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Barbell Deadlift 1RM

Steve W.

Level 8 Valued Member
While my "estimated 1RM" based on lifting 295 x 5 and a calculator shows about 350, I follow my program and the highest I have ever loaded on the bar is 315 so well short of my theoretical max. Unless I was going to compete, going any higher doesn't help me focus on form and gaining strength, and would only serve to stroke my ego and while it's tempting, I have resisted, haha.
Keep on doing what you're doing. Dan John talks about nudging up that 80% weight over time and setting a "PR without maxing." If you stick to your sets of five and progress patiently, eventually you'll be doing fives with your current "theoretical max".

You can learn to grind without testing a true 1RM.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
But do you think that's a smart thing to do while still developing the technique? I don't disagree that there's merit to that, my gut just tells me that the learning phase is probably not the best time for such a thing. At 6 months, I still feel like I'm trying to really hammer in the technique and while I'm certainly more consistent than at the beginning, I still think I make minor adjustments often enough that trying to max out right now wouldn't be very beneficial.
@BJJ Shawn, watch Ed Coan talk about any lift, and he'll talk about how everyone who is a student of a particular lift should "make minor adjustments" regularly, looking for what works best for them. I imagine Ed Coan might not need to do this, but I am still adjusting my technique in minor, and even not-so-minor ways and I've been at this for, I think 17 years since my first competition.

Certainly some of this will depend on how you approach lifting. If, as advised at StrongFirst, you focus on maximum tension for strength exercises ("grinds"), you will increase not only your performance but your safety. Speaking personally here, I have never injured myself doing max attempts, only when not paying sufficient attention while using lighter weights (which is one of the reasons why I avoid them).

I don't counsel taking someone who's never deadlifted and having them do a max attempt, but if you look at programs like PTTP, you'll find you start conservatively and, when the weight starts to feel heavy, you cut down on the reps in each set and you end when you feel like you've done a max or near max single, double, or triple. The "American" periodization program also works in this way, steadily progressing in weight while lowering the reps/set and the overall volume.

And if you go by feel like that, switching from 5's to 3's and possibly doubles and an ending single, you'll have a 1RM. It's worth noting that this approach doesn't require knowing a 1RM in advance, and perhaps my closing point here should have been my first, that one doesn't need to know one's 1RM to start a program like this and therefore a program like PTTP is a fine way for people to start deadlifting, and programs that require any sort of 1RM aren't the only kinds of programs out there.

The 5 x 5 Faleev that Pavel talks about in the Tim Ferriss interview is another - you just keep putting weight on the bar until 5 sets of 5 gets tough, then you taper for a competition. I think this is brilliant, simple programming and I've used it myself within the last few years as I returned to 3-lift competition from being a DL specialist.

I'm coaching my wife on her barbell deadlift now, coaching her form and writing her program, and we're being simple with the weight, but we'll end up with something heavy, for sure. To start, she's pulling a little less than her bodyweight and I'm giving her PlanStrong type waviness of volume. My guidance for the weight is simple - when it starts feeling light, put some more weight on the bar, and we usually try that together once a week, mixing the old weight and the new weight and gradually transitioning to using the new weight for everything.

-S-
 

BJJ Shawn

Level 6 Valued Member
Keep on doing what you're doing. Dan John talks about nudging up that 80% weight over time and setting a "PR without maxing." If you stick to your sets of five and progress patiently, eventually you'll be doing fives with your current "theoretical max".

You can learn to grind without testing a true 1RM.

Thanks, that's the approach I have been doing and so far as a beginner it has worked good.

I don't counsel taking someone who's never deadlifted and having them do a max attempt, but if you look at programs like PTTP, you'll find you start conservatively and, when the weight starts to feel heavy, you cut down on the reps in each set and you end when you feel like you've done a max or near max single, double, or triple. The "American" periodization program also works in this way, steadily progressing in weight while lowering the reps/set and the overall volume.
I know that was one option in PTTP, but Pavel also says that you don't need to do that and instead of cutting the reps, you can start a new cycle so that's the path I took. I am obviously no where near as experienced as all you guys, but since the weight has continued to increase with each cycle and I have never plateaued, I have not tried to peak. Since I am doing a deload week, I have thought about testing my maxes after this small break to see where I truly stand, we'll see in a few days if I actually do that or not.
 

Starlord

Level 5 Valued Member
I respectfully disagree. There are things about strength you don't learn until you've stuck it out through a tough grind.

-S-
I 100% agree with this.

Sometimes you just have to learn to grind, persist and push through adversity. A heavy weight that is slow to move is a form of adversity.
 

Starlord

Level 5 Valued Member
I would like to compete in the TSC and that is one of the events. I found a training plan on this site & they use a % of the 1RM. I really need to make sure I don't injure myself being stupid,lol thanks
A % based plan isn't what you need. Regardless of what your purposes are.

10 years of KB training is good and will help but you are still a novice when it comes to a barbell. The loading potential of a KB is miniscule in comparison to the barbell.

Use a standard LP program as mentioned above. Your time doing swings will have taught you the importance of aggressive glute drive and having a tight back.

So you will progress quickly initially.

Ride that wave as long as you can.
 

Nate

Level 6 Valued Member
Newer lifters will have a max that could change by the day as coordination & technique change. Once I was at it a while, a real 1RM in the deadlift left my CNS absolutely shot. Doing the 531 where you set rep maxes seemed a nice way to nudge it up without being 95%+.
 

JohnC

Level 4 Valued Member
A % based plan isn't what you need. Regardless of what your purposes are.

10 years of KB training is good and will help but you are still a novice when it comes to a barbell. The loading potential of a KB is miniscule in comparison to the barbell.

Use a standard LP program as mentioned above. Your time doing swings will have taught you the importance of aggressive glute drive and having a tight back.

So you will progress quickly initially.

Ride that wave as long as you can.
Thanks to everyone for the advice
 

Boris Bachmann

Level 7 Valued Member
Brzycki Formuła = weight x (36 / 37 - reps)

For example: 200lb x 5 --> 200 (36/32) --> 200 (1.125) --> 225lb

The higher the reps, the less applicable the formula becomes.
 
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