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Old 04-11-2007, 10:21 AM   #11
Dave Van Skike
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Originally Posted by Sam Cannons View Post
Thanks Dave, i will give you a bit of background to make it clearer. I have only recently got enough weights at home to do a 1rm max deadlift, so i havent really ever done much 1rm max training. Compared to other lifts i think my dead is pretty shit so i really want to smash is it over the next 6 months. I wasnt sure about pavels stuff as it is only 2x5 a day.

I was going to add sets of 1rm every other day on top of the other crossfit Rx.

Again thanks for your help.

Don't dismiss the PTP stuff out of hand, it's actually very productive for a lot of folks who are new to high percentage training. The volume will sneak up on you but generally will leave you refreshed enough for the other stuff you want to do.

All in all, I'd defer to Steve's take as he has a good deal of experience in that artena. As far as "maxing" every other day, if you are relatively new to heavy deadlifting, technically you don't have a 1 rep max, yu have a sorta sorta maxi (trademark DJ enterprises) I suspect that progressive pulls 2-3 days a week which might be taxing for someone who deadlifts double bodyweight or above, wouldn't be too tough on you at first. (your xfitr performance shoudl suffer) As your numbers go up, you'll need a lot more rest, unless of course you have freakshow-long monkey arms and are anatomically gifted for the DL. In which case, you might be able to push the percentages and volume with no ill effects. I'm a relative lifting rookie and at first I could deadlift "heavy" every other day. Teh I did a cycle of PTP, and soem othe rprogressiosn after that like Dan Johns' one lift a day. Within about a 3 months, the work sets on my DL had increased by well over 150 pounds and I could only hit it hard once maybe twice a week.

Steve's suggestion is probably the safest bet for you as it involves a lot pulling volume without a ton of actual DL volume.
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Old 04-11-2007, 10:38 AM   #12
Rick Deckart
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 557

Originally Posted by Steve Shafley View Post
I'd recommend, initially, working up to a max single once a week. In good form.

Then, after that pans out, probably after 4-8 weeks, depending on your training age and status, you'll need to get trickier.

Rip, in his interview with Charles Staley, mentioned this sequence:

power clean->high pull->deadlift

These are called "progressive pulls".

If you can do PCs and high pulls, then this is an excellent way to build up pulling capacity, and an excellent way to insure you are warmed up.

An example, assuming ~500# DL max.

PC: 135x3, 185x3, 205x3, 225x3, 245x1
HP: 245x3, 275x3, 315x3, 335x1
DL: 335x1, 365x1, 405x1, 455x1, 475x1, 485x1
Steve I might give this a whirl in a while but have a couple of questions:
Is that one or your actual workouts? Three deadlifts over 90% of 1RM max seems pretty tough after that kind of warmup. How long did it take you to recover from that session?

BTW I second Daves statement that you cannot do maxes every other day in the deadlifts once you pull some weight close to your current max. That will simply not work unless you are genetically gifted or willing to take mega-rests of over 10min between the singles and even then I would burn out in no time...
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Old 04-11-2007, 11:26 AM   #13
Steve Shafley
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It's a 1x weekly thing.

And, yeah, that's pretty close to this:

135x3, 135x3, 185x3, 185x3, 205x3, 225x3
225x3, 275x3, 315x3
315x3, 365x3, 405x3, 455x1, 475x1, 495x1
Which is directly taken from my ADD log at the P&B. My max in the DL right now is probably ~540-550 (that's max max with psyche, probably 515-535 without the frothing at the mouth).
I do them by feel, and very often don't worry about percents.

PC: Up to a moderately hard triple or single.
CHP: (clean grip high pull): Up to a moderately hard single or triple
DL: Up to a daily max single...no psyche.

I also like just the PC+DL combo.

This isn't even dabbling in all the different DL and other variations you can do. In an old "Get Up" I have a rambling article about "Deadlift Voodoo" with all kinds of crazy babbling.

DEADLIFT VOODOO from the June 2004 Get Up Newsletter.

Out of all the powerlifts, it seems that the majority of lifters have trouble with the deadlift. There are some verypowerful reasons for this:

1. The deadlift movement doesn't lend itself well to supportive equipment.
2. The deadlift starts from a dead stop. Reactive strength won't help you here.
3. For most, deadlifting is no fun at all. It's a hard, brutal, grinding lift.

One very interesting thing is to look at the meet results between a federation like the APF and a federation like the USAPL. The deadlifts in the USAPL are much higher in relation to the squats. This is directly related to the equipment used. Some guys squatting 1000 lbs in unlimited fed are barely pulling ~650 lb in the same meet.

