View Full Version : Deadlift singles

Brandon Enos
09-01-2009, 11:02 PM
I hate doing sets of deadlifts with multiple reps, I feel my form turns to s**t after the first. So I thought I'd just focus on singles.

Basically, on Monday and Friday I do my two heavy lifting days. The first three are 5x5, front squats, bench press, bent-over row. The next is hang clean and press at 8x3. And then finally I'd have the dealifts. Start at one weight and add til my form fails. So start at like 100 pounds and add ten each set til I lose form, the next time, start a little less that where I ended last time.

This is mixed with jiu jitsu tuesday and thursday and and HIIT or complexes with body weight, kbs, sandbags, etc. On saturday is either HIIT/complexes again or more jiu jitsu (or both depending on how I feel) and Sundays are absolutely nothing days (or play days, friendly tennis etc)

Brandon Enos
09-01-2009, 11:27 PM
My bad, forgot to ask my question. Will I still see benefits from just doing the singles? Will putting them after all the rest make a difference?

And another question. Should I cut down on total reps my strength training days? Im currently IF Tues-Thurs and sometimes on Saturday. But even then, Im in a slight calorie deficit everyday for weight loss. I dont want to get large, my muscles are already large, I know that, I just have to uncover them. My goals are to lose the fat (my end goal is to be somewhere around 9-11% body fat) and to increase my strength.

Im not afraid of getting super big or anything, I know I wont be eating enough or doing enough really. My worrie is that the heavy weight plus the 5x5 will put my body in a area where itll be trying to grow and wont be able to fuel its repairs and I end up overtraining or hurting myself.

Maybe I should do all the lifts except the deads 5x3 instead of 5x5 and 8x3? Will it make that big of a difference?

Martin Bonn
09-02-2009, 03:34 AM
that would depend on how many sets of singles it takes you to reach your max for the day and how heavy in absolute and relative terms that DL is.

what i mean by that is: does it take you 30 odd singles to get to your max? if so you get a lot of volume. if it takes you 5.... then maybe not so much!
is your max DL 2-3 times BW? is it over 500 pounds? that s heavy stuff and it won t take much to tire you out.

the thing with DL and squats for that matter is that they require a lot of concentration and your full attention! you might find that you are losing form becuase you are tired form the rest of your workout. DL and the end of a workout are IMHO not a good idea.
Also you seem to be doing a lot in one workout: all the right exercises, but too much all in one (unless your poundages are very light). plus something like the clean shouldn t really be done after you have tired yourself out on FS and the B Press.
sorry this all sounds quite negative, but i ve been there myself and had to learn the hard way! sometimes less is more! it will give you more energy to focus on one or 2 maybe three exercises and you will see a lot more progress, that might solve your 1 rep DL problem as well.

Brandon Enos
09-02-2009, 08:10 AM
So maybe doing an upper/lower split. With Front Squats, Deads, and maybe something else monday and bench, bent-over row, hang clean and press and maybe something else Friday? And keeping the same volume?

Steven Low
09-02-2009, 11:05 AM
Pick 3-4 exercises on your strength days. Keep the volume lower than 15 reps per exercise (10 or lower would be better).

Only DL once per week.

What are your lift numbers?

You're trying to do JJ+HIIT+ more volume than Starting Strength... not such a good idea.

Dave Van Skike
09-02-2009, 11:50 AM
When I was just getting back into the weight room a couple years ago, I did singles only for short stints on lifts that I needed to improve. I did it two ways that were both effective I think.

1) Steve Justa style,

Every other day just work up until you hit a nice working weight and then try to get about 10-30 reps in with that weight. The loads waved throughout the week as did the reps. I didn't know %'s or Prilipen's chart, which worked to my advantage I think. I did front squats, DB presses and power cleans.

2) Dan Johnish style.

one lift each day, 4 or 5 days in a row. try to hit about 10-30 singles. I did this with f squats, DB snatch, press, and DL. this worked pretty well. although the loads were low I improved pretty quickly and the number of total reps I could nail went up each week. I never went over 225 on front squats, or 365 DL, the DB snatch I pushed maybe as high as 115. The press never went above a plate. I did get a lot more proficient though. oddly, when I returned to rep work, I made really good improvements with 5's for a long while.

this is sort of the opposite of what you see called for by a lot of people. working from say sets of 5's and 8's down to doubles and triples but I think it worked well for me.

Brandon Enos
09-02-2009, 10:50 PM
So Steven, maybe something like the original starting strength but with front squats, only twice a week and maybe only 3x3? Plus maybe some back exercise to hit my back in a way power cleans and deads wont, but pullups and bent-over rows can?

Brandon Enos
09-02-2009, 10:51 PM
Dan, the only problem with those two options is that with my current work schedules, plus the HIIT and jiu jitsu, I really can only do any heavy lifting twice a week, occasionally three times.

Dave Van Skike
09-03-2009, 11:36 AM
Dan, the only problem with those two options is that with my current work schedules, plus the HIIT and jiu jitsu, I really can only do any heavy lifting twice a week, occasionally three times.

