For those of you who haven’t read my article on why I tend not to program deadlifts for my throwers, check it out here. Since I try not to completely write-off any movement, I wanted to write a quick follow-up that would address a situation where I might program deadlifts for a thrower.
The primary situation in which I would program deadlifts for a thrower is if I was coaching an individual who couldn’t squat. For whatever reason, be it hips, knees, ankles, or anything else, they just couldn’t squat. Here, I would rotate deadlifts into their program as a way to continue building their strength base. As I mentioned in my previous article, I would have the athlete perform the deadlift in a clean-deadlift style, with clean-like posture and butt height off of the floor, long arms with no internal rotation, and probably a solid explosive shrug at the top.
I wouldn’t want the deadlift to be programmed alone, so I would use it for a couple of purposes. First, I could use it to potentiate an individual’s power clean (as long as they can still catch weight in a power position). The over-weight effect of the deadlift could help the athlete feel stronger off of the floor when they perform an actual clean. This is why it’s key for the deadlift to be performed very similarly to a clean pull, so there is as much transfer as possible into the clean. Second, I would always couple the deadlift with plyometric movements like box jumps and hurdle hops, to make sure the athlete is maintaining their explosiveness. In terms of mobility issues with the deadlift, I would increase their focus on lat and hip mobility, as well as loosening the glutes, hamstrings and lower back so that this thrower could still hit good positions in the circle.
In this no squat situation, I would probably have the individual deadlift four times in a 2 to 2.5 week period. The first session would be a very heavy session (everyone’s favorite), then two lighter sessions to focus on technique and insure that the athlete is maintaining the clean-like positions we look for. Finally, a fourth, moderate session with rep ranges of 3-4 would round it all out. Again, in a situation like this, I’d want to make sure the athlete is structurally sound. We’d want to monitor their mobility through the hips and shoulders, and appropriately mix in various plyometric and special strength movements to maintain power output and full range of motion.