Need Help With Struggling Deadlift Routine...

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    Need Help With Struggling Deadlift Routine...


    Does anyone have any recommendations on how to defeat a deadlift plateau? I have been stuck at a raw 550 now for quite some time. I don't know what the deal is but I've cycled through several routines. I've tried Heavy Duty training, used Starting Strength and Practical Programming by Mark Rippetoe, gone with periodization.... tried German Volume Training, West side barbell... seem to be ending up right back where I left off each time. I am literally at the mercy of those here that have put in their time also and have come across something that perhaps I am missing. Any pointers would be greatly respected and appreciated!



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    A 550lb raw deadlift is nuts. I think most on here would be uncomfortable giving you advice because you're so advanced. Have you tried adjusting your technique to take advantage of your leverages? Konstantin said that he could get his deadlift to a certain point with no adjustments, but after hitting about 700lbs he had to make adjustments to his technique to continue progressing.

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    Focus on where your weak link is, if you can post up a video of yourself pulling something heavy that would help. It may also just be a mental thing, deadlift is one of the easier exercises to mindfuk yourself on. If thats the case try working an overload movement like reverse band deadlifts so you get the extra weight in your hands.

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    Btw, just something else to add in here--I realize that I am new to the forum as far as posting but for the longest time, I never really felt that I had any productive input. If I had participated (and this is just me being completely open, humble and honest) I would have had very little factual information to present to group members and would never dare post anything that could cause someone to take the wrong path. I am willing to share my personal experiences now however, as they won't be false; feeling that I've put in my time and have actual tangible results/theories to help others relate to and possibly SAFELY give aid to others that have experienced similar struggles. I'm not here to free-load. I would love to share with and learn from others as I really have begun to take this quite serious. I am not a "get big weights quick" kinda guy. I often feel over zealous but remind myself that "Rome was not built in a day". (Just a little background on my train of thought.) Just to let the rest of the forum members know, believe it or not, I've actually never really been a blogger or have participated in forums. Like I said, just never felt that I had anything to offer. So, if this is the wrong place for me to be sharing in the powerlifting subject, please accept my apologies. Much Respect!

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    Very useful replies Sweekaters and pmiller383! Both of your replies are currently topics that I am undoubtedly looking into. Thank you for taking the time! I had tried for so long to just power through the movement. Yes, I have a tendency of over-thinking the lift for sure! I put so much emphasis on maintaining 100% absolute correct form. So, at the same time, I am going to use the bands now, try and use weights around the 75% range, primarily to just work continually on speed, moving the weight through the allotted space while concentrating on perfecting a perfect line from floor to erect stance- perhaps go with some high volume... I was thinking of even throwing some chains on there. What really helped me break my form plateau was the tire flips. (With the fire department I work for, I asked my chief if he had any remaining old airport crash & fire truck tires....weighs approx 400 lbs.) I would flip the tire for sets of 20 as fast as I could. The only downside being that I was concerned that I may have been over-training a little by doing too many sets. Its not like our dept. has an entire team of sports docs and Louie Simmons/Mark Rippetoes sitting around watching what we're all doing and saying, "Oh yeah btw, that's overtraining!" Its frustrating to get to a point where you just sit back and question what in the world you could possibly doing wrong? Or maybe doing something right but missing that small piece that may lead to a new adaptation... Not to mention, I've had so many lifting buddies say, just get on the juice and it'll help you out! haha However, as a fireman, if I wanna continue to have a job, I will still remain anabolic free. Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking those who use by any means. I just, however, have never had that option nor will I ever. Our dept. has a very strict testing policy... hence the reason that I'm nearly 31 and have had to go at this slowly for what seems like it must have been an eternity. haha

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    Sweekaters-"adjusting your technique to take advantage of your leverages?" Could you possibly clarify in any more detail as to what that might entail? I mean, I have looked at my technique and am starting to catch on to a few things that I could do better but... any extra clarification would be cool.

