Deadlift More by Not Deadlifting?

I know not everybody likes to lift weights.

But I think its important to Enjoy the lifts your will do when you use this plan.

If you really like power cleans, and Starr shrugs(so much that you even do Hawaiin shrugs too) and high pulls and big traps, you’ll probably get more out of it.

Or if you think partial deadlifts are cool.



Underrated factor, IMO (and some people may disagree).

Personally, I deadlift a lot because…I honestly like doing heavy deadlifts. I find it more enjoyable than performing a variety of assistance movements and variants. Does that mean I’m leaving some gains un-made? Quite possibly, yes. If you’re training to be a competitive powerlifter (and yes, I understand, this is the powerlifting forum) that probably isn’t the way to construct your entire training block. But this is at least partly a mental game, too. If you hate training, at some point, you’re not going to put everything into it because your head is in the wrong place. Give me a “flawed” program executed with high intensity and belief over a “perfect” program executed by going-through-the-motions 100% of the time. Westside put a ton of thought and testing into their programming over the years, but they also tell a lot of stories of guys doing crazy shit just because they got pissed and decided to go nuts (I cannot vouch for the truth of those anecdotes, of course).

It’s a personal thing. YMMV.

Chris is there ever a topic in the powerlifting section where you feel you aren’t able to comment on it.

Do you think the method has merit for someone relatively new such as me who is at 405 not stuck, or is it more of an advanced method since you got to 540 without using it?

I had my wife using it with a trap bar during a training block and she responded well to it. It’s honestly how I’d train a beginner, so that they can work their way down to a solid starting position and overcome mobility issues along the way.

Why should I not be able to comment on something that I have an opinion on? I haven’t tried not deadlifting but I have read enough to know something about it.

The ONLY Deadlift Training should revolve around Technique Training for Competitive Powerlifters.

The Deadlift should NOT be used as an exercise to increase Strength.

Kenny Croxdale

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OK, so for someone like myself who pulls sumo and isn’t proficient with power cleans, what exercises would you recommend? Would you use other deadlift variations or just shrugs, good mornings, and high pulls? I hear that Chinese weightlifters often do clean pulls with a sumo stance, so that would be a logical choice for building the sumo deadlift.

I haven’t been on here in a long time and it seems that things are still the same lol. It’s good seeing you still giving out valuable advice. Still one of the best members on this forum.


Aye mate deadlift is my favourite, I actually used to deadlift 3 times a week but it injured me many times.
I’m doing lots of rehab, spinal decompression, reverse hypers, hamstrings strength and daily stretches, heavy hip thrusts, high volume leg raises etc and I think it will benefit my deadlift a lot and honestly it cured my lower back in a few weeks.
I would probably test my deadlift max every 6 weeks and in the meantime focusing on speed (noticed I’m a grinder) with bands (around 50% + bands) and strengthening of posterior chain twice a week.
Deadlift is my favourite our the 3 lifts that’s why I am so obsessed on bringing it up and I care about longevity in the sport.

Awesome to hear from you again man. Hope you have been well.

So, you know literally nothing about it, other than speculation.?.? I know we like to bust each other’s balls, but in the past I was alot like you in that I was pretty well read on the subjects that interested me and thought that I knew enough about it to speak on it one way or another, without actually putting in the time under the bar applying the methods. It’s easy to get pumped up about certain studies or materials put out there that you actually stop listening to your intuition. It’s fine in the sense that you are actually learning what may or may not work and learning about what works for “you”. You seem to be a fan of high frequency, so I’ll use the Norwegian study, where the same volume was split over multiple days vs sessions. In reading it, it seems like… Wow, this may be what I’m missing. But here’s the thing. With any of these studies, they may ellicit results positively or negatively in the participants one way or another, but they are not ME and I am not THEM. Allot of these studies and articles appear sexy, but it honestly means fuckall to me anymore. Without the time under the bar and applying principles for yourself, we really don’t know shit and even if we do learn that it works for us, it may not work for others. Every article or study I have ever read told me that higher frequency and that more was the ticket. Dead wrong, in my case. I’m completely to the far left of the spectrum anymore. I bench, squat, pull and press heavy twice a month. One upper and one lower session a week. Not only are the PR’s piling up again, but my joints are healthier, than they have ever been. With all the bullshit out there telling me otherwise, it was a huge leap of faith. Who would have thought.?.?


Hello, I have much reading knowledge, but one thing is still not clear to me. Let’s say a rack pull would be the competition lift, would one use the Deadlift now as a training movement ? Or If the Deficit Deadlift is the competition lift do you use the regular Deadlift as building exercises ? What’s the problem with the Deadlift for strenght ? And this is now not powerlifting specific.

What Exercises Would You (Chris) Recommend?

You have a good understanding of things.

I have some suggestions but I’d like to hear what your recommendation would be?

