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Question for weightlifters, medical types, and potentially psychologists… Login/Join 
Team Apathy
posted
I’ve been lifting for a several years now and my main goal in lifting is just to support overall health and weight loss. I’m not trying to be the strongest guy out there or lift some huge numbers, but I do want to consistently increase my numbers to ensure I’m “moving forward”.

Initially my deadlift numbers increased very quickly until
I got to about 4 plates each side. Then it was slower but steady progress to my current point with a 1 RM, on a great day, of 520.

It bothered me for a long time that my squat wasn’t even in the same ballpark. I had a good year of virtually no squatting due to chronic knee issues. However, about a year ago those knee issues came under control and know I only have occasional flare ups. In the past year or so I’ve manage to close the gap substantially and my last run up to heavy weights had me stopping at 415. And that felt heavy when I lifted it off the rack, but I got a solid rep with good depth.

But it spurred me thinking… if felt so heavy upon first shouldering the weight. I wondered if that was mostly pysiological or perhaps a mental thing. I wondered if I spent some time every week unracking VERY heavy weight, as compared to my current numbers, it would help prepare me to do full lifts at increasing weights. For instance, if I loaded up a bar to 550 and just shouldered that and assumed a good starting position then re-racked it 5 times at the end of a session would that act alone help me lift heavier later?

It seems to me there may be two potential benefits…

1) when I go for 425 later on, it won’t FEEL so heavy at the outset of an attempt because I’ve been un-racking far more than that on a regular basis. I see this as a potential psychological advantage.

And

2) perhaps it’ll help “prepare” the body to accept the weight physiologically, specifically the nervous system?

Just thinking out loud, really. Anybody think there is any point to this practice and that maybe I should try it for a while, or does it sound like a waste of a few minutes at the end of a session.
 
Posts: 5647 | Location: Modesto, CA | Registered: January 27, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Peace through
superior firepower
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I know Slippery Pete lifts. Maybe he'll chime in.
 
Posts: 94757 | Registered: January 20, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
eh-TEE-oh-clez
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The big contributors to strength gain are:

1) Neural Adaptation
2) Muscular Hypertrophy

Not a doctor, but based on the above concept, going through the motions of racking heavy weight would improve the neural adaptation.
 
Posts: 12215 | Location: Orange County, California | Registered: May 19, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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no you are not wrong to think that

back in the day when I was lifting heavy we used to do box squats and 1/2 ROM bench presses using a rolled up towel running along your sternum

the idea was as you said-- you would typically do reps with weight decently higher than full ROM reps. it definitely helped condition your joints for the heavier loads.

plus the mental aspects as you mentioned -- you box squat 'partials' with 375. Then the next leg workout you do full squats -- 315 doesn't seem so heavy.

I'm in my 50s now -- so don't sling the plates anymore -- but still train with weights 3x weekly

---------------


Proverbs 27:17 - As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
 
Posts: 8576 | Location: Florida | Registered: September 20, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Team Apathy
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Ok, so I’m likely not crazy. At least not for this. Good.

Now, it’s easy enough to do this with squats, but it probably doesn’t translate to deads quite the same. They’re really the only 2 lifts I concentrate on. I’ll bench and OHP on occasion but the big 2 really seem like the smart money for overall health/weight loss goals.

I guess for deadlifting you could just load up the bar well beyond what you can actually lift and just fail as hard as possible. Lol. I can see how that might do the same basic thing.
 
Posts: 5647 | Location: Modesto, CA | Registered: January 27, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
You have cow?
I lift cow!
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Fighting the good fight!

1. The question of "feel." My initial response is this is overrated and do your best to ignore it and execute the lift like the machine you've trained to be. 1 big reason you break the lift down to the micro in training and do it over and over is so when your mind is blanking and you aren't sure, the body and system take over. Also, this may have to do with nervous system fatigue, so make DAM SURE you are recovered fully. Max deadlifts can take a month to recover from, but that "heavy feel" is big in the squat. That's half the mental fight with it. Also, if you aren't smashing your core work, this could help a TON with that. Squat weakness/ breakdown for most people is low back not legs, so hammer the core and you'll always be better for it. Honorable mention for Good Mornings, jumping, oblique work, and all kinds of back extensions. Also train your neck. I don't know what it is, but there's some magic sauce when you train your neck first, the weights feel lighter, and that's no shit. Just don't go ballistic with it. And then there's the knowing when to walk away side of things. That support work can be pretty light usually, just needs to get done.

2. I think the taking out super max weight stuff and holding it is also overrated. I used to do it in the immediate 2-3 weeks before going for something big. Worst case it does nothing as long as you don't go crazy.


So you're squat to dead ratio is pretty standard for most people. There are freaks out there, and be sure you aren't comparing yourself to them.

But to speak on some other things, once you quit your early upward trajectory, I've noticed benefit from doing more unconventional stuff. More core, more 1 leg or odd lift type stuff. Supporting exercises, etc. It's tough to say because every individual is different and at different places in their journey.