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    Lol no need to apologize... is there a way you can post a video so we can see what you may or may not be doing wrong? It would be very beneficial.


    and 550 is an assload of weight... how much do you weigh? Honestly I think if you're like 130 lbs (probably not) then you may not be able to lift much more naturally, I don't know your stats but 550 is a respectable amount of weight to be "stuck" at.
    Bench - 355
    Squat - 405
    Deadlift - 600

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    pmiller383-"If thats the case try working an overload movement like reverse band deadlifts so you get the extra weight in your hands."

    Have you used this technique? What style of sets/reps would you use to enhance your technique/movement/periodization? What percentages would you use according to your 1RM? Do you stay in the 60-75% realm? Do you lift with this movement every time or is this an every other week ritual?

    I actually tried to upload pics and had to email the administrator... I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. I literally went to my profile page, clicked on upload photos and BAM... After it started loading... it said it was all done... When I went to check it out.. nothin'. So, if I'm doing something stupid and wrong lol let me know. Would be more than glad to share.

    Much respect to Sweekaters and pmiller383!

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    You might need over 50 posts
    Bench - 355
    Squat - 405
    Deadlift - 600

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    Quote Originally Posted by Insanity View Post
    Sweekaters-"adjusting your technique to take advantage of your leverages?" Could you possibly clarify in any more detail as to what that might entail? I mean, I have looked at my technique and am starting to catch on to a few things that I could do better but... any extra clarification would be cool.
    You say you always focus on lifting with perfect form, but sometimes perfect form isn't always the best when you're trying to move the most weight. I hate to always use Konstantin as an example, but he's the best at this unconventional style of deadlifting. Watch this video:
    YouTube- Deadlift 413kg(910lb) raw,no belt
    If he was pulling 300lbs, everyone would shout that he has terrible form, but his hunched back technique is what works for him because it effectively shortens the range of motion he has to go through. What works for him might not work for you, but if you are stuck at a plateau for a long time, technique adjustments might be what you need. Don't aim for textbook 'perfect form', instead try to find what allows you to pull the most weight without causing pain.

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    bkoguy07- I don't have any current videos of me performing any deadlifts. I could get them however. I have a grip of videos of just doing tire flips however... (I know that's not exactly what we're looking for though. haha) Yeah, if I was 135 and pulling that much weight, I would feel like a champion! haha However, as of right now I'm 205. The last time I benched was a year ago. I have a continual raging beeotch of a shoulder problem. So, I have laid off flat bench press. But I had gotten my flat up to a raw 405. I have no idea what my squat could be... I have repped 550 on squat for 5 reps. However, this hasn't been judged so it would not be for certain to bet on. I have gone to the floor with 500 (can't say raw though as I've used knee wraps) and come back clean. And once again, my deadlift is currently at 500 for a set of 10. So, perhaps by the time I get to an all out max with deadlift again, things will be different. I can't tell you how bad though I just want to get to that 6 plates on each side! I will have to hit up my crew and have them run some videos that I can upload....

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    You're strong as ****


    on a side note, where is your lift failing? Your hands? Bottom of the lift like off the floor, middle or top?
    Bench - 355
    Squat - 405
    Deadlift - 600

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    Thumbs up


    So, I guess that i have to have 50 posts on here before I can really do anything...

    So, Sweekater, I would have quoted you here...

    Yeah, that video of him is incredible! haha Hey why don't we just have a conversation while we're holding freaking 910lbs!? What in the world?! I do see what you mean about his form though. A lot of the times, I tend to stress keeping my back like perfectly straight. Now I see what you mean. I guess I'll have to be practicing and checking this here in the future...

