Basically, I squat on Monday and DL on Friday, but, due to knee injuries and bad squat form, squats are killing my knees and my back. However, I seem to have no problem with deadlift. I can brace easier, it hits my posterior chain better, which is important for me, since I'm a runningback, and it really just adds thick armor-like muscle to my back.
I have heard of other people DLing 2x/week with success, but I'm just not sure how to adjust the volume. I'm used to doing high-volume work (Sheiko), but I'm assuming that I should do no more than about 3 x 5 @75% for the DL days? Would that seem right?
I'm not too concerned about having a high squat number, I'd just like a bigger deadlift number and be able to run faster.
Deadlift doesn't make my arthritic knees worse, I have no back pain, and I get more CNS stimulation and grip strength gains from it. How much volume and intensity would you guys recommend?
The obvious answer is to fix your squat.
But in the meantime, I'd do deadlift on one day and either a squat variant you can tolerate or a different type of deadlift to prevent burnout.
Do you have access to a trap/hex deadlift bar? I feel that exercise is a merge between deadlifts and squats and goes much easier on your knees.
You need to learn to box squat. If you do them properly it won't bother your knees to any significant degree. In terms of pulling, you don't want to pull too often in my opinion as it is a lot of wear and tear on the lower back. Once a week is plenty and vary the intensity or style of pull if you are going to do that.
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Squat works so many different areas it'd be very hard for anyone to say "ok just stop doing them." Drop the weight, even just use the bar for a while, and box squat getting your form locked in. Deadlifting twice a week won't kill you, some do it with great success, but you have to learn numbers and learn to do what works. Try knee sleeves to help with warmth and compression. They do wonders for many people. If you absolutely just can't squat for medical reasons, leg press/hack squats and other leg accessories should be used, not really just adding another dead lift day. Improved squat form improves dead lift. Fix one, the other should reap the benefit as well.
Last edited by Mark!; 11-30-2013 at 09:06 PM.
260's by May
Thanks for the advice guys. And it's not so much that I absolutely can't squat at all, just my arthritis makes me knees the size of softballs after I squat. For some reason, I don't experience that with DLs.
I'm just trying to figure out what would be the best way to maximize posterior chain strength (to run faster) while keeping my inflammation down.
Are you on any anti-inflammatory medication for the arthritis? My doc put me on some a while back, I stopped taking it in lieu of taking Animal Flex every day which has helped. The sleeves helped a ton for me and my issues. If I squat heavy without them my knees are really sore for a few days after, to the feeling of being bruised almost.
260's by May
I was actually thinking yesterday that instead of whining and bitching, I should be proactive with squats. I might just try the 20-rep program. At worst, my knees will hurt like always, so it couldn't get much worse.
I'm with Chris. Box work. Id go high on it though. Do you wear sleeves?
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260's by May
If you've got arthritis that bad, you may never see that day unless you're taking something or take an outside source for relief. Arthritis usually doesn't just go away, especially if it's osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Does your family have a history for arthritis? I took Meloxicam for a while and it really helped quite a bit. Not trying to tell you what to do obviously, don't know your history or anything, but it seems like you're refusing things that may help (sleeves, brace, medication). If there's a problem, and you have an injury or factor that keeps you from doing something such as squatting without intense pain, I'm curious as to why you think adding 20 rep squats is going to magically fix the issue. There's a difference between whining, bitching, and being an overall vag, and then having a legit reason for questioning your methods based on medical issues. Be smart, train smart, train for longevity.
Last edited by Mark!; 12-02-2013 at 11:29 PM.
260's by May
It sucks, because I'm at the point where rehab isn't enough, but I'm not sure if heavy squats are too much. It wouldn't be a problem if there wasn't such a huge imbalance between my legs (good calf is about 3-4 inches bigger than, good quad is 4-5 inches bigger, and both are much stronger).
I went with my intuition to just try 20-rep squats ONE time to see if it helped, and it actually did! I had my doubts, but I'm glad I tried it. My legs were jello after that set. My 5RM is only 275 ATM (I never claim to be a powerlifter), so I started with 185 x 20. The program dictates that I'll be able to do 275 x 20 after the 6 weeks. I hope so!
I was so gassed for like 30 minutes after that set, LOL. I could barely do 185 x 3 OHP (my max is 8).
Last edited by Falcon63; 12-03-2013 at 10:21 AM.
I think you should try more recovery time between days that you are squatting and pulling or anything else that involves the knees alot. For example, deadlift once one week and squat once the next week. So you only do each one once in two weeks, and do other leg work on those days only as well. I would use lighter weights and more reps if you do squat and do other assistance exercises like leg press and isolation and rehab things. You should make sure to train all the muscles around the injured joint or that function in the same motions so they are stronger, that is don't neglect quad, hamstring, calfs, abductor, adductor, and glutes specific movements. If all of those are stronger it won't be as bad on your knees and should help some of the imbalances you mentioned.
I also believe extended time off (could be months or longer) from movements that continue to aggravate the injured area can help tremendously. You can work around it with movements that are similar enough but don't aggravate it. But sometimes time off is the only real solution that will help long-term.
One more thing, I think it is wise to avoid squatting or pulling against bands, speed work in either movement, and plyometric movements. I also think you should avoid running as much as possible for awhile if you are done with or whenever you are done with football season at this point until at least spring or summer. And if you must run then only on softer surfaces to avoid as much impact.
Best competition lifts:
650lbs. raw squat
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580lbs. raw deadlift
1650lbs. raw total
Surprisingly, running doesn't hurt my knees at all. Plus, I have to keep running since Spring football is coming up soon.
Anyways, just did 20-rep squats again, and I experienced NO pain. The burn in my posterior chain was AMAZING, yet oddly no quad DOMS.