Home Posts tagged "Deadlift" (Page 82)

Big Bench to Bigger Bench: Maximum Strength Feedback – 2/24/09

I just received an email from another satisfied Maximum Strength customer.  Steve made great progress overall, but to take an already-great bench and add 15 pounds to it in four months with no change in body weight after 10 years of lifting is really impressive. "Coach Cressey, "I loved the Maximum Strength program!!  I just finished it and the results were amazing.  I currently have two friends on the program and they are also doing quite well. "I've trained pretty consistently for about the last 10 years.  My goals have changed throughout the years.  I used to weigh approximately 189 lbs, but have been focusing on strength and athleticism more recently as that is more applicable to my profession than being big.  Here are the results: Packing Day: Body weight: 172 Broad jump: 106 inches. Box Squat: 365 lbs. Bench Press: 315 lbs. Deadlift: 405 lbs. 3 Rep Chin-up: 232 lbs. Moving Day: Body weight: 171 Broad jump: 111 inches. Box Squat: 405 lbs. Bench Press: 330 lbs, with an almost at 345. Deadlift: 455 3 rep Chin-lup: 271 pounds Steve Estvold"

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The Most Detailed Maximum Strength Feedback To-Date

I received this email from Kevin Miller, a high school strength and conditioning coach in Pennsylvania, who recently completed the Maximum Strength program: I recently completed the 16 week Maximum Strength program by Eric Cressey, and I wanted to give my review on the program. I am 37 years old. I played H.S football and baseball and had good strength and speed. From 1995-2004 I switched gears and became an Endurance athlete (marathons and Iromans). I had great endurance and could run forever but I went from probably a 28-29 inch vertical to probably a 19-20 inch vertical. Over the past few years I have jumped back and forth from endurance to strength programs. I saw results in both but I never stuck to one program. Two years ago I purchased Inside-Out by Mike Robertson and Bill Hartman. I thought it was a great program, so I started to read more about Mike, and in turn, Eric - and was instantly impressed with what he had to say, as I'm a volunteer sports performance coach at the high school where I teach. Over the past year I have read his articles and watched his DVDs, so, when Max Strength came out I was hooked and decide to STICK to a program. Below are my results (Pre and Post) PRE------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------POST BW                               146 lbs                                                 151 lbs Broad Jump                88 inches                                         94 inches (6 inches) Bench Press                 195                                                      220 (25 lbs) Box Squat                    255                                                      325 (70 lbs) Deadlift                        275                                                      315 (40 lbs) Three rep Chin up        BW + 44 lbs                                       BW + 58 lbs (19 lbs) Notes/Comments: Overall, I was very pleased with the results. As far as BW, I was happy to gain 5 lbs, to be honest. I am a father with two kids and a third on the way. I never get to slow down. After school (I trained in the morning before school), I'm in the weight room with high school kids for 2 hrs (boys and girls). Although I am not "training," I probably do 100 body weight squats plus several other movements because the kids need to see what I'm recommending. Physically although I only gained 5 lbs I look bigger, but not bulky - just thicker and more athletic Overall, out of a rating of 10. I would give this program a 10. Here is why: 1. If you follow it, you will get STRONGER. The book is MAXIMUM strength, and it does what it says it does. 2. I feel really strong. Before, I had decent strength, but now I just feel a lot stronger 3. The mobility part is excellent. I knew what to expect here since I have several of Eric's products but this is where so many people can benefit (especially high school kids). I never stretched a day in my life in hs. Now, I would never start a workout with doing mobility work. 4. As a coach, I became a better coach by doing this program. Plain and simple, I now know how it feels to get under the bar with 325 lbs on my back. I realize that's a warm-up for some people but for me at 150 lbs it's a lot. 5. The progressions are excellent. 6. Nutritionally, there is some great advice in the book. To be honest, I think I've always had a good diet but for anyone who doesn't there are some great points. Who can benefit from this book? 1. Any high school kid or "Mom/Dad" looking for strength and results. 2. Any high schools coach (football, track, hockey,etc). As much as we would like to "customize programs" for each athlete, it's impossible at the high school level. I train 50-60 kids at 3 pm, and at my school, I don't have the time, manpower, or money to make up individual programs. Sure, I can screen kids and put in groups, but I believe if high school kids followed this for 16 weeks, it would be better than 95% of the program they are currently following Favorite exercises I never did before I read this book:
  1. Rack pulls: I loved the feeling I got in my posterior chain
  2. Pallof Press: Much harder than it looks
  3. Anderson squats: I loved this type of front squat.
Overall, great book, and if you follow this program, you will get stronger Kevin Miller CSCS