The guys at Westside Barbell maintain that the deadlift has the highest drain on the CNS (central nervous system). Up until recently, they preferred to address this issue by using a majority of non-pulling special exercises. It's nice to just toss a blanket over the whole thing, and say that the deadlift is a killer on the CNS, and not pull and hope for the best. I've done this myself. In one meet I had a significant PR, in another, I regressed.

Looking over my training logs, I didn't see all that much difference between the way I trained for either meet, except one was a push/pull and one was a full meet.

When you look at the deadlift, and analyze the lift, it should be readily apparent that it makes a bigger dent in the CNS than an equivalent squat, and here's why:

1. The grip: You have to hold onto the deadlift with your hands. You don't think it matters? I can practically guarantee that MOST (but not all) lifters can deadlift more when using straps. Don't forget your hands are the most innervated part of your body.
2. The full body aspect: The deadlift is probably the most full-body, brute strength, low skill lift you can do.
3. The mental aspect: Psyching for a maximum deadlift is tiring and an ordeal. The low skill required to pull a deadlift allows a lifter to really get agitated and froth at the mouth when preparing for the max pull. You can bet that this is going to take it's toll on the CNS.
4. The grinding nature of the deadlift. The competitive deadlift is not
a fast lift. The lifter must be able to send a large impulse to overcome gravity and get the deadlift moving and then must maintain that impulse to finish the lift.

There are always exceptions. Some lifters pull and pull and pull and don't have a problem with it. I know of one guy who pulled max deadlifts every week for a period of 2 years, and his deadlift went from ~500lbs to ~800lbs. He didn't know his CNS was fried. If pulling a max deadlift every week would do that for me, I'd be hopping right on the bandwagon. This lifter suffers from OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and I suspect that this has a lot to do with his brute- force, straightforward plan and results. For some, like the lifter above, the no-deadlift approach doesn't cut it. For others, it's a godsend.

I haven't quite figured out how to tell if a lifter should pull more often or not, but I think it might have something to do with the difference between a lifter's stifflegged deadlift and good morning (this insight was brought to you by Kip Miller of the HOUSE OF HURT fame). If a lifter excels as stiff- legged deadlifts, they are probably more suitable for a routine based around more frequent pulling. If they excel at the good morning, then using an assortment of
special exercises with some skill andspeed work on the deadlift throw in may be a better approach.

This is an old Westside recommended program for deadlifting:
Week 1 - 15 singles @ 65%
Week 2 - 12 singles @ 70%
Week 3 - 10 singles @ 75%
Week 4 - 8 singles @ 80%
Week 5 - 6 singles @ 85%

Kip Miller swears by this, and says it's worked for him every time he uses it. He also says it works really well using the reverse band technique instead of regular deadlifts (you hang the bar from some jumpstretch bands so it deloads as you get higher)

If you watch the training logs on EliteFTS you will see that they are doing more pulling. A lot of it is speed pulls with bands attached to the floor (as opposed to reverse band pulls), and there is a pretty decent amount of it done while standing on some kind of platform. This varies significantly from what they have done in the past.

You'll see some interesting things coming out of Westside in the next year or so about improving the deadlift, because it's the last frontier. Once Louie Simmons turns his eclectic talent towards improving the deadlift of his club, you will be seeing some improvement. It's already started and you can see that in one of his later articles "Deadlifts on the Rise" or something on the Westside-Barbell site.

Here are some ideas I've had while brainstorming deadlift training.
They are varied, and some chime with what WBC recommends and some go against the grain. Training yourself often involves a significant amount of experimentation.

Bottom position work is an excellent choice for ME work or assistance work. One of my favorite lifts to help the deadlift is the bottom position start zercher squat. This is a painful lift, but very effective for helping maintain the stability of the "core" during the deadlift. Bottom position GMs also seemed to help much more than regular GMs. Bottom position work seems to jar my spine and joints more than regular work. In terms of the central nervous system, this helps train for that big initial impulse to get the lift moving.

I also think isometrics at the bottom position and at the "critical joint
configuration" (a term used by DB Hammer at www.inno-sport.net , who's training methods are based on training the nervous system, not the necessarily the musculature) might help, but haven't gotten around to experimenting with them yet. The CJC for the deadlift is supposedly around knee level and at the floor. The recommendations for these types of isometrics don't involve pulling against a immovable bar, but rather lowering the bar to the proper position and holding it there for a specified amount of time. This would have a beneficial effect on a lifter's ability to maintain the required CNS impulse for a longer duration.

