Squats and Deads, What's missing?

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KPj
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Post by KPj » Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:57 am

I agree squats and DL's are key. Squats and DL's are largely the reason I lift at all.

You don't need an extra session for single leg work. For most, they will be an assistance exercise, or for people that don't class things as assistance exercises,what I mean is, the single leg work for most will be towards the end of the work out. It'll take a few minutes to do a single leg variation.

So i'm not saying you're whole work out should be made up of single leg stuff. I'm just saying that in my opinion, single leg work should be included. Doing them exclusively is unnecessary, unless you're injured (this alone should tell you something about single leg work). You won't get the benefits of single leg work by doing bilateral stuff. And you won't get the benefits of bilateral if you only ever do unilateral.


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Post by Blue Running Man » Mon Oct 06, 2008 11:55 am

Thanks for all the input so far guys.


I completely agree that squats and deads are great "bang for your buck" exercises, and that (almost) everyone should include them in their workouts. Single leg exercises are also great!

I also agree you are selling yourself short if you have too many exercises in a single workout session. Rarely, will I ever do more than 4 different exercises in a single workout.

---

I would like to compare the squat, to the bench press.

Although one is an upper body exercise, and the other is a lower body exercise, they are fairly similar. Where the biceps brachia, stretches over the shoulder joint, and the elbow. the hamstrings stretch over the hip and the knee.

You wouldn't expect to get a very good workout in for biceps(elbow flexors) from a bench press.

Why should you then expect to get a good workout for the hamstring(knee flexors) from squatting.


We have another compound exercise, that is complimentary to the bench press. The Row. Just like the bench, you wouldn't expect to get a great workout in your triceps/pecs from Rowing.

The relationship between Squats and Deads is not the same as the equal-opposite relationship that Bench and Row's share.

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Post by Kenny Croxdale » Mon Oct 06, 2008 12:27 pm

Single leg exercises are also great!
Another interesting bit of information from Chris Thibaudeau is that something like Step Ups activate more muscle fiber.

Also, if your a sprinter, at some point in your training you want to perform unilater movement (such as Step Ups) that emulate your sports movement. You addresses that.
The relationship between Squats and Deads is not the same as the equal-opposite relationship that Bench and Row's share.
But as you know, if you perform a stiff leg deadlift (slight bend in the knee), you pretty much eliminate the quads from the movement.

In the squat, I up to approxixmately 50% activation of the hamstrings can take place, dependent on the squat depth. Thus, performing quater squats places more work on the quads and even less on the hamstrings.

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Post by Stephen Johnson » Mon Oct 06, 2008 1:06 pm

I've read on several sources that the standard deadlift to be more of a hamstring than a quad exercise. Yet the exercise descriptions on exrx for both exercises list the hamstrings as dynamic stabilizers, not as targets or synergists. From the exercise descriptiions, one would think that the hip extension involved in both exercises are done by the glutes. The glutes are listed as synergists to the quads in both exercises. Go figure.
Last edited by Stephen Johnson on Mon Oct 06, 2008 1:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by Rik-Blades » Mon Oct 06, 2008 1:07 pm

So...whats missing is....

Upside down (i.e. feet attached to the ceiling) squat, where you pull yourself into the squat position, or two low pulleys attached to the feet, laying on your back and draw the knees outwards and towards the chest.

Vampire squats and lying Leg rows...do they exist? hmmmm....


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Post by Blue Running Man » Mon Oct 06, 2008 1:09 pm

Kenny Croxdale wrote:
In the squat, I up to approxixmately 50% activation of the hamstrings can take place, dependent on the squat depth. Thus, performing quater squats places more work on the quads and even less on the hamstrings.

Kenny Croxdale
50% activation, wouldn't that mean that only slow twitch fibers are being activated? You won't see gains in strength or muscle size from working at 50% activation, right? I would imagine there is similar activation in the biceps during bench.



SLDL, or RDL's put quite the stretch on the hams. No question someone who is new to this exercise will experience signifigant DOMS after attempting these exercises. I don't really know how this should be interpreted. Since enough stress was placed on those muscles, to create soreness. However, the angle of the knee is fixed, I don't think it will effectively target the knee flexors, or knee extensors. SLDL's seem to be primarily a Glute/hip extension exercise.

Vampire squats, that's too funny. You may be on to something.

---
side note, what is the difference between effect and affect?? I've struggled with this my whole life. I never know which word to use.

