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

jonjac

My Third Post
The deadlift is definitely a lift that took me a while to learn how to do correctly. And I say correctly because I have done them safe since the beginning, but it took me time to learn how to get really tight and engage the correct muscles during the setup to build tension before starting the pull. Luckily I've found that deadlift respond really well back accessories which may be a good place to start. But deadlifts are also just one of those things you have to do more to be better at.
 

Philippe Geoffrion

More than 500 posts
Can anyone shed any light on this statement:

"There are a great many deadlift styles. A hip-dominant style such as Andy Bolton’s, rather than quad-dominant style, suits a girevik’s strength. Learn it from an experienced powerlifter,".

From this article: Kettlebells and Deadlifts Go Together Like Vodka and Pickles | StrongFirst

I'm intrigued as to the difference in styles.
This is mostly dictated by stance width and thus hip position. Vince Anello/Lamar Gant nearly stiff leg the weight up in conventional style, which greatly involves the back and hamstrings while sumo pullers seem to use more lower body and maintain an upright posture. Ed Coan in the sumo style is a great example of almost "squatting the weight up". Of course the deadlift isn't a squat, but one can get their hips much closer to the bar, and you much more quad drive by pushing the knee's outward with flared toes. This is where I find my strongest position, feet just outside arms. One of my powerlifting buddies commented, you're doing Ed Coan's Stance. Bolton's squat is very much more hip dominant, as his knees don't move very far forward at all. His deadlift follows a very similar stance. I think the more similar your squat stance is to your deadlift, the better off you are. This is a bit unfair to conventional pullers, however, as a high bar squat may be their best bet, as was the case with Knostantin.
 

Philippe Geoffrion

More than 500 posts
Another note is that if you want to do squats but not add bodyweight, Anderson Squats would be a great idea. You can de-emphasize the eccentric, a key component to hypertrophy, and it may have better transfer to deadlift as the lift begins from the bottom with no stretch shortening cycle.
 

kennycro@@aol.com

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Of course the deadlift isn't a squat, but one can get their hips much closer to the bar, and you much more quad drive by pushing the knee's outward with flared toes. This is where I find my strongest position, feet just outside arms. One of my powerlifting buddies commented, you're doing Ed Coan's Stance.
Wider Stance, Knees Outward, Feet Flared Out

This "Pseudo-Sumo Deadlift (Coan, Squat-Stance, StrongFirst Deadlift, etc) decreases the loading on the Back and places more loading on the Quads.

Even more importantly, Wider Stance with the Toes Flared Out Deadlifts or Squat, engages the Glutes to a much greater degree. The Glutes are the largest muscle of the body.

I think the more similar your squat stance is to your deadlift, the better off you are. This is a bit unfair to conventional pullers, however, as a high bar squat may be their best bet, as was the case with Knostantin.
Yes and No

Yes, there is definitely some carry over if your Squat Stance is similar to your Deadlift.

The Upside

Essentially, your Squat becomes an Auxiliary Deadlift Exercise and your Deadlift becomes an Auxiliary Squat Exercise.

As I have posted before, one of the keys to increasing Limit Strength in Competition Lift is with Auxiliary Exercises (Research Dr Tom McLaughlin, Anecdotal Training Data-Westside Powerlifting Training Method).

On a personal note, I am a Conventional Deadlifter.

Years ago, in a training session I preformed a heavy Competition Squat single. I ask my training partner if I broke parallel. His reply was that I broke parallel twice with one repetition; which made no sense.

I ask how that happened. His reply was your leg broke parallel and you lower back did to!

My Squat was more of a Squat-Good Morning. No wonder I stop Deadlift for months and still come back and pull some heavy Deadlifts.

The same is true for Sumo Deadlifts and Squat-Stance Deadlifts.

However, here's the...

The Downside

The Squat and Deadlift are two different movement. However, the same muscle groups and similar movement pattern are train.

Thus, it is easy to overtrain the muscle groups (especially the back) when performing a highly intense, heavy Squat and Deadlift training session in the same week.

Alternative

One method that can minimize training the Squat and Deadlift heavy in the same week is...

1) Narrow Stance Squat with Sumo Deadlift

2) Wide Stance Squat with Conventional Deadlift

For a number of years, I trained and competed using a Wide Stance Squat and Conventional Deadlift.

The Wide Stance Squat minimize the loading on my Back (no more Squat-Good Mornings), allowing me more recovery time for my Conventional Deadlift. I posted some personal records with my Wide Stance Squat an Conventional Deadift.

However, the Wide Stance Squat isn't something that feels natural to me. Every time I Wide Stance Squat, it feel like a new movement. I have to focus to a much greater degree on my Wide Stance Squat Technique

The Narrow Stance Squat feels more natural.

