Corey Grant PT Coach
Shut up and Train


Hear is where im going to begin posting my workouts to follow for my goals


My current goal is dieting down and getting ready for a BB show, As of now im at 212 pounds and 11% bf, with a goal of 190 and 3-4% bf.


Right now my training is very basic, total body workouts, 5-6 days a week, alternating loading, first workout will be posted tonight


Here is a little Poem about the squat from my college buddy and fellow trainer Matt Handy, enjoy


Our father, who art in squat,
depth be thy name, thy kingdom come,
major weight will be done,
on earth as it is in the power rack,
give us the day our daily squat,
and forgive us for the technique we’ve wronged,
as we forgive those who have improperly squatted before,
subject us not to the leg press,
but deliver us from weakness

In the last article I talked about the benefits of the Squat and what it can do when properly implemented into your fitness regiment.

Now I will give you a list of variations on the Squat and there level of difficulty

Back Squat: Beginner

This is the traditional Squat, Bar on the back , feet about shoulder width apart, and the depth is parallel

Olympic/ High Bar/ Bodybuilder Squat: Intermediate

This is the squat, as in the name, generally preferred by Olympic weight lifters and Bodybuilder. Olympic weight lifters prefer it because a number of their competition lifts are done with this stance. Bodybuilders like it because it places more emphasis on the Quads for extra development. The difference here is the bar is set a tad higher on the shoulders, and the feet are closer together. The depth on this on is as low as you can go, “Rock Bottom” aka “Ass to calfs” is the general slang term for this depth. Here are a few issues i have with that. Many people lack proper flexibility to hit this depth without technique flaws. Normally hips are too tight, and they have excessive forward lean which is trouble for the back. The Hamstrings can be too tight, and cause the hips to flex under at the bottom of the lift which can place unnecessary stress on the spine. Even for people who have proper hip and hamstring mobility there is another issue. When you go to where your hamstrings touch your calfs and past it some, a strange thing happens in the knee. Force vectors change and compression is taken off the knee and it can actually begin to pull the knee apart, which is as bad as it sounds. So my recommendation is take it easy with this variation, until you can develop proper form, technique and mobility, and the lowest you should go it to where the tops of your thighs are parallel to the floor.

Power Squat: Intermediate

This is also called the Powerlifter Squat, because it is the same technique used by many powerlifters in their training and competitions. This version is done with the bar placed lower on the shoulders, more on the upper back, and your stance is wider than shoulder width, and you really sit back in this version. Squatting like this allows you to handle a great deal more weight than any other version of the squat. Also this shifts a lot of the stress to the powerful muscles on the hips, glutes and hamstrings. A problem that will arise here, as in many of the versions of the squat, is hip mobility. Many people will have to turn there toes out slightly in order to hit the desired depth. Takes some practice and mobility work. This is a great version, that once u have learned the technique properly, you can really load up and challenge yourself

Front Squat: Advanced

This is a widely popular squat use amongst bodybuilders and Athletes. This squat is performed with the bar sitting across the front of your shoulders, and is held in place with an arm over grip or “clean” style grip. This loading takes a lot of pressure off of the spine, and causes the abs to go insane. Its popular with bodybuilders cause it can shift a lot of the focus to the quads, and its popular with athletes as a great core strengthener as well. This lift takes some time to learn how to properly hold the weight, and it will take some coordination to get the lift down and some time for your abs to get stronger to allow you to increase weight. for obvious reasons you will not be able to handle as much weight on the front Squat as you can on the Back Squat, but it can be just as effective in developing leg mass and strength

Box Squat: All levels

I like this version of the Squat and I have to give it all level rating. This is basically a Squat done sitting back on a box, pausing for a count, then squat back up. I use this for many first time clients to teach the proper technique in the squat in how to sit back and hit proper depth. I use this with clients ive had for a while to reinforce technique and a change of pace. Ive used this with Collegiate Athletes and Powerlifters, with chains and bands attached to the bar to increase Power in their legs. This version of the squat can be modified for any desired result.

