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Old 02-03-2010, 10:56 AM   #21
Jamie J. Skibicki
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Re: Zercher Deadlifts

Brian,

You said
"Starting light, progressive or not....If you know spinal biomechanics, those are not safe"

and then you said

"I'm not suggesting you use your 5rm for these".

It's the load(see weights on the barbell) on the spine in that position that is the issue. NOT merely the flexion of the spine. "

SO which one is it?
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Old 02-03-2010, 12:56 PM   #22
Brian Strump
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Smile Re: Zercher Deadlifts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Mason View Post
See, a man who gets it.

How about this:

"Mr. mugger, please stop for a moment as my spine is not in proper alignment while I am trying to fend you off..."
Jaime,

I was referring to your quote. The other guy stated that your a guy that got it....taking at there's nothing wrong with what was in that video. I was mentioning that I agreed with your points that it's impossible in sport and life to maintain the lumbar curve, and doing those 5RM would not be a smart move.

I'm a chirorpactor, training for strength and functionality....not necessarily to have to lift heavy crap like that off the ground by any means necessary. I do not train to lift a car. GPP is one thing, but I also am not training to be dragging bodies through the dessert or life with 125lbs of ammunition wrapped around me preparing for war. I'm grateful for those guys to protect us, but that's not why I do CrossFit, nor why most do. So in my opinion doing a lift like that, saying you are preparing yourself for something similar with that amount of weight is not smart.

And as far as the handstands on blocks goes...maybe not so functional, but much less dangerous than that lift, unless of course Mike will next be balancing 225lbs on his feet while doing the handstand....Gotta be prepared for anything!
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Old 02-03-2010, 01:52 PM   #23
Robert Callahan
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Re: Zercher Deadlifts

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Originally Posted by Brian Strump View Post
Jaime,

I was referring to your quote. The other guy stated that your a guy that got it....taking at there's nothing wrong with what was in that video. I was mentioning that I agreed with your points that it's impossible in sport and life to maintain the lumbar curve, and doing those 5RM would not be a smart move.

I'm a chirorpactor, training for strength and functionality....not necessarily to have to lift heavy crap like that off the ground by any means necessary. I do not train to lift a car. GPP is one thing, but I also am not training to be dragging bodies through the dessert or life with 125lbs of ammunition wrapped around me preparing for war. I'm grateful for those guys to protect us, but that's not why I do CrossFit, nor why most do. So in my opinion doing a lift like that, saying you are preparing yourself for something similar with that amount of weight is not smart.

And as far as the handstands on blocks goes...maybe not so functional, but much less dangerous than that lift, unless of course Mike will next be balancing 225lbs on his feet while doing the handstand....Gotta be prepared for anything!
Jamie's point (correct me if I am wrong) is that you started out by speaking in absolutes that this lift was bad in all circumstances for everyone but now have come back around and are saying, well maybe for some it would be okay in certain situations but done with caution.

No one ever said that all people should start adding Zecher deadlifts into their training. BUT to ridicule someone who does do them without any knowledge of who they are, what their history is, and what their goals are is a bit ... naive?

Yes for the average crossfitter the lift seems unnecessarily dangerous and as such the average CFer doesn't do them, thus the lift is rather foreign. Lets not fall into the trap of discriminating against that which we do not understand


For the record I just want to point out one more time that the OP's form was very poor and probably should be using a bit less weight.
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Old 02-03-2010, 03:47 PM   #24
Jim Brikman
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Re: Zercher Deadlifts

The Spinal Mechanics for Lifters (w/f/s) article on the CF Journal presents the argument that the danger to the spine from weight lifting primarily comes from shear forces. When the spine is in full extension, the muscles of the back are ideally positioned to absorb the majority of the shear force. The result is that even when deadlifting very heavy loads, the shear forces on the spine stay relatively small. However, as the back becomes more rounded, the muscles are able to contribute less and less, and more of the force goes into the ligaments, discs, etc. For a given spine, there is some amount of shear force X that can be tolerated before the chances of injury get quite high. This amount will depend on genetics and training. Based on this, I tend to follow these rules of thumb:

1. Weight matters. You can lift with a rounded back so long as the shear force on your spine stays less than your magical "X" value. The newbie weight lifter will likely be in pain from even a little bit of back rounding in the deadlift, while an experienced powerlifter - who's muscles, bones and connective tissues are all significantly stronger due to training adaptations - will be able to tolerate far more.