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What Really Constitutes Functional Balance Training?

Just a few days ago, a friend of mine passed along the link for a Reuters article reporting on a study that found that a 12-week Tai Chi intervention did not reduce the risk of falls in the elderly.

This might be surprising to some, as one would think that any sort of physical activity would benefit untrained elderly individuals.  However, I wasn't surprised at the results at all, given all the research I'd done to prepare for The Truth About Unstable Surface Training.  And, I wasn't surprised at all when I realized that this had significant parallels to how we train balancing proficiency in athletes.

It's important to understand first and foremost that balance and proprioception (and, therefore, stability at a certain point in time) are skill-specific.  In particular, one must appreciate that static balance - which is typical of Tai Chi - is markedly difference from dynamic balance, which we encounter all the time in everyday life and in the world of athletics.

For proof, one mustn't look any further than when Drowatzky and Zuccato (1966) found little carryover from static to dynamic balance (1).  Tsigilis et al. confirmed this finding 35 years later (2). And, it's one reason why I feel so strongly that we have to qualify our unstable surface training (UST) recommendations.  UST necessitates a significant amount of static balance that may not transfer to sporting movements, which typically are more dependent on dynamic balancing proficiency.

From my e-book on the subject, "Previous research has demonstrated that scores on static balance tests are not useful information when attempting to predict inversion ankle injuries in soccer players (3). This lack of correlation implies that methods to improve static balance may not be effective training approaches to prevent injuries in dynamic sporting contexts - especially when dealing with athletes with no recent history of lower extremity injury."

Now, we know that we can't train complete specificity 100% of the time.  Otherwise, in the elderly, we'd be trying to simulate every kind of fall that is possible.  And, in a football player, for instance, we'd be trying to simulate every kind of tackle a running back could possibly encounter.  So, what do we do?  Once again, we look to the research!

In a study by Bruhn et al., a high-intensity strength training group actually outperformed the unstable surface training (static balance training) group on measures of static balance (4).  In other words, one group trained static balance, and the other didn't - and the one who didn't train static balance directly actually improved the most overall.  Maybe muscle cross-sectional area played into it?  Maybe it occurred because of increased stabilization via enhanced intra- and intermuscular coordination that would allow for more rapid and effective force production (strength and rate of force development)?  Maybe true specificity isn't as important as we thought?

Click here to purchase The Truth About Unstable Surface Training.


1. DROWATZKY, J.N., AND F.C. ZUCCATO. Interrelationships between selected measures of static and dynamic balance. Res. Q. 38:(3) 509-510. 1966.

2. TSIGILIS, N., E. ZACHOPOULOU, T. MAVRIDIS. Evaluation of the specificity of selected dynamic balance tests. Percept Mot Skills. 92(3 Pt 1):827-33. 2001.

3. KONRADSEN, L. Factors Contributing to Chronic Ankle Instability: Kinesthesia and Joint Position Sense. J Athl Train. 37(4):381-385. 2002.

4. BRUHN, S., N. KULLMANN, AND A. GOLLHOFER. The effects of a sensorimotor training and a strength training on postural stabilisation, maximum isometric contraction and jump performance. Int J Sports Med. 25(1):56-60. 2004.

