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Jefferson Deadlift

Hello CT,

What do you think about the Jefferson Deadlift? I started doing them and I like them quite much. I do them for mutliple sets of 5 up to 10 reps.

Thank you CT

never did them, never used them with clients, never will. Lifting heavy weights with an unbalanced body is asking for trouble. And I see zero added benefits for the increase in risk, besides attracting attention

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Thanks for your reply. With me they seem to hit very good the glute-ham tie in (or how to call it) but I see your point especially with clients.
What do you think I about the behind back deadlift? I never heard you talking about them so you are not a fan either ?

It;s the old-school barbell hack squat. I think I mentioned them in an article published more than 10 years ago. I really don’t like them. For one thing very few people have the proper leverages to do it (you need long arms and ideally short femurs). There is a reason why you don’t see these exercises anymore. Stick with what has been proven to work.

A last one, the suitcase deadlift ? (The barbell is next to you on the side and you lift it with 1 arm.)

Dude, it’s all the same thing to me. Not my cup of tea. I can see “some” prehab/rehab value to suitcase deadlift; but again I can count on the fingers of one hand the times I used it with someone it the past 20 years and will not use it more in the next 20.

My friend Joel Seedman uses stuff like that a lot, but it is not my style. Not my belief system. Not my methodology. I prefer to integrate variation through variation, not funky exercises.

Thank you for answering and your time CT, I understand your point.

I mean, if you want to use this stuff, fine. But you will never get a recommendation or thumbs up from me. Are you SO good and strong on the basics that you need to go with these funky variations?

Why are using them? Is it to create a genuine training effect or just because you feel good doing it because you are doing something that nobody else is doing? And if it is to create a genuine training effect, ask yourself if these variations are better than safer, simpler and better established exercises.

I mean, you love Westside right… well if there is a group of trainees in the world who LOVE to use all types of variations it is the westside guys… yet I’ve never seen any of them do Jefferson deads, barbell hack squats or suitcase deadlifts. These guys guys are willing to try anything to get stronger… if these lifts were effective don’t you think they would be a staple in their program?

1st paragraph of yours :

No I am not so good and strong on the basics only my bench starts to become “ok”.

2nd paragraph of yours:

I started 60 days ago a new training where I train everyday. I did legs(squats and deadlifts), push(overhead, bench, dips), and back (deadlift,zercher, rows).
My goal was to load my total body as often as possible and to use “full body exercises” like deadlifts 4 times per week to load my whole body. I went every training hard and always increased the volume. I did 6-7 exercises per day , 3 heavy barbell and 3/4 Dumbell/cable/isolation/machine exercise. As you can think I quickly needed more exercises to be able to train… when I deadlifted conventionally on day 1 I couldn’t deadlift the same way on day 2 or 4 or 5. That’s why I started doing behind back and Jefferson deadlifts because they seem to tax another spots of your body so you can do 4 times deadlifting per week…

And now I started doing alternating a bench,press, dip day with a squat/deadlift day. I reduced the volume, increased the frequency and increased the intensity…

I know this training is completely the opposite of your latest recommendations and philosophy and you once told me that even your best crossfit atheletes don’t do more than 5 real workouts per week and you may think it’s a case of doing way too much and that it is only doable for a short time and not a long term training idea but it works really well at the moment…

3rd paragraph of yours:

Yes I like the old westside guys : P
maybe because they are powerlifters and only care about squat-bench-deadlift is the reason why they don’t use these lifts ? If they were strongman maybe they would do them? But on the other hand I never heard a strongman doing them either : P

I work with the 2 strongest men in Canada (WSM competitors) and hey NEVER did these lifts either.

As I said, if you like to do these lifts, fine, do them. You don’t need my permission if you enjoy doing them. YES training is about getting results but you also have to be motivated by what you are doing. If these odd lifts motivate you, fine, do them.

What I said is that I PERSONALLY do not and will not use them and do not believe that they provide a training effect that cannot be achieved with other, more established movements.

