A generic warm-up and a few arm swings aren’t enough to make the most out of your training. In fact, if you’re looking to build athletic muscle and strength, then you’ll need a specific warm-up that leads up to crushing your 1-Rep Max (1RM). Keep Reading
You’re probably sitting there, protein shake in hand thinking “What the hell is Eric talking about!
A post about Gas… like, protein farts?”
I understand the confusion, but I’m referring to a different type of GAS—the General Adaptation Syndrome by Hans Selye. Hans Selye introduced the GAS model in 1936 to show how stages of stress affect the body. Be noted the body responds to external stressors and responds to that stress by working to restore homeostasis. For those non-science nerds this means the body tries to stay the same amidst stress.
By going through a few steps the body works to regain stability and respond to stressful situations by preparing to handle a greater stress.
So here’s the catch.
Training creates a stressful response to the body that over-time, can to become too great to recover from. The manner in which we respond to stress is best described by Hans Selye with the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS).
To grow, increase performance, and adaptation must take place. When the body experiences a new or more intense stress the body responds in Shock or Alarm.
This lasts several days or weeks, consisting of soreness, stiffness, and potentially a drop in performance.
After the alarm phase the body moves into the resistance phase, which the body adapts to the stimulus and returns to normal function
. At this point neurological, muscular, and mechanical changes lead to increased performance due to the process of super compensation.
This is the ultimate goal, but if too must stress persists for too long athletes reach a level called the exhaustion phase. (Baechle & Earle, 2008) Staleness, overtraining, and excessive soreness cause the athlete to lose the ability to adapt and a decrease in perform.
This is the place we strive to avoid with proper programming and deload weeks, which I explain thoroughly here. Every four to six weeks it’s imperative to back off in intensity, volume, or both to allow full recovery.
The General Adaptation Syndrome:
Exposure to Stimulus –> Shock Phase –> Recovery and Increased Performance OR overtraining potentially sets in.
Exposure to stimulus (training etc.) is rarely the issue, recovery is. I’d wager, proper recovery is the missing piece that’s preventing you from getting the athletic, ripped, healthy body you seek.
What to Do Next
Understanding your programming to maximize your time and effort in the gym is imperative. Quality is more important than quantity, especially when you’re working 40+ hours per week, have kids at home, or are studying in your free time. Sometimes, It gets tough to focus on building the body you want while taking care of every-day life.
Periodically, it’s important to ask:
“Have I really been getting the most out of my training?”
It’s a question I ask myself regularly. When the answer is no, I know I need to make a change. This means simplify my training or hire a coach.
Even Coaches Need Coaches
If you’re looking for help, I’m here to eliminate the confusion and get you started on a killer program to build your ultimate high-performance body.
Less hassle and a stronger, leaner, and more athletic body are right around the corner if you’re willing to take control.
Let me check out your training plan or provide you with a new and improved one. Take the first step by signing up to be an Online Training Candidate here.
I’ll see you there.
Howdy! I’m back in Wisconsin for my best friend Kevin’s wedding. Just because I’m off reciting Wedding Crashers in my best man speech doesn’t mean I forgot about you. No, far from it actually.
Today’s guest post is a special treat from one of the smartest young coaches and writers around in Justin Kompf. Justin and I have crossed paths multiple times on the interwebz and I’m happy to say he’s well on his way to becoming one of the top coaches anywhere. Enough of my man crush, it’s time to get to one of the most frustrating parts of training: Sticking Points.
You know the situation: You’re halfway up on the bench press and the bar just stops. You panic and you’re stuck until your spotter peels the bar off of your chest. You roll off the bench and hide in the corner. Embarrassed, annoyed and pissed that you can’t get over the hump.
Yea, I’ve been there too. Sticking points are no fun. Luckily, Justin’s got the experience and science to show you how to conquer your sticking point and reach higher levels of training in the gym. Get ready, Justin covers everything in great depth.
Three strategies to Overcome the Sticking Point in Any Lift
I don’t encourage any lifter to miss a lift, but these things happen when going for a personal record. Recently I attempted to pull 570, missing the lift right above knee level. In any lift, the sticking point is the region where bar velocity slows to a minimum. It is the place where most lifts are missed and usually (not always) if the sticking point is overcome the lift will be completed. So why does the sticking point occur?
