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Old Forum Question - Possible to increase deadlift with only 65% 1RM (via volume?)?

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Steve W.

Level 7 Valued Member
Do you think that doing dimel deadlifts with 65% but for slightly lower reps (sets of 10 for example) be too much? Trying to figure out how I can use them efficiently

No -- not speaking from personal experience, but every reference to theses I've ever seen has specified lighter weights (Dave Tate says 30-40%; in Return of the Kettlebell Pavel says 25-33%), and that that the lift be done with an explosive hip drive, for high reps.

I would use suitcase deadlifts as my grinding complement to the Dimels. I've had very good carryover with them to heavier full deadlifts, even after a long period of not doing any full pulls.
 

Steve B.

Level 5 Valued Member
IMO no.
You will get good at doing volume but not a max single rep.I believe you need to from time to time hit some 80 to 95% of 1 rep max sets in at least for the nervous system adaptation.
70 to 80% is more ideal for you.

I would if you can get some more weight.

While doing some of the recommended lift/movements others recommend can help some what, nothing can replace the DL movement itself.
You can practice perfect technique and speed which is what some powerlifters do alternating sessions between speed days and working days but you wold be missing out on those upper weights.
This is just my opinion.
Best of luck to you.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
We can add one more option - deficit deadlifts. If you can arrange to stand on a pair of 100 lb plates or otherwise make the reach up to about 3" longer, you will help your cause, especially if you're weak off the floor.

In your case, having read everything, I'd give serious consideration to pulling for speed - remember, speed means you are trying to move faster but you still must stay tight and execute the light with good form. Do that once a week, and consider other options for your other days.

-S-
 

NonStop

Level 5 Valued Member
Steve W - Thank you, I'll keep the dimels light then for sure as recommended, within 25%-50% of 1RM, probably around 30%. I'm intrigued by suitcase deadlifts, by golly they're a tough exercise though! I shall look into them.

Steve Belanger - I totally see your point. I should clarify, this isn't something I intend to do forever - indeed I'm moving overseas in 10 weeks or so and may well have access to a heavier barbell so I can do normal deadlift training. But in the mean time I'll have to concentrate on alternatives!

Steve Freides - Thank you, deficit deadlifts seem like a darn good option. especially for speed.


So far, it looks like dimel deads twice a week, and once a week a third option, suitcase deads or speed deficit deads as the slower grind.
 

NonStop

Level 5 Valued Member
Just to clarify as I don't have ROTK, did Phil Workman specifically use dimel deadlifts, or regular deads but with high-rep? Regardless, I've read he generally used 25-30% of his 1RM - so darn low!
 

Steve W.

Level 7 Valued Member
Just to clarify as I don’t have ROTK, did Phil Workman specifically use dimel deadlifts, or regular deads but with high-rep? Regardless, I’ve read he generally used 25-30% of his 1RM – so darn low!

The answer is actually a little complicated.

According to ROTK, the routine Phil Workman used was based on a routine used by Steve Wilson, a powerlifter who pulled 865, and was coached by Louie Simmons. Wilson's working weights were in the 26-32% range.

Although Wilson used Dimel deadlifts in his routine, Phil Workman didn't know this at the time and did full range touch and go reps. Pavel learned about the style Steve Wilson actually used in conversation with Louie Simmons afterwards.

In the book, Workman is quoted expressing amusement that he didn't do the routine right, but it worked anyway. ROTK also includes instructions on how to perform the Dimel DL.

BTW, ROTK also mentions that Wilson pulled heavy once a month, and that Phil Workman also made unspecified modifications to his understanding of the Wilson program (and was also training his squat). So it sounds like these guys didn't ONLY rely on the lighter high rep deads, just that they were a big feature of their training at the time.
 

Zach Ganska

Level 5 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Justas DL routine calls for 70% to begin with, and although you couldn't add weight each week you could increase the Justa singles routine each week by:
1. Adding a deficit as Steve F. mentioned, raising 1/2" per week should work.
2. Adding a density component into the routine. Track the time each day it takes to complete all the prescribed work and shave off thirty seconds or so for each day the following week or subtract an equal amount of time between the pulls.