1 big lesson I always re-learn is MAKE SURE YOU ARE FULLY RECOVERING! Time off is a good thing, especially as you get older. My lifts go up when I take time off, which is the hardest thing for those of us bitten by the iron bug. It's counterintuitive but the most relevant part of the process.


So all that to say, holding super max weight might help you out a little. Big Grin


------------------------------
http://defendersoffreedom.us/
 
Posts: 6279 | Location: Bay Area | Registered: December 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
You have cow?
I lift cow!
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Also to loosely quote Scott Mendy, "I squatted 1000 lbs to just above parallel. Still felt like I had a condominium on my back."

Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin


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http://defendersoffreedom.us/
 
Posts: 6279 | Location: Bay Area | Registered: December 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'll second what Pete said here.....the first time you pick up a heavy (for you) weight, remember that's mental. You KNOW how to squat. The mechanics don't change, but at the same time, therein lies the beauty of lifting (imho). It's a solitary struggle of you vs the iron. There's not much better than nailing the 5th rep of a 5th set of a heavy 5x5 at 85% of your 1rm.

Everything else being equal, your deadlift to squat ratio is normal. Some guys specialize, and some are genetic abnormalities.....think of a Bell Curve. Those guys are the ones at the far right end of the curve, the genetic outliers. Something I've found extremely useful, from a mental point of view: look into getting a set of "micro plates". These are weights in smaller increments, 2.5#, 2#, 1.5#, 1#, etc. This way you can train and add weight in smaller increments, if necessary. You can add 1 pound to whatever you used last week. It isn't much, but it IS an increase. And that becomes helpful mentally.

If you have to pick between the gym & getting a good night's sleep, pick the sleep. Recovery is at least as important as time in the gym, and the older we get (I'm 46), the more important it becomes. For example, I can't squat and deadlift in the same week anymore, because I don't recover from it like I used to. A full out max effort heavy deadlift session takes at least 2 weeks to recover from completely. Same with squats. I alternate weeks anymore.

Don't neglect your core. Don't neglect to stretch. That last bit is somewhat controversial. I like to start "tight" when I'm warming up, but when I'm done with squats, for instance, I really need to stretch out the hips. And if you aren't doing it already, learn to valsalva . It helps a lot with heavy lifts.

Nothing that hasn't already been said more eloquently by Pete. My email is in my profile if you have any questions, or want to just bounce ideas around.


_________________________
"An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all." - Oscar Wilde

"A nation can survive fools, even ambitious ones. But it cannot survive treason from within. . . ." - Cicero

 
Posts: 1548 | Location: The Northernmost Broadcast Point of Radio Free America | Registered: February 24, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
The Ice Cream Man
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A) are you lifting to compete, or just for exercise?

B) with that much of a difference, I suspect it may be a form issue, or some type of structural imbalance in your shoulder girdle or neck injury.

C) Walkouts, and quarter squats can be useful.

D) if you’re just lifting for exercise, did lifting off a trap bar is much lower stress, And it is difficult to have improper form with one.
 
Posts: 4477 | Location: Republic of Ice Cream, Myrtle Beach, SC | Registered: May 24, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Aglifter:
A) are you lifting to compete, or just for exercise?

B) with that much of a difference, I suspect it may be a form issue, or some type of structural imbalance in your shoulder girdle or neck injury.

C) Walkouts, and quarter squats can be useful.

D) if you’re just lifting for exercise, did lifting off a trap bar is much lower stress, And it is difficult to have improper form with one.


A. A distinction without much difference. Though OP did state his main goals are weight loss and overall health.

B. The ratio between squat & deadlift (approximately 15%) is pretty normal. He's a little on the low side of that number, but I'd suspect less training in squats based on chronic knee pain (as OP said).

C. Absolute horseshit.

D. Trap bar deadlifts have much more in common with a hypothetical squat, if the bar were placed between the positions for a high bar back squat & a front squat. The bar hangs down directly from the shoulders, so the bar's COM is effectively at the shoulder joint when viewed from the side. That bar position changes the ankle, knee, hip & back angles, because the bar COM is now over the midfoot (and therefore the lifter's COM is ALSO over midfoot). And because the angles have now changed, the work done by the various muscles during the movement is distributed differently when compared to the distribution during the low bar back squat & the deadlift. In other words......can a "mid-neck-bar" squat effectively replace the deadlift or the squat? Nope. Neither can a front squat or a high bar squat.


_________________________
"An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all." - Oscar Wilde

"A nation can survive fools, even ambitious ones. But it cannot survive treason from within. . . ." - Cicero

 
Posts: 1548 | Location: The Northernmost Broadcast Point of Radio Free America | Registered: February 24, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by akcopnfbks:
quote:
Originally posted by Aglifter:
A) are you lifting to compete, or just for exercise?