In order to understand this we have to understand what strength is and how it is expressed. To quote Dr. Yuri Verkhoshansky:
“Strength is a product of muscular action initiated and orchestrated by electrical processes in the nervous system of the body. Classically, strength is defined as the ability of a given muscle or group of muscles to generate muscular force under specific conditions.” (Verkhoshansky 1). There’s going to be so many factors that contribute to strength expression, motor unit firing rate and recruitment, anthropometrics (limb length, body weight) and muscle cross sectional area but for talking about sticking points we’re going to examine torque.
Torque describes a muscles action or strength and is defined as force x moment arm
T= force x moment arm
Torque can be internal, which describes the muscle torque, or external which describes the external loads torque. Larger internal moment arms are good because it means the muscle can produce more torque, larger external moment arms are not favorable because it means that the muscles have to produce more force to overcome the load. We can think of it like this, we have the force of a muscle (Fm), the muscle moment arm (Mm), the force of the resistance (Fr) and the external moment arm of the resistance (Mr).
If Fm x Mm < Fr x Mr then the weight will not move, if Fm x Mm > Fr x Mr then the weight will move.
Overcoming Deadlift Sticking Points
During a lift moment arms and force producing capabilities change. Let’s take the deadlift for example and examine what happens to internal moment arms of the hip extensor muscles. The hamstrings, adductor magnus, and gluteus maximus are the main hip extensors. The hamstring muscles moment arm increases then decreases with decreasing hip flexion (returning to anatomical position). The adductor magnus moment arm decreases with decreased hip flexion and the gluteus maximus moment arm increases with decreases hip flexion.
The sticking region could be the point where the internal muscle moment arms are at a mechanical disadvantage. But, torque also has to encompass force production. Because of this we need to look at force production changes during a lift as well to explain sticking points.
Length tension relationships dictate that muscles are strongest at two points, an optimal point and a point where the muscle is lengthened beyond its resting point. As a muscle shortens it loses its ability to generate force. Also as a muscle is stretched past its resting length, non-contractile components of the muscle (tendons, titin proteins, and connective tissue sheaths) contribute to force production. These non-contractile elements want to recoil and return to resting lengths. This may explain why, at maximal loads on the deadlift lifters tend to extend at their knees and lean forward going into further hip flexion. The lengthening of the hamstrings may help recruit some of these non-contractile components.
So, sticking with the deadlift, we have changes in muscle moment arms favoring the gluteus maximus towards the lockout portion, somewhat unchanging for the hamstrings, and decreasing adductor magnus moment arms towards the lockout. To summarize:
- Decreasing moment arm for the adductor magnus = disadvantage
- Relatively unchanging moment arm for the hamstring = neutral
- Increasing gluteus maximus moment arm = advantage
Because the gluteus maximus and adductor magnus are hip extensors they shorten in length as they approach full extension. The hamstrings are a bi-articular joint, meaning they extend at the hips but also flex at the knees. Since the deadlift is hip extension with knee extension there isn’t much of a change in muscle length (the hamstrings are slightly stretched though during hip flexion even if the knees are flexed too). To summarize:
- Decreased muscle length beyond the optimal point for the gluteus maximus and adductor magnus
- Relatively unchanging length for the hamstring muscles
Before going into solutions on how to break past the sticking point let’s look at some proposed reasons from research on as to why the sticking region occurs.
Elliot et al. examined the sticking region for the bench press in 10 elite male powerlifters. They found that when 100% of their maximums were attempted minimum bar velocity occurred at 47.9% of the distance of the complete lift. They noticed that external moment arms decreased from the beginning to the end of the sticking point for the elbow and the shoulder. The authors proposed that the sticking region is caused by inefficient force production combined by the decrease in strain energy.
This essentially means that the sticking region is the portion of the lift between where passive elastic contractile components run out and active muscular contractions must take place. The series elastic component (SEC) of the muscle stores strain energy. When a muscle undergoes active contraction it is the SEC that is put under tension. The SEC is comprised of the tendons, cross-bridges, myofilaments, titin filaments and Z disc. This strain energy may result in increased force production during the beginning of the lift but quickly dissipates.
Unlike the squat or the bench press the sticking point in the deadlift would be hard to explain by the dissipation of strain energy because in competition there is no eccentric or lowering portion during which strain energy could be stored by the SEC. So once again to summarize why the sticking region may occur:
- Decreased force production because of length tension relationships
- Decreased muscle moment arms
- Running out of stored elastic energy (not applicable to the deadlift)
So how does one break through these sticking points? Well, there may be three solutions which include (1) specific strengthening of muscles that are under the most load at the sticking point (2) partial range of motion training where the sticking point is and (3) training to increase acceleration prior to the sticking region.