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Bigger, Leaner, Stronger, Healthier: 1/29/09 Maximum Strength Feedback

I just received this email yesterday from a happy Maximum Strength customer: "Eric, "I just finished up with your Maximum Strength program and wanted to write you to let you know of the results.  Before I get to the good stuff, I wanted to thank you for writing such a comprehensive strength training program.  Not only was it challenging but it was also laid out in a format where it is easy to understand and follow.  I have not stopped talking about this program for 16 weeks and now that I have the results, I have people getting ready to jump on the Maximum Strength bandwagon. "Not only did I see an increase across the board in lifts and movements, but the soft tissue and mobility work opened up my hips and all but eliminated any IT band issues I was having previous to this.  I started this program with the idea that the conclusion would come just in time for me to start going back to my endurance training for this summer's triathlon circuit.  Now that I am done, I am at the strongest I have been in 12 years, I set a PR in deadlifts and I am in a frame of mind for my next race where I know I will be one of the strongest competitors in the field. "Here are the results from the program: Moving Day                                 Packing Day                                  Difference Weight - 201                                        212 lbs                                        + 11 lbs Broad Jump - 88"                                 115"                                            + 17" Squat - 385 lbs                                     445 lbs                                        + 60 lbs Bench - 300 lbs                                    325 lbs                                        + 25 lbs Deadlift - 385                                        455                                             + 70 lbs 3 Rep Chin - BW +30                         BW + 60                                     30 lbs + 11 of BW "To say I am excited about these results is an understatement.  I was a little bummed on the weight until I got my new circumference measurements done.  While I did add 11 pounds, I lost .5 inches off my waist and added 6, yes I said 6 inches to my chest/back/shoulders measurement.  The compliments I have gotten from friends and family are even more indicative of a successful program.  Not only did I set a new PR in dealift but I am most proud of the 3 rep chin max, where not only did I add muscle and body weight, I was also able to increase my strength and added additional external weight as well. "Thanks again.  I plan on recommending this program to friends, family and soon-to-be clients!" -Chris Bartl

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What to do after Maximum Strength?

Q: Hi Eric, I just finished the Maximum Strength 16-week program, and was thrilled with my results, including a 40-pound increase on my bench press and 80-pound increase on my deadlift.  I'm wondering, though, what I should do next?  Should I start the program over? Or, do you reccomend something else? A: Repeating the program is certainly an option, although probably not your best option.  I'm actually planning on writing a more extensive follow-up to Maximum Strength at some point, but you could get away with it in the meantime. I just tend to think that variety is the spice of life, and that the same four months over and over again would get old over time. With that in mind, I think a better bet would be checking out my Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual.


It's a bit more athletic oriented, but with some of the same principles included. It would be a good chance to integrate some movement training and new exercises and loading parameters to build on the athleticism that you built over the previous 16 weeks of training.  Click here for more information.
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Stuff You Should Read: 1/22/09

In continuing with a new tradition that began last week, here are some "oldies, but goodies" that ought are definitely worth reads: A Carrot, and Egg, and a Bag of Ground Coffee 300 Pounds on Your Deadlift Eating on the Road: Nutritional Travel Strategies A little bit of something for everybody: rehab, heavy lifting, and nutrition.
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Inverted Row Ignorance

In this week's "The Biggest Loser made me want to stab my eye out with a hot poker" moment, I watched what appeared to be a 1,742-pound woman attempt to do an inverted row.  It was an admirable attempt, for sure, but I'm sorry to say that in all my years of coaching and writing strength and conditioning programs, I've can think of fewer than 20 females who have ever been able to perform a single good inverted row. This isn't a knock on women; it's just that they, on average, have markedly less strength than men in the upper body.  And, more importantly, the inverted row is a more advanced strength exercise than people realize - so that strength discrepancy will be more readily apparent. As a frame of reference, here is what a good inverted row looks like:

