Does Hip Height In The Deadlift Affect Strength?

daniel debrocke May 05, 2021

The deadlift is commonly used in resistance training for a variety of reasons including high potential for loading, functions as a full body exercise, high transference to various sports etc. However there is still considerable disagreement as to what the optimal technical execution is for the conventional deadlift. In this short article we’ll cover how hip height in the start position affects strength expression, and how variations in technique can elicit meaningful changes in force production.

In a 2010 paper by Hales, he touched on the significance of environmental contributions to deadlift performance beyond genetic predisposition. “These genetic values suggest that approximately 50-75% of the overall deadlift performance could be attributed to environmental factors such as training methods, lifting styles, and individualized program parameters” (1). This should not be misinterpreted to suggest that genetics are insignificant. Even on the extreme end if we...

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Sleep Extension Techniques To Enhance Muscle And Strength

daniel debrocke Apr 20, 2021

Most of the literature on sleep is regarding restriction and its impact on health and performance. However, there is a growing body of research on sleep extension and the potential implications it may have on athletic performance in particular. It’s fairly well understood that sleep is a primary contributor to recovery and performance. In spite of this, it’s estimated over of the american population is underslept (1). The American Academy Of Sleep Medicine recommends individuals aged 18-60 sleep a minimum of seven hours a day (1). Failing to meet this requirement has been associated with various chronic conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, along with various other deleterious health and performance outcomes.

One paper looking at the effects of sleep deprivation on resistance training performance found significant reductions in strength in bench press, deadlift, and leg press. Additionally the researchers observed increased...

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Understanding Metabolic Adaptation

daniel debrocke Apr 20, 2021

The term metabolic damage has gained lots of traction over the years. Researchers initially observed a reduced metabolic rate in subjects who had lost a substantial amount of weight. This is far from shocking, since reducing an individual’s body weight will simultaneously reduce their energy demands. What was unique in this case however was the metabolic rates of some individuals were far lower than what the researchers projected.

These findings became popularized within various fitness circles and were quickly labeled as metabolic damage. However, at the moment there isn’t any convincing evidence to support the existence of metabolic damage within this context. What researchers were observing is more accurately defined as metabolic adaptation and adaptive thermogenesis (1).

During a period of caloric restriction accompanied by a reduction in body weight, your body undergoes several physiological changes to adapt to the changing environment – both internal and...

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Does Fish Oil Supplementation Impact Recovery?

daniel debrocke Apr 20, 2021

Fish oil supplementation has gained a lot of attention for their health benefits. Specifically supplementation of omega 3 fatty acids have demonstrated positive effects on blood pressure, triglycerides, and heart rate (1). Additionally, they’ve been shown to improve arterial dilation, possess antiarrhythmic and anti-inflammatory properties. All of which has been shown to have protective effects against the development of cardiovascular disease (1). But less is known about the role of fish oil supplementation in recovery from resistance training. A 2020 paper by VanDusseldorp et al. set out to examine the effects of fish oil supplementation on various markers of recovery following a strenuous bout of eccentric exercise (2).

A paper by Heileson et al. found that the minimum effective dose for fish oil supplementation to elicit a positive response on recovery was 2g supplemented for at least four weeks (3). However research has been conflicting regarding what...

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Using Potentiation To Break Training Plateaus

brandon senn Mar 12, 2021

If you train hard enough (or not hard enough I suppose) for long enough you will eventually run into a period where progress stalls and improvements to your lifts become much more difficult to realize. Sometimes plateaus last for a few training blocks but, its very easy to let a few blocks slip by and before you know it you are running up on a year or more of minimal progress.

If you ask five different people what causes training plateaus, you will undoubtedly get five or more different answers. The real kicker is each person you ask is probably right! Variables that determine how well you adapt to training are infinite including but not limited to your biological load (any factor that influences physiology from nutrition, sleep, stress, training load/effort, and many other things), the organization of your training plan and how well that organization matches your needs, your physical environment, and many other things that sometimes require complex solutions.

To break through a...