High Bar Squat

High Bar Squat are a Quad Dominate Exercise; a somewhat good Low Bar Squat and Sumo and Conventional Deadlift Auxiliary Exercise.

A much more effective Sumo and Conventional Deadlift movement is High Back Quarter Squats. The Quarter High Bar Squat needs to be performed from the same Quarter Squat position that you are in for your Sumo, Squat-Stance and Conventional Deadlift.

Other Good Quad Dominate Deadlift Exercises

1) Quarter Front Squats.

2) Quarter Step Up

3) Partial Leg Press. Gene Bell, one of the greats Deadlifters in the 220 lb and 242 lb weight class, stated the Leg Press was one of his most effective Deadlift Assistance Movements.

There many other good Compound Quad Exercises.

Kenny Croxdale
 
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kennycro@@aol.com

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Another note is that if you want to do squats but not add bodyweight, Anderson Squats would be a great idea. You can de-emphasize the eccentric, a key component to hypertrophy, and it may have better transfer to deadlift as the lift begins from the bottom with no stretch shortening cycle.
Anderson Squats

Yes, elimination of the Eccentric part of an exercise limits an increase weight gain. The Deadlift really doesn't have a Eccentric component to it; one of the reasons that it is not quite as effective for adding mass.

Concentric Only Movements

The greatest amount of Muscle Damage, Training Recovery and Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness come from the Eccentric part of a movement.

Thus, Concentric Only Movements cause less Muscle Damage, allows for quicker Recovery and creates minimal Delayed Oneset of Muscle Soreness.

With that said, Muscle Mass and Body Weight can be increased via Concentric Only Training.

An example increasing muscle is...

Biker's Legs

As Anna noted in one of her post a while back, biker's have some of the best legs.

Dr Layne Norton noted that one of the Bodybuilders he was training had back issues; making weight training exercises out of the question.

Norton leg training for the Bodybuilder was an Exercise Bike. As per Norton, the Bodybuilder's leg were as good or better than if he been performing weight training leg exercises.

What drives muscle growth for Biker is "Metabolic Stress", The Pump; especially with High Intensity Interval Training.

Sprinters have great legs; they basically perform High Intensity Interval Training.

Dr Fred Hatfield's Concentric Only Squatting

Hatfield was a great Strength Coaches and Lifer; he passed away last year. Hatfield was the lightest man to Squat over 1,000 lb at a body weight of 252 lbs


Hatfield's Squat Training at times revolved around performing Concentric Only Rack Squats. Hatfield would place the bar in the Rack, Squat the weight up, then drop it back on the safety tiers.

That (as Philippe noted) is an "Anderson Squat". So, you can do it in a Power Rack. You don't have to go dig a hole in your backyard.

With that said, I doubt that any gym is going to allow you to preform Concentric Only Squat in a Rack, then drop the bar each time; due to the noise and the beating the bar and the safety tiers take.

The Car Towing Strap Solution

I've preformed Concentric Only Squats, Good Mornings, Bench Presses, etc with Car Straps for over 10 years. I use them because there is no noise when you drop them down and it doesn't beat up my bar or safety tiers on my rack.

The Car Strap are rated for over 2,000 lbs per strap. I've dropped over 400 lbs on them. However, I do place the Rack Safety Tiers just below the Car Straps, just in case.

The Car Towing Straps are a cheaper version of the Spud Straps. They come in various lengths and widths. Just loop them over the top of your Power Rack.

I have various Car Towing Strap sizes (length and widths).

McMaster-Carr

This is what they look like. You can buy them at some Lowes, Home Depot, Automotive Stores, etc.

Kenny Croxdale
 
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Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
I think the more similar your squat stance is to your deadlift, the better off you are. This is a bit unfair to conventional pullers, however, as a high bar squat may be their best bet, as was the case with Knostantin.
I don't think it's a matter of stance so much as it is using some of the same musculature and movement groove. In the past, I found great carryover from my low bar back squat to my conventional deadlift if I really focused on the hip hinge aspect of the squat. For it to work as a squat, the stance has to be pretty wide, so not the same stance, but still very much a similar groove in many ways.

-S-
 

Philippe Geoffrion

More than 500 posts
I don't think it's a matter of stance so much as it is using some of the same musculature and movement groove. In the past, I found great carryover from my low bar back squat to my conventional deadlift if I really focused on the hip hinge aspect of the squat. For it to work as a squat, the stance has to be pretty wide, so not the same stance, but still very much a similar groove in many ways.

