Mixing kettlebells and power lifting to train despite injuries

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by Uchi Mata, Jan 19, 2015.

  1. Uchi Mata

    Uchi Mata Preaching the gospel of heel hooks and left kicks

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    Messages:
    18,561
    Likes Received:
    4,087
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    So I really like power lifting, I've found it to be the best out of camp supplement to my BJJ, Judo, and MMA training, but I also continually get injured as my weights go up. I have some pretty severe lower back injuries, and deadlifting specifically always seems to lead to re-injury. I don't want to drop power lifting entirely and I'm well aware of the importance of training the posterior chain, so what I was thinking of was this:

    2x per week kettlebell routine (swings, clean and presses, maybe snatches as well)
    1x per week 5/3/1 squat and bench

    My heaviest kettlebell currently is 20 kg. I realize I won't build anywhere near the raw strength from doing kettlebell stuff as I would from deadlifting, but I also think I'm less likely to re-injure myself as the weight is so much lower (even with greater rep count). I just need to figure out a sustainable S&C routine that doesn't put me on the shelf for a fortnight every few months.

    Thoughts? I'm especially interested in anyone else with lower back problems who have found other workable deadlift alternatives.
     
  2. selfcritical

    selfcritical Brown Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    Messages:
    3,700
    Likes Received:
    813
    Which bells do you have?
     
  3. spartanMMAn

    spartanMMAn Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2008
    Messages:
    546
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    on a hill
    Getting injured during dead lifts can be one of "those things" but shouldn't be the norm. If your repeatedly getting injured it may be worth doing a postural assessment and a technical assessment of the lift to see if you have any muscle imbalances, technical deficiencies etc.
     
  4. Uchi Mata

    Uchi Mata Preaching the gospel of heel hooks and left kicks

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    Messages:
    18,561
    Likes Received:
    4,087
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    I have a 35 lb and 44 lb.
     
  5. selfcritical

    selfcritical Brown Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    Messages:
    3,700
    Likes Received:
    813
    http://danjohn.net/wp-content/uploads/EasyStrengthPaper.pdf

    Here's a protocol that is pretty damn hard to overtrain with, i might prefer it for your situation over 5/3/1. I've used it in the past when my volume of sport work went up. It uses high frequency VERY submaximal barbell lifts, high frequency moderate volume KB ballistic lifts, and various holds for time.
     
  6. Uchi Mata

    Uchi Mata Preaching the gospel of heel hooks and left kicks

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    Messages:
    18,561
    Likes Received:
    4,087
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    The main problem is that I have loose ligaments from repeated injuries, and they've never regained their tensile strength despite lots of PT and lifting (with a ton of focus on form). Also (to be fair), since I'm a martial artist not a powerlifter I don't want to spend an inordinate amount of time doing rehab and assistance work just so I can deadlift heavy. If I don't deadlift I usually don't have any problems from martial arts alone. I've never spent much time doing cleans for the same reason: to do them correctly would require more work on form and assistance work than I really want to put in as someone who's just looking to get a little stronger for non-lifting sport performance. It has been a while since I've had a form check or postural assessment though, it would probably be worth doing in general.
     
  7. Uchi Mata

    Uchi Mata Preaching the gospel of heel hooks and left kicks

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    Messages:
    18,561
    Likes Received:
    4,087
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Thanks, I'll check it out.
     
  8. ThinkGreen

    ThinkGreen Der √úbermensch

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    Messages:
    13,362
    Likes Received:
    3,078
    Location:
    San Diego
    So are you interested in a program specifically? I think you have the right idea with the lifts to perform - swings, snatches, cleans, etc. I think it'd be more of a conditioning tool than a deadlift replacement due to the light weight, though.
     
  9. Uchi Mata

    Uchi Mata Preaching the gospel of heel hooks and left kicks

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    Messages:
    18,561
    Likes Received:
    4,087
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    No, not so much a program as validation that this isn't a totally silly idea (using kettlebells for posterior chain training in lieu of deadlifts). I figure it will be more conditioning, I'm really using it more as prehab just to keep the spinal erectors strong enough to make it through hard Judo training without working so hard that the discs get irritated. I actually just finished my first kettlebell session, it has the added benefit that I can just store it in a locker at work and do the routine over lunch, which I can't really do with the big lifts since I powerlift on a home rack. I feel pretty good, back feels alive but not injured and my shoulders are pretty shot.

    I am curious though for anyone who went from deadlifting to kettlebells and back if they saw big losses, small improvements, or no change at all. There's so much hard to believe testimonials about KB training online that I'm always curious for first hand accounts or what actually worked and what results people saw.
     