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Why Chuck Taylors Are The Worst Shoe For Strength Athletes

brandon senn Mar 12, 2021

This week we are going to discuss popular footwear for individuals interested in training for strength. More people than not choose footwear for function over form. However, if you are someone who often chooses the latter of the two options who have probably made decisions based on what the footwear does for you, not necessarily what it is doing to you. Let me break that down just a little bit:

Heeled shoes such as used in weightlifting allow many lifters to achieve a lower squat position via accommodation of ankle flexion. A common misconception is that these shoes increase ankle mobility. The fact is they reduce ankle dorsiflexion demands of a low squat by pre-setting the ankle into a greater range of plantar flexion. So, you are not actually improving ankle mobility so much as you are avoiding ankle movement.

“What does it really matter so long as you were able to squat deeper?”

In this example the shoes did allow for you to squat deeper but, through accommodation of...

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How To Make RPE And RIR Easier And More Effective

brandon senn Mar 12, 2021

RPE (rating of perceived exertion) and RIR (reps in reserve) are two ways a training plan can instruct how difficult a certain exercise should be. Both are self-estimations of proximity to failure within a certain rep and load combination. For example, if a program lists 3 sets of 5 reps at a 9 RPE you should choose a load that you can at least do 6 reps with. This way of instructing loads for an exercise can be incredibly valuable because many exercises do not work with traditional methods such as percentage of 1RM. I suppose if you were to test (max out) every exercise in a training plan to find your 1RM you could then theoretically use percentages but no one has time for that and even if you did you wouldn’t garner an adaptive stimulus from most exercises. Let’s face it, you aren’t going to gain much muscle or strength by performing a 1RM on your DB curls, machine rows, and other accessory movements.

RPE and RIR are useful because they provide a scalable means...

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Refined Resilience: The Potential Of Purposeful Pain

nathaniel hancock Jan 19, 2021

“The ultimate is not to win, but to reach within the depths of your capabilities and to compete against yourself to the greatest extent possible. When you have that, you have dignity. You have the pride. You can walk about with character and pride no matter in what place you happen to finish. – Billy Mills, 1964 10k Olympic Gold Medalist

 

Two Races

No one predicted that William Mervin Mills would win the gold medal in the 10,000 meter run of the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. A member of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux Tribe) from South Dakota, Billy was a United States Marine who attended the University of Kansas on an athletic scholarship for his considerable running abilities. Billy faced poverty as a youth, was orphaned at age twelve, and experienced repeated racial prejudice that led to suicidal thoughts. On top of it all, Billy had hypoglycemia, which affected his performance on the track. No one predicted Billy would win in Tokyo — no one, that is, but Billy....

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Sumo Is Not Just Wide Conventional

cassandra strunk Dec 23, 2020
 

Most people who start out in barbell lifting are familiar with conventional deadlifts. It’s typically the style of deadlifting we learn in traditional weightlifting gym setting, P.E., group fitness classes, and even rehabilitation settings to retrain hip hinge patterns. When it comes to sumo deadlifting, it is most commonly seen in the world of powerlifting. The question often gets asked, “should I pull sumo or conventional?” But to simplify this piece, we are actually not going to address that question here. What we want to cover in this piece, are considerations for new lifters to sumo, who have already decided they want to give sumo deadlifting a chance and are experimenting with sumo deadlift technique.

To kick off the discussion, the first thing to consider when switching from conventional deadlifts to sumo deadlifts is understanding that there is more to it than just widening your stance and trying to pull. Most people familiar with...

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Preparing For The Precipice: Laying The Foundation For Max Effort Lifts

nathaniel hancock Aug 19, 2020

It had never been done before. El Capitan — the famous 3,000-foot granite face in Yosemite — once seemed impossible to climb at all, let alone solo and without ropes. But on June 3, 2017, Alex Honnold posed for a National Geographic photo — climbing shoes in hands, wide grin on face — atop the mammoth monolith after 3 hours and 56 minutes of flawless execution that crisp morning. His many years of meticulously detailed practice and planning had culminated in the realization of a dream that, three years after the fact, remains unthinkable to the lion’s share of humanity.

Why did he do it? How did he do it? Journalists around the world covered the incredible, death-defying feat, and the Free Solo documentary has netted almost $30M as of this writing. Nathaniel Rich of The Atlantic claimed that what we envy in Honnold is not so much his climbing ability, but rather “his ability to forget about death.”

It may seem...

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