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Post by pdellorto » Mon Oct 06, 2008 1:22 pm

Rik-Blades wrote:Vampire squats and lying Leg rows...do they exist? hmmmm....
You joke, but Paul Anderson rigged up a cable setup so he could do, basically, inverted deadlifts. He'd rest on a decline bench, and sit back into a deadlift, pulling a bar attached to cables. Something about flushing the blood away from his legs.

***

On the topic, you can always do stiff-legged deadlifts, back extensions on a GHR, Romanian Deadlifts, Glute-ham raises, etc. if you really want to get the hamstrings. They aren't the prime mover in all of those exercises, but they are sure involved in them.

I don't think squats and deads in combination miss that much, but I do see the value in doing assorted assistance work for them. Especially for folks like me who have a weak posterior chain compared to the quads, so specific work that takes the quads out of the equation helps me even back up. I didn't develop that dominance by squatting below parallel and deadlifting, though...it was a long time before I started to do either. My leg work was leg extensions and leg curls and bike riding!

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Post by Blue Running Man » Mon Oct 06, 2008 3:45 pm

pdellorto wrote:
Rik-Blades wrote:Vampire squats and lying Leg rows...do they exist? hmmmm....
You joke, but Paul Anderson rigged up a cable setup so he could do, basically, inverted deadlifts. He'd rest on a decline bench, and sit back into a deadlift, pulling a bar attached to cables. Something about flushing the blood away from his legs.

***

On the topic, you can always do stiff-legged deadlifts, back extensions on a GHR, Romanian Deadlifts, Glute-ham raises, etc. if you really want to get the hamstrings. They aren't the prime mover in all of those exercises, but they are sure involved in them.

I don't think squats and deads in combination miss that much, but I do see the value in doing assorted assistance work for them. Especially for folks like me who have a weak posterior chain compared to the quads, so specific work that takes the quads out of the equation helps me even back up. I didn't develop that dominance by squatting below parallel and deadlifting, though...it was a long time before I started to do either. My leg work was leg extensions and leg curls and bike riding!

Your a fighter right? I would think that strong hip flexors will allow for a strong knee, or kick, no?

These should be a common exercise in fighters, no?

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Post by pdellorto » Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:33 pm

[quote="Blue Running Man"]I would think that strong hip flexors will allow for a strong knee, or kick, no?

These should be a common exercise in fighters, no?

I've never seen them before. I don't think you'd want to so closely (but not quite exactly) duplicate a knee strike or soccer kick or tiep kick like that, either. The way I understand it, you can get negative transfer. Nevermind that's a machine that is going to limit your motion and stabilize for you - both of which won't happen when you actually kick or knee.

We all pretty much do the exercises you see other athletes doing - the ones I mentioned before, plus "ab" exercises like situps, hanging leg raises, knees-to-elbows and stuff like that, jumps or O-lifts for explosiveness. Then generally you go and do the kicks and knees.

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Post by KPj » Tue Oct 07, 2008 6:16 am

I think the target muscle on compound lifts can be an individual thing, especially with DL's. I think you're body will make most use of whatever is strongest. That's my theory, anyway.

I think people who use their quads a lot in the DL are doing it wrong. But maybe i'm just biased.

Squats are a little more complicated in this respect, though. With DL's, things like hip height at the start of the lift can change from person to person but all can still be doing it properly. O lifters will typically DL with the hips lower, for example. I'm guessing activity in each muscle will vary from person to person.

I'm not too sure it would vary so much in a squat. The squat variation is important here, though. Are you talking about close or wide stance squats? For example. And what depth? A lot of lifters including myself will rotate squat and DL variations i.e. 2 weeks on a DL, then 2 weeks on a squat, because we feel they target largely the same muscles. I also box squat most of the time, which makes it much more like a DL due to how much more you can sit back, with the bottom position being very similar to the starting position of a DL....

You also have structural differences / leverages. What would be the difference in muscle activation between the same squat variation performed by one lifter with a short torso and long legs and one lifter with a long torso and short legs? I would find it very difficult to believe that activation patterns would be the same in both cases.

Guess my point is that I just don't think it's as easy as saying that "X exercise will allow for so much activation on Y and Z muscles, therefore, by completing the following movements every muscle group will be targetted equally"......

