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Thread: Brick wall on deadlifts came out of nowhere

  1. #1
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    Default Brick wall on deadlifts came out of nowhere

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    Hi all, I hope you are all enjoying your summer.

    48 y.o. male, still at approx. 225 pounds at nearly 5'10".

    Been going up 5.5 pounds (2,5 kg) one time per week on deadlifts for a while, and since (for me) it has been getting heavy I have been doing like this for the past couple months.
    I had the aspirations/dream to get to 180 kg before any slowdown but was humbled in a big way today.

    One week ago I deadlifted 162,5 kg for my one set of 5 reps, albeit the last rep was 'hard' and I probably hitched a little on the last rep to be honest.
    That was the first time I used straps, since my hook grip felt a little weak/slippery despite chalk on my last warm up rep @ 145 kg and I absolutely did not want to fail due to grip.

    Anyway, fast forward one week to this morning, with no meaningful changes to diet, sleep, rest etc. - did some light squats (pause) and a 'heavy' 5x5 press effort before moving on to deadlifts.
    I felt strong on my deadlift warmup sets as usual - I put on the straps for my work set at 165 kg, and literally could not even get one rep. I pulled (= pushed my legs through toward the earth's core) for 5-6 seconds in fact but the damn thing would not come off the floor at all. So I tried again 5 minutes later and once again, the thing would not even budge. I thought maybe I accidentally misloaded too much weight but nope, unfortunately not the case either.

    Could I have really hit my max strength here so suddenly (from 5 reps to 0 in one week) or do I maybe need to start waiting 1,5 or even 2 weeks before deadlifting again, instead of 1 week?
    I would be OK with this if I only missed one or two reps, but all of them? wtf

    Very weird how 5 pounds could make such a difference after feeling so good!

    Thanks for any input.

  2. #2
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    We need a video to short things out. What did you notice while viewing your own video? It's nice when you can start to catch the likely causes of these things yourself.
    With only a five-pound increase from the previous training session, likely causes were your bar position being not over midfoot and/or moving the bar out of position (from midfoot) before beginning the lift. Rip has written many times about how sensitive the DL is to bar position as you get closer to max-effort attempts.

  3. #3
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    That's kind of how deadlifts "go." There's like three other people who have asked questions like this in the past week or so. Don't get too bent out of shape about it. The eccentric load on the back in the first part of the pull is killer, and the low back is the first thing to succumb to fatigue. You're definitely not at your max strength. Take a deep breath. During the end of my NLP I missed the last rep of every other increase: failed 405, got 415, failed 420, got 425.

    What does your pulling (and for that matter, your squat) programming look like? You're doing 5x5 presses so the pressing is at least on intermediate. There's a few things you could do. You might try the late novice deadlifting every 1.5 weeks (cycling through light-medium-light-heavy pulling). But it depends on what your program looks like. You might even just take a small reset (somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-20 pounds), which often does the trick. Not knowing anything else I'd just repeat the weight next week and see if it goes, and only start changing programming if you can't get a set of five in the next two weeks or so.

  4. #4
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    Thanks alot for your input, guys. It makes sense - I will just try again in a week and see how it goes.

    Missing just the 5th rep would be great and would have been no reason for real concern, but tbh it was alarming to get 0 reps.
    My bar position was where it always is and where it was at 145 kg on my last warm up.

    My current programming looks like this:
    I train every 3rd or 4th day (every other day proved to be too much as soon as things got even remotely heavy for me).

    Squat - I went to see coach Steve Ross a couple months back so did a full reset. I am still using the box to ensure depth but am basically doing 3x5 of HLM just because of my age and the time it takes me to recover from a heavy 3x5. On light squat day I do 3x5 pause squats at 80% 5RM. My heavy 3x5 is about 40-50 kg less than my 5 RM for deadlifts so there is also plenty of room for improvement.
    DL - 1x every week to 10days 1x5, On other days I do chins (currently 10-12 sets of 3-5 reps) - maybe this is messing up my DL somehow?
    Press - I alternate 5x5 and 8 x 1RM on press days.
    Bench - I started sticking at 3x5 so moved to 5x3 and will try to keep going up a bit until it stops working and I would need to make a change.

    Cardio - currently none (trying my best to avoid it).

