Circus Hands

Johnnie,

For as long as I can remember my deadlift to squat ratio has been, as I see it, out of whack.  Currently, I weight 165 lbs and my 1RM squat is 305 and my 1 RM deadlift is 415.  Most guys I know, have DL and squat numbers that are close to each other or their squat is higher than their DL.  Is this normal and how can I bring my squat up to par with my DL?  Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks,

John

 CIRCUS HANDS#1
John,

Keep training. You are on the right track, your friends are the ones who are fucked up. Most raw lifters should be able to deadlift more than they squat. Once you approach your limit on the strength curve, you start to see squat numbers matching the deadlift. But this won’t happen until you are so far advanced you won’t give a shit about this site.

Geared multi-ply lifters, on the other hand, will usually squat and bench more than they deadlift. But that is due to the gear being very advantageous for the bench and squat and having little carryover in the deadlift.

If I come across a raw lifter whose squat is equal or more than his deadlift, I assume he does not like to pull heavy. Or he has very small hands, in which case he is best suited to join the circus.

John

John Welbourn is the creator/operator of CrossFit Football and Power Athlete. He is a 10 year NFL veteran. John was drafted with the 97th pick in 1999 NFL Draft. He went on to be a starter for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999-2003, appearing in 3 NFC Championship games, and for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2004-2007. In 2008, he played with the New England Patriots until an injury ended his season early. Over the course of his career, John has started over 100 games and has 10 play-off appearances. He was a four year lettermen while playing football at the University of California at Berkeley. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in Rhetoric in 1998. John also is owner of CrossFit Balboa, an S&C gym in Orange County, CA. CrossFit Balboa is one of a handful of Westside Barbell certified gyms in the world. In addition to training MLB, NFL and other professional and Olympic athletes, John travels the world lecturing on performance and nutrition. You can catch up with John as his personal blog on training, food and life, Talk To Me Johnnie.

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Posted in Lifting Weights, Talk to Me Johnnie, WTF? | Tagged , , | 19 Comments

19 Responses to Circus Hands

  1. Sean R

    Anyone know if Barnum and Bailey are hiring?

  2. Kyle

    True words…my squat is close to my dl. This is because I don’t pull heavy often enough. I put a plan in place last week to fix this. I shall overcome.

  3. Kyle

    …and its not my hands. They are bear claws.

  4. David

    I have tiny hands and have tried alot of different programs and methods to bring my deadlift up over the last several years. It’s very funny, so have a good laugh (they are smaller than many women’s hands), but any suggestions on how to overcome this would be most appreciated.

  5. Yosh

    I have small, girl-like hands and can pull 550lbs with just a belt and chalk.

  6. Daz

    Same problem, squat is same as my deadlift, i have small hands, half a right bicep and smell like cabbage and have an affinity to circus music. Get bigger arms [am i allowed to say bicep curls?] to help with the Dead

  7. Dude not the case all the time even though I agree to some extent.

    I know at least two guys who Squat 85-90% of their Dead and yup these guys do it raw. 230kg vs 260kg (@65kg BW) and 210kg vs 220kg/240kg (normal vs sumo) (@70kg BW)

    Me however am in the league where I fakking really would like to get my Squat Up… 160 vs 230… = :(

    I guess I instead like to pull shit off the ground :)

  8. John

    You did not read the second part of the 1st paragraph. It says that once you approach the limit on your strength curve your squat will approach your DL numbers.

    I would say your friends prove my point.

  9. Daz

    can you hear this song when deadlifting? Blocker does http://youtu.be/4_bqARauWZw

  10. Blocker

    Daz you WOULD squat more if you didn’t spend all your time pulling at the gym…..also explains the bicept rupture

  11. John

    Good to know Im not the screwewd up one, thanks for the response and I love this site because its loaded with good foundational strength principals .

  12. Gabe

    John-
    Love the site and frequent comments and reply’s you provide. Very good reading and insight provided.
    squating 405 and deadlifting 555 would like to see these number closer with a higher number on the squat, any suggestions?

  13. Bo

    For me, lots of upper back work has helped pull my deadlift up. Kroc rows, barbell rows, weighted ring rows, more rows….

    First two words say it all though. Keep Training. Until I’m squatting 2.5-3x bodyweight and pulling 3x, I’m not gonna give a shit how close together they are.

  14. Dave

    What about someone who is really skewed toward the deadlift. I pull 440 conventional and close to 5 sumo but I can barely and I mean barely squat 300#. Figure that out…

  15. Rob

    @ Dave: any chance it’s mental? I was holding myself back on the squat and noticed it recently. It’s easier to bite off more than you can chew on deads since you can just let go of the bar. Dropping on the squat is much less preferred a method!

  16. Mike Hollister

    Dave that was me a while ago. I started reading about squatting. I re-read the squat part of starting strength. I think I had the bar too high and was quad-dominant. I shifted the bar lower, put my thumbs OVER the bar and focused on opening my hips at the bottom instead of driving solely with my legs. I immediately went of up 50 lbs. That may not be your deal but I’ll throw it out there.

    What inspired me to do this was John making a comment about how his then-girlfriend squats about as much as me.

  17. Dave

    Guys thanks for the replies. As for the first comment, I lift will olympic plates all the time, and I dump my squats often, and form-wise my squat is improving, I am pretty sure it is upper back weakness since with all the GHR’s I do my hamstrings are getting pretty strong

  18. McD

    Easy on the small hands jokes. My little boy (3) inherited his mom’s, the ballerina’s, hands and feet. Even though he’s taller, all of the girls in his class have bigger hands and feet. I don’t want to give him any excuses for not gripping and dead lifting sand bags with dad.

  19. Multibomber

    I have the same problem. 30y/o 5’7″ 168lbs. DL 455×2 High Bar Back Squat 265×2 Womp Womp :( I dont know why my squat is so wimpy, but I think its cuz its brutally painful just to wedge by arms into a proper squat position. I have huge traps for my frame but is still hurts tremendously to get under the bar because the spineous processes of C7 and L1 protrude really far… like hilariously wtf far. I have a very strong back but those damn bones just stick out like an iguana.

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