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    I had a very good DL at my meet earlier this year and pulled 620 with some left in the tank. At the time I was squatting and deadlifting on the same day. I pulled something heavy, but not all out, every other week. Here's what I did:
    Week 1- Work up to heavy single on double on SQ, speed pulls for 6-10 singles (rotated between bands and straight weight)
    Week 2- Few sets of moderate doubles on the SQ, work up to heavy single on the DL (generally something at or just above 545 but never more than 585)
    Week 3- repeat of week 1 patterns

    This was on Friday's. On Monday I would do assistance work for the SQ and DL with things such as GM's, 45 degree back raises, GHR's, bent-over rows, and plenty of ab work. I would work hard at this stuff, but didn't go really heavy since I didn't want to affect my heavy work on Friday. Doing a ton of heavy reps like 500x10 in the DL would just serve to destroy my lower back and I've actually gone backward on the DL with this type of approach.

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    I also wouldn't recommend the form in the video to anyone. He's freakishly strong and can "get away with it". I would be seriously injuried if I tried that. I've managed to take my pull from 400ish to 600+ while maintaining "good" form. The biggest problem I see with people is that when they get hunched or rounded over they always miss right at lockout. The leverage is terrible from that position and very, very few people have the back strength to uncoil at the top and stand up straight from that position. I've been to a bunch of meets and seen alot of people DL and 99%+ can't effectively pull when they are rounded over to any significant degree.

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    bkoguy07- thanks man. I have tried really hard. But the more I see these powerlifting gurus pulling crazy numbers, the more hungry I become. Btw, I saw your stats! Dude, you're crazy strong also. I'm only 5'9"! (Used to be 5'10" and 1/2 haha I have lost an inch with all the lifting...) You're 6'3"! You have an incredible amount of distance to pull on your deadlift and let alone squat! To answer your question though, a lot of my struggle comes from coming up off the floor. If I can just get a certain up past the knees, I can usually battle it the rest of the way out.

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    Insanity,
    If you going to pull against bands make sure to take a few singles with no bands after because otherwise you will lose your form and end up falling backwards when pulling normal again. With the reverse bands I never have really done them consistently but the main reason I suggested them was because I didn't know if you would have access to chains. I usually pull every other cycle against chains and that has really helped me. I use about 100lbs of chain at the top when I set the movement up so I get use to holding the heavier weight. Also when I warm up I usually try standing on plate until my last couple sets to try and get my quads more involved in the movement. Here is a video of me pulling a couple weeks ago, you can skip the first 30 seconds but you can see in the video I let me upper back round a little bit but my lower back is completely neutral throughout the movement. If you have trouble staying locked in like that at the bottom of the movement then you should start adding in some extra ab work, but if you stay locked in then you probably need some quad work.

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    Insanity,
    I am currently on a modified Coan and Westside routine. I've taken the Coan deadlift program and fused it into a Westside-style format. I've been on the program for 9 weeks with no deload and it's rough. However, I'm definitely getting stronger. I have an all-raw deadlift-only meet coming up on August 14th. On Monday last week I decided to pull what I planned on doing for my 2nd lift, 565. For some reason it went up like a warm-up pull. It felt great. I just hope it feels like that in the meet. In fact, I may have to make adjustments and go up 10lbs or so. It depends on how I feel the day of the meet, I guess.
    My point is this: Stick with it. When you get frustrated, fight harder. I haven't squatted heavy in 2 months because my focus has been on pulling that bar off the platform. That sucks for me because I love squats (I do, however, love deads more, though!). The above posts regarding technique are things you need to look into. A lot of this has to do with physics. I'm a science nerd so I get into all that. As a powerlifter, I feel it's an absolute necessity to take videos of your lifts to see where your weak/strong points are. Whether you post your vids or not is up to you; don't feel obligated to do so. However, there are some folks here that know what they're talking about and can help you through your sticking point(s). Until then, focus on form and pull the damn weight off the floor. It's just you vs. gravity....
    -- JB \m/
    "There is no point in being alive if you cannot do the deadlift." - Jon Pall Sigmarsson

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    And pmiller383, that's some damn-fine puling there, sir. Nice work!

