Deadlifts And Back Strengthening

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Carrera, Oct 18, 2004.

  1. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    Before I start, let's not turn this topic into further debate as to whether weight-work helps or hinders cycling. What I want is specific advice about a specific exercise if anyone has any thoughts.

    I just started doing some deadlifts with the aim of strengthening my lower back. I don't aim to go really heavy but to use moderate weights. However, I'm not sure whether to continue doing them since I've always felt uncomfortable with the exercise. The quotation I just found explains why:

    "Because the leverage on them (deadlifts) is mechanically all wrong. Even when you know the proper technique, it doesn't matter. It still throws your lower back out. Sure, deadlifts can make you stronger - but not in the long run. In the long run they cripple you."

    After reading that I now think I know what my problem is and the above hits the nail on the head. When I attempt to deadlift, I hold my head up, looking straight ahead, grab the bar, bend the knees a little and lift the bar to my waist. But the problem is that when you bypass the knees, surely you have to deviate from the course? The only way you can deadlift with a totally straight back would be if the knees don't get in the way?

    I feel there must be some kind of slight curve in my lower back when deadlifting past the knees, so is this fatal? And how much knee bend should you use?

    The reason I ask is I've had back aches over the last few months and figured deadlifts might strengthen my lower back. But maybe I should use hyper-extensions instead?
     
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  2. kammer

    kammer New Member

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    So, I think it's nearly impossible to give you proper response and instruction without being able to look at your form in person.

    My rule of thumb for strength training with all my athletes is that if a particular exercise causes discomfort, we'll first look at his/her form and if the form is good but trouble is still caused, we stop that particular exercise and look at alternative ways to strengthen.

    If your goal is to just strengthen your back and deadlifts are troublesome, stop the deadlifts and do back extensions, leg raises and situps. Unless you're deadset on doing deadlifts, in which case you should seek the advice of a persoal trainer to look at your form and offer suggestions.

    Don't discount the pain in your knee.




     
  3. velomanct

    velomanct New Member

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  4. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    Are you doing these in a gym environment or at home? Also, is there other equipment available that you can use to train the lower back, such as hyper-extensions, reverse hyper-extensions and a Swiss Ball?

     
  5. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    I do the deadlifts in a gym by myself but, sure, I'm somewhat skeptical. Maybe this exercise is a touch aggressive for a cyclist. What confuses me most is how much you should bend the knees. At present I try to bend about a quarter squat down, keep my head looking up and lift the bar. It's the second rep that gives me more trouble - lowering the bar to the floor, letting it clang slightly on the mat and then knocking another rep out. I feel my form gets better once I've done 3 or 4 reps. However, I don't see how you can deadlift a barbell without some slight rounding of the lower back. To be honest, I've watched other people deadlift and it didn't look healthy to me at all.
    Today I tried hyper-extensions instead. For this I used 2 benches. I tuck my heels under one bench, lie over another bench, hands behind head and then up and down for 15 reps. I do feel it stretching my back as well.
    I guess I could substitute stiff-legged deadlifts for regular deadlifts as this may also strengthen the lumbar region?
     
  6. ed073

    ed073 New Member

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    Try rack pulls from the safety rack instead. Essentially the top part of the DL movement, takes the leg drive out of the exercise.
     
  7. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    Yes, Rack Pulls as Ed073 mentioned would do the job without causing you do go all the way down to the floor.

    I dumped my gym membership last spring due to the terrible pop music they play here in the U.S. so I'm training at home now. I've been training lower back using a combination of Hypers on a Swiss Ball and [extremely] light weighted stiff legged deads bending forward only at the hip and keeping the back as flat as possible. I can only lower the bar to about the knees. It really stretches out the hamstrings as well.

    When I was younger I used to do heavy deads, but that was a lifetime ago. Anymore I just want to train with as little chance of injury as possible. I'm already pretty banged up from what I did back in the day.
     
  8. ed073

    ed073 New Member

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    Hey....they play that music here too!!! :D :D
     
  9. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    Yes, joint pain can make itself known in later years. I thought I was bad till I heard how people like Dorian Yates are getting on. One guy, for example, had surgery on his knees, shoulders and other areas. You'd think the pros would be more aware of the need to do light cycles and take lay-offs from time to time. Even cyclists should learn to respect their knees more.
    I found stiff-legged deadlifts irritated my back somewhat but I did hyper-extensions last night and feel O.K. My knees are also improving. I've taken time off all my climbing and am doing moderate squats with leg-extensions to try and strengthen my knees. Last night I was doing 15 rep sets of squats and breathing pretty hard. I did lots and lots of warming up with some stretching thrown in.
    My cycling is mostly on the flat in lower gears but I'll start doing harder rides again in the near future.
    As for gym music, do you mean:

    Everybody stutters one way or the other
    So check out my message to you
    As a matter of fact and don't let nothin' hold you back
    If the Scatman can do it so can you

    Everybody' sayin' that the Scatman stutters
    But doesn't ever stutter when he sings
    But what you don't know (I'm gonna tell you right now)
    That the stutter and the Scat is the same thing
    Yo I'm the Scatman

    Where's a Scatman?...I'm a Scatman...





     
  10. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    Not familiar with those lycrics, but it seems everything over here sounds like Bratney Spears, some boy band or (c)rap. It's horrible. I guess I'm just an old fart now as I still listen to the tunes made popular by the U.K. groups back in the 80's.