As you can see, the chin stays tucked to keep the cervical spine (neck) in line with the rest of the body.  Without that forward head posture, you're getting just the kind of scapular retraction you want.  Speaking of scapular retraction, you'll also notice that the chest is going ALL THE WAY up to the bar. There are three compensation patterns that you'll come across.  To protect the innocent, I won't post videos, but rest assured that if you did a quick YouTube search for "inverted row," you'd quickly come across example of the following: 1. The Ceiling Humper: This individual will give a little tug of elbow flexion and scapular retraction to get about halfway up, and then he/she will violently thrust the crotch to the heavens.  In some circles, this individual is known as "The Fish."  Regardless, it isn't pretty. 2. The Scared Cat: This individual basically does a curl - including curling the wrists in - so that there is essentially everything occurring except scapular retraction.  In the process, they get to the top - but in that top position, they are rounded up in a ball like - you guessed it - a scared cat.  There is, however, a delightful chin protrusion/forward head posture that makes that individual believe that the movement actually took place.  Unfortunately, it didn't - and this effort, too, isn't pretty. 3. The Half-Asser: This individual is the lazy cousin of the Ceiling Humper and Scared Cat.  He can be found around dudes who do half pull-ups, pop their collars, and live in their parents' basements.  Very simply, he (or she, for that mattter) only goes halfway up - but usually still insists on using the feet-on-the-box set-up (the most advanced progression). Sadly, the acronym IRA was already taken, so Inverted Rows Anonymous could never get off the ground - and these issues persist.  I suspect that we're looking at a $47 million government stimulus package to remedy the issue.  And, as our new commander-in-chief has stated, "things are going to get worse before they get better," be prepared to observe this inverted row ignorance for quite some time before it's addressed. For a host of better scapular stabilization exercises, check out Optimal Shoulder Performance.


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Another CP Intern on the Road to Diesel

It's become a bit of a tradition for Cressey Performance interns to not only pick up on training knowledge while they're at CP, but also get more diesel in the process by following the program in my book, Maximum Strength.  This fall's intern, Chris Howard, just had his Moving Day today. chris_335dl Here are his results: Body weight:  159 to 174.5 Vertical Jump:  27.1" to 28.0" Peak Power: 5,397 W to 5,855 W (8.5% increase) Broad Jump: 91" to 103" Box Squat: 235 to 265 Bench Press: 205 to 230 Deadlift: 215 to 335 3-rep max chin-up: 224 (BW+65) to 244.5 (BW+70) Not too shabby for just under four months of training.  Congratulations, Chris, and thanks for all your contributions to Cressey Performance! Click here to pick up your copy of Maximum Strength!
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Random Friday Thoughts: 12/19/2008

We actually got a snow day up here, so I'm using it to catch up on all sorts of stuff - from holiday shopping, to wrapping presents, to writing articles and programs.  Admittedly, I did sleep until 9AM this morning, and that's pretty late for me. 1. It occurred to me that thanks to the miracle known as YouTube, I can embed a music video in my first random post each week, and you'll have musical entertainment in the background (if you want) as you read my stuff.  And, since it's the season of miracles, I'll do just that.  For the record, the experience will be all the more enjoyable if you hold your mouse in your right hand and raise a lighter in the air with the left arm.  Of course, it won't really work out that well if you try to play the other videos below at the same time, but my intentions were good... Here's Coming Undone by Korn, a classic song around Cressey Performance.  It gets me all fired up to blog like a rock star. 2. While snow is a royal pain in the butt up here in New England, it does have one upside: accident-prone reporters who think they need to be outside to accurately relate just how much it is snowing. Occasionally, you'll even get an in-studio goofball: 3. The only thing better than weathermen making tools of themselves?  You guessed it: clumsy women stomping grapes with their feet on camera. 4. Apparently, we've got some pro pitchers - one in VA, and the other in NH - drawing inspiration from this blog as they prepare to get up here in early January to prepare for spring training.  How you like these apples, fellas?  Up five reps from the Thanksgiving day lift - simply because that's how we roll. Come get some, fellas! A huge thanks goes out to Jeremy Heffer and the University of Georgia Strength and Conditioning staff for the "Power G" beanie that made this all possible. 5. I've talked previously about the long-term detrimental effects of taping ankles, and I recently got a good inquiry about whether I thought this same issue would be present in MMA fighters who tape their wrists.  My response was that it probably wasn't an issue as much at the wrist predominately because the wrist isn't a weight-bearing joint.  By loading the ankle while it's taped, we solidify neural patterns a lot more quickly.  Additionally, nobody tapes their wrists for the same duration and frequency as those athletes (basketball players, for instance) who tape their ankles daily for several hours - and combine those restrictions with wearing high-top sneakers.  I remember seeing an interview with Bill Walton back in the mid-1980s when he joked about how the ankle taping got tighter and tighter as the season went on - probably because the guys got more and more unstable at their ankles! That's all she wrote for today.  Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Low Back Injuries, Rehabilitation, and Deadlifting