  10. SummerStriker

    SummerStriker Black Belt

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Messages:
    7,415
    Likes Received:
    1,704
    Uchi, I have a very similar problem as you.

    On a good day, my ORM on DL is about 315, but there are days when my back will tweek trying to pick up 185x5, making a good workout impossible.

    I've personally had a lot of luck with a combination of barbell front squats for sets of 5-10 and RDLs for sets of 10-15. I feel like I'm getting the best posterior chain workout I've gotten.

    If I need to go even lighter, one arm db rows or lower, bent over db rows get it to.

    I personally find kettle bells aggravating to my back sometimes.
     
  11. selfcritical

    selfcritical Brown Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    Messages:
    3,700
    Likes Received:
    813
    I used KB sport as my rehab after my ACL reconstruction when I couldn't tolerate much volume of squatting and DLing. That combined with some low-load technique work so that your squat and DL technique don't backslide should be helpful.
     
  12. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    Messages:
    9,068
    Likes Received:
    242
    Location:
    Somewhere else
    My take on it would be to figure out why you hurt your back - technique? More volume or weight than you're prepared for? Not enough local muscular endurance to protect the back? Some kind of imbalance? Even if you don't return to heavy deadlifting being a staple of your program, it'd be worth figuring out, as it may influence other training.

    Second, consider sumo deadlift or olympic lifts and their variations. Less stress on the lower back, but still pulling moderate or heavy weight off the ground. Squat, bench and power clean, with some KB work, and other exercises as needed, would work very well.

    Finally, the kettlebell work is probably going to focus more on muscular endurance, or maybe power, depending on how it's programmed, rather than maximal strength, which is usually the focus for deadlifts (although they could be used to develop muscular endurance and power).
     
  13. Genghiz

    Genghiz Blue Belt

    Joined:
    May 12, 2014
    Messages:
    636
    Likes Received:
    146
    Have you considered using a twice/week lifting template and tacking on higher volume kettlebell work as a finisher?

    I am DL'ng twice a week and I've also recently upped my kettlebell volume quite a bit, and I think you are correct. I am starting to think heavy swings and deadlifts are interchangeable. Or, rather heavy swings strengthen the posterior chain to a high enough degree. A buddy I occasionally train with has been doing a bench/squat template for a year, with kettlebell work after each lifting session. He recently tested his deadlift and maxed out at 340lbs. The guy hasn't touched the deadlift in a year and credits the swings. Anecdotal of course, but I'm finding my experience is somewhat similar.

    I personally find the deadlift superior for maximum strength gains, but depending on your goals and how you program you could probably get away with one in place of the other. The kettlebell may offer less in the way of max strength development, but it adds a degree of cardio/ballistic type power/and strength endurance that the deadlift doesn't. While strengthening your posterior chain.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2015
  14. FlowWithTheGo23

    FlowWithTheGo23 Black Belt

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2010
    Messages:
    6,674
    Likes Received:
    159
    You can DL 315 but sometimes hurt your back on 185? Sounds like a form issue.
     
  15. BrockLesnarSon

    BrockLesnarSon White Belt

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2014
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    1
    Personally, i'm a HUGE kettlebell fanatic, but i honestly don't think that you are gonna get ultra strong only using kettlebell. Kettlebell works for me as a strenght/endurance tool for conditioning. I use bodyweight movements to build raw strenght during the first semester of the year, the other half i focus on powerlifting movements BUT always using the kettlebells. Good luck, and take care of your body man!!
     
  16. SummerStriker

    SummerStriker Black Belt

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Messages:
    7,415
    Likes Received:
    1,704
    No, I've been to DLing class. You ever wake up in the morning with a pain in your neck from sleeping wrong? I have that for my low back routinely. My feet are flat and my left leg is short, so I wear a heel lift in my shoe. My hip mobility and all around strength is good. I'm just not a genetic stud.
     
  17. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    Messages:
    9,068
    Likes Received:
    242
    Location:
    Somewhere else
    A Deadlifting class? Taught by who?
     
  18. SummerStriker

    SummerStriker Black Belt

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Messages:
    7,415
    Likes Received:
    1,704
    "DLing class," as a figure of speech. I didn't learn from Youtube, not that I see anything wrong with that if you are clever.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
  19. Ice 9 Cobra

    Ice 9 Cobra Black Belt

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Messages:
    6,871
    Likes Received:
    285
    Have you tried getting or making a T handle? It allows you to go fairly heavy on the swing (depending on your frame)
     
  20. ironwolf

    ironwolf Double Yellow Card Double Yellow Card

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    10,406
    Likes Received:
    3,368
    Location:
    Shandong, China via the USA
    Do you have those sport kettlebells? I just have normal ones but thinking of getting a few pairs of sport KBs.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.