A Little Deadlift Experiment, Part 1

Over the past five weeks of training I added 40lbs to my deadlift.

"Whaaattt?? Are you some kind of magician?" you ask?

No, not necessarily, but I've been doing a little bit of experimenting, along with training my deadlift with a bit of unconventional methodology. First, a bit of background information.

In early 2011 I deadlifted 410lbs for a PR. Then, in mid-2011, I contracted Lyme's Disease. I was bed-ridden for weeks and literally did not even have the strength/energy to watch the movies that friends brought by my house to help me pass the time. Fortunately (*understatement alert*), I was on the road to recovery relatively early considering my illness, and the doctors told me how amazing it was that I was up and walking so soon.

Needless to say, I now have a much deeper appreciation for how blessed I am to be where I currently stand with my health. Lyme's is an absolutely miserable disease and my heart goes out deeply to all those who find themselves battling it for years on end.

Moving on with the story, Lyme's completely sapped any strength I had previously obtained, and nearly left me back at Ground Zero with regards to my training.

To give you an idea, my first training session back in the gym (Fall 2011) entailed 3x6 pullups and 3x8 pushups.

And I nearly puked.

Even though I lived in convalescence for quite some time, I continued with my training, trying to be as perseverant yet prudent as possible. Eventually I worked back up to deadlifting 225lbs, but it felt heavy. And I mean heavy.

Fast forward six months, and - after feeling completely healed from the disease - pulled 385lbs for a single.

My Experiment

Next, I decided to play Mr. Scientist and play with a deadlifting experiment. To be honest, I was spinning my wheels a bit with my training, so I decided to work on a lift that I admittedly suck at: The Deadlift.

Over the past five weeks, I deadlifted every day, Monday through Friday. Yep. Every. single. day. Take the weekend off, rinse, lather, repeat.

What were the results? I went from 385lbs to 425lbs in those five weeks of training! Here is the video from Test Day 1 (I'll be "sort of maxing" every four to five weeks):

Some Closing Thoughts:

1. I am, admittedly, not a good deadlifter. Squatting has always felt more "natural" to me personally, primarily due to the fact that I have a very long torso relative to the length of my legs. I've had to work much harder than (some) others to bring my deadlift up, and it's still not what I would consider awe-inspiring by any means.

This was, however, a major victory for me after experiencing the large serving of humble-pie that Lyme's served me with in 2011. Not gonna lie, I gave myself a little, personal fist bump after doing this, and praise God every day that He has given me back my health in order to continue one of my greatest passions.

Like I said, you don't truly appreciate your health until it is taken from you.

2. Honestly, when I woke up on Testing Day last week, I wasn't sure what was going to happen. Was I going to pull less than 385lbs? Was I going to be stuck at the same weight? Could I pull more?

My original goal was to climb back up to 405lbs, but I was pleasantly surprised to find how fast and "easy" the weight felt. This is why I went ahead and added another 20lbs to the bar to go for the 425 pull.

3. Note that I "sort of maxed," as I had a bit of room in the tank on that 425lb pull. I still stand by what I said that this is the way to go to avoid burning out and ensure (at least as much as one can ensure) continued progress.

4. No, I am not going to unveil the exact program I used. I'm going to continue tweaking and refining the plan, and see where it continues to take me. I do ask that you refrain from going out and performing heavy deadlifts every day after reading this. This is NOT what I did and you'd be digging your own grave if you go out there and begin pulling heavy Monday through Friday.

5. Although I improved 4olbs over this 5-week period, it was, admittedly, a lifetime PR of 15lbs. I'm interested to see how things progress (if at all) and how my body continues to react to this type of training plan.

6. Don't worry, after I'm done with the experiment, I'll unveil what I did. So keep your eyes peeled.