Top Strongman says Don’t Deadlift

Discussion in 'Barbell' started by Tirofijo, Jul 10, 2019 at 12:38 AM.

  1. Kozushi

    Kozushi More than 2500 posts

    It gets into philosophy: what is your strength for?
    I think we can strengthen the lower back without deadlifts or swings, maybe not as much or as directly but I think it's still possible.
    It's obviously a good exercise. As for mandatory - tough to consider any exercise "mandatory".
  2. freeflowme

    freeflowme Triple-Digit Post Count

    I think this point can't be overstated.

    Programs like PTTP are designed with high-frequency at least in part because: (a) average individuals benefit from the frequency to develop the correct technique; and (b) average individuals can only use a weight that they can recover from in 24 hrs, training 5 days/week.

    All of that goes out the window when you can pull 900+ lbs. You don't need the frequency because your technique has been honed over years of coaching and practice. You accumulate more volume in your first 2 warm ups than the average individual does on a PR day. And your risk of injury during the lift is much higher. So, strongmen generally train the DL every 10 days - 3 weeks, and rarely go for maximal pulls.

    But it's almost like talking apples and oranges between the two types of trainee.
  3. apa

    apa Triple-Digit Post Count

  4. Glen

    Glen Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    It's an interesting one, think you can see Obersts bias as well - one of the reasons his not a TOP strongman is his (relatively) weak Deadlift, he is way behind others despite his pressing strength being up there.

    Another thing to note is those pulling conventional and saying their lowerbacks taking a beating tend to be those who fail the lift at the knees - in other words they pull with a slightly kyphotic thoracic region. In my experience those who pull with a more text book 'clean' back position tend to fail off the floor and the greater stress is more on the hips rather than the lower back.

    Joint coupling would suggest if you round through the thoracic spine then the inferior vertebrae would either go into flexion or you are working harder through the erectors to resist further flexion lower down.
    fractal likes this.
  5. More than 500 posts

    Novice Lifters

    A novice lifter that is new to the Deadlift, any movement, need some frequency with light to moderate loads to lean the movement. With light to moderate load, technique is easier to maintain as long as the lift is not performed to the point of muscle fatigue.

    Essentially, lifting light to moderate loads make you good at lifting light to moderate loads.

    "Wound Healing"

    This means the greater the trauma produced in a training session, the longer the recovery time needed for healing/recovery.

    Training session that are of higher intensity require more recovery time.

    The less traumatic the training session, the quicker the healing/recovery.

    Using a lighter load/lower intensity allows for quick recovery time.

    Initially, working with lighter loads/lower intensity works for novice lifter for increasing strength and size. However, at some point, if the lifter wants to increase strength and size, training intensity need to increase.

    Intensity For Progress

    Training intensity is one of the factors necessary for increasing strength and size, dependent on how the program is written and followed.

    Progressive overload in a training cycle over a number of week is necessary. The final week of the training cycle need to push the exercise to failure or near failure.

    Once that occurs, a new training cycle is stared with a lighter load and lower intensity. This promotes...

    Active Recovery

    Active recovery with lighter loads/lower intensity promotes recovery. Blood delivers nutrients to the muscle and take out the garbage.

    Technique Training

    As per Dr Tom McLauglin (PhD Exercise Biomechanics/former Powerlifter), "Technique is everything".

    Advance Lifter have honed into the technique of the lift/movement. However, some emphasis in their training program should be set aside for technique training.

    "Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice make perfect."
    Vince Lombardi

    Technique is optimally developed when the movement is performed with loads of 85% of your 1 Repetition Max for single and multiple sets.

    Technique Training with light to moderate load is necessary for novice lifters. However, at some point, the percentage of 1 Repetition Max needs to increase.

    It amount to batting practicing, hitting a 60 mph fast ball. It make you good at hitting a 60 mph fast ball. However, it not going to help you with hitting a 90 mph fast ball.

    Accumulating Volume

    Someone who can pulls 900 lbs isn't going to accumulate more volume in two their first two warm up set than the average individual.

    Risk of Injury

    The closer any lifter gets to their max, be it in a 1 RM or 5 RM, the greater risk of injury. The heavier the load the harder it is to control.

