Written by Matt Vincent
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I have competed in numerous different things from High School sports like Football and Track, Collegiate Track and Field (Shotput, Discus, and Hammer), Strongman, Powerlifting both Raw and Geared, and most recently focusing on Highland Games. Though there are many different variations of ways to train for these, there are certain things that are constant for any athlete. You will need a strong back, hips, legs, shoulders, arms and core. Also no sport is going to require you to be using one muscle at a time, so there is no reason to train like that for athletes.
I have always focused on the big multi joint lifts, Squat, Bench, Overhead Press, Clean, Snatch, and last but certainly not least the Deadlift. Getting stronger at these lifts will make you a more powerful athlete and power is what we want. Power, the speed in which an athlete can move weight, is the most important thing for athletic success.
The deadlift is a huge part of building this power. Most lifts allow the athlete to exploit the stretch reflex to help move the weight, but this isn’t the case in the deadlift. There is no easy way to deadlift big weights. Proper programming using the deadlift can help make tons of gain in regards to power. Think about this like a dragster setting up on the line. You want to apply 100% effort into the weight no matter what the weight or resistance form moment one. This is like firing off the line for football or exploding when throwing the shotput. The acceleration of the weight is where you generate power. This is something that has to be consciously trained.
The key to building power through the use of the deadlift is to always attempt to move the bar as fast as possible, whether you are using light or relatively heavy weights. From my experience the best way for me to train and build power is by using sub maximal loads. Sub maximal training is using reps at lighter weight to build your over all max. If you are throwing shotput or stones and could be an athlete who squats 405lbs slowly or squats 225lbs really fast. The 225lbs moving fast is going to translate into your sport better than slow heavier weights. Over time training for max speed on every lift, you will get faster at that weight or be able to move 275 and 315 fast. This increase in power is going to also make your max increase without having to load 100% weights and grind them out.
Deadlifting is considered the king of the lifts and one of the main reasons there is no way to cheat it. With squats there are tons of suits, feet widths, bar placement, and worst of all, the high squat. Deadlifting is simply stepping up grabbing the bar and pulling until you stand up. No hidden angles nothing just bend over like loading yourself into a spring and put all of the energy into the bar coming off the ground. Many of the guys on this team deadlift over 800lbs and there is simply no way to do that unless you are both extremely powerful and strong. I hear tons of things where people want to make excuses for why they are not lifting as much as the next guy, but honestly stop bitching, get on the platform, and start pulling and pulling hard.Matt Vincent is a top Professional Highland Games World Champion. Matt has spent the last 15 years strength training with a focus on functional strength for athletics. Track and Field for LSU as a shotput, discus, and hammer thrower, two top 3 finishes in SEC and two top 5 Regional finishes in Discus. In the last 6 years he as traveled all over country and trained with many of the top coaches and athletes in various fields form Weightlifting, Strongman, Powerlifting (both Geared and Raw) and now focus on Highland Games. Matt also has competed in all of these different disciplines to make sure he has a 1st hand knowledge of training and competing. With success as a top AM Strongman qualified for nationals 3 times. Powerlifting numbers of (875-700-700 in APF @275) and (675-425-665 @ 275 RAW). Weightlifting numbers of (319 Snatch and 400 Clean and Jerk @ 105+). Highland Games he won 3 AM World Championships and 1 Professional World Championship as my first year Pro. Matt is also the Author of Best Selling Highland Games Training Manual for Developing Max Strength and Power: Training LAB. Website, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter