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Are deadlifts the best quad work when little hip flexion is desired

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  • Are deadlifts the best quad work when little hip flexion is desired

    Due to a couple of hip injuries that seem to only be getting worse, I'm giving up on active recovery and the whole guessing game on which exercises I can do to aid recovery without further injury. Instead, I'm just going to stop squats, stretching, hip mobility...all of it for a few months a see where I'm at. Obviously, my muscle will be weaker and tighter, priming myself for a second injury, so I plan to ease into it very slowly when the time comes.

    In the meantime, I have found I can't do anything that requires significant hip flexion without pain. Obviously my favorite, weighted squats, are out. But I've tried squats with an empty barbell and it's still enough of a load to hurt. Pistols hurt. Lunges hurt. I know from merely walking that I dare not try sprinting or even jogging. Bodyweight squats are okay, so long as I don't go past parallel. So my question is if deadlifts work the quads enough to make me believe I will maintain some strength there. I was thinking that since deadlifts don't hurt and I do them anyway, I could superset them with bodyweight squats. The BW squats would deliver the benefits of squatting outside of pure strength. But I want to maintain my raw strength as much as possible. So, is my deadlifts good enough, or is there something better?

    BTW, leg extensions crossed my mind, but this requires a machine. I have free weights at home and don't have a gym membership, and it would be hard to justify any money spent just for leg extensions.

  • #2
    Originally posted by atmetal View Post
    Due to a couple of hip injuries that seem to only be getting worse, I'm giving up on active recovery and the whole guessing game on which exercises I can do to aid recovery without further injury. Instead, I'm just going to stop squats, stretching, hip mobility...all of it for a few months a see where I'm at. Obviously, my muscle will be weaker and tighter, priming myself for a second injury, so I plan to ease into it very slowly when the time comes.

    In the meantime, I have found I can't do anything that requires significant hip flexion without pain. Obviously my favorite, weighted squats, are out. But I've tried squats with an empty barbell and it's still enough of a load to hurt. Pistols hurt. Lunges hurt. I know from merely walking that I dare not try sprinting or even jogging. Bodyweight squats are okay, so long as I don't go past parallel. So my question is if deadlifts work the quads enough to make me believe I will maintain some strength there. I was thinking that since deadlifts don't hurt and I do them anyway, I could superset them with bodyweight squats. The BW squats would deliver the benefits of squatting outside of pure strength. But I want to maintain my raw strength as much as possible. So, is my deadlifts good enough, or is there something better?

    BTW, leg extensions crossed my mind, but this requires a machine. I have free weights at home and don't have a gym membership, and it would be hard to justify any money spent just for leg extensions.
    The primary function of the quadriceps is knee extension. There's very little knee extension in a deadlift.

    What did the MRI on your hips show?
    The Champagne of Beards

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    • #3
      Ride a bike. Or maybe do weighted stadium steps.
      Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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      • #4
        Dunno what is wrong with your hips without any info, but here is a general rule of thumb. You should have full mobility/ROM of a joint without pain before you introduce too much load. So in your time off continue working with a foam roller and doing some hip mobility work as long as its not too painful. If its getting worse rather than better with that and some time off you need some more testing and some serious one on one with a trained professional.

        If your having this pain bilaterally rather than on one injured side I'd get some blood tests done too.
        Last edited by Neckhammer; 07-23-2013, 06:38 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by RichMahogany View Post
          The primary function of the quadriceps is knee extension. There's very little knee extension in a deadlift.

          What did the MRI on your hips show?
          Well, yes, but is the deadlift as close as I'm going to be able to get? There's still some knee extension. If there isn't, then it's just a stiff legged deadlift. What I'm trying to get at here is: should I find a squat substitute, or will I be okay with just deadlifts, which I'd be doing anyway?

          MRI? ha! Let me go check my bank account, maybe I missed a few zeros.

          Originally posted by sbhikes View Post
          Ride a bike. Or maybe do weighted stadium steps.
          Don't bikes involve quite a lot of hip extension? I've even heard that people who ride bikes all the time are just as likely to end up with shortened hip flexors as chronic sitters.

          Originally posted by Neckhammer View Post
          Dunno what is wrong with your hips without any info, but here is a general rule of thumb. You should have full mobility/ROM of a joint without pain before you introduce too much load. So in your time off continue working with a foam roller and doing some hip mobility work as long as its not too painful. If its getting worse rather than better with that and some time off you need some more testing and some serious one on one with a trained professional.

          If your having this pain bilaterally rather than on one injured side I'd get some blood tests done too.
          I'll be going into a schedule soon where my shift will be 12 hours MINIMUM. Eventually, it will also be rotating shift work. If sleep is important there is no time left, not if I also want to maintain the fitness standard required of me. Besides, I've come to believe that the associated muscles are too deep for even my rumble roller to reach. There was someone on the Starting Strength forum who had hip flexor tendonitis and said he experienced the best results with leg swings to open up the hips prior to squatting. I'm not claiming to have that exact condition because I don't know, but I tried it a while ago and I was able to squat almost pain free. Ever since, that strategy has seemed to become less effective. I guess I didn't mean to imply my pain was getting worse, just that after it gets better, it takes seemingly less and less load to return it back to where I started.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by atmetal View Post
            Well, yes, but is the deadlift as close as I'm going to be able to get?
            I don't know, bro. None of us can diagnose your injury via a vague text description over the internet.

            Originally posted by atmetal View Post
            There's still some knee extension. If there isn't, then it's just a stiff legged deadlift.
            Yes, that's why I said "very little," rather than none

            Originally posted by atmetal View Post
            What I'm trying to get at here is: should I find a squat substitute, or will I be okay with just deadlifts, which I'd be doing anyway?
            You won't immediately turn into tinfoil in the microwave if you deadlift but don't squat. Neckhammer does that, and he still manages to say intelligent things around here once in a while. But the best idea of all is to figure out what's exactly wrong with your hips, how to rehab them, and squat.

            Originally posted by atmetal View Post
            MRI? ha! Let me go check my bank account, maybe I missed a few zeros.
            You live in Connecticut. Everybody in Connecticut is rich. Go get an MRI.

            Originally posted by atmetal View Post
            Don't bikes involve quite a lot of hip extension? I've even heard that people who ride bikes all the time are just as likely to end up with shortened hip flexors as chronic sitters.
            I don't think anybody's suggesting you train for the Tour de France. Does pedaling a bike hurt your hips?

            Originally posted by atmetal View Post
            I'll be going into a schedule soon where my shift will be 12 hours MINIMUM. Eventually, it will also be rotating shift work. If sleep is important there is no time left, not if I also want to maintain the fitness standard required of me. Besides, I've come to believe that the associated muscles are too deep for even my rumble roller to reach. There was someone on the Starting Strength forum who had hip flexor tendonitis and said he experienced the best results with leg swings to open up the hips prior to squatting. I'm not claiming to have that exact condition because I don't know, but I tried it a while ago and I was able to squat almost pain free. Ever since, that strategy has seemed to become less effective. I guess I didn't mean to imply my pain was getting worse, just that after it gets better, it takes seemingly less and less load to return it back to where I started.
            Sounds like some proper medical care is in order, for reals. When do you get health insurance benefits at this 12 hours/day job? Really, nobody can answer this question for you given the absurd paucity of information we have to work with.
            The Champagne of Beards

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            • #7
              Sounds like some proper medical care is in order, for reals. When do you get health insurance benefits at this 12 hours/day job? Really, nobody can answer this question for you given the absurd paucity of information we have to work with.
              Yeah... sadly, that's just reality. I had terrible back pain and could have used an MD, but well, not in the cards with a $5000 deductible.

              I have really tight hip flexors and they ended up hurting my lower back. I ended up going to a chiro who did all sorts of stuff- deep tissue massage, adjustments and PT exercises and stretches. He fixed me. It cost maybe $1500 spread out over 6 months of visits. They have been bothering me lately with squatting, but good stretches are getting me back on course. However, I don't think you can fix it with stretches past a certain point.

              I would seek out a chiro that specializes in athletes and get yourself fixed before you can't do jack shit without pain. He specialized in ART. It was very focused massage and let's just say he found the muscles and it was very uncomfortable but it worked like a charm.

              http://maggiesfeast.wordpress.com/
              Check out my blog. Hope to share lots of great recipes and ideas!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by RichMahogany View Post
                I don't know, bro. None of us can diagnose your injury via a vague text description over the internet.
                Not asking for diagnosis.

                Originally posted by RichMahogany View Post
                Yes, that's why I said "very little," rather than none
                I didn't think you needed correcting either, but you implied that the deadlift is completely useless for quads.

                Originally posted by RichMahogany View Post
                You live in Connecticut. Everybody in Connecticut is rich. Go get an MRI.
                Since April 2012, I've lived in Chicago, Charleston, and I just moved to Saratoga Springs. However, thanks for the stereotype; I've always enjoyed that one, along with CT is better educated than everyone else. I do have health insurance, but they aren't just going to pay for an MRI just because I want one. A doctor needs to say I need one.