Specific Strengthening to Overcome the Sticking Point
This can be done through accessory work. For example, maybe the glutes or adductor magnus are the limiting factor in hip extension during the lockout of the deadlift. You may want to incorporate hip bridges into your training.
Training Partial Range of Motion:
If you’re missing the deadlift at the knees or the bench press several inches above your chest you may want to add some partial range of motion training. I wouldn’t recommend deadlifting above knee level. In my opinion it wouldn’t carry over as much as starting below knee level because it’s more of knee extension with a much more upright torso than you would have in a max pull so you’re not really training the erectors as much as would be needed.
Dynamic Speed Training
A final strategy would be to increase bar speed prior to the sticking point. This increased velocity may offset the decreased force production at the sticking point region. The momentum gained during this period would help the lifter burst through the sticking region. An example of this would be a squatting, deadliftng, or benching with submaximal weights (65-75% 1RM) with maximum speed.
Bio: Justin Kompf is the head strength coach and adjunct professor at the State University of New York at Cortland. He is a competitive powerlifter, competing in the 181 weight class and the captain of a powerlifting team whose members hold several NY state records. Justin is pursuing his masters in exercise science and can be contacted at Justin.email@example.com for coaching and questions.
(1) Arandjelovic O. Optimal effort investment for overcoming the weakest point: new insights from a computational model of neuromuscular adaptation. Eur J Appl Physiol 111: 1715-1723, 2011.
(2) Beardsley C ., & Contreras B. (2012) Hip extension torque: The scientific guide to the posterior chain.
(3) Coburn, Jared, and Malek Moh. “Biomecanics.” NSCA’s Essentials of Personal Training. Ed. 2. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2004. 58. Print.
(4) Elliot BC, Wilson GW, and Kerr GK. Biomechanical analysis of the sticking region in the bench press. Med Sci Sports Exerc 21: 450-462, 1989.
(5) Escamilla RF, Francisco AC, Fleisig GS, Barrentine SW, Welch CM, Kayes AV, Speer KP and Andrews JR. A three-dimensional biomechanical analysis of sumo and conventional style deadlifts. Med Sci Sports Exerc 32: 1265-1275, 2000.
(6) Nemeth G and Ohlsen H. In vivo moment arm lengths for the hip extensor muscles at different angles of hip flexion. J Biomechanics 18: 129-140, 1985.
(7) Verkhoshanksy, Yuri Vitalievitch, and Mel Cunningham. Siff. Supertraining. Rome, Italy: Verkoshanksy, 2009. Print.
Being weak is something I refuse to experience ever again. At 14 years old a whopping 5’3″ 103lbs and playing freshman football. Apparently, 14 was the age when my friends “decided to grow” and I was content being a blonde-haired baby faced munchkin.
I was sprinting down field on a kick-off and positioning to make a tackle. I thought, “Why is he sprinting directly at me with the entire field open?” As it turns out I happened to be the path of least resistance. Boom. I got trucked.
I’ve never been a big guy, I stand 5’9″ 180lbs, but never, ever, did I feel as helpless and weak as that moment. Although much of it was a matter of maturation, running through me was easier than running to open space. I was vulnerable, I was weak, and I provided less resistance than a blade of grass. I left that practice asking myself “Why are you weak? How can you get better?” From that moment on I refused to ever be weak again. To get strong you must train ferociously, consistently, and intelligently–these six tips are essential to build appreciable levels of strength, providing a great foundation for athletic success and fully functional athletic-muscle.
1.You’re using too many exercises
Strength doesn’t require 6 different exercises and 18 total sets per muscle group. Spend your spent mastering the basics exercises: squats, rows, pull-ups, presses, deadlifts, cleans, and lunges.
Variety might be the spice of life, but it doesn’t get your strong. Cosmetic benefits may be available with more angles and variety, but that shouldn’t happen every workout. Perform exercises for at least three weeks before changing exercises; otherwise, adaptation won’t have time to occur and you’ll limit your results.
2.You don’t de-load your training
Without cycling training and using deloads you’ll end up weak, injured, and small.
Why? For adaptation and growth super-compensation must take place.
Super compensation is the body recovering from stress (training) and coming back stronger to handle a greater level of stress. Without backing off super compensation won’t happen, negating your gym efforts. Read more about the adaptation process HERE.
Be smart, train hard with increasing intensity, then take some time off and focus on recovery.