Dave here. Which of those do you want to be good at? if you have access to weights each training day i'd just warm up a medium heavy single 2-3 days a week max the sport should take priorty, who cares about the rest?

Martin Bonn
09-04-2009, 07:44 AM
I agree with Dave and Steve:
keep the numbers low, keep it heavy. focus.
you can only ever be really good at one thing...decide for yourself which one it s gonna be.
If it was between rows and pull-ups: i d prefer pull-ups: they don t stress your lower body in the way rows will.

Mark Fenner
09-04-2009, 04:54 PM
A couple of thoughts:

You can improve your deadlift with relatively few work reps at a time. Let your squat build your strength and "practice" the deadlift as a technique. A single work up once a week (or even twice every three weeks .... or once a month) is sensible if there is enough other work to drive up your raw strength (not your display strength). (One portion of the DL that might need more frequent work is your grip; pullups and judo/jiujitsu may suffice depending on your DL max.)

I'm partial of starting at 70kg and incrementing by 20k at a pop. With this, you'd be in the ballpark of 155, 200, 245, 290, 330, 370, etc. You can either do the first few with 5s, the next few with 3s, and then hit singles when you get higher up. Or, just single all the way up and when you start "grinding" a little bit, take smaller jumps: 10k is still 22lbs.

Another option, since you like singles, is to adopt a rest-pause method. For your sets of "5", approach the bar, setup, do a single, set the bar down, let go, stand up. Take 2-5 deep breaths. Reset and go. Repeat for five total times. Five singles ... but the point of the rest for you is to make them singles, not to increase your 5 rep weight. Focus on making every rep perfect.

One other thing I learned the hard way, recently, is that if you haven't deadlifted in several months (say for the summer) ... don't work up to a heavy single in anger. You'll lift the weight ... and your body will pay the price. If you want to take anger out on the deadlifting bar, make sure you've been working it recently. Otherwise, stick to the heavy bag.


Brandon Enos
09-04-2009, 11:28 PM
Ugh, Dave. Sorry. Looking right at your name and can't get it right haha. I looked at the idea of doing one lift a day. Another problem is the fact that Mon-Fri, all of my workouts have to be after 4 PM. So if I was to do that, Id have a heavy lift competing with the HIIT and Jiu Jitsu in the same workout, I just dont feel that that would be smart.

My main focuses is my conditioning and jiu jitsu, those are my weak points, but I dont want to neglect my strength training since its a large part of the equation as well. Thats why I wanted to dedicate two days a week to it, plus the swimming afterward.

After reading the responses, and some consideration, I think that I would be good doing a modified starting strength. With the differences of doing front squats over back, pullups/chinups added in, and only twice a week over three times. I think that that plan will be more than enough to keep and even add to my strength while the jiu jitsu and complexes/HIIT style increase my conditioning and burn some of that fat (actually only about 30 pounds from my goal now).

Brandon Enos
09-04-2009, 11:41 PM
I guess one more thing. Maybe Im just being paranoid about doing heavy singles and jiu jitsu or HIIT in the same day? Would it be as much of a problem as I'm thinking or am I blowing it out of proportion? If I did do them, I think I might use something similar to the idea Mark posted, I liked that one. And, if you did do the heavy singles everyday, how would you order them to best go with the jiu jitsu tues and thur and HIIT/complexes wed and sat? Lets say the exercises were front squats, deadlifts, pullups, bench press, power clean and press.

It would be best for my personal schedule to have pullups on fridays. I go out of town at least two weekends a month and that normally includes friday. I dont always have access to a good gym, but for pullups, all I need is a bar....or a tree branch, sturdy door, pipe, etc..if I did the two strength workouts a week, I was going to replace the workout with explosive bodyweight stuff when out of town and lifting furniture for deads. I guess I could replace the bench with explosive pushups or front squats with jump squats. But what I was thinking was, mon-bench, tue-dead, wed-HANG clean and press, thur-front squat, fri-pullup.

My first thought was that the hang clean and press could be bad if I was also doing a HIIT workout that same day..but I thought about it, my clean and press is pretty low, mainly due to the press, my power clean is good, but my press holds me back with my best ever being 120 :( and since my HIIT and complex work is all going to be really light, bodyweight, kettlebells, or at most, very lightly loaded barbell, I dont think the hang clean and press will be very bad since I wont be going for long, even if I started with an empty bar and added say ten pounds a single, Id only get 8 reps in and be at 115, so wont be lifting for long and will be stopping pretty light...

Any thoughts?

Steven Low
09-05-2009, 09:08 AM
You're overthinking it.

Just pick one of the methods and do it and see how it works for a couple weeks. If performance gains are good then keep it. If you're recovery is suffering or you're not making good gains then modify it SLIGHTLY.

jake oleander
09-06-2009, 06:56 AM
You're overthinking it.

Just pick one of the methods and do it and see how it works for a couple weeks. If performance gains are good then keep it. If you're recovery is suffering or you're not making good gains then modify it SLIGHTLY.

this is the key.

i wouldnt be surprised if you could do heavy lifting and JJ on the same days, but you cant do it indefinitely, at some point you will overtrain with a schedule like that.