Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Stuff That Blew My Mind: Squat and Deadlift Edition

In addition to writing about fitness and creating fabulous videos of myself performing feats of strength, I also do a fair bit of reading. As such, I'd like to share three recent articles pertaining to the squat and deadlift that totally blew my mind.

Charles Staley, Mike Robertson, and Elsbeth Vaino are incredible writers and practitioners. If you like these articles, I highly encourage you to dig into their extensive archives. Just be sure to set aside a few hours, as you might just get lost in a sea of training wisdom. I know I have with these guys!

How to Murder the Deadlift, by Charles Staley (12/17/14)

The simple idea that you’re working with and against innate survival instincts during the squat and deadlift, respectively, really gets me going.

In the squat, your brain is telling your body to stand the weight up to avoid getting crushed. In the deadlift, your brain is telling you to drop the weight, go home, and eat a sandwich.

Great article by Charles on creating a positive training environment that’s conducive to successfully picking heavy stuff up and putting it down.

Simplifying Your Squat and Deadlift, by Mike Robertson (11/10/14)

As a strength enthusiast, I’m always thinking about ways to move better and lift more weight. When it comes to the squat, this often leads to cues like “Arch your back," “Knees out," and “Spread the floor.”

The trouble with these cues is that we wind up exerting a whole bunch of energy that isn’t actually in the direction we intend to move the weight.

Thus, as this eye-opening article reminds us, oftentimes it’s better to simplify. Mike does just that by highlighting the only four things we need to think about when squatting.

The Deadlifts’s Dirty Secret, by Elsbeth Vaino (10/9/14)

I’m all about biomechanics and number-crunching, so I was almost giddy when reading this bad boy.

Elsbeth begins by keenly noting the arbitrariness of the height of the bar on the deadlift. She proceeds to make killer use of her engineering background by using the limb lengths of 27 of her clients to computationally determine their ideal setup position on the deadlift.

The bottom line, she finds, is that not everyone is built to deadlift from the floor. This notion was certainly floating around strength circles before this article. Now, though, Elsbeth has backed it up with science.

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