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Old 01-14-2011, 03:02 PM   #1
Blair Lowe
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Default Deadlift vs Back Squat for gymnasts

At our gym now, some of the coaches for the teams have the kids back squat. All we have available is two cheap bars and so I've heard, maybe 65lbs of plates (oddly some are rectangular shaped). Btw, I'm also one of the new team coaches.

This is fine for some of our kids given their size but obviously not enough for some of our older athletes (we have one guy who is in HS besides a few girls who are probably JH-HS).

Most of them seem to squat pretty low. I just need to get up there and tell them to push their ass back as they lean into their knees. However, this isn't really the point of this thread. Whether this is due to lack of knowledge by the coaches or execution by the gymnast, I dunno as I haven't gotten up there or talked about it with them.

They seem to be doing this 1-2/week. I'm not exactly sure of sets&reps but I'll guess it's something like 3-5 sets of 5-10reps. No, we don't have a squat rack and it's on a floor with carpet over foam. Yeah, not ideal but there isn't really area of the gym that isn't covered.

Now, I was wondering if the BS might be preferred due to the fact that it would make all the structure of the body be loaded and thus imparting to more bone density growth.

Whereas the DL does not load the body. Sure, you pull it and thus those muscles should create bigger muscle attachement points on the bones but...

Yes, I'm concerned with hypertrophy for them and safety as well. They generally push-press the weight with a spot. Yeah, I know.

I have implemented doing the DL with my boys fairly well and they loved it. I was staying away from the BS due to the lack of squat racks, safety and possible excess hypertrophy gains.


I'm just wondering. Personally, I was figuring on joining the RSF after payday and doing my lifting there but I'm not opposed to seeing if I can just bring in some plates and bars at the gym (could be free, then). Not exactly sure if they would let me bring in 400lbs anyways besides the bitch getting it up the hill (no car) and if I would have time to lift there given when the gym is open.
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Old 01-15-2011, 08:57 AM   #2
Steven Low
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DL loads the body more than BS because you can generally lift more weight with DLs.

DLs are more effective for gymnastics because it's more in the range in which we move. Same thing with runners/sprinters too... DL more effective for runners than BS.

For the younger guys I would avoid going below say 5-6 RM; there's really no reason to work in the lower RM range when their capacity to build strength is impaired when younger (e.g. before puberty). There's no reason not to work up around 8-12 RM with these guys.

After/during puberty which hits boys and girls around 13-15ish (girls it's usually 12 but can be delayed in gymnastics) I'd start loading them more into the 4-8 RM range. Maybe the occasional 2-3 RM. I don't see a reason to every do 1 RM testing with them except for ego.

But yeah.... DL more effective than BS for the given ROMs that gymnastics uses.... plus when moving up in heavier weights the DLs actually start to help out with gaining strength in the chest/lats for back lever/front lever/etc.
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Old 01-15-2011, 03:20 PM   #3
Blair Lowe
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Thanks, Steve. I tried to catch you with this yesterday. I would agree that the DL hits more of the ROM that gymnastic uses and I have favored going this way since the Barry Ross article.

Right now there is some opinion at our gym that TOPS does not train enough lower body strength which is why I think he has our girls back squat.

Currently my concern isn't with the boys program per say since I coach the girls and we have 3 who may have what it takes to go towards elite one day. Maybe twice as many that could go L10. Said coach did send a girl to UCLA and I'll have to tell you her passes because they are damn insane even though she tore her achilles (and is still going to UCLA).
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:46 PM   #4
Blair Lowe
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Went fairly well. I definitely need to get us more bars and plates. The girls were not as easy as teaching the boys to deadlift which I found odd and amusing considering the boy's immaturity.

One teaching set, 2 workset. Simply put, when they started feeling strain or tired, I told them to put down the bar.

I talked the rest with you earlier, Steve so no need to go over anymore.

Nothing like trying to teach a DL and get 2 sets in less than 10-15 minutes.
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Old 01-19-2011, 06:09 AM   #5
Troy Kerr
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I know we spoke a bit about this yesterday Blair. But if you happen to get your hands on some heavier dumbbells or kbs, you can teach a lot of the deadlift mechanics a lot easier. I have to do this multiple times a month when working with one of our gyms law enforcement classes. Some come in late at night so to make it simpler we use a kb for their first few exposures.
Might be easier to get your hands on 3-4 sets of heavy dbs and a little cheaper too.
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Old 01-19-2011, 08:45 AM   #6
Blair Lowe
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Last night was a very interesting night at gym. Most of practice was the usual, but I did get a chance to touch base with our other coach when he had the girls lifting.

btw, coach in question was introduced to squatting back in country when he was a kid. He told me for the past 5 years he's been experimenting with his gymnasts at his former club and found:

- He likes HBBS and push press. He was concerned that too often it seems that girls in his opinion compared to the BS are harder to train in the DL and there is the possibility of injury should their form get crappy. Preferably he has them squat to parallel but it sounds like they also do Wave Squats and 1/4 squats and jump squats as well as heel raises with a bar in BS position.

- He asked me of my experience with the barbell lifts and olympic lifts and was pleased that he had another coach on his side. Another high level coach in our area uses them as well and spoke about CrossFit last September with Tuck at our Regional Congress. I had a pretty good conversation with said coach about deadlifting and the benefits of the 2nd pull for gymnasts.

- I was talking about how I knew another coach was experimenting with the split jerk and he thought that was pretty cool. We talked about finding an area of the gym to put the weights in as he just got another bar. I mentioned about getting a squat rack but forgot to say SQUAT STANDS.

- One of his biggest likes of the lifts is the fact that most other power sports use the olympic lifts and OL are known to have incredible VJ. He said he had mainly studied a lot of Soviet texts and in his opinion, lifting helps tumbling power A LOT and is crucial to 3 events.

- As for UB, it's a good trade-off as most americans tend not to be the ultra tiny asian gymnast types. Think Shawn Johnson, Dominque Dawes, Alicia Sacramone besides others. Nastia is very different from those types.

- I will probably bring in a printout of Barry Ross's article.

- Frequency seems to be 2x/week to possibly 3x/week for girls in the gym 6d/w. Right now I'm thinking of the idea of 1d of BS, 1d of DL. I still like the DL for the girls back strength and having tested some of their lower back strength and the fact they don't swing on rings, it's not as strong as I'd like.

- 3 sets seems to be the fashion with lower weights and higher reps for younger lifters to perhaps 1-3 for in season and 3-5 for off season.

- One of his girls that is going to UCLA who has some incredible tumbling skills 1/4 squatted 348lbs. I like the DL because it is very similar to the 1/4 squat but also provides lower back strength, something a lot of our girls lack from and sometimes eventually quit gym from weak lower backs (and probably lots of limber movements favoring lumbar instead of their tight shoulders).
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