I can also guarantee you that no decent powerlifter, strongman competitor or Olympic lifter do these exercises in training. Maybe once in a while for kicks or test themselves on something different but even then this is unlikely. And since no bodybuilders do them either AND I haven’t seen or heard of any crossfitter doing them as part of their training who does that leave?

You shouldn’t copy the training of other people. But if NOBODY in ANY strength sports are doing them why do them?

The guys wanting the be the strongest on the basics (powerlifters) don’t do them.

The guys who want the highest level of functional strength (strongmen) don’t do them.

The guys who want the best combination of strength, power and mobility (Olympic lifters) don’t do them.

The guys wanting the most muscle mass (bodybuilders) don’t do them.

The guys who will do all the craziest shit (Crossfitters) don’t do them.

Shouldn’t that tell you something? I mean if they were effective you would have a decent number of people from at least one of these groups regularly do these movements, wouldn’t you?

The only people I’ve seen train these movements (and yes I researched them since I love the Iron Game History) are those who compete in the “All-Around Strength Sport” which is basically a competition of odd lifts like those you mentioned and over 200 hundred other weird movements. But oddly enough these guys rarely if ever are muscular and their strength level on the regular movements is generally not that high. From what I’ve seen these are often guys who failed to be muscular or strong on the big basics and still want the “feeling” of being strong, so they do lifts that nobody else does; that way they feel stronger than others.

Still that is an infinite minority. I prefer to look at what a LARGE part of successful lifters are doing. Not look for the exception for a hidden secret.

If that’s the kinda thing that interest you, you can visit the USAWA website: http://usawa.com/ … they even have a forum for people to discuss these lifts that nobody does. But if that’s you thing, perfect.

True. But they use all kind of assistance exercises. If an exercise can increase either the bench, squat or deadlift they will use it. So if the Jefferson deadlift or barbell hack squat were useful to increase the deadlift and squat, they would use them. But they aren’t.

Yes that’s true I can only think of one professional bodybuilder who does Jefferson (squats) - Kai Greene. Maybe back in the old days the guys did them more frequently but stopped for a reason like you said.
Thanks for the link to this site, I did not know that something like this exists, it looks interesting.

If you can’t be competitive in real strength sports, sure

Kai did it maybe for a photoshoot once. I can guarantee that they are not a staple in his program

Kai is a good example of knowing why someone is doing something rather than just following.

Kai has remarkable flexibility for a bodybuilder and many of his more unique poses are similar to that bottom jefferson deadlift position.

He also does them at the beginning of the session for high reps (20+) and low strain before he starts his actual lifting. There is no doubt he is not using them to get strong or big (doubt he has added any weight over the past 10 years for example) but to ensure he can get into a position.

Thanks for this knowledge I didn’t know that !

Do most of your clients use conventional deadlifts and back squats as staple exercises?

I remember reading that long arm Finnish deadlifters did a lot of barbell hack squats.

And Simmons did list them as an ME exercise that helped some people in the DL. I don’t have long arms but I have pretty compact thighs-short femurs, and barbell hacks work for a period-they hit my quads well. Usually I will do them concentric only with bumper plates and do fast reps and short rest periods. They seem to be one of those exercises that feel awesome when I start using them and by the third or fourth workout I wonder why I decided to use them.

I don’t like suitcase deals but I do like suitcase carries, often tilting the hex bar on its side and holding the side end. A pair of hex bars are good for farmers walks. These also seem great for a few weeks and then not so much. Also I sometimes do 1-arm dumbbell deads with a heavy dumbbell but again it’s an exercise that peders out fast so none of these really works well for a long term staple.

Lastly, I will sometimes use two land mine bars (t-bars) facing away for pulls, much like a hex bar. THIS does work and you can move forward or backward to hit the legs differently. It’s also good for power shrugs. In both cases you grip the long bars at the end-the thick part. I might try suitcases gripping the end of a t-bar (facing away).

if you are looking for variations check eric bugenhagen on youtube