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    Thanks man, I usually find that when my sticking point is on or near the floor I stand on something (a plate or something to add distance) this makes the lift "longer" and quite a bit harder. It seems to help me work past a sticking point.. Unless your stuck at the bottom because of your forearms..
    Bench - 355
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    Deadlift - 600

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    Do some pulls standing on about 1-1/2" platform. If your gym has thick 45 lb plates that'll work well to just stand on one of them laying on the floor. Pull like that for a couple of months while wearing shoes then go back to pulling from the floor w/deadlift slippers on and it'll make it feel like a rack pull range of motion, which is freaking sweet.

    FWIW I also like pulling against bands, but personally get more out of deficit deads. I get nothing, nada, zilch out of rack pulls.

    Additionally, make sure your hips are mobile, especially hip flexors, etc. This can make a huge difference in deadlifts.

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    well I think you might shy away from doing deads from the floor. I made a lot of progress by only pulling from the floor one time every three or four weeks. Rotate good mornings, defecit deads and rack pulls, and mix in bands and chains when pulling from the floor. Pulling less took me from high 500s to low 700s in short order.
    Ex,
    week one good mornings
    Week two defecit dl
    week three rach pulls or block pulls
    week four good morning variation again.

    Additionally you need to find your weaknesses. And adjust your technique.

    Technique:
    Tight lower back arch
    pushing abs out against belt
    Holding tight air
    Pulling slack out of the bar

    Possible muscular weaknesses
    Ab strength, can never have abs that are too strong do heavy ab work sets of ten reps or less with heavy resistance.

    erectors (lower back) hit this with either reverse hypers or weighted hyper extensions.

    glute and ham strength, can be an issue as well. I like glute and ham raises, romanian dl, or stiff leg dl.

    Currently I use a westside style of training.
    I do a dl type exercise after squatting on max effort day
    then I do a dynamic day with bands three days later.

    Speed/dynamic days can be used to work technique as well as speed without overloading yourself.

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    To clarify my opinon about rack pulls, guys that are naturally good at deadlifting seem to get more out of them than people who are not. All the big natural ( I mean they take to the exercise well) deadlifters I know do rack pulls. All the big pullers who had to work their asses off to get a respectable deadlift don't seem to rack pull often. My own experiences echo this. Don't know if deadlifting is a strength for you or not. It's my worst lift, I had to work stupid hard just to reach 600.

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    http://www.ontariostrongman.ca/Resou...nphildead.html

    I'm doing smolov with the deadlift atm but this might be my next deadlift plan. It might work wonders you never know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by permanabol View Post
    I'm doing smolov with the deadlift atm
    How are you alive?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweekaters View Post
    How are you alive?

    I'm not quite sure
    It might be because my deadlift is fairly low with my max as 485. Plus I am only doing the base mesocycle. But trust me it takes me a while to get through the workouts. After this I am quite sure I will be a decent bit over 500 deadlift and I want it bad so no stopping me. And my knee is f*cked up so I can't squat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by permanabol View Post
    http://www.ontariostrongman.ca/Resou...nphildead.html

    I'm doing smolov with the deadlift atm but this might be my next deadlift plan. It might work wonders you never know.
    good link man, gonna save that when I get home
    Serious Nutrition Solutions

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    http://www.ontariostrongman.ca/Resou...squatcycle.htm

    Might also want to try the base mesocycle. But your deadlift may be to heavy for it.

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    increase your squat

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    Hey guys, thanks for all the incredible ideas! I really appreciate all the feedback. I will definitely be implementing these ideas into a new routine. Sorry that I haven't been back on here. I just worked 5 24s back to back so I stayed pretty busy. I will make sure to come back here to post some of my new experience with some of the techniques that you've suggested that I try. Hopefully this next time around, I'll be pulling what pmiller383 was killing! That was quite an impressive lift. I definitely need the work just pulling off the floor. So, I'll be adding in those plates and chains. Good stuff. You guys are all awesome!

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    BTW, also loved the links for the Coan/Phillipi cycle and the smolov cycle as well. Good links guys! Also thanks SRS2000, CJPopovich and MongoSS for all that you shared. Really all excellent stuff!

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