By the end of the Justa cycle with these wrinkles you will pull your 65% from a 2" added height in far less time.
 

Pavel

Founder and Chairman
Certified Instructor
NS, it can work for a few months but then you will have to add weight.
 

Journeyman

Level 6 Valued Member
Eddie Kowacz proposed an excellent autoregulated volume deadlift routine some years back:

-pull every third day (one on two off)
-use 50-65% 1RM
-3 to 5 reps/set
-10 to 20 sets
-resting 1 to 2 minutes in between sets

Good for an accumulation phase... after 6-8 weeks of that, get some more weights and run a simple linear cycle to taper for a new 1RM.

The SV approach could work, but it'd be hit or miss. Hack lifts, snatch grip deadlifts, and dimels or RDLs would all be good choices as would moderate sets/reps (5x5 or so) with your opposite DL stance.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Aris, that routine sounds a lot like sets 3 and forward of the Bear routine from PTTP, maybe just a bit on the lighter side, but the Bear could easily be 65% at the beginning of a cycle.

-S-
 

Journeyman

Level 6 Valued Member
Yeah. I've done similar things with lots of singles or variants of bryce lane's 50/20 too.

Eddie's routine I believe was heavily focused on speed, thus the lighter percentages. Similar to Rich Sadiv's idea of speed sets though his were all singles.
 

Journeyman

Level 6 Valued Member
Pavel I have no idea--I remembered the routine from seeing it/saving it on my computer from a few years back. Very strong and smart fellow!
 

NonStop

Level 5 Valued Member
Steve W - Thank you for another in-depth reply, what I'm wondering now is do you think it is worth me doing touch-and-do deadlifts, or dimel deadlifts? It makes sense that other work was done alongside it, I only intend to do this lighter dimel dead work twice a week and add in more of a grind once a week. I've been practicing some of the movements you've recommended, I have to admit I'm really startging to enjoy suitcase deads - suitcase deadlifts alongside dimel deadlifts do seem like a rather good combination.


Zach Ganska - Sounds like a cool routine, definitely something I'd consider.


Pavel Tsatsouline - Thank you, I definitely intend on increasing weight eventually, and I definitely won't be doing this forever!


aris - Thank you - I have in my research seen this routine. My only concern with the program is how it would fit in with my current training - I specifically can only train mon/wed/fri as I'm away from home on the weekends. I also get the impression that when you train the lift it is specifically a deadlift day only - I'd have to move my other lifts to other days of the week. Also I heard it was mainly used for conditioning, although I don't doubt that it would build some strength. How do you mean the SV approach? I forgot about hack deads, indeed there is quite a lot of options.


It appears there are a lot of options, either regular deadlifts at 50%-65% but for high volume (ala Eddies program or ladders) or a mix of lighter-high rep work like Dimel Deads (which appear to have a good track record) with either/or snatch deadlifts, deficit deadlifts, suitcase deadlifts, hack deadlifts, speed deads, one-legged work.

Personally, I'm looking for something that fits into me training on mon/wed/fri. At the moment the dimel deadlift like I said has a really good track record, so I'm thinking of training that twice a week, and a low-rep grind once or twice a week alongside it. Suitcase deadlifts seem really appealing at the moment, I get the impression working up to a BW suitcase deadlift is a worth goal. Snatch deadlifts also seem really good.
 

Rocco

Level 1 Valued Member
I firmly believe the answer to your question is YES! I've done it in the past and I am doing it right now. I also advocate 20-rep Deadlifts. Sounds crazy, but it works. - Little background below before I get into specifics:

Background: Last year my training max was 465 lbs. I was able to comfortably do singles (Justa style) with 1-2 mins in between reps. Over time, my body felt tired and I needed to mix it up a bit. - So I started doing 20-rep Deads with 315 lbs (roughly 67% of training max). I built up the 20 rep sets to a poundage of 350 (every 3 to 5 workouts I'd increase weight by 5 pounds). Results: After about 3 months I re-tested my "training" max and increased it to a new PR of 495 (five plates each side). It actually felt easy. - Ironically, I am doing this same routine now.