3.You only train with low reps
I love hittin’ heavy doubles, triples, and singles on lifts, but doing only that will leave your broken body. It’s imperative to include higher rep exercises from 8-20+ reps per set to continue building muscle and strength while preventing imbalances. Exercises like chin-ups, sled work, push-ups, rows, lunges, and unilateral exercises are fantastic options to de-load the joints while challenging the body to grow.
4.You’re not warming up
Intense exercise without a thorough warm-up is recipe for injury. The best athletes use the warm-up to prepare mind & body, address weak points, and rev-up the nervous system. Focus on dynamic exercises that activate key muscles such used in activity while emphasizing proper positioning and core engagement.
Warm-ups should incorporates active stretching techniques, sport-specific movements, and neural activation exercises. These modalities are performed to mimic the movement-specific demands of the activity, address movement deficiencies, increase core and ligament temperature, stimulate the nervous system, increase stability, and activate proprioceptors (Yauss and Rotchstein, 2011). Match your warm-up to the key movement patterns and muscles that will be trained during your session.
Eric’s recommendation: watch this=> Agile 8 for a simple, effective dynamic warm-up. Or try this lower body day:1×10/each
- Walking knee hug
- Cradle walk
- Forward lunge
- Reverse lunge w/reach
- Sub-Scap Push-Ups
- Body Weight Squats
Your warm-up doesn’t need to be complicated, but it can’t be neglected.
5.)You’re training muscles, not movements
Strength training consistently and achieving progressive overload with basic movement patterns is the best way to develop a strong strength base. The most crippling problem for beginners is isolating each muscle group rather than training compound, multi-joint movements.
You have limited time and energy to dedicate to training and picking the right exercises is imperative to getting results. Biceps curls, lateral shoulder raises, and hamstring curls aren’t bad, but they shouldn’t make up the majority of your program. Isolation exercises only focus on a small part of the body and won’t provide the overload necessary to transform your strength and athleticism.
There are seven human movements patterns, but for the scope of this article I will cover five: Squat, hinge, lunge, push, and pull. The list below has each movement pattern and corresponding exercises to form the base for good programming.
Hinge and extend: deadlift (all variations), good morning, kettlebell swings, power clean
Lunge: lunge, split squat, step back lunge, bulgarian split squat
Push: bench press, push-up, overhead press, jerk, one arm presses
Pull:pull-up, bent-over row, seated row, one arm row
Squat: Front squat, goblet squat, zercher squat, back squat
These exercises require muscles working at multiple joints to perform with coordinative movement, just like in sport and life. Majoring in the minors is a sure-fire way to stay small, weak, and injury prone, emphasize the major movement patterns rather than muscles to build impressive strength.
6.You haven’t maximized available Recovery Methods
The strongest athletes understand the important of recovery. As such they spend significant time using recovery methods like stretching, hot/cold treatments, foam rolling, massage, and other soft-tissue methods to increase flood flow, nutrient delivery, and improve tissue quality. Small injuries happen, but attacking recovery with the same intensity you attack the weight prevent these injuries from manifesting into something major.
You can train hard, but that’s not enough. Long-term training requires persistent effort and a smart, well-planned approach to work.
Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Be receptive to change, challenge, and continue to grow.
— Eric Bach (@Eric_Bach) March 23, 2014
Strength builds a great foundation for all other qualities, allowing you to train at higher relative intensities, improve power, and build a resilient body. It isn’t overly complicated, but it requires passion, consistent hard-work, and self-discipline over an extended period of time. The work, passion, and discipline are up to you, but adhere to these tips you’ll be on your way to building a body that is strong, shredded, and athletic.
Yauss, B. and Rotchstein, A. (2011). The acute and chronic benefits of movement prep for the soccer athlete. NSCA’s Performance Training Journal, 10, 3, 1116.
Six packs, big biceps, and big benches don’t impress me. I can walk into any gym and find plenty of guys pushing some serious weight with a big upper body. Not that I go into gyms looking for swole dudes benching, but you get my point.
What really impresses me is a thick, muscular posterior chain. I’m talking traps, rhomboids, lats, glutes, hamstrings and the like. This tells me they’ve put some serious time in the weight room and probably trained to have a big deadlift.
And you know how I feel about deadlifts.
Anyways, this leads me to my latest article published on T-Nation, Explode Your Deadlift. I’ve built a solid deadlift of over 500lbs and this routine helped me get there. More than that, this is the exact plan I used with State Champion Power Lifter Raven Cepeda to pull 683lbs in his last meet.