KPj

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Post by Kenny Croxdale » Tue Oct 07, 2008 9:17 am

I think people who use their quads a lot in the DL are doing it wrong. But maybe i'm just biased.
KPj,

To some extent, quad involvement is dependent on if you deadlift with a conventional or sumo stance. As noted in your post, changing your stance or bar grip (example: wide or narrow bench press) makes it a different exercise.

While the same muscles are used, more work is place on some with one stance/grip over others. Also, the firing sequence of the muscles involved changes.

Research by Dr Tom McLaughlin demonstrated that firing sequence in a conventional deadlift to be: back-legs-back. Legs meaniing quads.

In a sumo deadlift, the firing sequence is: legs-back. This Duke University study "An electromyographic analysis of sumo and conventional style deadlifts" shows the involvement of the quads.

Overall EMG activity from the vastus medialis, vastus lateralis, and tibialis anterior were significantly greater in the sumo deadlift

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1193 ... d_RVDocSum

What is also interesting about the Duke study is that it demonstrates that in using a belt when deadlifting, the abdominals are employed more. Dr Mel Siff's "FACTS AND FALLACIES OF FITNESS" book touches on this.

As per the Duke study, deadlifting WITHOUT a belt employs the obliques more.

Kenny Croxdale

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Post by KPj » Tue Oct 07, 2008 10:41 am

Thanks for that info - very interesting.

I knew the quads would be involved to an extent i.e. I knew they wouldn't be completely out of the movement. By doing it wrong, what I meant was people who squat the weight up from the floor - using the quads. Usually a result of being quad dominant in every day life and/or using bad form (hips too low).


Kenny Croxdale wrote: Research by Dr Tom McLaughlin demonstrated that firing sequence in a conventional deadlift to be: back-legs-back. Legs meaniing quads.
I find the 'legs meaning quads' part hard to believe. If that's the case, then that will be the first time i've read of someone recommending/encouraging the use of the quads in a deadlift - regardless of variation. The cues are always - weight on heels, hips high (without stiff legging it), pull back etc... If the quads were that important surely the cues would include dropping the hips lower and pulling from mid-front foot? unless i'm misunderstanding what was said of course.

When you Sumo pull you can deffinitly feel more involvement in the quads/legs, maybe that's because when I sumo pull (I do all variations) my hips sit lower than in my conventional, though. I know the adductors take a pounding in Sumo pulls in comparison to the conventional due to the change in stance. Although that's probably not relevant here.

KPj

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Post by pdellorto » Tue Oct 07, 2008 4:03 pm

Kenny Croxdale wrote:What is also interesting about the Duke study is that it demonstrates that in using a belt when deadlifting, the abdominals are employed more. Dr Mel Siff's "FACTS AND FALLACIES OF FITNESS" book touches on this.

As per the Duke study, deadlifting WITHOUT a belt employs the obliques more.
Would that mean that powerlifters who use a belt would be better off concentrating on stronger abs, to assist in belted lifts? And conversely, that those who lift raw (powerlifters or not) would do better with a more balanced oblique-and-ab development process?

I am probably just reading too much into that, but it's an interesting thing if true.

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Post by Stephen Johnson » Wed Oct 08, 2008 9:55 am

KPj wrote:Isolating knee flexion is, with respect to anyone who thinks otherwise, a concept that makes no sense. Purely because of the control the HIPS have over the knees. You have hip flexors which cross the hip and the knee joint, and you also have hip extensors - the glutes - which attach to the femur and the shin (via the ITband). When you think of the direct control the glutes have over the knee, then it can't possibly make sense to attempt to take the glutes out of knee flexion i.e. leg curls. This doesn't include rehab situations.

You can isolate knee flexion whilst in hip extension, such as plate drags, stability ball leg gurls, or GHR's (if you do them like that - many don't). That would make sense since the glute muscles are activated, and therefore are stabilising the knee.
Does that mean that leg curls are counterproductive in training the hamstrings? I've done stability ball leg curls, but I can't do them with more than bodyweight. And without an apparatus, glute ham raises are a bit of a challenge.

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Post by TheHeb » Wed Oct 08, 2008 2:50 pm

To KPj:

As far as I understand it, at the beginning of the lift, the hamstrings contract isometrically while the quads contract to extend the knee. Obviously knee extension occurs, and this is the quads doing their (brief) part in the lift. Once the bar passes the knees the hamstrings begin to contract concentrically to help extend the hips.

Hopefully 1) that's correct, and 2) it helps answer your question.


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