T Nation

Ditching Deadlift


I have been deadlifting 185 lbs for about 2 months now while my squat increased from 185 to 220 lbs. For the past two months, I have deloaded and deloaded and deloaded again on SS 3x5 but never did I pass 185 lbs. Always pulled out 5 reps successfully, but never seem to get anywhere. Today I did 190 for four reps, I am going to give it a try on five reps next time but should I just abandon it? What's the worst that can happen though?


I suggest lowering the reps and focus on form. Also take a look at 5/3/1 by Jim Wendler for deads if you're stalling. Hope this helps.


IMO you will get better advice if you provide more information. What is your difficulty? Is it a grip issue? Is it clearing the weight from the ground or locking it out where you stick? What's going on with your life/sports/diet/past injuries/mobility issues? True, some people are built better than others for deads, but you should be able to progress regardless (barring some real underlying issue). If you post a video you will probably get even more useful feedback. Technique is quite possibly an issue.

Things like rack pulls and isometric holds at sticking points can be helpful depending on the issue but without more info, any advice you get will really be a shot in the dark.


OP, if you ignore the food advice in your other thread all the technique fixes won't do squat (or deadlift) for you.


I had similar problems with this program. If you are following the program the way its written, you are performing a reset, not a deload. A reset is when you decrease the weight that you are lifting, usually by about 10%, then work back up. In Starting Strength, it is implied that reseting will help you get past some of your first stall points.

But reseting never helped me at all. Like you, I reset several times and still stalled at the same point. I have since changed over to a program with scheduled deloads, and have been able to progress past my stall points. However, you can do deloads while still following SS. During a deload, you decrease the volume of your lift while keeping the weight the same, usually by reducing the number of reps you do. So if you are on a 3x5 program, you would deload by keeping the weight the same and doing it like 3x3 for a day. Then you would progress normally on the next day. When deload, you want to do it for ALL of your main lifts that day (Press/Bench Press, Squat, and Deadlift), and also for both your A and B workout days. A good rule of thumb is to deload every 6-8 workouts, IIRC, as per Pavel in one of his books.

Some technique changes that have greatly improved my deadlifts are using a mixed grip instead of double overhand, and focusing on dropping the hips and throwing the head back & chest up as soon as the bar leaves the floor. Keep your weight on your heels, focus on trying to pull the bar backwards into you.


Endo: But isn't 5/3/1 for more advanced lifters? I am still puny, not even on Mad Cow yet.

Batman: the difficult I have is gripping the ball and getting it off the floor. For instance, I almost dropped the weight on the fourth rep today cuz I couldn't hold it any longer.

Forivian: I know. But the thing is my deadlift didn't grow at all compare to my BP and Squat.

esskay: I am planning to go on 1x5 from now on which is just a bunch of warm up sets before one max set. So am I supposed to deload for two workout days and on the thir workout day I return to normal? Can i also do 1x3 as a deload?


5/3/1 works for anyone at any strength level.

Are you using a mixed grip (one palm facing you, one palm facing away from you) or double overhand grip (both palms facing you)? If you are using the latter, try using the former instead.

Are you not already doing DL @ 1x5? That is what the program prescribes, and what you should be doing. For reference, check here:

And you are reducing volume on your work sets only, about ~70% is a good guideline. So yes, a 1x5 would be a 1x3 on a deload. And yes you return to the normal working weight progression after the deloads. The purpose of a deload is to give your CNS a rest to prevent burning out.


5/3/1 is for any lifter of any level.

Grip strength is your problem, improve it and your deadlift will go up.


esskay: Yeah I am doing 1x5 but like you said, I have to do all my lifts on that day for 3 reps and as I am switching to 1x5 I was wondering if its alright to do it 1x3. By work sets you mean my serious set not the warmups right? Also, I am using overhand grip, i will keep in mind to try the former one next time.

Chris: how exactly should i increase my grip and forearm strength though?


Grippers help to increase grip strength, but IMO you probably dont need that yet, you just need to switch to a mixed grip. Heavy pulling movements can also help to improve grip strength secondarily. Yeah, 1x3 is what you would do for DL on a deload day. And yes, you dont need to change the volume on your warmup sets.