Overhead Squat: Advance

This is without a doubt the most difficult of all the squat variations. You do a Squat while holding the barbell over head. This is more of a mobility exercise than one done for development. I use this as a test for clients to judge muscle imbalances, and as a test for coordination within my athletes. This is not a squat i advise you to load up the weight with and go crazy, but its a great mobility exercise and total body warm up.

Goblet/DB Squat: Beginner

This is a fave for many of my female clients, its simple and reinforces proper form. This is a front squat that is done with a Dumbbell rather than a barbell. You have a wide range of loading u can use, and its not as “intimidating” as the barbell and you can still get good results with this squat. If you do not sit back properly with this squat you will wind up flat on your face, which is not a good look for anyone.

Lumberjack Squat: Beginner

This unique version of the squat is another big fave of mine for both clients and myself. Take a barbell stick one end of it into a secure solid corner of a room, then you load weights on the other side. Lift the loaded side up to your chest, hold it with your hands in front of your body and squat in that fashion. Again like the goblet squat, reinforces good form because the barbell will push you back into position. This is a fun one to end a workout with and just knock out the reps

Sumo Squat: Intermediate

Just consider this as the love-child of the power squat and sumo deadlift. The bar position is that of the power squat, and the foot placement is that of the sumo deadlift, wide and toes pointed out. This greatly shifts the stress to the hips, hamstrings and glutes. Big favorite among many female clients

Barbell Hack Squat: Advanced

When many people think of the Hack Squat they think of the leg machine you lay in on the sled. The true original Hack squat was done with a Barbell. Introduced by legendary strongman George Hackenschmidt, hence the name Hack Squat, this is a very unique way to build the legs. It looks like a reverse deadlift, its practically a deadlift but you stand in front of the bar, squat down and grab the bar and lift it off of the floor. Personally I do not like this exercise for me, because my build is not conducive for it, im thick leg thick torso, short arm, so it is a real pain in the ass for me bio-mechanically to do this lift so therefore I skip it, but if your a long limed individual who has trouble gaining strength and size in their quads, then this will be a great exercise to do just that.

Sissy Squat: Advanced

Despite the name, this exercise is not for the faint of heart. Ive seen this exercise take many large men and turn them in to whinny little whimps. Its odd this exercise has the name of a Squat because its not a traditional squat bio-mechanically speaking. The reason it has the name “Sissy” squat has nothing to do with discriminating slurs. Just take a trip to Greek mythology and the character named Sisyphus, who was punished by Zeus to have to push a boulder up a never ending hill, After doing this for a number of years, the quad development on this guy was ridiculous. Google him to get a picture. Now this version is done by holding a bar or stable pole for resistance. Get up on your toes then proceed to bend your knees and lean back keeping your torso and thigh in a straight line lean back as far as you can then flex the quads back to the top. This is a very unassuming exercise but very demanding.

Well there ya go, a nice long list of mighty variations to help kick your leg training into over drvie for this new year

Ignite the Fire in your life

Corey Grant


In my first article I dubbed the Deadlift to be the King of all exercises, well I lied, kind of. There are Two kings of the ring sort of speak when it comes to the Iron game and I’m here to introduce the Deadlifts twin brother, the Mighty Squat

Ill begin with a small Poem…

Down this road, in a gym far away,

a young man was heard to say,

“no matter what i do, my legs won’t grow”

he tried leg extensions, leg curls, and leg presses , too

trying to cheat, these sissy workouts he’d do.

from the corner of the gym where the big men train,

through a cloud of chalk and the midst of pain

where the noise is made with big forty fives,

a deep voice bellowed as he wrapped his knees.

a very big man with legs like trees.

laughing as he snatched another plate from the stack

chalking his hands and monstrous back,

said, “boy, stop lying and don’t say you’ve forgotten,

the trouble with you is you ain’t been SQUATTIN’. ”

Yes yes yes, The All Mighty Squat, when you absolutely have to annihilate every muscle fiber in your Legs, accept no substitutes, lets peer a little bit deeper into this wonderful exercise.

