Sunday, May 9, 2010

Squatting and Deadlifting layout in a program

Figuring out exactly how to lay out your squat and deadlift can be a pain for a lot of guys for a lot of various reasons.


First off, they use most of the same muscle groups to get the job done.  Hams, hips, glutes, lower back, upper back, and quads (the deadlifts to a lesser degree obviously).  A few problems with program design involving both big movements is overlap and overtraining of the low back, which can be slow to recover.  So lets look at some common ways these usually get laid out and discuss the benefits and drawbacks.



Squatting and Deadlifting in the same workout -


This is a very controversial topic.  Ok so it's not really controverial but for some reason it causes a lot of lifters angst.  So let's clear the air on this.

It's fine to squat and pull in the same workout.

There.  Controversy over.

Seriously, I love squatting and pulling together and do it in most of my splits.  It's like two great tastes that go great together (there's another Reece's peanut butter cup reference for you).


Benefits of squatting and deadlifting on the same day -

I think the most obvious benefit to squatting and pulling in the same workout is that the lower back gets a full week to recover before it is taxed again.  This is one of the reasons I find myself coming back to this split. Squats serve as a great warm up to pulling and you can keep dealdifting volume pretty low. So after your squats you can just go to a medium heavy warm up on deads for a set then pull heavy. If you are a competitive lifter this also will let you know what you are going to be pulling in a more fatigued state. So you should have a better idea of what you are going to be capable of in a meet.

The excuse that you can't squat and deadlift in the same workout is weak. Andy Bolton squats and deadlifts heavy in the same workout, and so does Konstantinovs and they are stronger than you.

Drawback wise, I don't see many if any drawbacks with squatting and deadlifting in the same session. You can squat light one week and deadlift heavy the other if your deadlift needs more work. You can squat heavy and pull light the next. Squatting and deadlifting pretty much serves as a complete lower body workout. Everything gets hit very hard and thoroughly.

Squatting and deadlifting on the same day also gives you the rest of the week to get all of your work in. You can bench on one day and then do back and bicep work on the other, or if you just want to train twice a week, you can do bench, bench assistance, and then your rows and chins as well. This works just fine too.

Some examples of squat and deadlifting together -

2 days a week training -

Squat - heavy or light
Deadlift - heavy or light
Abs/Hams/Low Back

Bench
Incline
Chin
Row

3 days a week training -

Squat - heavy or light
Deadlift - heavy or light
Abs/Hams/Low Back

Chins
Rows
Biceps

Bench
Incline
Military

4 days a week training (if you must) -

Squat - heavy or light
Deadlift - heavy or light

Bench
Incline/Dips

Hamstrings
Low Back
Abs

Chins
Rows
Curls


Squatting and Deadlifting separately -

This one seems to be more common. It's the old school squat/bench/deadlift on separate days routine. This also is a good solid plan and has been used by many championship lifters throughout the years.

Benefits of squatting and deadlifting on separate days -

The obvious benefit of doing squats and deadlifts on different days is that you can pour all of your energy into each lift, without the deadlift taking a backseat after you squat. The other benefit to that is you can use all of your assistance work just for that lift right afterwards, or you can do a variation of the other lift and essentially get two "squat" and two "deadlift" workouts in all in 1 week.

The drawback to breaking them up over a week period is that the lower back gets beat up on pretty badly three times in a 7-8 days period. If you squat on monday and deadlift on friday, then when you squat on the following monday that means you will have taxed your lower back hard three times in a week of training. For some people this is too much and eventually will find that they can't recover from this kind of split without some regulation built in.

What I recommend to remedy this a slight bit, is to have 4 different training sessions but split them across 10 days. This way you at least get a 4 day break from squatting or pulling every other week. See in one of the examples below. Another possibility is to take two days off between each squat and deadlift workout in order to provide for more recovery.