A few things to keep in mind when reading the article
-A few things to consider with assistance work and exercise selection: Biomechanically lever arms and torso to limb lengths must be taken into account when selecting assistance exercises. Conventional deadlifts require a greater range of motion and begin the pull with greater hip flexion, creating a higher demand for lower back strength. In this case good mornings and reverse hypers would be a phenomenal exercise choice. Conversely, sumo deadlifters pull from a more upright posture and avoid higher lumbar loads that are associated with horizontally included postures. Front squats and squats from the pins are a great option to match the biomechanical needs of sumo deadlifts.
– Don’t try to match the box jump numbers in the program. The height isn’t important; rather, fully extending the hips and landing flush on the box.
This serves as a great template for intermediate and advanced lifters. Unless you’re fairly experienced in the lift it’s best to avoid a program this strenuous.
But enough of that, check it out and drop me some feedback!
<< Explode Your Deadlift >>
Strong. Shredded. Athletic.
Training for Strength performance is the BEST method for results in the gym.
Being strong is impressive. It builds a huge fitness base, improving everything from speed and power to your ability to perform fat blasting high intensity exercise with greater weight and intensity.
Besides making you a bad-ass, building strength is imperative to long-term health and maintaining function as you age. So, unless you want to be hobbling around like peg-legged pirate by the time you’re 45 building herculean strength is damn important.
My Top 5 Tips to Build Herculean Strength Are:
1.) Pick basic, compound movements like squats, pull-ups, deadlifts, and presses.
2.) Start with weights that are too light and progress over time.
3.) Deload every four to six weeks. Recovery is vital to long-term health and results.
4.) Get high quality coaching to ensure proper form and ideal loading.
5.) Persevere. Building long-term strength takes years of hard work and dedication.
1.) Nick Buchan– Stick to the basics of squat, deadlift, bench, pull up etc, do them well and do them regularly. www.strongergolf.org
2.) Juciest L -Lifting every week and actually doing something while your there.
3.) Jason’s Journal– Find a way to train that you can truly believe in to be able to work hard and as consistent as possible for a very very long time.
4.)Matthew Marshall– Don’t jump around and switch up too much, variety is the spice of life but if you train something consistently chances are it’s going to get stronger.
5.)illy Fanska -Lift heavy…
6.) David Moya -Be consistent
7.)Joseph Armenta- Don’t worry about 1rm move weight when it gets easy add more
8.)James R Anderson -Put more weight on the bar.
9.)Steve Denison -Have a written training plan and stick to it. Lots of good strength templates out there. Just find one and use it for a complete training cycle of 8-12 weeks. Applying yourself to any of them you will make gains. Then evaluate your progress at the end.
10.) James Fuller- Dont be afraid of the weight or an attempt.
11.)Charlie Martin-I think Steve has the key points right on. I would also include this: In addition to building strength never stop investigating the fine points of proper technique.
12.) Ben Gallaher -Work hard. www.goldenempiretraining.com
13.)Zack McDole- Attack your weaknesses and make progress without going to fast to avoid hitting a wall
14.) Nathan Chaszeyka -Consistency. It doesn’t matter how good your plan is, or how hard you work if you aren’t consistent with it.
15.)Dylan Poesch -Add weight to the bar Www.adandestraining.com
16.)Chris Leavy- Pilates . JK, Be consistent and show up to do the work.
17.) Matt Dustin -Track your progress, don’t guess and improvise as you go. www.theathleticphysique.com
18.)Mike Marino -Don’t overtrain! Allow your body adequate time to repair and recover! Sleep and Rest between bouts is vital to strength gains! That’s more than one sentence but it’s such a common mistake…. More training volume isn’t always best….. Smart training with focus on recover outside the gym is crucial .
19.) Joel Erickson-Something Johnny Ibar told me once – stress the negatives
20.) Wade Carter- show up…
21.)Kedric Kwan-Focusing on your weakness. Most people don’t necessarily need to train their core but if your core is limiting your squat and deadlifts you need to train them. Same thing with the bench, and all the other lifts. Know your weakness and make them strong. site: http://kedrickwan.com
22.) Greg Ohnoez- Consistency with your workouts with due intensity (just showing up doesn’t count)
23.) Abbie Fratzke- Find a coach or mentor (in the gym or online) and learn as much as you can, experiment, play and try new things; never stop learning or experimenting. Absolutely Strong
24.) Daniel Freedman-Okay, you’ll see the badass cliches below.
Weakness is a Choice.
Saw it on the back of a T-shirt. So it must be true.
