The Deadlift Challenge: Week 1
Max as tested on 10/01/2015- 220 kgs
Week 1: 75% of max (165 kgs) 4 sets of 5 reps
The build-up to a new max in ten weeks starts here.
This is the lightest weight I’ll be using during this training cycle: as I go on I’ll be reducing the number of sets and reps (total volume) and upping the weight progressively.
After testing my max last week I’m starting a program that will hopefully result in me at least matching my all-time PR, although I obviously would like to exceed it.
Why don’t I aim for a number?
For the deadlift especially I have found that it really is a ‘mood’ exercise in terms of what numbers you’ll get one day to the next.
What I mean is that there will be days when the weights feel light and everything is flying up: great if that happens to be your maximum test day or you are nearing the end of a training cycle.
If I have a day like that and I’m maybe two or even three weeks off of testing my max, sometimes I might just go for it, since everything is moving so fast.
Then there are the days where you feel like you’re rested and feel good for the session, only for the warm-ups to feel slow and the weight heavy.
It’s because it is such a demanding all-body movement a small difference in energy levels or whether your CNS is fully recovered can quite dramatically affect how the weight feels on a given day.
So, how did week 1 go?
Week 1 of 10: 75% of current 1 RM, looking to consolidate form and speed with some volume.
This session went quite well, as I hoped it would seeing that this is the lightest I’m going to be going in the 10 weeks.
Here’s a short video of one of my sets of 5 (sorry for the crappy angle, was on my own and couldn’t find a good place to put the camera).
I have never really filmed myself lifting before so it was good to note a couple of things:
1. When I have missed deadlifts in the past, it has always been at the lockout: off the floor it has always been quite fast, as this shows.
If you look at the last couple of reps, you’ll notice that it takes a bit of effort to get my hips under the bar to lockout, due my upper back rounding a bit. While this is not dangerous (lower back rounding is the problem), I need to work on my upper back strength to ensure I keep my shoulders pinned back as much as possible to help me with the lockout.
It wasn’t a problem here with this weight, but this is something I’ll have to be strict on over the coming weeks to make sure it doesn’t affect me once I start getting closer to my max.
2. Watch the mirror: my back tends to have a small flex when it takes the strain at the start of each rep.
Again, this is not dangerous for my back because it finds its strongest position, but I should try to work to lock into a position before the bar comes off the floor, which will increase efficiency of the lift.
Overall, though the lift looked and felt quite comfortable.
I’ll post the next workout next week, including some footage of some of the accessory movements I’m doing to help the two points I’ve listed above.
Next week: 180 kgs (405 lbs) 4 sets of 3.
Any thoughts? Comment below and let us know how you’re getting on with your challenges.
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