Sunday, February 13, 2011

Squats and Deadlifts

First, let's get this out in the open.

I'm glad we had this talk.

Why Squats and Deadlifts 
Let's start out simple. Both exercises activate more than 75% of your body's muscles. They also allow you to use the largest weight loads without having to sacrifice form or function. If you are a natural strength trainee, your main goal is to place increasing demands on your body's muscles and central nervous system. You cannot afford to either ignore these movements or half ass them (deadlifting and squatting 135 will not make a man out of a male). The only real decision you need to make is frequency of use. Rather, most people can squat several times per week, but one round of deadlifts per week puts one out for more than just 2 days.

- quadriceps
- glutes
- hamstrings
- abs
- calves
- traps and arms

- same as squats
- also emphasis placed on back

Famous picture for a reason

Pain and Excuses
It's very easy to come up with excuses to avoid either or both exercises. You'll hurt your back, it's bad for your knees, I don't want callouses, I can't lift a lot because of my grip. Granted, if you're doing it right, all of these statements are bullshit (except the gripes concerning callouses and grip, in which case you just have to man up and get some chalk), but they all surround one common theme. Pain and mental fortitude.

When you are training heavy enough, each rep will feel like a mountain. Sometimes, you will get stuck halfway in the middle of a rep and have to make a decision. Do I try, or do I fail? This is not as easy of a decision as you might think. Stuck under a mountain, feeling worn and used, you have to fire every shred of strength you have in order to push or pull the bar up. The only time you will fail is if you doubt your own ability to finish what you started.

The only time I have injured myself on an exercise was when I went for 2 reps of a squat at 295 (this was months ago). I was telling my friend that I felt a snap near my groin halfway through rep 2, and knew the damage had been done. He asked, "Did you finish the rep?"

Damn straight.

My hands are bleeding from squatting 300x10x1 and deadlifting 405x10x1. My current maxes are squat: 305 and deadlift: 405. They will change next week, and the week after that, and the week after that, until I am unable to move or run out of skin. Soon.

Get stronger.

My fingers 2 days after the bleeding stopped and the blisters were popped

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