T Nation

Nervous About DLing Again & Diet Questions


I will try to make this as brief as I can and provide what information may be useful. I've been working out regularly (3-4 x week) a for over a year now. When I began I was about 140lb, 6', 25 years old. Could hardly squat the bar or bench half my weight. I've made some tremendous gains by my own standards. Current weight ranges between 175-180. Bench is up to 200x5x5. Squat to 285x5X5. Hack Squat is ridiculous like 500 x 10. Leg Press I don't even think counts there are so many plates. Etc.

Here's the issue I am having. I started doing deadlifts about 6 mo. ago and was steadily increasing in weight. I then hit a plateau which seemed to fluctuate up & down in rep capability every few weeks, until about 3 weeks ago. I did something wrong and my back hasn't been the same since.

I can squat with no pain. I can do every exercise without issue. Except now I'm afraid to do deadlifts. I should mention I had a broken L3/L4 a few years prior. So I don't want to really mess things up. Is there any worthy replacement?

Another question is regarding diet. I don't eat poorly nor do I eat extravagantly. Obviously I'm eating enough as I've gained 40 pounds in the last year, but I'd like to know how, if possible, to keep my strength gains and lose about 10 pounds. What exactly is a macro/micro, what specific foods or weekly diet plan is proper, etc? Just looking for links or pointers.

And one final thing. My legs are probably small compared to body builders, but they are tree trunks compared to my upper body. If I start doing higher rep/less weight leg exercises that shouldn't negatively effect growth or progress in upper body strength right? Probably a dumb question.

Thanks. This is my first post.


It looks like you have made great progress. What exactly happened while you were deadlifting? Were you rounding your lower back?

When I cut weight while maintaining or getting stronger, I do a slow cut of 0.5-1.0 lbs per week (could be more for a heavier person) to reduce muscle loss. I’ve recently lost 8 lbs over 12 weeks while getting stronger. You would likely have to do some type of program that isn’t too taxing on recovery. Stay on the conservative side and don’t push for PRs often. If I were doing 5x5 and hit a new PR, I would just reset the week after instead of going for another PR. It’s better to get a little stronger while losing weight than to accidentally over stress your body. I would also limit the amount of reps that require me to grind out weights at a slow bar speed. Since strength is a priority I would only focus on diet for weight loss. Low intensity cardio like walking won’t hurt. Medium intensity cardio would be borderline so I personally wouldn’t take the risk.

Macros are carbohydrates, proteins and fat. Micros are vitamins and minerals. If keeping track of calories, I would go with 300 calories below required intake to shoot for a 2100 calorie deficit per week and adjust week to week based on morning weight (taken same day each week for consistency). I stick to the basics for food: quality protein and fiber (fruits, veggies or both) with every meal; I eat whatever for carbs (not candy of course). I shoot for a minimum of 1g protein per lb of body weight each day regardless of bulking, maintaining or cutting.

Upper body lifts do depend on back/core strength and leg drive. If those areas feel weak from too much lower body work then yes your upper body lifts will be affected. You probably aren’t training your back, core and legs to failure everyday so I’m sure you’re fine.


Alternatives for conventional deadlifts are :

Sumo Deadlift - Sumo has a more upright starting position which takes pressure off lower back and uses more legs. This style is used by lifters who prefer to kind of squat the weight up . Think Eddie Coan style.

Trap Bar Deadlift - The beauty of the trap bar is you can alter your starting position. With a straight bar you are forced to have the weight in front of you whereas with a trap bar you can have the weight more to the sides. Feels a lot more comfortable then Sumo if new to it.

Romanian Deadlift - Start the lift from a rack as this will allow you to control the bar down with perfect form. Once you feel hamstrings tighten then come back up thrusting hips through. This lift is good as it allows you to always maintain a straight back with chest out. This can be hard to do with conventional deadlifts but with RDLs it is the correct position to stay in. It’s also one of the best lifts you can do for hamstrings and glutes.


[quote]ulysseslimbs wrote:
Hack Squat is ridiculous like 500 x 10. Leg Press I don’t even think counts there are so many plates.[/quote]
Definitely great work on the weight gain and progress so far, but these two, I mean, just… yeah.

What weight did you get up to? Can you be any more specific about the issue that just popped up? Is it in the same area as your previous injury?

Deadlifts with a priority on textbook form instead of poundage would be a good replacement. Trap bar or dumbbell deads would be the next best bet.

How lean are you currently? Not a percentage, but do you have defined abs, some pudge at the waist, etc.?

Basically, macronutrients are carbs, protein, and fat. Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals.

What does your current diet look like?

Can you post a full body pic? The overwhelming majority of the times a dude says this, it’s just in his head and simply isn’t true.

It’s not so much a dumb question and just misguided. I’m not sure what your actual long and short term goals are, but generally speaking, you’re not at a size or strength where intentionally slowing down your lower body progress is going to be the right call.

The better call would be to look at your entire program, figure out why your upper body might not be responding as well (presuming it actually isn’t), and work on improving that instead of slowing down the leg progress.