-S-
Now that I think about it, this makes sense. The same way someone might find transfer from a close grip bench to a wide grip,sumo to a conventional and high bar to low bar squats. In fact, working two stances may actually help shore up strengthening movements/muscles that the other stance does not address.
 

watchnerd

Triple-Digit Post Count
The usual programming recommended for beginner linear progressions programs (Starting Strength, Stronglifts, etc) is to do near-maximal deadlifts for 1 set of 5, infrequently (once a week or every two weeks) because heavy deadlifts are hard to recover from.

However, once linear progression has plateaued, I find deadlifts to be very amenable to an "easy strength" / GTG approach.

I keep a barbell more or less permanently on the floor of my garage with about 60-70% of my 1 RM.

Sun-Thu, I'll randomly do a few reps as I walk in and out of the garage. Sometimes 2-3. Never more than 5 reps. Never more than one set. Sometimes conventional, sometimes sumo. No grunting, screaming, yelling, or any more drama than I'd used for picking up some other household item from the floor. I don't change clothes or get in workout gear. Or warm up. I take my shoes off, do a few reps, put my shoes back on, carry on with whatever I was doing. Or maybe I don't go in the garage that day, so don't do any.

On Friday, I'll do an actual 'deadlift' workout.

On Saturday, I don't deadlift.

On Sunday, I'll add a little weight to the bar. Maybe 2 kg. Maybe 0.5 kg. It depends on how easy it feels.

Doing it this way has allowed me to get a lot of technique practice in, to the point it's practically automatic now. And to get get slowly stronger with practically zero impact on recovery.
 

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
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.
@kennycro@@aol.com , I wanted to report back on the success of implementing your advice from a month ago, on page 6 of this thread.

Yesterday I pulled 300x5 (a long time goal!) and it moved so much faster off the floor.

I've been doing the Halting deadlift just as demonstrated in your point 4 above from the Mark Rippetoe video, to just above the knee and keeping the shoulders out over the bar. 3x8, as he recommends. 1/14 I did 185x8x3, 1/25 I did 205x8x3, aand 2/11 I did 215x8x3. Each time it felt like a lot of work specifically targeted for that weak point, but not a lot of "deadlift heavy" work that required a lot of recovery.

I only do full deadlifts once every 2 weeks, and yesterday it was finally time to do a set at 300. It moved much quicker off the floor and for the whole lift. It no longer feels like "off the floor" is the hardest part.

So, thanks again for that suggestion.

 

kennycro@@aol.com

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
@kennycro@@aol.com , I wanted to report back on the success of implementing your advice from a month ago, on page 6 of this thread.

Yesterday I pulled 300x5 (a long time goal!) and it moved so much faster off the floor.

I've been doing the Halting deadlift just as demonstrated in your point 4 above from the Mark Rippetoe video, ...
Anna,

Nice pull for 300 X 5. Glad to hear that worked for you.

Basically, I just pass on information that I learn from others.

Tool Box Liner

Your idea on Tool Box Liner was something new to me. I keep meaning to go pick up up. Thanks for that information.

Kenny Croxdale
 

watchnerd

Triple-Digit Post Count
@kennycro@@aol.com , I wanted to report back on the success of implementing your advice from a month ago, on page 6 of this thread.

Yesterday I pulled 300x5 (a long time goal!) and it moved so much faster off the floor.

I've been doing the Halting deadlift just as demonstrated in your point 4 above from the Mark Rippetoe video, to just above the knee and keeping the shoulders out over the bar. 3x8, as he recommends. 1/14 I did 185x8x3, 1/25 I did 205x8x3, aand 2/11 I did 215x8x3. Each time it felt like a lot of work specifically targeted for that weak point, but not a lot of "deadlift heavy" work that required a lot of recovery.

I only do full deadlifts once every 2 weeks, and yesterday it was finally time to do a set at 300. It moved much quicker off the floor and for the whole lift. It no longer feels like "off the floor" is the hardest part.

So, thanks again for that suggestion.

Amazing effort, you really put yourself into that set.

I'll admit, I rarely train at that RPE 8+ range much anymore....
 

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
Amazing effort, you really put yourself into that set.

I'll admit, I rarely train at that RPE 8+ range much anymore....
Thanks, yeah I only deadlift heavy once every 2 weeks, currently just 1 set of 5. And I would put that at RPE 8.5, "could maybe have done 2 more reps." Strong and potent medicine.
 
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Chrisdavisjr

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
A quick update on my deadlift journey: After managing to lift 120kg (265lbs) last week for a confident (if challenging) single, I managed to lift the same weight for a comfortable(ish) triple today behind my back.

It seems taking the load off my lower back bypasses whatever 'shut down' reflex is responsible for stalling my conventional deadlifts and allows me to express my strength.

I'm going to continue to practise behind-the-back/hack deadlifts and see how I get on. I'll need to get some more weight plates pretty soon though.
 
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