If you are already stalling, then your CNS is probably already heavily taxed, so you should be focusing right now on recovery. Do whatever you can to recover from the work you have already done, maybe take an extra long weekend.


um how would taking a longer rest between workouts help me doe? Even if I take an extra long weekend, the next time I deadlift I'd be lucky to do 190 succesfully for 5 reps and that would strain my CNS once again. I can't forever take long rests can I? Also, should I do the deload right now as a recovery sorta thing cuz all my lifts plateaued or should I wait for 6-8 weeks?


You started another thread recently whining about not making progress. The replies went something like this:
Eat more
Eat more
Eat more
Eat more
Something about McLovin/Elvis Costello
Eat more
Eat more

After which you thanked everybody, waited a whole three minutes and created this thread whining about ditching the deadlift while failing to mention that you eat like a sparrow.
Just because you're wasting our time and I'm feeling childish I'd like you to google "Naomi Kutin".


^Awesome post. In every way.

The problem is not "CNS fatigue".
The problem is not that you're not deloading enough.
The problem is that you're not eating enough. Period. Eat more and you will make progress. You don't grow from lifting weights, you grow from eating. Lifting weights just decides what kind of weight you put on.

Apart from eating more, always doing the same number of reps can make it harder to progress. This does not mean "change programs every single fucking week to confuse your muscles", it means go for a 3RM some days, a 5RM some days, a 2RM some days, a 10RM some days and so on.

And if your back starts rounding on deads (your workout partner mentioned that in the other thread), arch it, look up/straight ahead, keep the bar very close to your shins throughout the lift and start lifting more than a 9 year old 88 lb girl.


Wow, so glad I wasted my time earlier actually giving a serious thought out response in an effort to help you with the other thread you started 3 minutes ago.


I loled...a few times...




Your not gaining muscle, you're not getting stronger, you admit that you are "puny" = you're not making progress.

90% of results are made in the kitchen. You can lift, program, deload, super-drop-mega-mechanical-cluster-blast-widowmaker-set all you want but if you're not eating enough of the right things you're not going to see results.



a couple of years ago I was on program ADD doing the latest magazine workout, working out for 3-4 hours trying to hit muscles from every angle and doing super-drop-mega-mechanical-cluster-blast-widowmaker-sets for MOAR INTENSITYYYY RAAAAGGGHH, taking my NOXplode like clockwork even on non-training days... and because I was trying to gain muscle while losing fat, I ate probably around maintenance kcal and only a piece of fruit after 6pm.

I got leaner, but also a LOT softer and weaker. I went on a short hike with my gf and her brother one day. if I hadnt taken some caffeine pills at the start, I'm not sure I would've made it, and that was a 15-20 minute hike.

I started 5/3/1 that winter and ate a lot more (but not as much as I'm eating now). I beat my rep records almost every session and I felt strong like bull.


For what its worth....I started to max out around 225 with the overhand grip. The bar would move a little in my hands and would throw things off. Switching grips plus chalk made a big difference.


k guys, i kinda got the point of eating more. I was just wondering if there were other factors involved besides eating. You know, dont assume ppl to be stupid, when i admit i eat little, that means i know eatiing more will make a difference but I didn't know there weren't more to it. Is it so unacceptable to think our complex muscle fibers actually aren't so complex to build. oops for being fastidious bout it i guess.


If you are failing lifts due to CNS burnout, then you have the strength already to do the lift, you are just failing to recruit your muscles to do the work. The fact that you can get 4 reps consistently but not the 5th shows that you can infact lift this much weight, you are strong enough to do it. You probably just need more rest, like everyone is saying; food contributes greatly to that. I personally like to eat about a half-carton of cottage cheese before I go to bed on workout nights to get some extra calories and protein in. Also get a lot of sleep. That is why I suggested taking an extra long weekend, or an extra day between workouts; to give you more time to rest.

"the next time I deadlift I'd be lucky to do 190 succesfully for 5 reps"
You have the wrong attitude here. If you plan for failure, you are very likely to achieve it.

Any suggestions about what to do programming wise beyond what I already posted would just be me pulling shit out my ass. That said, you could try a deload now and see if it helps. You could also do a mini-reset and work back through with deloads in the mix.
When I was in this situation, I got fed up with stalling and switched to a completely different program that used deloads (weekly), took my 1RM's and used ~60-70% of that for my new working weights; effectively another reset. I have since progressed past all of my old stall-points, and am getting close to beating some of my previous 1RM's for reps.
Also, deloads should be every 6-8 workouts, not 6-8 weeks. Sorry if I said otherwise.