Some examples of squat and deadlifting on separate days -

Monday - Squat
Wednesday - Bench
Friday - Deadlift

Monday - Squat
Wednesday - Bench
Friday - Deadlift
Monday - Bench assistance
Wednesday - start the cycle over

Monday - Squat
X2 off
Thursday - Bench
X1 off
Saturday - Deadlift
X2 off
Tuesday - Squat
x2 off, etc

Squatting and deadlifting on alternate weeks -

This one isn't quite as popular. One week you squat, the next week you deadlift. This is a split obviously based around maximum recovery for each lift. This particular split in my opinion, is probably best served for advanced guys or someone who has previous injuries that keeps them from squatting and pulling too often.

Benefits of squatting and deadlifting on separate days -

The biggest benefit was touched on. Recovery. If you are squatting and pulling in the 500-600-700+ then this is the kind of split you could really benefit from. When I use this split I always look forward to pulling and squatting without fail. You feel very fresh on the movement and generally have more pop than when pulling AND squatting heavy both, in the same week.

The drawbacks here are physical and mental. For guys without great technique this split wouldn't afford them enough practice with the lifts. Two squat workouts and two deadlift workouts in a month probably isn't enough for the novice or intermediate lifter.

The other one is the mental aspect of it. Some guys just can't get their head around pulling and squatting only twice a month. It does work, however mentally some guys could struggle with not doing both each week. The other drawback is that if you are using this in preparation for a meet, you need to be very accurate with your planning. You don't have a lot of room to get liberal because you have less room for error.

Some examples of squat and deadlifting -

Uhhhh....Squat one week and uh, deadlift the next week. 7 days in between. So if you squatted on Saturday, you would deadlift the next Saturday. That's it.

Conclusion -

Find which split works best for your mind and your body. Always take into account the overlap that the squat and deadlift have with each other, both in planning your split and planning your assistance work. Remember that overworking one of these lifts will also mean you're really overworking them both. A proper squat and deadlift setup will compliment each other.

7 comments:

  1. Paul,

    Just curious if you focus on taking blocks of training to improve a specific lift, or just try to get everything stronger all the time. For example, to hit your 700 deadlift, would you back off a little on squat intensity/volume to insure you always are at 100%, come deadlift day? That's worded like crap, but hopefully the idea made it through. Also, I'm specifically talking about this idea for advanced lifters. Thx!

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  2. I've never really approached it that way because I prefer for everything to move forward at once. It's kind of like the "what constitutes strong" post. I wouldn't want to hit one at a time. I would want to be as close as possible to everything at once. I suppose if I'm not close to 700 in the next year it might not be a bad idea to focus on the dead only for a while and just maintain the squat.

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  3. I've actually found that as I've gotten more advanced (i.e. stronger) that I do better doing both on the same day. My lower back gets too beat up training them separately. I also think I actually pull better after squatting than I do when the DL has it's own day (of course I usually don't SQ heavy if I'm planning on heavy DL). I'm also transitioning to a two day-a-week program with some kettlebell work and conditioning on a couple other days.

    Sean

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  4. I have been contemplating for a while whether or not I'm going to lift 2X a week or 3X a week in prep for the meet in August. Even if I lift 2X a week squats and deads will stay on the same day.

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  5. I second training both lifts on the same day. When I was a competitive Olympic style lifter, I pulled and squatted up to 6 days a week and got stronger. Cleans and snatches are a bit different animal than deads, but not so different. If you are a competitive lifter and choose to squat and dead on separate days, make sure you have meet "practice" sessions where you test both lifts in the same session, otherwise you have a false idea of what you can do under competition conditions.

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  6. Good stuff Daniel. The difference with cleans and snatches is that there is no negative and thus it doesn't impede recovery as much.

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  7. well done paul,i cannot recover from deadlifts,ore squats quick enough,to do 2 lower body days a week,so i was wondering i could do squats and deads same day,i knew about andys bolton routine,but never thought about trying:)thanks again:D

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