                Originally posted by RichMahogany View Post
                I don't think anybody's suggesting you train for the Tour de France. Does pedaling a bike hurt your hips?
                I don't even have a bike so I don't know. I do know that it will provide little extra benefit than just walking. Neither will do anything for quad strength.

                Originally posted by RichMahogany View Post
                Sounds like some proper medical care is in order, for reals. When do you get health insurance benefits at this 12 hours/day job? Really, nobody can answer this question for you given the absurd paucity of information we have to work with.
                The question was already kinda answered. I didn't ask for diagnosis, I asked for a better quad exercise than a deadlift that doesn't have hip flexion. This job is Navy. If you know anybody who gets VA benefits, it's kind of like that, but worse. Ever hear of grunt candy?

                I've made an appointment with Navy medical for tomorrow, I'll let you all know how that turns out. I predict an increase in stock of Vitamin M.

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                • #9
                  I'm confused. I thought you didn't want to extend your hips. Wouldn't that make sitting less extension than deadlifting? And you said you wanted to work on your quads. Wouldn't riding a bicycle work your quads? Ride your bike up steep hills for more intensity if just pedaling around seems like not enough. It kinda sounds like you don't really want any change though from the sounds of it, not that my advice was the best or anything. You've kind of rejected all of it from everyone.
                  Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                  • #10
                    Get your hips fixed.

                    I don't even see much of a point in training quads when you can't use your hips, what's the practical application?

                    Also, it's not a good idea to train quads but neglect the posterior chain, hamstrings especially. Bad hips + strong quads + weak hamstrings = unstable lower body all around.

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                    • #11
                      Deadlifts are pretty quad dominant in the beginning of the lift so you will be able to maintain some strength by it. Barbell hack-lift or sumo-deadlift may work even better for the quads...
                      "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

                      - Schopenhauer

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                      • #12
                        Dr. Adam Favro - Chiropractor in Saratoga Springs, NY

                        Seriously, call someone like this. I'm going to bet it costs less than $100 to see the guy for your initial visit and you can get started with fixing your hip. I have bad hips at times. I have a bad back at times. I have had back pain so bad that NSAIDS and shit like tramadol etc. could not ease it. I have laid on the floor at work in tears. I have pumped ibuprofin in my system on long runs to kill the hip pain.

                        It will get worse if you ignore and it will cause worse problems and deadlifting won't be an option. Our bodies are a system and you can't train around a problem for long. You probably do not need a $2500 MRI. You probably don't need surgery. You probably need someone to go in and massage the hell out of your hip flexors and break up the lesions, get everything back in alignment and then get on a stretching and strength program to manage the issue.

                        I know that chiro is not a magic bullet but sometimes these guys just know their way around muscles and bones better than internet strangers or doctors. They don't charge a heck of a lot of money either.

                        http://maggiesfeast.wordpress.com/
                        Check out my blog. Hope to share lots of great recipes and ideas!

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                        • #13
                          I think a few of you are probably missing the boat on how easy or hard it is to get an MRI or anything more indepth than 800 mg Motrin at military medical. I've had a few injuries that probably could have used an MRI but I had to basically blow my knee up on the slopes to get one done, and that's only because the swelling and bruising was so severe, they pretty much HAD to schedule me one. Also, depending on OP's pay grade, a hundred bucks might still be pretty steep for a chiro visit. I know it would be steep for me, anyway.

                          I would definitely try the foam roller, and some mobility stuff. There is a ton on mobilitywod that might be able to help you. Maybe you can experiment and see if it is a mobility issue or something like that until they through you through the rounds of medical, PT, medical, more PT, exploratory surgery, or wait let's get an MRI first hula hoops.
                          ~All luck is earned in the end.~

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                          • #14
                            That sucks that you have such shitty options.
                            It sounds frustrating as hell.

                            http://maggiesfeast.wordpress.com/
                            Check out my blog. Hope to share lots of great recipes and ideas!

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                            • #15
                              Yeah, I've worked with VA referred patients. It sucks for the patient cause they gotta jump through flaming hoops to get the referral THEN it sucks for the provider cause the pay is shit and the paperwork is absurd. But its worth it to help out with people we really should be taking better care of. Damn is our system f'd up though. Your definitely better off just paying cash if you can swing it.
                              Last edited by Neckhammer; 07-23-2013, 04:05 PM.

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