T Nation

Layers Without Block High Pulls, DeadSquats


CT, Long story short I am moving gyms in a few weeks and I'm not going to have access to blocks to do SGHP's from, at least not with any consistency. I've tried them inside a power rack but as you have experienced the safety pins are RIGHT in the wrong spot and I risk smashing my fingers every rep.

Obviously this doesn't stop me from doing them completely, but I have done them from the hang and from the ground and they aren't quite the same as from blocks, so I dont know if they will provide the amount of stimulation to be the main layered exercise for the day.

I was wondering if you thought Power Cleans or hang cleans would be an "acceptable" substitute for the SGHP's? I'm interested mainly in the power look, so thats what I am using the exercises for. Perhaps I could use the Hang Pull as a 5x3 secondary exercise?

Secondarily, I'm losing my Trap Bar for the time being as well. Are Front squats still the way to go here for max quads? Maybe do Front Squat to 3RM then continue with Back Squat to 3RM, and do the straight sets and HDL as back squats?

Thanks for your time as always.


Use 2 flat benches as the blocks. We have done that before and it works well. We have also used the step platforms that they use in the ladies step classes. Those work well also as long as you don't get too silly with the weight.


power cleans + variations are an incredible exercise but if the power look is your main concern, they don't compare to Snatch grip pulls -its the grip that really adds the width to your deltoids.

as above, try using 2 benches, or if your'e really pressed you can balance it on one bench, legs either side of it.


Thanks for the idea, but It's more a matter of space and availability of equipment. I'm going to a standard Golds gym so I won't be able to use 2 benches at a time as I train at a busy time of day. Maybe once in a while I could, but not with enough consistency to schedule a program around them.

I've tried a few different "regular gym" alternatives but none really fit the bill which is why I was looking for a sub. I CAN do them from the hang up to a certain weight, but it's not quite the same which is why I was thinking of doing them for 5-8x3 as a secondary exercise.


I use the plastic blocks too (just the square pieces not the long ones) , it makes sizing them up to the proper hip height easy, if a bit unstable at times since it's plastic


Here's a thought...snatch grip high pull from the hang :slight_smile: They are actually even better for hypertrophy purposes.


Don't know why it got thumbs down but seems like his execution is solid?


@ Lonnie I actually learned from the hang and have always liked It better than off blocks.I switched awhile ago from blocks just because I felt week off them and wanted to learn both ways proper.


There's no explosion in the movement.

Other than that, it looks like great stimulation to traps.


I can do them from the hang no problem, I'll give that a few weeks and see how it goes. I was just worried since its about 50% of my training volume at this time and it seemed like I was going to lose it.


Yeah reminds me of someone doing deadlifts with no pause, bouncing touch and go.


hi Lonnie,
ive been doin everything from the hang. it got too annoying trying to grab 2 benches. hit new pr's in the last couple weeks. i even do some without the stretch reflex. i pause at the bottom. personally i like em better from the hang.
all the best


I found they are much better for trap stimulation. I use SGHP from the hangs on all my HDL work and the pump is much better.


I actually do all of my HDL work from the hang currently, but it seemed for the Ramp and Clusters I could get better form going heavier and use more weight.

CT - If you are still reading this, I am losing my Trap Bar as well. Do you like the continues ramp from Front Squat to Back Squat for a sub for leg growth?


I do not like the term "sub" as it entails that it does the exact same thing. The strength of the Dead-Squat bar is not as a superior leg builder but as a great tool that combines positives of the deadlift AND squat in only one movement. Thus the greatest benefit of the DS bar is that you do more with less.

So replacing it with two movements is not a "sub" since you are not getting the same thing, plus you do not get the "deadlift" benefits.

That having been said, strictly from a leg-building standpoint, a continuous ramp from front to back squat is the most complete method to build the legs themselves.


Don't know why it got thumbs down but seems like his execution is solid?

Probably because you have your shirt off. C'mon.


Lonnie, after you do SGHP from the hang for a while try the 5 gallon buckets for blocks. You can adjust to whatever height you like. I use 2 buckets per side. You look taller than I am so maybe 3 for you? For Cleans and Snatches I've used anywhere from 2.5 gallon buckets, (1) 5 gallon, (2) 5 gallon. Never tried 3 but I'm only 5'8".

I've heard that metal plates will bang up the buckets but I've never had problems. I use a mixture of bumpers and metal plates. I have never broken a bucket and the new ones I just bought hardly had any knicks or knocks on them and I drop the weight all the time :slightly_smiling:


Don't know why it got thumbs down but seems like his execution is solid?

No... it's more like a wide-grip cheated high pull... you can easily see that the arms are doing way too much work. And the bar is too far away.


Yeah, I'm trying to talk to gym into buying a DS bar, or at the very least a trap bar. I really have come to love this movement so its a shame I'm losing it for a while. Thanks for the info.


ramping from hang is not so bad. i have the bar on the j hoooks. pik it off the hooks, take 2-3 steps away so8 dont hit the rack with the plates, and do the lift.
clusters from the hang are killers. i did them once. i cannot imagine doing them again. id rather do from floor if i had to.