How to do it: My 20-rep Deadlift sets were a little different. I did each rep like Pavel suggests in PTTP. Meaning, after each rep I stood up, took a deep breath, then bent back down to re-grip and get good form, generated tension and completed another rep. So each rep was "dead stop" with micro rests in between (very micro). - I believe this is key: this way of doing it protects your back and helps avoid injury. Plus, I THINK IT ACTUALLY TRAINS TENSION*. As you get to the higher reps of the set and you get tired - you have to generate MORE TENSION to lift that rep. I hope I articulated this well. I believe this was the key factor when I re-tested my training max.

This honestly has worked for me. Increase weight by 5 pounds after 3-5 workouts or until you "own" the weight. - Plus, you'll gain definition and Muscle. You'll obviously gain strength endurance as well. - Simply put, you do have to be a STRONG BADASS guy or gal to work out in this manner. It is not "just cardio" as some suggest (I bet they never even tried it).

As Pavel says "Power to You!!!!"
 

Pavel

Founder and Chairman
Certified Instructor
Edward, well done! That said, I recall you already had a 500 pull in the past.

Do you still do swings?
 

Journeyman

Level 6 Valued Member
Pavel, not too bad. I moved from MA to AZ to work at Evolution Tucson about 4 months ago and am still settling in, but am at least maintaining strength and working some mobility, etc. before starting another heavy and more focused training cycle.

Nonstop--it should be fine for lifting 3x weekly as long as you rotate sets/reps/percentages/rest periods a bit. The routine isn't designed for boosting a 1RM but rather a prep cycle, building work capacity and special endurance, some hypertrophy, technique etc. to be translated into a bigger 1rM later on. I don't think you'd get a bigger 1RM *just* from working with 65% and below very easily. The Justa schemes for example stick with "70%" but that progresses pretty regularly and keeps pace with an increasing 1RM.
 

Rocco

Level 1 Valued Member
Pavel,

Thank you. I am honored by your response. Another coincidence, before I just started the 20-rep "dead stop" Deadlifts again, I was doing Simple and Sinister. I have very heavy bells. I got to the point where I was able to swing one-handed a 56kg (124lb) bell. I would use the 56kg as a "strength or Heavy" day. The hundred swings were done with the 56kg bell in 5 sets (10L, then 10R, rest min, repeat for 5 sets).
- Then on other days I would back down to the Beast. I am able to do 100 swings with the Beast one-handed in the "sinister" fashion without putting the bell down (takes 3 mins). However, I will say or admit this- when the bell gets to Beast level and beyond when swinging one handed - you kind of let the bell reach its own level of height (hope this makes sense).

Pavel you always say "Deadlifts and Swings go together like Vodka and Pickles" - This is completely true! As this relates to the above: I feel "sinister" swings have made the 20-rep "dead stop" Deadlifts easier. My grip is stronger and I can hold the bar for a comfortable pause in between reps. BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, the sinister swings "conditioned my strength" - not just my body. In other words, I not only have the get up and go (heart and Lungs) to complete the 20-rep Deads at a respectable weight, but I have the STRENGTH.

So, even though I had a 500 lb pull before and still do - The WTH effect from the "sinister" swings made the 20-rep Deadlifts feel easier. In fact, they absolutely complement one another. I'll go as far as saying that 20-rep Deads (dead stop, PTTP style) is the barbell equivalent to "Sinister" swings - especially if your 20-rep Deads are in the 300 to 400 pound range. - It actually makes sense, "swings" and "20-rep Deads" (in the way I talked about) BUILD YOU UP, not bring you down. In other words, I am confident that I can PULL heavy doing these workouts, but I don't need to test it all the time. - I propose a CHALLENGE to readers: take your 65% or 70% max and dead stop deadlift with micro rests (just re-setting) and try to get 20 to 25 reps in 5 minutes (a la "simple and sinister) - You will be strong, explosive, and conditioned.

Sorry for the rant. Thanks Pavel. Thank you and the Strongfirst community.
 
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