    It's like driving a car, you're less likely to have an accident going 40 mph and hour vs going 120 mph. You have more control at 40 mph and more reaction time than if you're going 120 mph.

    Back To "Wound Healing"

    Most Powerlifter only train the Deadlift once every 7 to 10 Days.

    For that matter, most individual who train the Deadlift heavy need more recovery time. They find Deadlifting once every 7 days is effective.

    That because the lower back is quickly and easily over trained.

    Kenny Croxdale
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019 at 9:00 AM
    william bad butt likes this.
  6. Tirofijo

    Tirofijo More than 500 posts

    No. I disagree. He seemed pretty clearly to be telling Joe Rogan and everyone else not to deadlift unless your goal is to be better at deadlifting.

    He's using the "fact" NFL and D1 football players don't deadlift as proof that there are better exercises that have a better risk to reward ratio than the deadlift. He didn't say his advice was just for elite athletes.

    *I say 'fact' but I'm sure somewhere some NFL players are deadlifting.


    "I went from football (American) to strongman - and in football we'd never done deadlifts, it was all hang cleans and power cleans.

    "By the way, a little tip, if you're deadlifting to be a better deadlifter - fine.

    "If you're not doing that for deadlifts' sake, then don't f***ing do it. The risk to reward ratio is a joke, for deadlifts."

    "A lot of people aren't gonna like that I'm saying that. But if you go into any NFL gym, any Division 1 college football gym, in any athletics where people are actually getting paid and it matters what they're doing, they're not deadlifting. They're hang cleaning and power cleaning."

    "It's so hard to be a great deadlifter and to not risk your lower back and to be using your upper back properly. There are so many little chances for you to get hurt."


    I don't know if he's correct, but I understand what he is saying. If a deadlift is too risky for an athlete, then it's too risky for most of us here too.

    Think of how many accountants and soccer moms that have had to have surgery to repair SLAP tears from Crossfit. Expensive surgery, down time, pain, a shoulder that will never be the same...all for a number beside their name on a whiteboard in a club they paid to join. It's borderline negligent on Crossfit's part, considering Crossfit could have programmed strict pullups and avoided all of it.

    What if deadlifts, to a lesser extent, are to hang cleans what kipping pullups are to strict pullups? You don't have to be an elite athlete to not want to be injured or to pick exercises with the lowest risk to reward ratio.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019 at 11:56 PM
  7. Alan Mackey

    Alan Mackey Triple-Digit Post Count

    I disagree.

    Paraphrasing Dan John: deadlifting doesn't hurt you. The way you deadlift is what's hurting you.

    Most athletes don't deadlift, because quick lifts are MUCH better suited for their purpose. The same can be said about overhead press: push press is a WAY better choice for an athlete.

    But that doesn't mean pulling from the floor is inherently dangerous (it's not).

    Once you get past a certain point, ANY kind of exercise becomes dangerous: pulling above triple bodyweight, running fifty miles, doing thousands of snatches...

    Common sense should be applied to the way we do things.
  8. LightningFast

    LightningFast Double-Digit Post Count

    Hang cleans are not innocuous - lowering is technically quite demanding, and if you are not careful you can "jerk-down" your lower back, so to speak. I got injured this way once: I wanted to power cleans as per Starting Strength, but didn't have the platform to drop the barbell onto. Couple of not really heavy sets did it.

    Yes, any exercise is potentially dangerous, especially when pushed to the limits. I'd say injury is pretty inevitable if you are active. Prove me wrong, find an athlete who's never been injured.
  9. Alan Mackey

    Alan Mackey Triple-Digit Post Count

    I would even say that the quick lifts are more dangerous than the slow ones.
    Antti likes this.
  10. LukeV

    LukeV More than 300 posts

    I see athletes from various sports (ie not just weightlifters) deadlifting at the elite Australian Institute of Sport but they almost always release the bar at the top of the lift and just drop the weight to the ground. I wonder if this is to reduce risk of injury
  11. Joe Fraser

    Joe Fraser Triple-Digit Post Count

    The assumption here is that the NFL and Division 1 college football strength coaches are the most knowledgeable and effective and that everything they do makes sense. Those who I've heard explain their college football conditioning programs lead me to believe otherwise.
    Tirofijo, Steve A and Sean M like this.
  12. More than 500 posts

    Alan Mackey

    To paraphrasing Alan's Dan John paraphrase: "Hang Cleans don't hurt you. The way you Hang Clean is what's hurting you."