B) with that much of a difference, I suspect it may be a form issue, or some type of structural imbalance in your shoulder girdle or neck injury.

C) Walkouts, and quarter squats can be useful.

D) if you’re just lifting for exercise, did lifting off a trap bar is much lower stress, And it is difficult to have improper form with one.


A. A distinction without much difference. Though OP did state his main goals are weight loss and overall health.

B. The ratio between squat & deadlift (approximately 15%) is pretty normal. He's a little on the low side of that number, but I'd suspect less training in squats based on chronic knee pain (as OP said).

C. Absolute horseshit.

D. Trap bar deadlifts have much more in common with a hypothetical squat, if the bar were placed between the positions for a high bar back squat & a front squat. The bar hangs down directly from the shoulders, so the bar's COM is effectively at the shoulder joint when viewed from the side. That bar position changes the ankle, knee, hip & back angles, because the bar COM is now over the midfoot (and therefore the lifter's COM is ALSO over midfoot). And because the angles have now changed, the work done by the various muscles during the movement is distributed differently when compared to the distribution during the low bar back squat & the deadlift. In other words......can a "mid-neck-bar" squat effectively replace the deadlift or the squat? Nope. Neither can a front squat or a high bar squat.


And ALL of THAT may ALSO be a distinction without a difference, given the OP's goals. If he's serious it makes sense.


_________________________
"An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all." - Oscar Wilde

"A nation can survive fools, even ambitious ones. But it cannot survive treason from within. . . ." - Cicero

 
Posts: 1548 | Location: The Northernmost Broadcast Point of Radio Free America | Registered: February 24, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
You have cow?
I lift cow!
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To illustrate what I think is the most important point here. Monday is my bench day, (national bench day.) I'm on my 3rd week of doubles. 365 today. I'm light for myself and keeping under 200 lbs, at 199. I have a pissed off elbow for reasons I won't get into, nature of the beast.

The unrack of 365 felt like 450, brought it out, set it down to a pause, and smoked it. I was afraid my tricep might pop off this time. But of course it didn't. My confidence was shady because of pain and being light, but I lifted that weight before I got outta bed this morning.

Point being(again), mental is HUGE in this. It's a fight. And that first take off when the bar settles on you is the first punch by the weight. But don't forget, you punch back. And if you've done all your work properly for the previous 12 weeks or whatever you've earned the right to be in the ring.

Just dawned on me too, in the squat you should be breathing in HUGE for 2-3 breathes and holding the last one and bracing the crap out of your upper back. There's different technique ques to do this, but it goes a long way when you get it right. Upper back, squeeze the shoulder blades in, like as hard as you can and almost pull your elbows down and in. You might be already, I just don't know and usually hearing it again is a good thing.


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Posts: 6279 | Location: Bay Area | Registered: December 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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2 things
Weight loss/management is done at the dining table not the gym
Portion and carbohydrate control long term is far more effective than exercise to lose and maintain weight. Exercise to maintain or lose weight is absolutely a failing or at best very difficult proposition.
Regarding weight lifting, it is far better to increase repetition rather than weight to improve fitness/strength. Who is the more fit potentially healthier individual the guy who can push 500 pounds 10 times or the guy who can do 30 reps at 400. Answer guy #2.
Lower weight with more reps and proper form gets you further than more weight.
Sure it doesn’t give you any bragging rights, but if you are truly out for fitness long term that won’t be a concern either
 
Posts: 2879 | Location: Finally free in AZ! | Registered: February 14, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Why must you always make forward progress? Why can't you find a "maintenance workout" and stick with it? I've sat with too many power lifters while they had shoulder replacements, and a couple of times when they had ruptures resulting in stuff protruding rectally requiring surgery.

Take care of your body. You only get one.
 
Posts: 16406 | Location: Lexington, KY | Registered: October 15, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by captain127:
2 things
Weight loss/management is done at the dining table not the gym
Portion and carbohydrate control long term is far more effective than exercise to lose and maintain weight. Exercise to maintain or lose weight is absolutely a failing or at best very difficult proposition.
Regarding weight lifting, it is far better to increase repetition rather than weight to improve fitness/strength. Who is the more fit potentially healthier individual the guy who can push 500 pounds 10 times or the guy who can do 30 reps at 400. Answer guy #2.
Lower weight with more reps and proper form gets you further than more weight.
Sure it doesn’t give you any bragging rights, but if you are truly out for fitness long term that won’t be a concern either


Eh....I'd disagree with the part about the small guy lifting many reps being more "fit". Or at least say that it is entirely dependent upon goals and the scenario. Strong people are more useful in general, and harder to kill. Big Grin

You are spot on with the dining advice.


_________________________
"An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all." - Oscar Wilde

"A nation can survive fools, even ambitious ones. But it cannot survive treason from within. . . ." - Cicero

 
Posts: 1548 | Location: The Northernmost Broadcast Point of Radio Free America | Registered: February 24, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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