After that, we moved on to our 'speed moves', him doing band-resisted deadlifts, and me doing snatch pulls.
 

kennycro@@aol.com

Level 6 Valued Member
After that, we moved on to our 'speed moves', him doing band-resisted deadlifts, and me doing snatch pulls.
"Speed Training" Misnomer

Here's the "For Your Information" note on this.

"Speed Training" is one of those misused term that and continues to be perpetuated.

The majority of the time, individual who state and believe they are performing "Speed Training" are actually preforming a "Power Training" movement."

"Speed Training" revolves using a lower 1 Repetition Max moving the body or an object much faster in an exercise than "Power Training".

"Power Training" uses a moderately heavier percentage of your 1 Repetition max, the velocity of the movement is good but not as fast with "Speed Training. However, the Power Output is much greater.

The See Saw Analogy

"Speed Training" is at one end of the Strength spectrum with Limit Strength (1 Repetition Max) at the opposite end.

Think of Speed on one end of the See Saw, Limit Strength on the opposite side, and Power being in the middle of them.

A Simple Way of Defining Power

Power = Strength X Speed

Uniformed Terms

The reason for us all to use uniform common terms is for communication.

Using "Speed Training" to refer to "Power Training" is akin to defining a cat as a dog; they aren't quite the same.

Kenny Croxdale
 
Last edited:

watchnerd

Level 6 Valued Member
"Speed Training" Misnomer

Here's the "For Your Information" note on this.

"Speed Training" is one of those misused term that and continues to be perpetuated.

The majority of the time, individual who state and believe they are performing "Speed Training" are actually preforming a "Power Training" movement."

"Speed Training" revolves using a lower 1 Repetition Max moving the body or an object much faster in an exercise than "Power Training".

"Power Training" uses a moderately heavier percentage of your 1 Repetition max, the velocity of the movement is good but not as fast with "Speed Training. However, the Power Output is much greater.

The See Saw Analogy

"Speed Training" is at one end of the Strength spectrum with Limit Strength (1 Repetition Max) at the opposite end.

Think of Speed on one end of the See Saw, Limit Strength on the opposite side, and Power being in the middle of them.

A Simple Way of Defining Power

Power = Strength X Speed

Uniformed Terms

The reason for us all to use uniform common terms is for communication.

Using "Speed Training" to refer to "Power Training" is akin to defining a cat as a dog; they aren't quite the same.

Kenny Croxdale
This is why I put air quotes around the term.

He (the powerlifter) also told me the Westside method has a 'speed day'.

I'm not a follower of Louie, so I have no idea what that entails or if it meets the posted definition or not.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@kennycro@@aol.com, what you're calling Squat Stance DL we call Narrow Sumo around here, and it's often the first deadlift we teach someone with kettlebell experience because the stance width is closest to their kettlebell swing stance. If I'm not mistaken, it's the first DL stance we teach at our barbell certs and courses.

My personal experience with it has been, IMHO, interesting. I really missed being able to get my back into the lift, and went to one meet where I tried +10 lbs. over a 5RM, and I couldn't get it off the floor. I felt like that stance denied me using my back, which is the strongest thing about my deadlift. But that 5RM at the time was a weight I couldn't get 5 reps with any other way but narrow sumo.

But, reading this and watching the great Ed Coan use it, I think I'm going to try it again and see how it works for me. Maybe it'll help my conventional pull - training a more traditional sumo hasn't ever work for me, but narrow sumo might.

-S-
 

kennycro@@aol.com

Level 6 Valued Member
what you're calling Squat Stance DL we call Narrow Sumo
Narrow Sumo DL

That name works.

Squat Stance DL was Joel Seedman's term.

I really missed being able to get my back into the lift, and went to one meet where I tried +10 lbs. over a 5RM, and I couldn't get it off the floor. I felt like that stance denied me using my back, which is the strongest thing about my deadlift.
Back Drive

The Narrow Stance/Squat Stance DL takes some of the "Back Drive" out of the Deadlift. I don't see it being as effective for lifter with a strong, dominate back.

Auxiliary Deadlift Exercise

As you know, I am a proponent of Varying Auxiliary Exercises for a lift as a mean on increasing Limit Strength; research and empirical data support Varying Exercises.

Kenny Croxdale
 
Top Bottom