In addition, heavy, (and I mean eventually working up to bodyweight or
greater) side bends or isometric suitcase deadlift holds, or one handed farmers walks, or suitcase deadlifts might assist here too. The lateral or side-to-side stability of the spine becomes an issue with the mixed grip typically used for competition deadlifting. It's a big enough issue for some (like Brad Gillingham and my friend Wade Hanna) to switch to the painful hook grip, and spend months acclimatizing the thumbs to that sort of pressure and pain.

I have just started dabbling with "density" type deadlifting. I'll take a 20 minute block of time, and perform deadlifts with a set weight. Over time, your workload will increase as you get better and better at pulling with that weight. When it reaches a certain threshold, you add weight. I've arbitrarily set this threshold at ~30 repetitions. This concept is highly recommended by Bryce Lane (who keeps an excellent website at
http://home.comcast.net/~joandbryce/ and a forum at
http://pub101.ezboard.com/btheironworks) and the strength coach Charles Staley, who really delves into it in his EDT (Escalating Density Training) concepts. Incidentally, the DOMS that occurred after the first session of this type of pulling kept my training partner home from work the next day. Not for the light hearted.

It's all Deadlift Voodoo. What works for me doesn't work for you. What works for me one meet, doesn't work the next.

It's hard, brutal labor that often doesn't pay off. The deadlift is a harsh mistress.
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Old 04-11-2007, 11:38 AM   #14
Rick Deckart
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 557

Thanks Steve,

I think I will try that every other week between the two Hatch cycle days. The other week will be some sort of working the rack down ala Sumo, done after my Joe Mills type20/20 workout. One set of 10 reps around 85% of 1RM reducing height every session (every 14 days) 25mm.

And sorry for hijacking the thread.
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Old 04-11-2007, 11:45 AM   #15
Steve Shafley
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,285

One other idea I had for the deadlift, but never tried was an alternating program of pulling from a deficit (i.e. standing on 1-3" platform) and the next workout (either during the same week, or perform one DL based workout each week) you'd pull from a surplus.

Instead of doing rack pulls, I'd do a pull from 1-2" above my knee, which seems to relate to a weak point in my deadlift.
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Old 04-11-2007, 03:09 PM   #16
Dave Van Skike
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Woudl you still do this on day per week basis?

Or, do you think slightly higher volume would work as you working lower weights on the deficit work?

This is sort of the logic I've been working towards to get tha DL moving again.

Monday is higher volume but lower intensity, pulling from a snatch grip or off a block in my squat shoes.

Wed. pull from a rack maybe with straps. Low volume, but very high intensity.

Saturday. High intensity, very low volume. Work up to a heavy single or a triple.

I suppose if I was over 500 pounds in the DL it would be too much. At my more modest numbers, (I work set of 315 from a snatch grip) it might be do-able.

Originally Posted by Steve Shafley View Post
One other idea I had for the deadlift, but never tried was an alternating program of pulling from a deficit (i.e. standing on 1-3" platform) and the next workout (either during the same week, or perform one DL based workout each week) you'd pull from a surplus.

Instead of doing rack pulls, I'd do a pull from 1-2" above my knee, which seems to relate to a weak point in my deadlift.
Practical Strength
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Old 04-11-2007, 05:14 PM   #17
Sam Cannons
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Posts: 322

Thanks for the help, tons of good stuff here. My current 1rm is about 145kg and i have set a goal for 200 by next year.


Sam In Aus
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Old 04-11-2007, 08:25 PM   #18
Gary John
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 65

Shaf had the Westside program in an old GetUp. That was my first experience with the dead and I went through it three times.

Spent part of the summer doing SLDL's off 4-inch blocks. 5x10, minute between sets, at about 160#. Set me up for huge improvements in pulling.

I keep pushing rack pulls, but that was what really changed the middle of my dead. Shaf's ladder program, again three times through put a 150# improvement on my rack pull. Actually ran out of weight and had to buy more.

SGDL's are great and just get you strong.

Recently did 3sets of 5 in under a minute with 315# in the dead. I'm not trying for a max, cuz I lift to throw, but right now, I'm curious.
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Old 04-11-2007, 08:46 PM   #19
Steve Shafley
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Frequency depends on how fresh you keep yourself.

Lower volume and relative intensities allow more frequency.

Sometimes, you just got to say "F@ck it" and try it.
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Old 04-12-2007, 02:15 AM   #20
Rick Deckart
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Out of curiosity, what is your current bodyweight Sam?

Steve actually I thought about working the rack down into a deficit, as the start is one of th weak link in my deadlift, well, if I think about it everything below and around the knees... Once over the knees I have plenty of leverage.
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