Kenny Croxdale

Deadlifting For Strength

The Deadlift is a great strength training method when a training program is well written and followed.

However, using the Powerlfiting Competition Deadlift (Squat as well as Bench Press) as a Training Exercise is counter productive.

Let look at…

Increasing Strength

To increase strength in muscle groups, the muscles need to be overloaded. Overloading the muscles innervates more Muscle Fiber. Muscle Fiber that are stressed respond by becoming stronger and/or larger; that dependent on how the training program is written and followed.

To overload the muscle in a exercise, at some point you need dramatically increase the intensity; pushing it infrequently near failure or to failure.

When an exercise is pushed to that kind of intensity, fatigue occurs. The problem with that is…

Muscle Fatigue Lead to Poor Technique

Once muscle fatigue occurs in an exercise, technique falls apart. This is part of the…

The Powerlifing Training Paradox

The irony is that to increase strength you need to overload the exercise at time to increase strength.

However, when pushing the exercise to near or failure, technique falls apart.

Thus, when pushing the Deadlift to near failure or to failure, the last rep or two are will lead to poor technique, learning how to perform the movement incorrectly.

The Solution

To reiterate what I have stated in my previous post, that means using the Competition Powerlifts, such as the Competition Deadlift for your Deadlift Training works but it isn’t the optimal method.

What is unique about Powerlifting is that it one of the few sports, the only one that I know, that used the Competition Lifts as Training Exercises.

Other sports don’t do that. They go to the gym weight training to increase Strength and Power for their sport.

  1. Pole Vaulters don’t vault for reps or use heavy polls to vault with.

  2. Baseball Pitchers, Quarterback in Football and Basketball player don’t use weighted balls to pitch, throw or shoot baskets with for repetitions. They use regulation balls and essentially performing one rep at a time, focusing on technique.

Another factor is the muscle firing sequence and motor patter changes when a heavier or light ball is used or a if a heavier or light pole was used in Vaulting

McLauglin’s Research

Dr Tom McLaughlin (PhD Exercise Biomechanids/ former Powerlifter) research demonstrated that Technique is best built with single repetition for multiple sets with load in the neighborhood of your 1 Repetition Max, around 85% or more of 1 RM.

Auxiliary Exercises similar in nature to the Powerlifter are used to increase strength in the Powerlifts

Westside Anecdotal Data

Around the same time McLaughlin’s research came out, the Westside Method appeared.

The foundation of it falling in line with McLaughlin’s research.

Auxiliary Exercises were utilized to increase strength in the Powerlifts. Auxiliary Exercises were pushed to the limit, getting the weight at any cost.

Once one Auxiliary Exercise is exhausted, implement another.

NOT Powerlifting Specific

You don’t perform repetitions at a Meet Competition in the Deadlift, Squat or Bench Press.

Thus, performing repetitions with a Competition Deadlift, Squat or Bench Press is NOT Powerlifting Specific.

Secondly, the muscle firing sequence in an exercise is different with lighter load compared to heavy max load.

This takes us back to the Baseball Batter analogy. Learning to hit a 60 mph ball has very little carry over to hitting a 90 mph ball.


  1. Strength can be increased by using the Powerlifts by using the Powerlifts as Training Exercises. However, doing so lead to poor technique when pushed to fatigue.

  2. Technique is best developed with singles that in each Powerlift with heavy loads.

  3. Strength that does NOT compromise Technique is optimally developed with Auxiliary Exercise that are similar to each Powerlift.

Kenny Croxdale


My recommendations are kind of irrelevant at this point since I’m not trying to argue in favor of a particular training method but rather that not performing the competition lift in training, or at the very least close variation, is not likely to yield positive results for the majority of lifters. The main issue will be lack of technical development, but it seems that you agree with me on this since you are advocating for singles with 85%+.

So basically I would recommend, for the vast majority of people, that their training includes the competition lifts. How much and what they should do in addition to those is another story. I am also not convinced of the value of Olympic weightlifting assistance lifts such as power cleans, clean pulls, high pulls, etc., firstly because there are few if any elite powerlifters using those exercises and also because the transfer of the training effect will be limited by technique.

You seem to be completely missing the point here, I’m presenting a counter-argument to the idea that the deadlift is optimally trained by not deadlifting. Name one current all-time deadlift world record holder who doesn’t deadlift at all. Bill Starr set a record at one time, but it was something in the 600s and wouldn’t be anywhere near a record today.

You don’t seem to understand the logic behind high frequency training. It’s not just training more frequently, it also requires lowering volume per session and most of the workouts will be lower intensity as well. If you just take your squat workout and start doing it 5 or 6 times a week then no, it won’t work for you. And I’m not really a fan of high frequency, I think that most people should squat and bench at least twice a week but beyond that there are a lot of variables to consider. The biggest advantage is being able to practice your technique more frequently, but if your technique feels solid with lower frequency then there isn’t a huge advantage in that respect. Squatting every day will make your workouts take longer because you will have to warm up again for bench, do you have that much time? I haven’t had good results with high frequency benching, I find that 2-3 times a week works best. But doing a full bench workout after squatting takes a long time, on days that I work I have 2.5 hours at the very most, and that would also mean rushing to get to work.

