If you know me well, you know that I LOVE strength training. If you’ve ever even had dinner with me, you know I LOVE strength training. But I am not a fan of inefficiency in training. I often scrutinize my training programs, looking for fluff. And in so doing, I will question percentages, frequency, reps, volume, progressions, recovery methods, and other important things (like the phase of the moon).
If you have ever written a program for a large group of people, you realize that the recovery methods and capabilities of separate individuals are, in fact, very different. Everything from lifestyle to genetics to priorities and much more has an effect on a person’s recovery. So, you have a choice: write a bajillion individual programs or write “one program to rule them all” (my precious).
Now, let’s pretend you have a student/client/athlete who needs to develop multiple skills (both sport and lifting) at once. If you try to push multiple physical attributes too hard at one time, injury or stagnation will almost definitely occur. This article suggests a way to simplify one small facet of training: the deadlift.
Why a Training Plateau Happens
When plateaus present themselves, in general, I suspect insufficient recovery to be the culprit. Said another way: overtraining or training at too high of an intensity often causes plateaus. My strategy for breaking through such a plateau is:
- Lower the intensity
- Lower the volume
- Increase the frequency
- Eat more protein
Below is a deadlift program designed around this strategy. If your deadlift MAX is between 1-2 times bodyweight, then this is a great program for you. If you have a physical or tactical job or you are a fighter, this is a great program for you. If you want to develop another skill or lift for while, this is a great program for you.
The Logic Behind the Daily Dose Deadlift Plan
The program is designed around 75% of your one rep max. Training at this level feels easy. It should. Each workout will be 3-5 single reps (3 to 5 sets of 1 rep). Training at such a low volume keeps you fresh for other activities, such as firefighting, MMA, or any other sport — fishing, in my case. The program calls for five days a week of deadlifts.
Training this often does a lot of cool things to your nervous system. Enough cool things that it could be a whole article and probably a book. Long story short, this approach makes your CNS very efficient and adaptive. We want that for strength training.
As you can see, only six of your 45 sessions are above 75%. That’s only ~13% of the sessions. The good and the bad thing about high frequency programs is that they reinforce your technique, good or bad. So, use good technique. Some suggestions to aid you along the way are:
- Pull explosively (doesn’t mean sloppy)
- Maintain your flexibility/mobility
- Use some specific variety along the way
- Keep your endurance work to a minimum
- Eat enough to gain strength
Let me expand on points three and four:
- Specific variety for your deadlift can be a different stance, grip, or lifting from a deficit. Power to the People Professional by Pavel goes into great detail about specialized variety.
- When I say “endurance work,” it might be better to say “overall workload.” If you are doing Viking Warrior Conditioning and training for a marathon, I’m very sorry. I think I got a little less strong just typing that. Where’s my steak? At that point, you are probably already overtraining. I’m not trying to conflict with what I said earlier, but don’t expect great gains in strength, if you are carrying that kind of workload.
A few benefits to this type of programming:
- Can have your deadlifts done in under fifteen minutes, easy
- Increase your body’s preparedness
- Increase your work capacity
- Gain muscle if fed properly
- Lose fat if fed properly
- Build a stronger grip
- Get to deadlift almost every day
- WTH effect is amplified. Watch everything else become easier
How to Follow the Daily Dose Deadlift Plan
Follow the percentages and pull 3-5 single reps, five days a week. You can lift any five days as long as they are within a seven-day week. Try for 5 singles, but if you aren’t feeling strong just do 3.
This program gives you the chance to learn about your body’s recovery rhythm. You will notice some sessions will feel easy and others of the same percentage not so easy. Even when everything else in your lifestyle is the same, you will probably notice some slight variation in your perceived exertion day to day. Learn from what your body tells you. You can use it in later programs.
For warm-up reps, do as little as you feel comfortable with. I’d suggest 2-4 single reps. I recommend resting 1-2 minutes between sets during your working sets.
- Warm up—2-4 light singles
- 3-5 singles (based on percentages on chart, rest 1-2 min between sets
- Shoot for 5 training days out of 7
This plan is going to be easy and that’s okay. More than likely, it will take a couple of weeks for your body to acclimate to deadlifting so often. Then, your daily dose should somewhat normalize into a rhythm as I hinted at earlier. Finally, let’s say that you miss five days of deadlifts because you get bit by a black mamba. Simply go back about five days from where you left off and start from there. This is easy strength training at its purest. Perhaps, even easier strength training—but it works. Enjoy!