    I've performed Hang Cleans and worked with other on their hang clean for decades. I nor anyone that I have worked with has had any issues with any type of Hang Pulls: Cleans, Snatches, or High Pulls.

    "Jerking-Down" Lower Back

    This tell me you are catching the weight incorrectly.

    Dropping the bar isn't necessary if you know how to catch the weight.

    "Yes, any exercise is potentially dangerous, especially when pushed to the limits."


    Also, any exercise that is performed incorrectly eventually leads to an injury.

    Kenny Croxdale
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019 at 9:31 AM
  13. North Coast Miller

    North Coast Miller More than 2500 posts

    Injuries in Powerlifting: Basic Results • Stronger by Science

    Overall, minor injuries are pretty common for all strength training, injuries that force a change in how you train but allow you to continue training. Injuries that call for a complete halt in training and/or medical intervention to recover are relatively rare.

    The caveat is that prior injury is the most reliable predictor of future injury, so those minor pulls and strains might be a problem down the road.

    Personally I injure myself far more often doing everyday stuff than I have training with only a few exceptions - had a nasty shoulder pull bench pressing with my 3 rep max and a bad spotter who let the weight hover at my stick point for a looong time.

    I've had two intercostal strains that halted my training for a week or so per.

    I'm also training at home without heavy cast iron, to stay challenging the rep/sets tend to be at the higher end for strength training - this is also in line with higher injury rates overall for powerlifters and Oly lifters than bodybuilders.

    I cannot recall the number of times I've wrenched or pulled something at work or working around the house, if you're challenging yourself injury is always a possibility, however remote. I cannot imagine overall the injury rates for DL are any higher than hang or power cleans, though the injuries themselves might be more severe for DL as the loads get up there. Be an adult about the weights you're using.
  14. Joe Fraser

    Joe Fraser Triple-Digit Post Count

    Wouldn't this same quote apply to deadlifts and make this all moot?
    North Coast Miller likes this.
  15. Tirofijo

    Tirofijo More than 500 posts

    Read Alan’s earlier post. The original quote is about deadlifts.

    And also Alan made the good point that hangs cleans are not magically safe, since he himself got hurt doing them.

    Then Kenny changed his quote up to say that if he got injured doing hang cleans, it was because he was doing them wrong.
 likes this.
  16. Tirofijo

    Tirofijo More than 500 posts

    I don’t disagree.

    However, what I would imagine the D1 strength and conditioning coaches are very good at is keeping their jobs.

    (If not keeping their job with the same school - since coaching staff has a lot of turnover as teams have bad seasons - at least they want to remain employable in the industry. And to not get fired when their teams are having a good year.)

    Therefore they might be more in tune with risk/reward of the various lifts since having players miss games due to injuries in the weightroom is a fast way to get fired.


    Just to be clear, I’m sort of acting as devils advocate here. I deadlifted this morning.

    But I do find the topic interesting.
  17. More than 500 posts

    Alan's quote applied to the Deadlift.

    My point was that is you're performing them incorrectly.

    Kenny Croxdale
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019 at 3:26 PM
  18. Glen

    Glen Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    In terms of athletic coaches and Deadlifts there's a bigger picture than just exercise and potential for injury.

    Apart from maybe off-season a coach has to contend with workload his athletes can recover from and not impact practice sessions or performance.

    We all now how Deadlifts take a lot more out of us than a clean for an equivalent volume and % of 1RM.

    If the athletes need to be recovered enough to undertake practice then choosing a more recoverable hip hinge exercise makes sense.

    It's not a case of injury rate, it's a case of finding the right amount of stimulus which gives results but still allows all the other work loads a sports athlete needs to be undertaken.

    Very different to a weekend warrior who just wants to stay fit, healthy and strong
  19. Philippe Geoffrion

    Philippe Geoffrion More than 500 posts

    don't deadlift=don't deadlift wrong, at the wrong time, with the wrong weights, for the wrong reasons.
  20. Kozushi

    Kozushi More than 2500 posts

    My judo coach who is a professional judo competitor and coach did hang and power cleans too and didn't deadlift. It's interesting that he said exactly what this article is saying.

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