My Jon Pall Sigmarrson imitation with 375.At one point around 2000, I was doing a push-pull meet every 6 months or so, and as I've never been a big bencher, was relying entirely on my deadlift to get me through. As such, I started doing some of the craziest shit you could imagine to get it moving up ever further, and in doing so discovered that my body does indeed have a limit on the amount of training shenanigans it will endure before it tells me to fuck off. Now, I'm not talking about "cheeky and fun" shenanigans- I'm talking Farva-esque "cruel and tragic" shenanigans. This was the workout I developed to get my deadlift from 515-555 over the course of about a year, done once a week:
Deadlift to max 8-10 sets progressively increasing until failure
Rack deadlift from knees to max in the same manner
One arm, 2 finger deadlifts 5x5 (using two fingers and a thumb on one hand, alternating hands)
One finger deadlifts 5x1 (using both arms, thumb and index finger)
Yeah. That just fucking happened. I loved that fucking workout, and looked forward to it all week. That is, until my midback cramped one day while picking up a 30 lb dumbbell off the rack, and I had to stop lifting back for a couple of months due to completely debilitating, uncontrollable cramping. Since then, nearly every time I deadlift to max more than once every couple of months, my back cramps up horribly and it totally fucks my other lifts, most notably front and back squats. As such, I'd all but laid off deadlifts for the last year or so, doing them only when I didn't feel like doing anything else and wanted to get fucking nuts in the gym.
Lately, I decided that discretion was the better form of valor, and as my dead had been stuck at 615 for the last 6-10 months, I figured I'd try something a bit different. About two months ago, I decided to cut my shrugging back to once a week and supplement that with deadlifts at 85% of my 1rm for 45 mins to an hour of singles. I didn't track my reps, ground out all of the knots in my back in between sets by laying back onto a barbell and driving myself into it as it lay in the rack, and hitting a single about once a minute. The result, after dropping about 5 lbs of fat, I pulled 635 easy. Thereafter, I went for 675, and got it halfway up before realizing it might be the last thing I ever did if I kept pulling, haha.
What'd I learn from this?
- If you lift like a complete fucking asshole, your body's going to let you know what it thinks about things at some point.
- If you tone down the assholishness a bit, you can get your body back on the same page as your brain, more or less.
- Dogmatism of any form is a fucking horrible thing. If you dogmatically follow any program, as I did, without considering the repercussions, or simply ignoring them when they arise, you're fucking yourself, and you look like a jackass in the process. Adaptation, assimilation, and modification are your fucking friends in the gym. Additionally, dogmatically following any system, be it Rippetoe's, Pythagorus's (that asshole drowned one of his students, because the guy discovered irrational numbers) or Jesus's, and you'll one day find yourself a pudgy little fucker wearing a lime green t-shirt bearing the words "Dance so that the Lord can see it" in a bookstore while drinking some sugar-laden coffee concoction and wondering why you have man tits, like the sorry motherfucker before me right now. Dogmatism is bad.
SHW Andy Bolton, the only man to ever deadlift over 1000 lbs, current record holder with 1009 lb DL:
10 min on bike to warm up.
bench press: 10x 3 to 5 reps using 3 different height boards on chest 2″, 4″ and 6″.
close grip bench: 3 x 5 reps
light shoulder press: 2 x 8 reps
light front and side delt’s.
heavy vbar pushdowns working up to max at 6 to 10 reps.
Tuesday: rest day.
1/4 squats: sets of 3 reps
deadlift:. 10x3 to 5
partial deadlifts pulled from shin height: (with straps) for an array of reps and sets
Lying leg curls 4 sets 8/10reps
Single leg curls 2 sets 8/10reps
Leg ex 3 sets 12/20 reps
Leg press max weight 600kg 20 reps
Seated calf raises 2 sets 20 reps
Barbell shrugs 4 sets 10/12 reps max weight used 410kg/900lbs
Hammer rows single arm 3 sets 8/10reps max weight used 200kg
Vbar pulldowns 3 sets 8/10reps
Dumbbell concentration curl 3 sets 12 done for pump only
Dumbbell hammer curls 3 sets 10reps max weight done 130lb
Abs floor crunches 4 sets 10/12reps
Konstantin Konstantinovs (#1 ranked raw powerlifter, 847 lb raw DL at 275 lbs)
1. Light squat for a warm up.
2. Deadlift. I do a different variant every time I train: rack pulls – 7, 11, 15, 20, 23 cm from the knees (higher than that I never pull). I do either a set of 3 reps or 8-10 depending on how I feel.
3. Bench press. I consider bench press as rest between heavy work. I bench either with touch and go with a medium grip, or with a close grip pausing at the bottom. I might do a single set of 10 reps with touch and go, or might max out pausing at the bottom. It all depends on how I feel and my mood.
4. 2nd deadlift. I pull either from a floor or from a deficit (about 9 cm). I do a single set of 2-3 reps pausing at the bottom. Then if I have enough energy, I might do another set of 6-8 reps.
5. Box squat. Heavy box squat as described above.
Workout 2 (in two days).
1. Medium heavy squat as described above.
2. Heavy bench press for a single set of 3 reps. Once in two weeks: negatives – 1-2 set for 1 rep. Then a single set of 8-10 reps with either close or medium grip depending on how I feel.
3. Cardio – 15-20 min.
1. Light squat.
2. Medium heavy bench press: a single set of 6-8 reps.
3. Speed deadlift with bands: 8x1. Bands increase weight by 130 kg at the top.
4. Pull ups with weight or bands. ONLY explosively. Very important for my deadlift.
5. GHR, hyperextensions, very heavy abs work (6 sets with emphasis on strength).
The same as workout 2.
After this the microcycle is repeated.
Two brutal lifters, two wildly different methods, and both completely different from Ed Coan's widely utilized deadlifting methodology.
There are no universal truths in lifting- there's only what's working for you right now, and what have and haven't worked for you in the past. All else is fucking horseshit.