What is a Squat?

Well it is basically that. The traditional Squat is performed with the bar across the shoulders and lower yourself to the desired position then return to the upright position, it is the end all be all when it comes to total and complete leg development, do not let anyone else tell you otherwise.

What muscles do the Squat work?

Very similarly to the Deadlift there is almost no single muscle that is left untouched with the squat. The Primary Muscles are very similar to the Deadlift with one new big component. The Quadriceps, Hamstrings, and Glutes are the primary muscles hit by the squat. Also the muscles in the hips, the Adductors and Abductors Your Spinal Erectors and Abs also get hit heavily in supporting the weight as well ur calves and upper back for further stabilization of the weight.

So what is the Big Deal Anyways?

The Squat is a huge deal because it works the largest most powerful muscle groups of the body, the Legs

Women: This is your god send. The deadlift works wonders for your backside, the Squat is more of a total leg developer. Allowing you to get stronger and better looking legs. Not only will it improve your quality of life but will also fill your dresser drawer with those nice short Daisy Duke jean shorts you all so love to sport during the warm summer months

Guys: This is your god send as well. I know I know, you want PECS, and ABS, and GUNS!! Believe it or not the Squat can give you better development in the upper body as well, a bit more on that in a moment. Not only will the squat build your legs but it will also build your metal. Nothing reveals more character and intestinal fortitude than strapping some iron across your shoulder and squatting it a number of times, nothing can compare to the results it can give you in the gym

Why Does it Work so well?

Just as with the Deadlift the Squat is a very natural and primal motion. Akinned to bending over and picking something up (deadlift) crouching at the hip then returning to an upright position (squatting) is just as vital a movement in human kinematics. No matter what your goals are the squat should be a staple of your leg routine and fitness regiment.

The reason the squat works so well is because it works so many muscles to such a taxing degree. When it comes to what ever goal, Fat loss, Strength building, Muscle Building, or Athletic Performance the key degree of weight training is muscle stimulation. The Legs make up over 65% of the total muscle mass of your body, sorry guys, ur arms and chest make up less than 10%. After a workout your body goes into a mode of muscle repair. Now while repairing these muscles the body has to release growth hormones in order to repair those damaged fibers. The body has such a massive release of growth hormone that it can carry over to the upper body helping it further grow as well, thats the good news guys.

If your goal is fat loss, you want to stimulate as much muscle as possible to elicit a higher calorie burn to help shed those unwanted excess pounds, my prescription, Squat

If you want to get Stronger you have to build your legs up in order to develop full over all total body strength, my prescription Squat

If you want to build muscle, you want to stimulate as much muscle as possible and elicit as much growth hormone release as possible, my prescription Squat

If you want to perform better athletically you need strong legs, my prescriptions Squat

Ladies I hear you, lets chat…

Ladies, listen to me for a second, kick your guys out of the room, Men skip this section I need to talk with my females at this point in time. Ok ladies, I can sense your fears and concern. You don’t want hulking mounds of muscle, you don’t want to be looking like a man, or those freakish “ladies” you see in those magazines. I have some good news for you, you lack two things that will prevent that from happening. The first is the lack of Testosterone. Testosterone is the Hormone in men that allows them to build muscle more rapidly than women, you only have a fraction of the hormone Testosterone and it is basically impossible for you to get that size. The women you see in the magazines all have artificially injected testosterone into there bodies to build the muscle they have. So unless you plan on injecting some Testosterone into your body anytime soon you don’t have a single thing to worry about. The second thing is genetics. Even tho men have testosterone, very few, I’m speaking in the 1% range have the actual genetic potential to build the large quantities of muscle as the guys in the magazines. Even the guys in the magazines need enhancement of steroids and artificial Testosterone in order to achieve their levels of hyper muscularity. Now what you do have to look forward to is being the envy of all of your friends, while all of your female counter parts are hiding there legs you are showing off your gorgeous set which have been built from doing your squats. Muscle helps burn fat and keeps the body strong and lean and the Squat is a wonderful way to do this. Also as a side note many woman don’t know. The Severity of PMS symptoms is directly correlated to the amount of body fat a woman carries. The more fat, the more severe the symptoms, the less fat the less the symptoms. Some women can actually get so lean there body no longer has a cycle due to lack of body fat, its a biological protection factor Ill delve into in a later article. So don’t worry about becoming ms She-Hulk, All you have to gain is an incredible set of legs and lighter PMS symptoms, is there anything the Squat cant do!!!

