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Rivers Plowden 07-02-2011 11:05 AM

My backsquat and deadlift numbers
I've always been stronger when it came to upper body vs lower body. In highschool I wrestled and swam. I spent a fair amount of time in the weight room. Although, I never received a great deal of coaching in wieghtlifting realm. I focused mostly on upper body and was able to bench 225 lbs. I hated squats and probably never broke 200 lbs in high school.

Fast forward ten years and I began CrossFitting in October of 2009. I had been CrossFitting heavily for a year and my numbers for deadlift and backsquat were 400 lbs and 250 lbs respectively for my 1 RMs. I have recently taken a sort of hiatus due to being military and moving, but now that I'm getting back into it and using a strength biased program I am still seeing the disparity.

When I look at other's numbers it seems as though I should be squatting way more weight when compared to my deadlift numbers. Granted those numbers have fallen off, currently I'm probably at 350 lbs and 230 lbs for the two lifts. What gives? I have good technique. I do high back squats and my ROM is pretty deep. Is this a problem with a specific muscle group that I need to target? I figure just keep with it and sooner or later my numbers will make sense. For what it's worth I'm 5'8" (5'9" if I try), 180 lbs, 13% BF, and male.

I did start running a lot several years ago and have run several marathons and an ultra and I wonder if this has something to do with it. Since starting CF though, I have only done the WODs and some Endurance stuff, no LSD.

Any thoughts?

Eric Montgomery 07-02-2011 11:19 AM

Re: My backsquat and deadlift numbers
You just need to squat more, that has a magical way of fixing things. My numbers used to be fairly similar to yours in terms of the disparity between squat and deadlift, but as soon as I started doing a program that had me squatting heavy twice a week they began to converge.

Running marathons isn't going to help any of your strength numbers but you can still improve on your current ones. CF+CFE is also unlikely to get you stronger in a hurry so if you want to put 100lbs on your squat and deadlift in a reasonable amount of time I'd look at something like CFFB, GSLP, 70s Big S&C, or CF/conjugate. But then it all depends on exactly what your goals are.

Posting some squat videos in digital coaching would help us in terms of figuring out if there's any form issues at play.

Rivers Plowden 07-02-2011 11:30 AM

Re: My backsquat and deadlift numbers
Yeah, I should have mentioned that I currently do the Wendler 5-3-1 program. I've tried several programs, but I really like the progression and continuity of it.

I also do CF + CFE programming. I am deployed currently and don't have access to some gear, so my workouts largely consist of CFE and Wendler with some bodyweight CF worked in.

I know more squats will help the numbers, I was mainly wondering if this was typical or if I need to focus on something in particular. I did a lot of form work when I worked out in the CF gym when I started. I am also level 1 certified, so I've done a reasonable amount of studying and being taught the basics. I don't have any access to posting video at this time.

Tim Nakashima 07-02-2011 12:35 PM

Re: My backsquat and deadlift numbers
If you want to stick with Wendler's program, I'd suggest adding in 3 x 10, or 5 x 10 squats after your set of "max reps" (boring but big routine).

Otherwise, doing the programs recommended above will blow your squat up in a hurry.

Eric Montgomery 07-02-2011 12:40 PM

Re: My backsquat and deadlift numbers
5/3/1 plus CF plus CFE sounds like a good combination to not get any stronger. You can't get better at everything at once, so if you want your lifts to progress you'd be better off cutting back on some of that extra work and doing a strength program with a little bit of conditioning...obviously your situation will depend on what gear you have available, but since you said you're doing 5/3/1 I'm guessing you've got access to a bar and plates and a squat rack.

And no offense, but an L1 cert doesn't really mean you know much about squatting, seeing how it's only taught as an air squat and they don't even touch on stuff like hip drive, low bar vs. high bar, etc. Even after getting my L1 I didn't know anything about squatting until I read SS and did a lot more studying on my own, and I didn't get my squat over 250lbs til I started squatting regularly and dialing back my metcons pretty drastically.

Form work is great, but there's no substitute for getting under the bar and doing progressively heavier work sets. You don't need perfect form to be able to make progress and to do it safely.

Rivers Plowden 07-02-2011 12:56 PM

Re: My backsquat and deadlift numbers
I hear ya. By no means do I mean that I'm any sort of expert, I just mean I know the basics.

What is SS? What do you suggest studying? I don't want to lose my conditioning, not that it's even great at the moment, but...

I like the simple but effective type of programs. I have a lot of time for the next month to workout a good amount and focus on weaknesses. What would you suggest? I know that's not a ton of time, but I could make some gains, I think.

Eric Montgomery 07-02-2011 01:02 PM

Re: My backsquat and deadlift numbers
SS is Starting Strength which is both a book and a program.

SS the book is probably the best resource out there for teaching technique on the 5 major lifts--squat, deadlift, bench, press, and power clean. I highly recommend picking it up and reading it, and buying and watching the DVD as well.

SS the program is a linear progression designed to get beginner lifters strong in a hurry, but it doesn't incorporate conditioning. If you want to do a modified version of SS that includes conditioning, check out [URL=""]this program[/URL] (WFS). That's a link to the program PDF, but the rest of the thread is a good read too, particularly since you mentioned "simple but effective."

Greyskull linear progression is another good option, can't link to it here for various reasons but you can do a Google search for it and either buy the e-book or read the SV forum threads on it.

Rivers Plowden 07-02-2011 01:17 PM

Re: My backsquat and deadlift numbers
Cool, thanks for the quick responses. I will check them out and hopefully check back in soon.

Trey Williams 07-02-2011 01:52 PM

Re: My backsquat and deadlift numbers
Listen to Eric. You just need to squat more. Squatting will do more for your deadlift than deadlifting will for your squat.

Nalin Prabhu 07-05-2011 05:51 AM

Re: My backsquat and deadlift numbers
[QUOTE=Eric Montgomery;955806] <snip>.. and I didn't get my squat over 250lbs til I started squatting regularly and dialing back my metcons pretty drastically. <snip>


What's your squat at now? How long did it take to get from 250# to 350#? How far did the LP get you before you stopped seeing significant gains?


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