The Deadlift Challenge: New PR?

Fitness. Diving. Lifestyle.

The Deadlift Challenge: New PR?

Max as tested on 10/01/2015- 220 kgs

So as I said a couple of weeks ago I would be taking a bit of time off from the Deadlift Challenge due to picking up an injury and generally feeling a bit burned out.

Initially I set out a 10 week program to a new PR, but as I said at the time I knew that the best laid plans often go wrong and it so it has proved- through being away, picking up injuries or just not being able to train optimally from time to time means that here we are, three weeks into April and 15 weeks since my last PR attempt.

Recently I’ve been letting a small back strain recover, so I haven’t been going very heavy and there didn’t seem much point to record my deadlift workouts the past few weeks.

But last week I finally felt good and fresh, and after taking one more week off (see why in my dealing with injuries post), I decided to give it a go a couple of days ago.

I figured that I had put down the foundations through the work I had done during the program and therefore I just needed a healed injury and a fresh CNS.

New PR?

The session did go well, and I ended up beating the max I set in January quite easily, but failing to hit a new all-time record.

Here’s the video. 

So right now I’m at a max of 230 kgs (506 lbs).

For those concerned about my back rounding, bear in mind that over years of deadlifting I have found this is a position that seems to work for me, and have not sustained any injuries from it, just a slight tweak once or twice that has been from not engaging my core and letting the position slip slightly.

If you’re just starting out then it is important to keep the back flat- don’t copy me.

It’s an upper back rounded position that generally means you can be fast off the floor but it is harder to lockout.

I’ll write more in-depth about back rounding in the deadlift soon and explain further.

So I beat my January max by 10 kgs, and the lift on the whole felt pretty good. 

It’s not much, but I’m probably near my max potential and so even a 5 kg increase would be good: 10 kgs I’m fairly happy with.

The longer you train, and the more you push yourself, the smaller and harder these gains get.  This is why it’s a sure sign of ‘extra assistance’ when someone who has been training hard for years suddenly makes big gains.  It just doesn’t happen if you’re natural.

So if one day I put up a video of me in the near future suddenly pulling 270 kgs, you will have every right to point the finger!

Wanting to go for an all-time PR I went for 240 kgs (528 lbs), and got it to my knees: in hindsight I think I waited too long between sets and therefore lost my focus a bit.

I also think I gave up on it too early.  If you look at the picture below, you’ll see I’m not that far off- in fact I’ve done most of the hard part, I just need to lock it out- so that’s something I need to remember for next time.

240 kg fail...it was close

240 kg fail…it was close

Ok, so ‘just locking it out’ is sometimes the hardest part of the lift- especially with my style of pulling- but looking at my position here I think if I just stuck with it and kept pulling it would have happened.

What I have found from doing these percentage cycles is that you normally have a small window of opportunity at the end of each one where you are primed to hit new PR’s (as planned).  After this period you can fall off a cliff if you don’t deload, and build up once again: this is exacerbated the more advanced you are.

I know this from experience- I’ve built up to a new PR, the weights were feeling great.  I started dreaming that bigger numbers weren’t far away, and continued to test my strength levels week after week.  It goes fine for a couple of sessions after the PR, then I pretty dramatically flat-line, and weights that were a warm-up two weeks ago feel more and more like lead.

It’s because you can’t keep stressing your CNS to the max before it gets burnt out, more and more so as the weights increase. 

I really think I had the 240 kgs in me, so I’m going to wait till next week and give it another go, with more awareness of rest and staying focused.

240 kgs...hopefully next time

240 kgs…hopefully next time

Then I’ll take some time off of going heavy, before the next, different challenge starts.

I hope this challenge so far has proved that the percentage principle DOES work.  It’s not easy, it takes time, but it is simple and effective.

I hope too that if you’ve taken up a challenge that it has been successful or that it’s going well.

Watch this space for the hopeful conclusion of The Deadlift Challenge with an all-time PR next week!

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