One thing that most people don’t realize about the Norwegian study is that the 3 day/week group was exhausted from the marathon workouts. That could very well be one of the main factors that contributed to the 6 day/week group having better results. Look up the Norwegian PL federation site and check out their program (use google translate), those workouts could easily take 3 hours and from the sounds of things the study had even more volume.

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Obviously, you’ve made up you mind. Anything else that I might present would be a waste to time.

Kenny Croxdale

What’s the matter? We were having a civil discussion, what are you upset about? I haven’t made up my mind at all, except that most people would be best off with at least some deadlifting. That doesn’t contradict anything that you are saying, and in fact you appear to agree because you say that you would include singles with 85%. So there doesn’t appear to be any disagreement between me and you at this point, except perhaps on the use of Olympic weightlifting assistance lifts, which I agree can be used to build the deadlift but they require proficiency in those movements and it is questionable whether they would actually be superior to using the deadlift and close variations.

So if not for my sake then at least for the other people reading this thread, go ahead and explain how you would train the deadlift. I would be more than glad to hear what you have to say, I might not agree with every single detail but the whole point of these forums is to discuss things rather than blindly follow what someone else said.

[quote=“chris_ottawa, post:58, topic:235013, full:true”]
What’s the matter? We were having a civil discussion, what are you upset about? [/quote]

Not Upset

I am not upset. I just didn’t see the point of continue to reiterate information and post it if you are convince it not going to work,

Technique With 85% or Higher Singles

I have explain the reason for this as best as I can. To reiterate, Dr Tom McLaughlin’s research found this be the most optimal method for developing Technique. Other researchers have stated the same; it’s the “Law of Specificity”.

My reply to Akidara went into some of it.

Simmons’ Westside Program employs essentially the same Technique Training Principle.

Power Output

As noted in the “No Deadlift” Training article, research has demonstrated Olympic Movement produce over 4 time the amount of Power Output of the Deadlift; even when a moderate load of 50 - 60% are performed for Speed/Power Training.

I provide you with additional exercise that produce Power Output that rivals Olympic Movement: Heavy Kettlebell Swings and Trap Bar Deadlifts. Research on both have demonstrated greater Power Output than Traditional Deadlifts.

With that said, Olympic Pulls provide a greater carry over for Conventional Deadlifters than for Sumo Deadlifters; due to the different sticking points. Another topic for another time.

Theory and Practical Experience

Discussing the Theory and Application are fine. However, Practical Experience is necessary to determine if the application is a viable means in eliciting a greater Training Response.

Secondly, one of the problems with most individuals is they incorrectly apply the concept; this due to lack of knowledge. When the program doesn’t work, they blame the program. That rather accepting the fact that perhaps the root of why the program didn’t works was that it was incorrectly implemented.

And one of, if not the main issue, is individual who have never tried a program take on the status of expert. That amount to coaching a game you’ve read about but never played.

In any give field, you need to have at least “Played the game” to be able to completely understand how to coach it.

As the saying goes, “You don’t know until you try”.

Then there’s…

If It Worked For Other, Why Isn’t It working For Me?

If it a program has worked for other, it or the concepts will probably work for you. Usually, the reason a program that has worked for other but does not for you comes down to misapplication.

Yet the mantra from these individuals is “I am different” (“The Law of Individuality”).

The irony in that is we are all more Alike than Disalike. That’s one of the reasons that a medication for one individual will work for another with the same issue. Granted there is a small population of “Non-Responders”.

Kenny Croxdale

I find Oly pulls and conventional pulls to be very different lifts in the muscle groups primarily worked, the way those muscle groups are worked, and the actual technique.

I find Oly pulls to be fairly balanced between quad, ham, and hip muscle stimulation. Granted, a DL stimulates the same lower body muscles but has a much greater emphasis on the hams.

The first pull of an Oly pull is nothing like the first half of a conventional DL. The oly pull is initiated with the shoulders over the bar and is like a leg press and is meant to set up the more powerful second pull. The DL is initiated by the squeezing the chest up and out and pulling your back and the bar back.

If I start my 1st pull in an Oly lift like a DL, I end up backing up several to many inches and am off balance trying to catch the bar that’s not just sent up but back too.

They’re entirely different lifts.

Now I can see how the Oly’s wold allow for much greater power development because you have to stay quick and fast the whole movement. But what about accommodating resistance? This is why Louie uses it. So you can still work a movement specific to the comp movement with sub-max work and still have to used a lot of power through the whole movement.

I would like to see studies of power development of the classic PL lifts with various levels of accommodating resistance vs the Oly movements.