The Bio Mechanics of a Squat: (Warning science info, ill keep it simple but still give it respect, if its not your cup of tea, feel free to scroll to the performance section, but if you want to increase your overall knowledge, and i hope you do, feel free to join me)

The squat just like the Deadlift is a Hip Dominant movement. Many people will say “no it hits your quads more so therefore its a quad dominant movement” Let me tell you they are wrong, due to the loading vectors of the lift and degree of hip to knee motion this labels the Squat as a Hip dominant exercise

The two primary motions achieved in the Squat is Hip Extension and Knee extension. As you descend you flex your hips and knee, and when you ascend you “extend” those same joints, pretty easy right? As i explained in the Deadlift article Glutes and Hamstrings are involved in Hip Extension, but now a new player comes in with the knee Extension and its the Quadriceps, which are those big muscles in the front of your legs. Because of this uniqueness this allows the Squat to be a better overall leg Developer than the Deadlift and allows it to illicit so many gains in all areas of your body. Now the science overview is done lets get into how to execute this great exercise.

Squat Execution

1 The Set Up:

There is an old saying “if you fail to set up your set up to fail” Just as with the Deadlift it is absolutely critical to get a proper set up in the Squat. First is positioning the Bar the proper height in the rack, which is generally about your chest level. First grasp the bar with a comfortable grip. For a lot of people this is different depending on the flexibility of your shoulders, Rule of thumb is start with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width, and see how it feels until you find a comfortable position. The optimal position is the hands just outside of the shoulders as close to the body as possible. It will take some practice and flexibility work to get the hands as close to the body as possible.

Now with the bar in hand walk yourself under the bar, and you go under pinch your shoulder blades together to create a “Groove”. This is known as the special place you can set the bar on your shoulders in total comfort without pain. Many people think this is on the shoulders, its for most people slightly lower on the shoulders, in some extreme cases it on the upper back, but for most people its on the lower shoulders. Pinching of the shoulder blades together will buff up the Trapezius muscles (upper back) in order to hold and support the weight. The best place for it to be is where it is most comfortable, this will take some practice. Many people will try to go to a bar pad for this, and I do not recommend this at all for one simple reason, Physics. When you place the bar on the pad, you make the bar rest higher, which raises your center of gravity, and makes the exercise more difficult to perform. Now if you just must feel free, but i highly advocate going pad-less

Now you got the bar positioned on your shoulders, then just as with the deadlifts you want to pull your shoulders back and down, creating a good strong natural arch in the back and this will tighten those back muscle to get ready to “shoulder the load” sort of speak. Then bring your feet under you about shoulder width apart and toes pointing straight. Now you fill you abdomen with air and tighten those abs and gently lift the weight off of the pins and proceed to walk back.

The walkout is where so many people lose it. Ive seen people take 5,6,7 steps back for the walk out, they are nowhere near the squatting cage any more and they have wasted a great deal of energy walking back. Your Walk out should be three steps. One step back, other leg out, then the other leg out and straighten your toes. This lessens the energy expended also will keep you within the safety of the cage.

So now you have the weight on your shoulders, your body is primed and ready to go, your ready to do a squat.

