T Nation

Squats & DLs When You Don't Have Much Weight


#1

hey people, so i only have two adjustable dumbbells and a weighted vest, but i still want to get the benefits of heavy squats and deadlifts. My question is, if i were to start my leg workouts with heavy single leg work, and then when my legs are weaker, move to low rep bilateral squats, would i get the same benefits as if i would start off with way heavier squats? how big is the difference in terms of strength gains?
maybe this wouldn't work at all cause you need your nervous system to be completely fresh, i donno, thats why i ask you :slight_smile: thanks

My goal is to get stronger as I play football/soccer


#2

[quote]simonpersson wrote:
hey people, so i only have two adjustable dumbbells and a weighted vest, but i still want to get the benefits of heavy squats and deadlifts. My question is, if i were to start my leg workouts with heavy single leg work, and then when my legs are weaker, move to low rep bilateral squats, would i get the same benefits as if i would start off with way heavier squats? how big is the difference in terms of strength gains?
maybe this wouldn’t work at all cause you need your nervous system to be completely fresh, i donno, thats why i ask you :slight_smile: thanks

My goal is to get stronger as I play football/soccer[/quote]

I really don’t know for sure. Maybe someone did a study on this, but I don’t know of one. So I’m just going to give you an answer based on an anecdote.

There’s a guy at my gym who does 50 pullups every day. He never trains them weighted. I challenged him in the early winter to a max weight chinup contest; he nearly beat me, and I was routinely doing weighted chinups, while he never did them. He developed good limit strength without using very heavy weights. Of course, he was doing pullups at ~50% 1RM. A good minimum deadlift is maybe 405, so a good working weight, taking my example into account, would be ~200lbs. You’ll need a barbell & some weights eventually. A persons lower body is very strong, and DB’s ain’t going to cut it even medium term.

(Note: This isn’t quite the same as what you’re asking, since he wasn’t doing them fatigued. I also don’t really know what else he does for back work, but it doesn’t seem like much at all. This also isn’t doing lower body work; it’s possible the upper body responds differently, and maybe even pullups specifically … etc etc etc.)

Ideally, you should join a gym or acquire some cheap second hand equipment. We know you can get the benefits of heavy squats and deadlifts from actually doing heavy squats and deadlifts.


#3

Honestly, if getting better at football/soccer is your no 1 goal you need minimal heavy leg work if at all and should just focus on doing a ton of sprints over a variety distances say 40s,100m, 200m


#4

[quote]RampantBadger wrote:
Honestly, if getting better at football/soccer is your no 1 goal you need minimal heavy leg work if at all and should just focus on doing a ton of sprints over a variety distances say 40s,100m, 200m[/quote]

This. I’m a huge fan of heavy lifting for most people but soccer I really can’t make a case for it being at all beneficial.

I guess some single leg work might help a bit with balance and stuff, but the sprints seem like the way to go.


#5

[quote]goochadamg wrote:

[quote]simonpersson wrote:
hey people, so i only have two adjustable dumbbells and a weighted vest, but i still want to get the benefits of heavy squats and deadlifts. My question is, if i were to start my leg workouts with heavy single leg work, and then when my legs are weaker, move to low rep bilateral squats, would i get the same benefits as if i would start off with way heavier squats? how big is the difference in terms of strength gains?
maybe this wouldn’t work at all cause you need your nervous system to be completely fresh, i donno, thats why i ask you :slight_smile: thanks

My goal is to get stronger as I play football/soccer[/quote]

I really don’t know for sure. Maybe someone did a study on this, but I don’t know of one. So I’m just going to give you an answer based on an anecdote.

There’s a guy at my gym who does 50 pullups every day. He never trains them weighted. I challenged him in the early winter to a max weight chinup contest; he nearly beat me, and I was routinely doing weighted chinups, while he never did them. He developed good limit strength without using very heavy weights. Of course, he was doing pullups at ~50% 1RM. A good minimum deadlift is maybe 405, so a good working weight, taking my example into account, would be ~200lbs. You’ll need a barbell & some weights eventually. A persons lower body is very strong, and DB’s ain’t going to cut it even medium term.

(Note: This isn’t quite the same as what you’re asking, since he wasn’t doing them fatigued. I also don’t really know what else he does for back work, but it doesn’t seem like much at all. This also isn’t doing lower body work; it’s possible the upper body responds differently, and maybe even pullups specifically … etc etc etc.)

Ideally, you should join a gym or acquire some cheap second hand equipment. We know you can get the benefits of heavy squats and deadlifts from actually doing heavy squats and deadlifts. [/quote]

thats very interesting, thank you for your time and answer.


#6

[quote]RampantBadger wrote:
Honestly, if getting better at football/soccer is your no 1 goal you need minimal heavy leg work if at all and should just focus on doing a ton of sprints over a variety distances say 40s,100m, 200m[/quote]

really? I mean yes i know sprinting is important and I should probably do more of it, but isn’t heavy lifting beneficial for most athletes? if i want to get powerful, strength is an important component, aswell as speed.


#7

Yes you can try to build strength to imporve your power/explosiveness or whatever, but this training shouldn’t in any way compromise your performance on the pitch.

In football, ball skill and proper awareness of what’s going on is by far more important than power. For example, I can’t imagine Messi regularly goes into the gym for sets of heavy squats/deadlifts. Given that players cover so much ground over the course of a game, it’s more important to have the stamina to play well the whole time, rather than have a one-off burst of energy that’ll take a few minutes to recover from.


#8

sprints will build leg strength. Conditioning that keeps you fast and stops you crashing at 70 mins is king.

Look at Neymar, Thomas Muller etc -you can get to the absolute top of the sport without looking like you’ve ever even touched a weight


#9

[quote]Fabadab wrote:
Yes you can try to build strength to imporve your power/explosiveness or whatever, but this training shouldn’t in any way compromise your performance on the pitch.

In football, ball skill and proper awareness of what’s going on is by far more important than power. For example, I can’t imagine Messi regularly goes into the gym for sets of heavy squats/deadlifts. Given that players cover so much ground over the course of a game, it’s more important to have the stamina to play well the whole time, rather than have a one-off burst of energy that’ll take a few minutes to recover from.[/quote]

yea I see your point, ill settle with some single leg work like bulgarian split squats and one leg deadlifts and sprints for my legs :slight_smile:


#10

[quote]RampantBadger wrote:
sprints will build leg strength. Conditioning that keeps you fast and stops you crashing at 70 mins is king.

Look at Neymar, Thomas Muller etc -you can get to the absolute top of the sport without looking like you’ve ever even touched a weight[/quote]

yea thats true, but theyre also incredibly talented :stuck_out_tongue: but i totally see your point.


#11

It depends on how the lifts are performed regardless of whether the weight is light or heavy. If you perform the lift in a way to build stability (in the shoulders, spine and hips) then you will get more carryover to your max attempt. If you perform the lift only to complete the set/rep without stability in mind, your legs will get stronger but the rest of your body won’t be as prepared for heavier weights. With that said, heavier weights typically force people to stabilize better because they don’t have much of a choice if it means failure. With lighter weights you have to intentionally over compensate with firing all necessary stabilizers so they still get trained.

Two people can complete the same set/rep scheme but one can get more carryover to maximal strength depending on how he/she performs each rep. The same thing applies to running mechanics and other movements.