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Wednesday, June 9. 2021
There are several reasons, but for me time efficiency comes first. Second, it's more natural in life for different muscle groups to work together.
No single exercise counts as a full body strength workout, but the deadlift comes closest to that.
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Uhhh you are thinking of "Compound exercises".
"Complexes" are a chain of exercises done together without putting down the weight. This is a great, easy, time saving strength workout.
Often complexes are made up of compound exercises. So the workout covers all basic motion patterns in a compact format.
This is a great way to get back in shape - you must improve your weak points before you add weight to the bar. That prevents injury.
Start here - then google "Javorek complexes" and "Dan John complexes"
What's your source for calling a deadlift a 'complex' exercise? I've never heard it referred to anything other than a compound exercise.
"People use different terms"
People often use different synonyms to express or describe the same thing, but using an incorrect term to do so is...well...incorrect.
There's also a term for folks who screw up and won't admit it...in fact there are several terms depending on whether they are ignorant of there error are just to proud to admit it.
I can see complexes as a way to build muscle endurance, but not so much strength, at least not in all the exercises done during the performance of a complex. I mean, I can overhead press about 150-160 pounds for a set of five but deadlift over 450 and squat over 350. What is the point in me doing a 150 pound deadlift or squat? If I want to build endurance, I'll push a Prowler or do C2 rower intervals. Complexes also looks like a good way to get hurt. How good can your clean or hang snatch technique be after 7 sets? Then you do another set with even heavier weight? Not for me, thanks.
Also, the way compound exercises work, as BD pointed out, is that they stress all the muscles being used, even the weak ones. The weaker muscles are the limiting factor in successfully completing the lift, so they have no choice but to get stronger as weight is added to the bar. If your hamstrings are weak, you do deadlifts to strengthen your hamstrings, with the initial weight being limited by the strength of your hamstrings. It's a waste of time to specifically work on your hamstrings with isolation exercises and only then start deadlifting.
For better answers than mine, read the linked article and look at Javorek's work.
1. Dan John and others discuss a basic strength standard of 1.5-2.5 times bodyweight on the major lifts. This is an accepted baseline both for maturing laymen who want to hold on to functional strength and motion, and also ensures a level if stamina for many track and field sports. Complexes are a great way to get to this level, and maintain it.
Why shouldn't you be able to press 1.5 times bodyweight? Perhaps your focus on DL is caused by/leading to imbalance?
2. Complexes are typically a short strength workout. That is their appeal. I have never heard of 7 work sets.
3. Dan John and Javorek both discuss how many times the bar moves overhead - so they are aware of the difference between press and DL loads for most of us.
"Why shouldn't you be able to press 1.5 times bodyweight? Perhaps your focus on DL is caused by/leading to imbalance?"
Because that would be a press of 330 pounds. Do you have any idea how rare that is for anyone, at any age or weight? According to the standards at the link BD provided, that would be an elite level press for a young lifter who weighs 290 pounds. For my age (60) and weight (215), the 'elite' standard is about 180 pounds, significantly less than bodyweight. Last year I pressed 187 in competition, so I know how hard it is. I'm also past the elite level for my age and weight (according to those same standards) in both deadlift and squat and I absolutely guarantee you that I would not have achieved those numbers by doing complexes as described in the article. How would it be possible to get my squat up to 405 if I'm limited to squat the weight I can press? Doesn't make any sense. Again, endurance through complexes I understand, strength, not so much.
And, copied directly from the T-Nation article:
Set 1: 8 reps with the bar, 45 pounds
Set 2: 7 reps with 65 pounds
Set 3: 6 reps with 85 pounds
Set 4: 5 reps with 105 pounds
Set 5: 4 reps with 125 pounds
Set 6: 3 reps with 145 pounds
Set 7: 2 reps with 165 pounds
Set 8: 1 rep with 185 pounds
Let me offer a few clarifications and thoughts.
First, congrats on 187 press (was that pounds or kilos? - just kidding - congrats for real).
The Dan John standards quoted by BenDavid aren't exactly right and Dan has made alterations to the numbers and movements over the years. Also, Dan's standards are Dan's opinion. Even by Mr John's standards, a bodyweight overhead press (not sure if you meant press or jerk as the press hasn't been a standard comp lift for decades) for any age is great.
With reference to how much you should lift in a given exercise, we can look at the numbers put up in various weight and age groups at national meets and two things are obvious: (1) you can lift far more with your hips and legs than with your arms, and (2) if we don't train, we lose upper body strength to a greater degree than lower body strength.
The standards posted by Bird Dog seem kinda low. I'm 65, weigh 185, and can DL 400+ (for reps) and I'm not a freakin' elite level lifter by any means.
More important than standards are how your lifting (or training in general) translates into your goals.
Dan John has posted various complexes over the years. One complex consisted of a DL variant -> Bent Over Row -> Clean -> Front Squat -> Press. In my mind - and the opinion of many others - this is less than optimal sequencing. It might work for John as a warm-up because the weights he uses are very light (for him).
Meant to say that's a really nice deadlift you have there, mike, especially taking age and bodyweight into consideration. I think it does put you in the elite status. How many other 65 year-olds have you seen that can lift that much? How many 30 year-olds?
Sounds like you need to add a few hundred pounds to your press!!!
Working on it! :-)
I'm aiming for another meet this fall, hope to have press up to 200 by then. A stretch, but not out of the realm of possibility.
Gotta ask - was it a true overhead PRESS or a JERK. When I was a teen, we still had the press as an Olympic lift in competition, but lifters leaned back so much, they eventually eliminated it and just left us with C&J and Snatch.
And you're right, a max overhead lift of any type is really hard, but a press is REALLY hard. had many training lifts where I was literally trying to lock out for what seemed like a full minute with my eyes bulging out.
True press. I’ll try to link to the video. I’m at the gym right now, pressing. :-)
Here's my press: 85kg/187lb press
Definitely a grind, but it went up. Those are calibrated metric plates. Big red ones are 25kg, others are hidden.
Just throwing in my vote for the C2 rower, esp. for endurance work.