T Nation

Deadlift Trouble - Huge Swings

I’ve been training for awhile, wish I had started my powerlifting training at an earlier time, but you can’t turn the clock back. Earlier today I went to the gym to train deadlift and I’m currently using the 5/3/1 method and for the most part enjoying it.

I’ve had these issues for awhile now, my deadlift is my best lift by a fair margin but I find myself getting psyched out before I’m even lifting the weight. For example, during my first wave (85%) last month I hit a 435 x 7 and it felt good, a PR for me with that weight. Today, I could barely budge a 440 for a single on the same wave, but next training phase. For my deadlift it feels like everything has to be perfectly alligned and I find myself not commiting to lifts if I don’t feel the weight just rocket off the floor. I feel like I’m scared to dig because I will let myself down or something? Yes I was having a bad day, stuff at work was on my mind etc, but what do you folks find if anything, to pull yourself together and work to ensure at least a decent work out on your best lift?

I’ve hit a 500-520lb singles at least a dozen times at 181 but it’s never felt like I’ve ever felt really confident with that weight and that I could consistently pull it. I’m 6ft tall all the same and I realize that is way too tall for 181. I feel lost and want to know what folks who have gone through this have done to overcome it?

You’re not always going to be your strongest. Maybe it’s time to start lifting on a taper, so that you’re more prepared for big lifts when you attempt.

[quote]acfirearms wrote:

Yes I was having a bad day, stuff at work was on my mind etc, but what do you folks find if anything, to pull yourself together and work to ensure at least a decent work out on your best lift?

I find that once I get in the gym, and no matter how crap my day may have been, once I’ve finished my warm up, Im in the mindset to train. You/We go to the gym to lift, to progress. Go there and do that.

I don’t pysche myself up for all sets, as I personally find that ‘wears out’. I ‘save’ it for my bigger attempts. If that makes sense?

It happens. I had a 100 lb swing in my squat a few weeks ago. Times like that, up the calories, get a bit more rest, come back at it.

Lifting is supposed to be what you do to forget about your bad day or stress at work or whatever. Heavy deadlifts can depend heavily on mental state because you need to create 100% force right at the start, unlike the other two lifts where you get acclimated to the weight during the descent. Listening to violent death metal always gets my mind right for a big pull.

The inconsistent performance you’re talking about is more likely a sign of either overtraining or insufficient rest. There’s no reason that you should go from 435x7 to 440x1 week-to-week with a well-designed program and consistent food and sleep.

I find that out of all my lifts, deadlifts are the most variable…some days, 500 seems to rocket up off the floor…then the next week I’ll go into my deload and think my last deload work set (which is usually my last warmup set) feels heavy…thats the nature of the beast.

I will say though that I’ve found the 3-5-1 setup to be much better (overall, but specifically for the deadlift). It allows you to go heavy your first week, take a backoff week (but still mediumish weights), then heavy again the next week, followed by a deload. This keeps your CNS and pull fresh, but primed.

I’ve also considered just deadlifting every two weeks and swapping in a “deadlift-like motion” in the gap weeks. If I ever get tired of 3-5-1 setup, I will probably move to this.

Sounds like a CNS thing. Honestly, you might need to deadlift less often. It might sound “wimpy”, but if you don’t need all the volume, then why do it? There’s numerous articles about how the best thing people have done for their deadlift…is not deadlift.