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Applying CP's Five Elements to DL

We got to talking in another thread ("La Royal returns to powerlifting) about a 2005 article by Poliquin on how the Chinese theory of “Five Elements” applies to athletes:

I originally read the article when it came out and thought “wow that’s interesting” but did not think to actually apply the info. Fast forward to fall of 2008 and I’m taking an acupuncture class and we get into the five elements. I go dig up the old POliquin article and think “damn, I’m such a wood element.” The bit about how a wood element reacts to a GVT protocol, for instance, described me precisely, heck even down to the language. (“fuck it I’m going home” after 4 sets of 10 in the third workout.) My instructor confirmed I was a wood element as well. I then picked up the book “Between Heaven and Earth” and the chapter on the wood element really explained a lot. There’s a pic of me here from about 2 months ago, I’m the guy down on one knee in the green under armour shirt:

http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/campingGroup2.jpg

Not the best pic or even very indicative of what type of shape I’m in but at least you can put a face/body with this post.

So I’ve been trying to apply the ideas Poliquin put forth in that article to my workout schedule. He put forth a bodypart specialiation schedule for each element in that article and I’m trying to apply that to deadlifting.

So here’s the background you might need to know for this to make sense. I’m assuming you’ve read the 5-elements article:

I deadlift once every 8-9 days. In between each deadlifting workout I have 2-3 other workouts which focus on variations of single leg movements and rows ala Eric Cressey’s advice. I do no overhead or bench pressing and no direct arm work. Everything focuses on the deadlift as my thinking is when you get to 2.75-3x your bodyweight in some form of the deadlift you’re pretty much set in terms of overall body strength.

For the time being I do all my deadlifting from a 4-inch deficit with an overhand grip. This may seem odd but deficit deadlifts have been the best thing for a badly injured hip flexor so I’ve made them my primary “indicator” life around which every thing else revolves, at least for a while longer. My 1-rep max for this movement under standard gym conditions is a very clean 405. (Done at 4 different workouts late last summer/early fall) I weigh 182-185 at 5’9" depending on how hydrated and well-fed I am.

So here goes, again this won’t make sense unless you’ve read the 5-elements article and have looked through Poliquin’s prescriptions for the Wood element. I’m omitting my log of my other workouts (the ones done between deadlifting) as if I include those this post is going to be ridiculously huge. Again, these are all done from a 4 inch deficit. I always complete my warmups with 1 set of 1 rep with about 90% of my max so I don’t “forget” what its like to generate that type of force:

Deadlift Workout #1 (Accumulation)

Rest: 180 seconds

380 x 1
250 x 10
250 x 10
250 x 10
250 x 9
245 x 9
245 x 8
235 x 8
235 x 6

Deadlifting Workout #2 (Accumulation)
Rest: 180 seconds

380 x 1
250 x 10
250 x 10
250 x 10
250 x 10
250 x 10
250 x 7
250 x 6
250 x 6

Deadlifting Workout #3 (Accumulation Backoff)
Rest: 180 seconds
380 x 1
325 x 6
325 x 4
320 x 4
320 x 4

Deadlifting Workout #4 (Accumulation)
Rest: 180 seconds
380 x 1
265 x 10
265 x 10
265 x 10
265 x 8
255 x 8
250 x 8
250 x 6
250 x 5

Deadlifting Workout #5 (Accumulation)
Rest: 180 seconds

380 x 1
265 x 10
265 x 10
265 x 10
265 x 6
265 x 8
265 x 8
250 x 7
250 x 6
225 x 7

The sixth workout is scheduled for next tuesday/wednesday. Poliquin’s prescrption for this is 6 x 6. I think I’m going to go with 295 although I’m tempted to go up to 315.

Following that will come the intensification phase.

So any ideas, let 'em rip.*

Best,

Matt

*That is with one exception: if you’re one of these idiots who insists on flaming Poliquin’s ideas as voodoo or astrology then kindly go somewhere else and entertain yourself as best you can. Us adults would like to have a discussion of how to apply some of his ideas in the real world.

Anyone who insinuates that Poliquin is an idiot, and uses “astrology or voodoo” to describe his methods, is certifiably insane themselves. Idiocy does not breed Gold Medalists, idiocy does not enable you to be the highest paid strength coach in the world since 1994 (yes, that is correct). The guy is absolutely the smartest guy in the industry and leaves NOTHING to chance.

Anyway, good luck with the log, man, rock on. I’m a fire type, myself.

Affiction,

I agree. I put that disclaimer up as if you go through Poliquin’s articles there’s always some idiot keyboard jockeys who need to chime in “I don’t think Poliquin knows what he’s talking about here, this is nonsense he’s spouting.” My reaction is usually “Just who the f–k does this loser think he is?”

Looks like a great thread I will look forward to following it and periodically chiming in to offer input where I can. I suspect you will get great results!

Well I’ve had 3 deadlift workouts since the last update. One December 24th which was pretty crappy mostly because I had very little motivation. Then due to the holidays I was very sedentary for 6 days, came back and had another really crappy one. So I’m not going bore you folks with the details. The new year is here and things are back in full gear. Yesterday’s workout went like the following, keep in mind this is the first workout of the second accumulation phase.

Deadlifts off a 4- inch block (the reebox block) with an overhand grip. 180 seconds in between each set. For reference sake, my last max test under typical gym conditions was 405 about 6 months ago. Bodweight is 185 with nothing on.

385 x 1
315 x 5
315 x 5
315 x 5
315 x 5
315 x 5
315 x 5
315 x 5
315 x 5
315 x 4
315 x 4

Then followed up my usual post workout shake, then stretching and mobility work. (Lots of stuff from Magnificient Mobility)

On the next deadlift workout, I’ll be moving up to 325 for 10-12 sets. That will be the second accumulation workout to be followed by something like 365-370 for 5 sets of 2-3.