Deadlift PR Form Check and Trouble Recovering

Back story: been lifting on and off for 3 or so years. Now 28, 6’3, went from 250lbs of out of shape down to 200 then slowly back and fourth from 200 to currently around 230 trying to stay under 15%

Three weeks ago I finally pulled 500# raw. No real programming or anything was followed just pulled heavy singles and added weight each week. After pulling 500 I found a 10 week program to follow and started there. The workout went great except failed in the final set of 465x2 (only got one). I decided I needed a deload week so the next week I went down to around 275 for 5x3.

Fast forward to this week and tried to follow the program again, this week 400x2 felt extremely heavy. My hamstring got pretty sore so I rolled my and barely pulled 435x1. Didn’t even bother the final set of 465.

What am I missing? My diet hasn’t changed and I’m drinking plenty of water and getting my normal amount of sleep. Nothing in my life has really changed, I just can’t figure out why I’m feeling so weak now.

Not sure if Instagram links are allowed but currently it’s the only place I have the video uploaded. I’d not I’ll upload somewhere else after work.

Tips, advice, critique all welcome and encouraged.

Thanks a lot for reading!

Nice job on a 500 pull. Regarding your form: you shouldn’t be looking down during the lift. I notice this is how you start the pull and it leads to that back rounding you can see before lockout. Keep your eyes neutral or even looking up. There is no reason to look down after you have set your feet ans your grip. Head up, chest up, pull.

Second, like most of us, you need more posterior chain work. Hit your hamstrings extra hard and train your glutes and lower back. Stiff leg deadlifts, deficit deadlifts, cable pull throughs, GHR’s, leg curls, good mornings. IMO use at least one lower body day to put yourself through hamstring hell. Your weak point is at the top of the lift and you need that posterior strength to push your hips through to the bar.

As far as the fluctuations in your strength, its hard to say if you are telling us nothing has changed. How have your other lifts progressed? Your bodyweight changes are what I would suspect is the culprit.

Squat has stalled around 400-405. The last few weeks I havent been able to squat heavy due to one knee or the other bothering me. Deadlifts don’t bother my knees at all. As for bench I follow more of a bodybuilding rep range of 8-10ish with dumbells and it’s gradually going up (currently use 80lb dumbbells 4x8-10 on a slight incline). I know I should probably train it more directly for strength but a strong bench just doesn’t interest me.

As for my head, if I look up I get dizzy or light headed, haven’t really tried looking forward, I mainly follow Elliot Hulse’s advice of keeping a completely “neutral spine”. I’ll adjust next week and see how it feels.

I agree my hammies are weak, other than deadlift and squat (separate days) I don’t do anything else to target them directly. Its something I will definitely take into account and adjust my routines accordingly.

My weight has been around 230 for a few months now, leaning out and maintaining weight. The rest of my workouts follow my bench routine of 3-4 sets of 8-12 on a push/pull/leg kind of split. Deadlift/pull day is always first.

I sleep around 7 hours a night, any more and I feel like hell. My work schedule rotates (2 on 2 off 3 on 2 off 2 on 3 off) and work 12 hour days in a hot active facility on which days I do not train. I don’t track calories but aim for over 200g protein, moderate days and carbs. I adjust based on how I feel and what looks good. I know my protein needs to be higher and I’ve started adding more through the days.

Thanks for the advice and critiques, I’ll make adjustments and check back in.

Getting dizzy or lightheaded while deadlifting is par for the course, and has nothing to do with head position and everything to do with holding your air and staying tight (which you should be doing regardless of head position). You should be taking big air into your belly and bracing your abdominals tight through your lockout.

Others may disagree on this but for me, by the time you’re pulling up over 400 you should start addressing weak points. It won’t always be enough to just deadlift if a weak muscle group is holding you back.

Are you following a program or just a rough push/pull/legs split?

Also: get a belt. It is more difficult to learn how to breathe and brace your midsection properly without one.

Just a rough push pull legs aside from this failed attempt at the deadlift program I just started. Before this it was heavy singles in deads then bent over rows, two other types of rows, chinups, rear delt flys. Chest is incline flys, incline dumbell, weighted dips, incline pushups(to simulate decline pressing) and lateral flies then svend press. Legs is squats, lunges, stepups, and just started glute bridges. Occasional ab work of rollouts, and 45lb Russian twists. Rarely oblique crunch.

Squats and deads were heavy singles, rest is 3 to 4 working sets of 8-10ish. More on pushup/svend press.

I see … Well you obviously have progressed pretty well as noone pulls 500 by accident. But really I think anyone would recommend you follow a pre-designed program. Its much easier to track progress and diagnose issues this way whereas there are way too many variables to really pick apart anything in the system you are following now.

I have a belt, knee wraps and straps that I normally use over 400 or if it feels necessary. For the longest time I would push out against belt until I learned to brace myself and now I use it primarily on higher reps as form starts to suffer. Up until this 500 attempt and the 475 the week before I’ve always used at least straps and a belt over 400. Belt over 350 for squats.

I definitely plan on getting a proper routine together. Probably 531. I figured if I got to 500 by just throwing stuff around and not tracking anything I’m really limiting myself.

@max13 pretty much has it covered. Definitely use your belt. To me, your overall pull looks OK - back rounds a tad but I can’t talk. If it isn’t hurting, I wouldn’t worry too much.

Out of interest, do you always lower your DL so slowly? I’m sure I’ve read differing opinions, but one is that slowly lowering your DL can really mess with your strength. Worth considering, at any rate.

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I drop the weight or at least lower faster a lot more often. I use a pair of bumper plates that are a tiny bit larger than my steel plates now so I’m not worried about damaging the platform, bar or my garage floor.

Vibration is a key indicator of a weak posterior chain. The weight is too heavy so the body tries to tuck the legs under the bar to shorten the moment arm created by the glutes sticking out to the rear. Work the lower back, hamstrings and calves. In most people, the glutes are way too strong for the hams and back, so they cant thrust if the rest of the chain is weak.

Oh, and stop with the damn maxing in the gym. Use a triple as a max test. Singles don’t build strength in most people. You do them too long you get weaker and burned out. Study Ed Coan closely.

I plan on starting 5/3/1 with BBB tomorrow and give it a shot for a few cycles. I agree my posterior chain is weak, I never do anything specifically to train them. I also agree singles aren’t helping me. K tested my squat the other day, initially I tried 315 for. Reps but only managed 3, calculation a 1rm of like 340, I ended up squatting an easy 385 and stopped there for 5/3/1 numbers.