2. The Descent:

This is where I see the most mistakes in the squat. People try to squat down and there knees go to far forward and they don’t hit depth and it just looks ugly and painful. The key to remember about the Squat is that you squat back, not down. Envision yourself sitting back in a chair. So the first joint to move should be your hips. Your hips go back as you stick your butt out to start your descent then your keens begin to bend. Lower yourself under control, feel yourself sit back but keep the weight over your center, feel those glutes and hamstrings stretch into the load and feel those quads fire to stabilize that knee. Keep your knees over your feet, be watchful as to not to let them drift past your toes, because this can cause shear forces within the knee which can lead to trouble down the road. As you descend you also want to focus on keeping that chest up. If performed in a mirror you should be able to read your shirt, no excessive forward lean. Also you should be focusing on keeping those abs as tight as possible creating a great deal of abdominal pressure. Remember you want to push out on your abs, not suck in. Pushing out helps keep your torso stable under the load.  Then you lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Then you begin to reverse the action.

3 The Ascent:

Now your in the bottom position of the squat, you got the weight on your shoulders, you chest is up and you are at parallel now you have to lift it back up. Start this by driving your feet into the floor, and squeezing those glutes and hamstrings to lift your hips out of the hole, once your thigh comes above parallel you will feel your quads begin to kick in as you start to straighten the knee out, keep driving and keep pushing, squeeze those glutes and quads, all the way up to the locked out position, when at the top, be sure to fully squeeze the glutes through the full range of motion to fully complete the lift. Now repeat steps 2 and 3 for the given number of desired reps, then walk the bar back to the pins and set it down. Congratulations you have completed your first set of Squats!!

Common Myths and Frequently Asked Questions

Albeit as great an exercise the squat is there are a countless number of fabrications and falsehoods going around the fitness world about this exercise, I will do my best to tackle some of the more common ones.

1. “I heard from my Trainer at Planet Fitness that Squats are bad for your knees”

First off get yourself out of Planet Fitness and into a real gym where people want to really do something about there bodies. Second that is flat out wrong wrong wrong. When done properly squats are very healthy for knees. Most of common knee problems stem from hip weakness and squats are a great way to strengthen the hip stabilization muscles and give you stronger healthier knees. Squats hurting knees stem from bad squat execution. Primarily not sitting back into the squat and allowing the knees to go over the toes, creating shear forces and causing knee issues, when done with proper form, squats are perfectly safe for the knees.

2. “I also heard from my trainer at Planet Fitness that Squats are bad for your lower back”

Again get the hell out of Planet Fitness. Also again they are wrong. Just as with the knees when done with good form Squats are perfectly safe for your lower back. That is the reason for the emphasis on keeping a good natural arch, sitting back, keeping your chest up and keeping the abdomen tight. These help protect the lower back and allow them to properly function in their kinetic chain to perform the lift. Now when these cues are not watched and form gets sloppy, you can wreck your lower back, but when properly done squats are safe for that as well

3. “Hey I read in last months issue of Muscle and Fiction that Leg Press is just as good as the Squat”

Sorry to break your little heart, Muscle and Fiction is wrong, the Leg Press does not compare with the Squat for total development for several reasons. 1 The leg press generally has a shorter range of motion which means less muscle stimulation. Even if a guy brings his knees all the way to his chest he does not get the full range he would get from a full squat, not to mention most people do 2 inch knee bends on the Leg Press anyways. 2. Your body is not supporting the weight and losing the advantages of balancing and stabilization as well as neural-muscular coordination. The Squat simply works more muscles. Also in the Leg press the Lower back is fixed against a pad not allowing it to properly flex as it should when deep hip and knee extension occurs, which makes it a highly unnatural movement which increases the risk of injury. Now the Leg press is not a total useless exercise, it has its place to which ill delve into in another article as well, but when it tries to compare to squats its not even close.

4. “Squats suck, they are hard and they hurt”

Well no shit Sherlock. Its a tough exercise, if it were easy everyone would be doing it. You know whats easy? Buying fast food, being on a couch, and watching TV. Squats are hard. Developing a nice body takes some work and some effort, and your hard work will be rewarded if you put the time in with the squat. You will be healthier, leaner, and stronger and have more self confidence than you can ever imagine. Nothing brings out the character of an individual than a hard set of Squats

5. “How low do I need to go”

There is an old Powerlifting saying “Depth before Dishonor”. Basically saying go as low as you can go and keep good form. The base line is parallel to the floor, but if you can go lower and maintain a flat back then by all means. If you can not go that low, work on your flexibility and mobility

6. “Ive been doing squats for a while and now my legs and butt are too full and nice for my jeans”

Quit your belly aching and enjoy the rewards of some diligent squat work, treat yourself to some new clothes, you have earned it.