    That's about it. I keep it simple and down to those four basic movements (5 if you count chinups).
    I don't do power cleans or snatches, they are just not for me. I could be talked into adding in barbell rows if anyone thinks it would help anything.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by gv3055 View Post
    I don't do power cleans or snatches, they are just not for me. I could be talked into adding in barbell rows if anyone thinks it would help anything.
    You should reconsider this position. If you really can't be swayed, barbell rows work as a light pull but you should add in some volume pulling like RDLs or something for your "medium" pulls. Something that involves the legs. The Texas method and HLM look basically the same for pulls: medium pulling on Mondays, which ends up being higher volume than the heavy pulling, light pulls on Wednesday, and deadlifts on Friday. If you're trying to drive your deadlift forward with *just* one heavy pull and chin ups, that could explain this by itself. Chin ups certainly contribute to the deadlift a little but I don't know where the idea that they work as volume to drive heavy deadlifts arose. They leave out over half the kinetic chain that operates the heavier lift.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gv3055 View Post
    I don't do power cleans or snatches, they are just not for me. I could be talked into adding in barbell rows if anyone thinks it would help anything.
    You mean that you just don't want to do power cleans?

    Quote Originally Posted by Maybach View Post
    If you're trying to drive your deadlift forward with *just* one heavy pull and chin ups, that could explain this by itself. Chin ups certainly contribute to the deadlift a little but I don't know where the idea that they work as volume to drive heavy deadlifts arose.
    I think that deadlifts drive chins far more than chins drive deadlifts. But I keep asking this question and nobody answers me: how does light volume drive a heavy lift?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    But I keep asking this question and nobody answers me: how does light volume drive a heavy lift?
    From what I undestand, adaptation to increased force production in one movement pattern (or here, a variation of the same movement pattern) carries over into force production in another movement pattern. Progressing chin ups make your lats able to produce more force, which makes the deadlift easier. The mechanisms whereby vary by the movement pattern and considering them is of questionable utility. After all, the human organism does not adapt with *perfect* specificity to external stressors. It would be a pretty piss poor organism if it did. The 5RM driving the 1RM is a well demonstrated example of lower intensity driving higher intensity. It stands to reason this can be extrapolated to some extent. But perhaps there is some refinement to the model of intermediate programming yet to be articulated.

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    Question: What provides more lat work, a concentric/eccentric bodyweight chinup, or an isometric lat in a 405 deadlift?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    You mean that you just don't want to do power cleans?
    well, in fact no I don't, but that is not the only reason I don't do them. I don't want to do them because my anthropometry does not allow me to do them properly. My forearms are quite lengthy, such that if I try to get the bar into a rack position, the bar is at nose level or maybe even eye level.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    I think that deadlifts drive chins far more than chins drive deadlifts. But I keep asking this question and nobody answers me: how does light volume drive a heavy lift?
    Tbh I only do chinups on off-deadlift days to do some sort of pulling and add to the weekly cumulative fatigue - if you say barbell rows or RDLs would help drive my deadlift up more than chinups, however, as mentioned I would do these.

    I honestly don't think chinups helps my deadlift too much (hopefully they don't hurt my deadlift?) - probably more deadlifting will help my deadlifts go up. Or even rack pulls. Also noteworthy is even my chinups don't go up very quickly either. I am in one of those proverbial rocks between a hard place.

    This weekend I pulled out the old Practical Programming book and have started reading it again and will do so cover to cover. I am sure the answers to my questions are found in there!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    Question: What provides more lat work, a concentric/eccentric bodyweight chinup, or an isometric lat in a 405 deadlift?
    Hey Rip,

    I'll go out on a limb and say the deadlift @ 405 lbs. would provide more lat work - assuming the person in question can actually deadlift 405 lbs :-)

    However, unless someone else in the thread claimed it, this was not meant to be a deadlift vs. chinup argument - at least not from me.
    It is more a question if the chins contribute at all to improving (or worsening) the deadlift, I guess. :-)

    if they do nothing or even worse, then obviously I should start looking for other accessories for the pulling movement.
    I am just baffled that it would need to get at all complicated at only a 365 deadlift after the 1x5 was working so well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gv3055 View Post
    My current programming looks like this:
    I train every 3rd or 4th day (every other day proved to be too much as soon as things got even remotely heavy for me).
    Well…

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