     
  11. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    I just picked up a Kylie Minough C.D. that would be fine for cycling inspiration. It's the kind of music no guy would dare confess to putting on but, in reality, it has a very aerobic kind of sound and good for the disco scene.
    I'm also very into Russian music so I thought I'd raise all you guys temperatures and upload a jpg of Tatu (a Russian all girl band that also toured Europe, the U.S. and U.K.



     
  12. ed073

    ed073 New Member

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    Weren't they the try-hard lesbos?
     
  13. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    Well, you can buy the L.P. in English (some of Sting's sound men helped out) and the music is good. There are some slow melodies and some rocky stuff. They had a number one in the U.K. for ages.
    The Lesbian scene was just a publicity act and I heard one of the girls felt ashamed of her marketing shananigans and found religion or something.


     
  14. Meek One

    Meek One New Member

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    I loved to deadlift. But that was then and this is now.

    Funny thing you mentioned hyper-extensions which if I remember are similar to Roman chairs, right? Anyway with all my nagging little injuries, I have decided that I may as well lose some weight and try to get 'ripped' ;)
    So I decided to add some torso work eg cruches and roman chairs? Was doing great, I am fine now just lifting once every 4 days. Back and abs feel strong. Doing 3-4 sets 20-30 reps and feeling it. BUT in the last few days my back has locked up, crippling me and making it hard to breathe for a minute or so. My uncle used to whine about this but I thought he was a pussy. Damn, this is for real. Any thoughts? Sorry to hijack the post but it seemed to be kinda dead anyway. Thanks. Oh and I am not going past parallel.
     
  15. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    The way I do heperextensions is thus: I lie across a bench with my navel on the edge, feet tucked under another bench behind. Then I put my hands behind my head and lower myself downwards and up again, 15 times.
    Today I did a cycle ride and then went to the gym. I saw a guy doing deadlifts with a smith machine and it was awful. He was doing a cross between a stiff-legged deadlift (moving his spine) and a regular deadlift. That is, he was bending his knees and really bending his lower back as well. Ouch!
    Then you get the folks who always occupy the machines (according to psychologists because machines are easier). I was waiting nearly 40 minutes for the leg-extension machine since someone was doing set after set after set of very low intensity leg-extensions.
    Back to your post. Don't know why you're getting back pain. If the exercise doesn't suit you, better to change it. Maybe good mornings will work for you, barbell behind shoulders, keep legs straight and lower your torso down halfway and up again.


     
  16. ed073

    ed073 New Member

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    Smith machine = waste of space. Only good for hanging towels on, imo.
     
  17. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    I used to use them for seated military presses when I belonged to that gym that played bad music. That's the only use I've found for them. Military presses and towels.
     
  18. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    A dead thread? Hardly. Carrera has just started posting lesbian pics! :D How 'bout some Jenna Jamison Carrera?

    I hear ya about all of those nagging little injuries. I'm pretty much a mess. Have given up the hopes of ever lifting anything heavy again. I even have trouble doing the lighter weights at times, especially in the left shoulder area. And my lower back is shot. That's the main reason I started cycling. My L4 & L5 are way too screwed up to jog/run.

    I've found that if I'm riding very much (8 - 10 hrs/week) that doing lower back work is too much for me. Seems I get quite a bit of indirect usage while riding and my lower back will feel very fatigued after the longer rides. It won't get sore as with lifting weights, just a tired/spent feeling.

    Definitely, take a little break from doing hypers and when you start back do so very gradually. Perhaps as low as 1 set per workout for a little while. Don't take a chance on pulling anything as that will affect any off season cycling for months! Not going past parallel is the way to go so your form is probably fine.

     
  19. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    Actually, Smith Machines are fine. Used excessively, you'll lose your coordination with regular barbells but Smith machines are fine for variety (or possibly injuries). Some say they're bad for the knees due to the fixed groove but I think there's plenty of scope for adjusting body-alignment so the knees can bend at various angles.


     
  20. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    Put it this way. I was really surprised when Tatu reached number one in the U.K. I'd known about them for 4 years or so and then somebody decided to translate the songs into English. Then they ended up touring America and Europe. Both girls are hetero but there's a huge lesbian following in Russia.
    Well, back to cycling:
    I have the same problem as yourself with joint pain and I suffer terribly these days. Upper body is fine but my hips kill me and my knees seem to be getting worse. Of course, I started training very hard in my teens and I'm now 40 years old. That's a lot of wear and tear, I guess.
    I've concluded that when joints ache so much it's probably wise to keep training but go very light and stretch a lot. For example, my knees seem to be getting worse so I may be wise doing stiff-legged deadlifts for my hamstrings and then leg-extension and leg curls. That's all Serge Nubret ever did in fact and his legs were O.K. Neither of these exercises hurt when I do them.
    As for cycling, I tried to see how I can cycle without stressing my knees at all, simly for joint mobility. I found that if I cycle in very low gears, there's very little stress at all. I can always do an intense ride in higher gears once a week. And yes, I can cycle pain free and climb pain free but I get aches after the ride in the evenings.
    I was actually reduced to taking aspirin last week. I keep getting damp in my hip and it aches to the bone. I don't get such pains when I'm in Russia which mystifies me somewhat - either the climate isn't as damp or the food is more oily with less chemicals.


     
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