The Deadstop Front Squat

The germ of the idea of this lift came from my conversations at the “Old School” site. It is simply a variation of Brooks Kubik’s bottom position squats.

Here is my original post:

After I posted that “little gem” from Strength and Health, I have been struggling with finding an alternative (for those who know me, read “cheap”) to using the rack for those Deadstop front squats.

Well, a while ago, someone mentioned sawhorses, so I picked up an “adjustable” set. Along with, “Easy assembly,” adjustable is the biggest lie next to “world’s most beautiful women inside.” (I just got back from New Orleans and…well, I tell you later).

Dave Turner noted that I got stuck at a certain point recovering from cleans and we measured the bar about 36inches off the ground. Fortunately, the “easily adjustable” sawhorses did get to 36 inches.

I tested the height with a bunch of easy ones. I just put the bar across the two and did 135 and 205. Then, I moved to 255, 275 and smoked a 295 and stopped. That is 90 percent of my goal for my next O meet (a 330 clean and jerk) and I want to build up to 330 over time.

I think the sawhorse might be a great idea for any O lifter, or any one who has problems in the deep position. I get stuck after a lot of cleans, some say it is because I am a great cleaner, others say it is because I am a crappy front squatter. But, this exercise seems to fix the problem at the source. I know Jason just finished the six week Soviet squat, which I have done before. It helped me, but a sticking point is a sticking point and this sawhorse thing seems to fix the problem. Plus, it seems that this lift is not hard on the knees. I don’t think squats are hard on the knees, but some of the programs I have done just start to make me ache due to all the reps.

So, thumbs up for this exercise.

The article referred to in this piece is from the May 1970 Strength and Health:

“Roman Mielec has been having trouble lately with his knee. He needs leg work badly, but the heavy full squatting necessary for strength irritates his injured knee. Taking a tip from Team Trainer Dick Smith, he has begun working on sticking point squats in the power rack. The lifter figures out his “sticking point” by doing a heavy full squat in strict form, while a bystander tells him exactly what point the bar moved the slowest.

The pins are inserted in the power rack at this point, and the lifter does his squats from this point. This means he is working from his weakest point and the weight he can use is much less, usually approximately the same as his best clean. And this is a top figure, for a single.

There are two ways the lifter can use this exercise. He can do sets of three, with two warm-up sets and three heavier ones, during a period when he has no contests for a couple months. An example for a person capable of cleaning 350 would be: 175 for 3, 250 for 3, 275 for 3, 300 for 3, 325 for 3. These are best done twice a week, and once a week do front squats in sets of three for positioning.

The other method is one that is used when the lifter is training for a contest and wants to develop peak strength. After a warm-up with 175 for 3, assuming the same 350 clean, the lifter does: 275 for 1, 325 for 1, 350 for 1, 360 for 1, and increases his top set poundage as rapidly as he can, as long as he does not break form. The lifter does not have to maintain an absolutely erect position in this exercise as a slightly leaned-forward position throws the stress on the old gluteus maximus, the muscle for cleaners. Eight weeks on this exercise will do wonders for anyone having trouble coming up with cleans, and its value for people with knee trouble is unquestioned, as no stress is put on the injured joint.

Could be the exercise of the future as far as the clean is concerned.

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