25.) Daniel Freedman-Don’t be a pussy.
26.) Dave Dreas-Push the Weight! Modestlyrefined.com
27.)Daniel Freedman-Pain is weakness leaving the body.
29.) Daniel Freedman-No one ever drowned in sweat.
30.) Patrick Umphrey-Use an appropriate training program that is designed to increase your strength through progressive loading.
31.) Mike Campbell-Consistency, patience, intensity and simplicity. One sentence, 4 things.. http://unleashyouralpha.com/
32.) Lara Lazaro-Strength, like all other worthwhile gainzzz in life, is born through cultivation; accept the process of getting stronger as just that, a process, that takes time, consistency, proper progression, and patience. www.laralazaro.com and/or Be Strong Savvy Sexy
33.) Alison Wheatley-Grit your teeth, dig in ensure your form is correct and believe in yourself to make progress.
34.)Jimi Lanham-Get adequate rest.
35.) Marc-Jason Locquiao-Lift heavy, lift often. Redline Conditioning
36.) Amy Rubin Yunger-Warm- Up
37.)Vincent Allen-Never skip a Monday workout and focus on compound movements. vgastrengthconditioning.com
38.) Genia Cheresh-Progressive overload, with built in deloads for advanced trainees.
39.) Josh Gibson-Have your plan worked out and work your plan. www.facebook.com/gibsonperformancetraining
40.)Tony Bonvechio-There are more ways to set PRs than just weight or reps, including (but not limited to) bar speed, improved form, reduced rating of perceived exertion and tougher tempo/increased time under tension. http://bonvecstrength.com/
42.) Sam Topping-High Intensity of effort https://www.facebook.com/tctoptraining
43.)The Bodyweight Files Use as advanced-BW strength training as possible for maximizing strength-to-BW ratio.
44.Kelly Clay– Squats, lunges, dead lifts are money!
45.)Nick Mckim- Stick to some sort of a program (obviously with a strength focus) and be consistent, it will pay off!
46.) Joel McGrath-In my opinion i would have to say high intensity intervals is the best way i have gained strength the fastest .
47.) Nghi Tran combination of hypertrophy and strength workout routine sets. to build strength, I focus to deadlift, squat, and bench press. then do total body routine as well for muscles
48.)Jonathan Lautermilch-I’ll take you up on this. My number one tip for strength gain is to increase your strength of managing your own body weight before looking to add more weight to manage. If you can’t handle doing a push up why look to want to bench your body weight or more? Just my opinion. my site is www.thinkyourself2health.com
There you go, there is no excuse to walk through life weak! Building strength is the most important thing you can do in the gym.
P.S. Shout out to my dude Mike Samuels of Healthylivinghealthyeating.com, I kind of completely borrowed this idea from him.
Have something to add? Drop me a comment and I’ll add you to the list!
Strong. Shredded. Athletic.
Hey there. I have a slight obsession with deadlifts and all the benefits they provide. Having spent a great deal of time experimenting with deadlift variations I finally found something that challenged my body without causing any pain or stiffness in my lower back– The Snatch Grip Deadlift.
I recently published my thoughts on this explosive, muscle building exercise on Muscle and Strength. Ready to check it out?
There’s no debate: deadlifts have a seat at the grown-up table. They are one of the best bang for your buck exercises. Compound full body movements that require total body tension and strength form the basis of any high-performance training program.
I have a love/hate relationship with deadlifts.
On one hand deadlifts require full body tension, strength, and sheer willpower to build strong bodies and stronger minds, as hoisting heavy steel is extremely functional and demanding of the body. Plus, it’s part of the big 3 in powerlifting, great for building muscle, and causes women to flock to you like teenage girls at a pop-concert.
Unfortunately, deadlifts aren’t always polite to the lower back. Huge amounts of torque from sheer and compressive forces are be problematic, specifically to the lumbar vertebrae L4, L5. Though no exercise is inherently bad, conventional deadlifts do carry a higher risk than other exercises, especially when performed incorrectly or with incorrect loading.
Due to consistent issues with conventional pulls and bitchy lumbar vertebrae, I was ready to hand in my belt and sulk my posterior chain away. During one session I was crouched over and gasping for air my body was finished. Legs thrashed, grip fried, and back yoked, but no crippling pain.
I’ve had some success adding variety into my pulling routine with sumo deadlifts, trap bar deadlifts, and single leg variations, but nothing matched the high performance muscle building snatch grip deadlift.
Strong. Shredded. Athletic.