Well that wraps it up for this article, I covered the main basics, the next article I will cover some squat variations and how to implement them into your routine

I shall leave you with another poem

he Mighty Squat By; Joe Skopec

We’ve come to squat so run and hide

You bicep freaks must step aside

Just take your sissy selves elsewhere

You’ll turn your heads but still you’ll stare

Go right ahead and pay attention

Glimpse into this strange dimension

Yeah you’re still weak and never grow

This world of pain you’ll never know

Your shouts upon the leg-press, phony!

Noodle legs like macaroni

Some day I hope you’ll understand

And wrench free from the poser band

Puny curl bars, leave this spot

The rack named for the mighty SQUAT

Until next time

Ignite the Fire in your life

-Corey Grant

P.S. Go deep or go home


In the last article I went into explanation of the King of all Exercises, the Deadlift. From benefits for fitness athletes, to regular joe’s, and how to perform the Deadlift as well from the set up, to the lift, to the descent. Now I will venture off and explain a few of the different variations of the Deadlifts and how to curtail them to your fitness goals.

“I believe there is more than one way to skin a cat, and I’m pretty sure the cat isn’t going to like any of them” – Jeff Foxworthy

This is basically how your posterior chain will feel about all these different ways to perform the Deadlift that I am about to go over with you

Brief Science Note: (If you do not like sciencey mumbo jumbo then feel free to scroll down to the exercise description) I am not going to get too overly technical here with force couples, force vectors, biological terms, and planes of motion, I just want to talk briefly about the Posterior Chain, and Hip extension which may be two of the most important concepts when it comes to the human body and movement.

There are things in the body called Force Couples, which is basically a fancy term for saying “chains of muscles that work together to perform a given action” undoubtedly the largest and most powerful of these is the Posterior Chain. The Posterior Chain is a group of three muscles primarily. The Lower Lumbar s, Glutes and Hamstrings. These are, and supposed to be, the largest and most powerful muscles of the body. In fact your Gluteus Maximum (Butt) is the largest single muscle of the body.The primary responsibility of the Glutes is Hip extension and hip adduction and abduction and stabilization of the hip. The Hamstrings are the muscles on the back side of the legs that have the primary responsibility of Hip extension and knee flexion (bending the knee). The Lumbar s are the lower portion of your Spinal erectors which are two long muscles that run the length of your spine, the primary role of these muscles is to keep the spine neutral and strong.

The primary motion of the posterior chain is an action called hip extension. This is Basically the straightening of the hip from a flex ie. bent position to a straight position. Seems kinda pointless but in actuality this is one of the most vital movements of the body. A person can not stand up from a chair, or pick up a penny off the floor without these muscles going into action.

Over the recent years in sedentary lifestyles of many people, these muscles have been so underutilized and weak that they have become a huge problem for millions of people. We live in a day and age of people with back and knee problems, which keeps doctors offices with lines out the doors, and filling the pockets of chiropractors, and drug companies in search of pain relief. When in actuality this can all be cured by strengthening these muscles with the King of all Exercises added to your fitness routine. Now lets get to the variations.

Deadlift Variations

Conventional Deadlift: This is without a doubt the most common form of the Deadlift seen. Its the simple deadlift described in the original article. Feet are shoulder width apart and hands just out side of the knees, and the Deadlift is started from the floor.