2. Training matters. While training with the back in full extension, you still strengthen the muscles and ligaments of the back, and increase your tolerance for lifting with a rounded back. In other words, it makes sense to train your deadlift with a straight back up to 500lbs in the gym so that you can safely lift 200lbs in the real world with a rounded back.

3. Approaching the training from the other direction has a totally different value proposition: if you often train with a rounded back, you will certainly increase your tolerance for rounded back lifting, but you also significantly increase your risk of injury. If you have a specific need for rounded back lifting - such as a strongman competitor training for the atlas stones - then the risk is probably worth the reward. For the average athlete, the risk is not warranted, especially since straight back lifting likely produces enough of an adaptation by itself.
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Old 02-03-2010, 07:18 PM   #25
Chris Mason
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Re: Zercher Deadlifts

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Originally Posted by Jim Brikman View Post
The Spinal Mechanics for Lifters (w/f/s) article on the CF Journal presents the argument that the danger to the spine from weight lifting primarily comes from shear forces. When the spine is in full extension, the muscles of the back are ideally positioned to absorb the majority of the shear force. The result is that even when deadlifting very heavy loads, the shear forces on the spine stay relatively small. However, as the back becomes more rounded, the muscles are able to contribute less and less, and more of the force goes into the ligaments, discs, etc. For a given spine, there is some amount of shear force X that can be tolerated before the chances of injury get quite high. This amount will depend on genetics and training. Based on this, I tend to follow these rules of thumb:

1. Weight matters. You can lift with a rounded back so long as the shear force on your spine stays less than your magical "X" value. The newbie weight lifter will likely be in pain from even a little bit of back rounding in the deadlift, while an experienced powerlifter - who's muscles, bones and connective tissues are all significantly stronger due to training adaptations - will be able to tolerate far more.

2. Training matters. While training with the back in full extension, you still strengthen the muscles and ligaments of the back, and increase your tolerance for lifting with a rounded back. In other words, it makes sense to train your deadlift with a straight back up to 500lbs in the gym so that you can safely lift 200lbs in the real world with a rounded back.

3. Approaching the training from the other direction has a totally different value proposition: if you often train with a rounded back, you will certainly increase your tolerance for rounded back lifting, but you also significantly increase your risk of injury. If you have a specific need for rounded back lifting - such as a strongman competitor training for the atlas stones - then the risk is probably worth the reward. For the average athlete, the risk is not warranted, especially since straight back lifting likely produces enough of an adaptation by itself.
Jim, a logically laid out argument. My only gripe with it would be that you are stating something is inherently more dangerous without knowing that to truly be the case. Especially with something as complex as the human body, that which makes logical sense does not always prove to be true. You speak of a significant increased risk for injury as though it were fact, when IN FACT you really don't know that to be true. IF there are increased shear forces on the spine with a different form of training it does not necessarily follow that is a negative or more dangerous. There are other variables to consider. The truth is I cannot 100% argue the other way either, but the point being making untested assumptions and stating them as fact is not the best way to do things.
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Old 02-03-2010, 07:20 PM   #26
Brian Strump
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Re: Zercher Deadlifts

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Originally Posted by Robert Callahan View Post
Jamie's point (correct me if I am wrong) is that you started out by speaking in absolutes that this lift was bad in all circumstances for everyone but now have come back around and are saying, well maybe for some it would be okay in certain situations but done with caution.

