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Deadlift and Squats with dumbbells?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 24, 2012 at 12:31 AM

So I recently herniated three discs, two in my lower neck and one in my upper back. It took medication, PT, and 12 weeks of rest to heal. A few weeks ago I started back on my lifting regimen (still not allowed to run) and, at the advice of my PT, I choose to lift with dumbbells for all of my lifts. It has not been a problem except for two lifts -- deadlifts and squats.

For squats I have switched to bulgarian squats with dumbbells which really push my legs -- but progression is slow -- not because of my legs, but rather my arms struggle to hold the weights steady the whole time.

For deadlifts, I just cannot figure it out. My initial thought is that I need to just do the deadlifts with the barbell because that lift needs it. But I thought I throw it out to this community.

1) Any tips on progressing my squats?

2) Any ideas about dumbbell deadlifts?

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EDIT:

=================================================================================== I am not restricted with respect to the amount of weight I can lift. The herniation was caused by a combination of running lots of miles (~50mi/week) in minimal shoes coupled with slight muscle imbalances in my back. The PT said that using dumbbells instead of barbells will help prevent muscle imbalances. So my only restrictions are:

  • No Barbells
  • Minimum 3 sets of 8 (i.e. no 5x5 or 3x5, but I can do 3 sets of 12 if I wanted)
  • No running

    ======================================================================

    Thanks!

  • 3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

    (26217)

    on October 25, 2012
    at 12:02 AM

    No, one of the things found when she did the exam was that I had slight muscle imbalances (right dominant). Not significant, but enough to mess with posture and to put more strain on my spine when running.

    06ca9c524c28bc3fba95d4d90f8f43c6

    on October 24, 2012
    at 04:18 PM

    I'm curious about the reasons for avoicing barbells. Is it something to do with the positioning of the spine and body while holding it?

    089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

    (5635)

    on October 24, 2012
    at 03:37 PM

    CD, it's definitely harder for me when i hold the weights parallel like in this diagram- http://www.acefitness.org/exerciselibrary/20/dumbbell-deadlift i don't start with the weights on the floor though- my hips are in line with my knees so the weights are dangling. i definitely feel it in my quads and lower back.

    3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

    (26217)

    on October 24, 2012
    at 12:41 PM

    so the weights are parallel to your feet? I haven't tried that. how does this change the range of motion? I would think more stress on quads and hamstrings, less on back?

    3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

    (26217)

    on October 24, 2012
    at 12:41 PM

    Thanks Matt. pistol squats are a great suggestion. To be clear I am not restricted by weight, just not supposed to use the barbell.

    • 3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

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    2 Answers

    best answer

    1
    06ca9c524c28bc3fba95d4d90f8f43c6

    on October 24, 2012
    at 12:58 AM

    Possibly look into one-legged "pistol squats" and some single-leg deadlifts while you are still healing. You could also look into dumbbell thrusters and focus on explosive movements. It could also be a good time to work on the glutes and hamstrings in other ways. I'm a big fan of barbell hip thrusters and glute-ham raises.

    What's the timetable until they recommend that you can lift heavy again?

    Matt
    PhysiqueRescue.com

    3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

    (26217)

    on October 24, 2012
    at 12:41 PM

    Thanks Matt. pistol squats are a great suggestion. To be clear I am not restricted by weight, just not supposed to use the barbell.

    06ca9c524c28bc3fba95d4d90f8f43c6

    on October 24, 2012
    at 04:18 PM

    I'm curious about the reasons for avoicing barbells. Is it something to do with the positioning of the spine and body while holding it?

    3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

    (26217)

    on October 25, 2012
    at 12:02 AM

    No, one of the things found when she did the exam was that I had slight muscle imbalances (right dominant). Not significant, but enough to mess with posture and to put more strain on my spine when running.

    1
    089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

    (5635)

    on October 24, 2012
    at 01:33 AM

    i do all my lifts with dumbbells because i work out at home and that's all i have. my legs look like total shit from romanian deadlifts because i use the dumbbells starting at the side of my calves instead of in front of my shins. if you don't mind the bruises on the sides of your knees, i don't mind deadlifting this way. i still get really low to the ground. when i am doing stiff-legged, i just keep the dumbbells in front. i also do diagonal deadlifts and these are perfect for dumbbells.

    i don't really have advice for the squat just because i am still working on getting low and i can't do that well with weight.

    3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

    (26217)

    on October 24, 2012
    at 12:41 PM

    so the weights are parallel to your feet? I haven't tried that. how does this change the range of motion? I would think more stress on quads and hamstrings, less on back?

    089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

    (5635)

    on October 24, 2012
    at 03:37 PM

    CD, it's definitely harder for me when i hold the weights parallel like in this diagram- http://www.acefitness.org/exerciselibrary/20/dumbbell-deadlift i don't start with the weights on the floor though- my hips are in line with my knees so the weights are dangling. i definitely feel it in my quads and lower back.

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