Sumo Deadlift: This is similar to its Conventional brother but the foot and hand placement are different. Sumo Deadlifts are performed with the feet wide and hands inside of the knee. This deadlift has its benefits because it can allow some people who have mobility issues keeping a flat back in the conventional style perform the deadlift. It also places a greater stress on the hips and off of the lower back. Many Power Lifters do there competition deadlifts in this manner because the Range of Motion (ROM) is shorter allowing greater weight to be lifted, but World Records have been set with both styles. This Style is also a favorite among many of my Female Clients for the extra emphasis on the Glutes.

Snatch Grip Deadlifts: Get your minds out of the gutter. This is a very unique way of Deadlifting even more unique than the name itself. It is the exact opposite of the Sumo Deadlift, this version is performed with the hands wide and the feet close together. The starting position is basically the same as the Olympic lift called the Snatch. This is quickly becoming a new personal fave of mine because with the wider grip you have to start lower and it increases the range of motion, I get a Good stretch in the Glutes and hamstrings and a Good deep pull to really feel those muscles work. Conversely the wide grip also places more stress on the hands and Lats of the upper back and bringing them into play into the lift as well

Straight/Stiff Leg Deadlifts and Romanian Deadlifts. These are a mouth full to say and handful to type, so from this point on they will be referred to as SLDL, and RDL.  I group these two together because these two cause the most confusion and I get the most questions about these two forms of Deadlifting. Many people see these as interchangeable and one in the same, but they are different but there are some minor nuances. Both have virtually the same cues but the execution is different. Ill start with the SLDL

The SLDL was traditionally performed with Perfectly straight legs and rounded back. The lifter would set up and pull using all back and hamstring. I will repeat this. I do not and I mean DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES ADVOCATE DEADLIFTING WITH A ROUNDED BACK!! when you lift with a rounded back to can place an inordinate amount of pressure on the disk in your back which can cause rupture, herniation, slippage and a whole other list of problems that are not fun to deal with at all. But if you enjoy laying in your doctors office, then a rounded back Deadlift is for you.

(Disclaimer: Some of you may say “Hey Corey I saw Big John Sequoia on the world strongest man Deadlift a Suburban and his back was rounded and he didn’t get hurt so what gives?” Here is my explanation. 1. When you lift in competitions or near your max total, the form is not going to be perfect and some natural rounding will occur 2. This also gets into the concept of Lumbar vs Thoracic flexion of the spine and that is for another article, I’m primarily speaking of Deadlifting as a integral part of your fitness regiment, Ill cover the max training and Powerlifting in another Article now back to the SLDL.)

The key to a good SLDL is a nice flat back and “Stiff” not “Straight” legs. Keeping the legs in a locked position while performing a lift can place a lot of undue stress on the knee joint, but keeping them slightly bent will place the stress on the muscles and off the joints and keep your knees nice and happy. Now this is where it can get tricky, you still want your legs stiff so your hips will be higher than a conventional deadlift, but you still want your shins on the bar, so you will have to sit your hips back and stick your butt out to achieve this position. Most people will not be able to achieve this their first time out in the gym this will take some practice, along with flexibility and mobility work.

This is why I prefer to start people out with the RDL. It is an easier lift to teach, and it allows for adjustments in flexibility of the individual. Even if a person can not take the bar all the way to the floor the person can still benefit from the RDL. With the RDL you place the bar on handles and you lift up and walk out and start from the up position. Get a nice tight arch in your back get your abs tight and begin by sticking your butt back. Envision there is a wall 3 ft behind you and your trying to touch it with your butt. As your butt goes back and the bar descend just concentrate of feeling the stretch in the hamstrings. Trust me this will allow you to feel any flexibility problems in the hamstring. Keep the knees stiff, not straight, and allow your hamstrings to stretch into the movement. Descend down until you feel a nice stretch in the hamstrings, then squeeze the glutes and hamstrings and pull yourself back into the upright position. Most people on their first try  will only be able to lower the bar to about knee level. On each rep try to stretch a bit further, don’t push it to hard the first time out or you’ll end up with more problems than you want. Start out slow with this exercise and progress to a longer range of motion until you can touch the floor. This is a constant tension exercise, When you get to the point to where u can go to the floor, just gently tap and go back up.