No one ever said that all people should start adding Zecher deadlifts into their training. BUT to ridicule someone who does do them without any knowledge of who they are, what their history is, and what their goals are is a bit ... naive?

Yes for the average crossfitter the lift seems unnecessarily dangerous and as such the average CFer doesn't do them, thus the lift is rather foreign. Lets not fall into the trap of discriminating against that which we do not understand


For the record I just want to point out one more time that the OP's form was very poor and probably should be using a bit less weight.
Still speaking in absolutes really. It's just not a safe exercise. Regardless of what you are training for, it still does not make it a safe exercise. I understand the biomechanics of the spine and regardless of what it's be trained for, it's still a considerably dangerous exercise.
I think the previous post on spinal biomechanics explains more clearly what I was trying to say.
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Old 02-03-2010, 07:20 PM   #27
Chris Mason
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Re: Zercher Deadlifts

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Originally Posted by Brian Strump View Post
As far as no knowledge of spinal biomechanics, can you enlighten me on what I dont know regarding that? After rotation and axial compression of the disc, a close second in attempt to herniate a lumbar disc is what you see in this video.

And to answer your rhetorical questions...No, the curve is always maintained. No we dont go through life with perfect form. We also don't go through life lifting 150+ pounds from the ground like this guy in the video.
Perhaps we should try to maintain that lumbar curve, and pay more attention to posture of the lower back, and maybe low back pain wont be the 2nd most common reason for a visit to the doctor, behind the common cold.

While I agree to strengthening your body in its weak positions can be beneficial, there comes a time where risk/reward is not in your favor. Like this guy.
My point was you make assumptions based upon some knowledge and state them as fact.

As to back pain, I would argue that if everyone practiced proper strength training (from all angles) of the back that there would be much less back pain in the world.
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:21 PM   #28
Jim Brikman
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Re: Zercher Deadlifts

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Originally Posted by Chris Mason View Post
Jim, a logically laid out argument. My only gripe with it would be that you are stating something is inherently more dangerous without knowing that to truly be the case. Especially with something as complex as the human body, that which makes logical sense does not always prove to be true. You speak of a significant increased risk for injury as though it were fact, when IN FACT you really don't know that to be true. IF there are increased shear forces on the spine with a different form of training it does not necessarily follow that is a negative or more dangerous. There are other variables to consider. The truth is I cannot 100% argue the other way either, but the point being making untested assumptions and stating them as fact is not the best way to do things.
I believe that the argument in the Spine Mechanics article I linked in my post is that (a) too much shear on the spine DOES increase risk of injury and (b) the shear forces on a rounded spine are significantly higher than a spine in proper extension. In other words, lifting too much weight with a rounded back - as we see in the Zercher deadlift video - is dangerous. My only assumption is that the article in the CF Journal is accurate; personal experience tells me it probably is.
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Old 02-04-2010, 07:47 AM   #29
Brian Strump
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Re: Zercher Deadlifts

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My point was you make assumptions based upon some knowledge and state them as fact.

As to back pain, I would argue that if everyone practiced proper strength training (from all angles) of the back that there would be much less back pain in the world.
I agree with your last statement 100%. It was the load and technique that I was questioning. I've never seen that move before, so don't know if what I have seen is correct or not.
I wouldn't recommend them to any patient, as it is fact that with the technique seen in the video there are significant increases in the forces to the lumbar discs.
If it was a video of someone to the deadlift with a severely rounded lumbar spine I would say the same thing. However, I would recognize that as bad technique and so such, not say that the deadlift is a dangerous exercise. With this exercise, I am only commenting on the lifters form and the load on the bar.
If this guy is doing them wrong, please find me a video of proper form; and my opinion on the exercise may change. But the fact about shear forces on discs will not. Tens of thousands of studies show that.
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Old 02-04-2010, 09:42 AM   #30
Trevor Shaw
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Re: Zercher Deadlifts

Wasn't this the lift that Alexander Karelin credited a majority of his success against larger opponents to?
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