Q: After an injury and rehabilitation of a low back overuse/deadlifting injury, I’m finally able to deadlift and squat again. Only problem is that I am having a lot of trouble performing the deadlift correctly.

The problem is during my heavy sets, my lumbar spine starts to round early on in the pull. I’m not sure why this happening, but I’m almost positive it’s NOT due to a lack of mobility anywhere. I’m wondering if it may be an issue of having TOO much lumbar spine mobility and/or not enough core stability.

Or, maybe it’s an issue of my hamstrings being too weak and my lower back wanting to take over the pull too much. What do you think?

A: First off, I don’t think it’s as simple as “Muscle A is weak and Muscle B is tight, etc.” It has a lot more to do with you not having all the “ducks in a row” with respect to this particular movement pattern. There are a lot of people who have great stability and mobility who look awkward attempting a movement for the first time simply because it’s unfamiliar to them.

Just having good stability and mobility (which are context-specific, anyway) doesn’t imply that you can just immediately master a movement. Otherwise, we’d all be superior athletes from strength training and flexibility work without every having to practice the sports in which we want to excel!

More than anything, I suspect that your struggles are a matter of you trying to groove technique with weights that are too heavy (as noted by your “heavy sets” comment). Would you try to teach an elbows-tucked bench press technique with 275 if you knew a guy could bench press 300 with his elbows flared? No! He'd go right back to his "natural" movement pattern (the path of least resistance).

Technique work needs to be performed with submaximal weights, with the progression being:

1. multiple sets with few reps, controlled speed, light/moderate weights

2. multiple sets with few reps, FAST concentric, light/moderate weights


3a. fewer sets with more reps, light/moderate weights


3b. few or multiple sets with few reps and heavier weights

I'm guessing that you're just going right to 3b – and that’s where the problems set in.  Your body basically goes into panic mode.  As an example, I'll throw myself under the bus.  Here is a video of my best competition deadlift: 650 pounds at a body weight of 174.

Now, I know it might come as a surprise to some of you, but I don't lift 650 pounds all the time.  In fact, I'd say that I deadlift over 600 approximately 5-6 times per year between training and competitions.  This is why competition lifts are never really good measures of excellent technique; they are all essentially panic-mode (others have called it chaos training).  You can bet that I'd never let an athlete of mine attempt any weight where his form came close to this; the risk:reward ratio is completely out of whack. Also, as a tag-along to this, some people need to have a Step 0 where they actually do a different movement in order to progress to a main movement.  In the context of the deadlift discussion, this might mean doing pull-throughs, trap bar deadlifts, or rack pulls to get the hang of the proper hip sequencing before moving down to the floor to pull with a conventional stance.  Others might be better off leaving out deadlifts for the long haul, if a previous injury is significant enough to warrant it. New Blog Content Random Friday Thoughts Troubleshooting the Scapular Push-up Training Four Days in a Row A Good Blog Worth Reading All the Best, EC
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  • Avoid the most common deadlifting mistakes
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