Recap: The RDL is started from the up position and the bar is lowered to the desired position and then you return to the top and keep constant tension on the muscle. The SLDL is an RDL but it is started from the floor, with stiff legs, this one takes some working up to in order to keep good proper form. Remember on the SLDL be sure u can complete 10 proper reps of the RDL to the floor before trying SLDL. Hope this clears up any confusion

More Variations:

These next variations are about depth and Bar Placement.

Deadlift from a Deficit: This is basically a Deadlift done off of a box anywhere from 1″ to 6″. Just as with the SLDL be sure your Flexibility and Mobility are up to par before trying these versions of the lifts

Rack Pulls: This is a fave of powerlifters and is a great way to get stronger. It is a Deadlift done from the pins in the Power rack with the pins set at knee height. So essentially it is a top half deadlift. Due to the shorter Range of motion more weight can be handled and it is great for adding muscle mass and strength to the upper back, and well as over loading your body’s Central Nervous System which is great for making strength gains, again will be explained in a further order

Good Morning aka Russian Deadlift: Dont get caught up in all the Eastern European names of these lifts, they do have valid reason I may choose to venture into for a later date. But for now I will refer to it as a Good morning. This is primarily a RDL performed with the bar on the shoulders like a squat. This is a particular favorite exercise of power lifters to strengthen the muscles for the squat and deadlift, and taxes the spinal erectors a tad more getting the stronger for the heavy lifts. It can still be used as a great switch up and to shock the hamstrings. I have taken guys who can Deadlift 400 pounds for reps, had them do a few sets of Good mornings with 185 pounds and they could barely walk the next day because their hamstrings were so sore. Start out light with these and work your way up

Sumo RDL and SLDL: Just as it sounds its a RDL or SLDL done with the sumo stance, this is a nice little switch up to hit the hamstrings and glutes at a different angle. This is another fave of my female clients because of the extra glute emphasis.

Dimmel Deadlift: This is an exercise popularized by powerlifter John Dimmel. It is a short ranged RDL, lower the bar just past the knee the explode back up just short of lock out, this is normally done with lighter weights and higher reps, really good for getting a great pump in the glutes and hamstrings

Trap Bar Deadlifts: This is a Deadlift done with an apparatus called a Trap Bar, it has a diamonds shape to it where you can stand inside of it, allowing for slightly different centering of the weight and allowing good leg drive and minimizing stress on the lower back

Single Leg Deadlift: Just as it sounds, this is a Deadlift performed on one leg. This is a highly challenging move and best started out with no weights, just to achieve form and proper balance. With the instability on the one leg you will feel all types of muscles in the glutes and hips fire in an attempt to help stabilize you. Take it slow with this exercise

People doing for the total strength route would be best sticking with the conventional and sumo varieties and low reps for their Deadlifitng, and throw in some Good mornings and RDL for assistance work.

Bodybuilders can utilize all forms. The heavy conventional and sumos can help add overall size, the RDL and SLDL can be used to focus more stress on the glutes and hamstrings

Fitness enthusiast can benefit from them all as well, but may be better suited sticking with the RDL and SLDL for development of the posterior. Heavy conventionals and Sumo can be used as well, but as with any exercise some risk are involved with going heavy. It can be beneficial to test your metal and push your limits with those lifts, but the bulk of my focus would be the RDL and SLDL to help with the hamstrings and glutes. Also perform the single leg variety, strengthen those hips and make them stable can provide lost of benefits in all areas of life

Athletes feel free to get a balance of all, heavy conventional and sumos for strength, RDL for focused development of sprinting muscles and one leg for hip stabilization

Well there ya go, a whole list of way to perform the king of all exercises, none are better than the other and all can be utilized in strengthening the Posterior Chain and building overall muscle on the body and burning the fat off and getting you stronger. These lifts can also be performed with Dumbbells and well as Barbells. So these are many ways to build up that back side, but I’m sure your backside wont like any of them. When you put in the time and hard work the end results will be nothing short of spectacular

Until then, Ignite the Fire in your life