T Nation

New Found DL Strength?


Ok, here's the deal. I've been plagued by back injuries the past 7 months and haven't been able to deadlift over 300 since then. I strained a lat in June of '10 and wasn't able to lift because of football for the next 4 months. I fractured my L4-L5 in October of '10 and didn't deadlift at all for another 3 and a half months. My best deadlift before I got hurt was 350x1.

I'm currently running WS4SB and today was max effort lowerbody. So I decided to deadlift for the first time in 7 months. I mysteriously hit 335x4. I don't know what the hell happened, I would've guessed that I would've barely been able to do 225 after a 7 month layoff. I've been doing a shit-ton of abs, revers hypers and lower back since I was cleared to lift again back in December. Could anyone explain to me what happened?



You pulled 335x4 that's what happened... hahaha

But seriously, it looks like you know exactly what happened. You wrote "I've been doing a shit-ton of abs, revers hypers and lower back since I was cleared to lift again back in December.", so it looks like to me that your core and lower back was your weak point in the deadlift and then you hammered on it and tada it got better. I didn't do this exact thing, but I changed my training to include more upper back work and my deadlift exploded from a grinder at 495 to an easy 523. Either you knew this was holding you back in deadlift or you got lucky, but now you have some idea how these things can work. I suggest you continue to apply this to all assistance/accessory work you do and keep working those main lifts also now that you can again.


Honestly, I just think that I got lucky. I went back to lifting on December 12th, and only lifted 2 days that week and didn't DL (I had finals that week). I came back the next week and didn't deadlift (holidays). That week after that I didn't deadlift either. This week was the only time that I've deadlifted since coming back, so I think it was luck. Or who knows, maybe all my accessory work really helped.



not to derail the original post but I've seen a few people mention UPPER BACK with regards to it helping their deadlift and I keep scratching my head wondering how that's possible. If anyone can explain this to me I'd appreciate it. I can see how upper back work might provide the body additional support/structure during a heavy deadlift, just as shoulder work could help to an extent...hell, I've had a few DL's where I felt like my arms were going to pop out of socket...I just don't see how it actually assists the deadlift directly and I'm really interested in hearing how it does.


Pulling the shoulders back behind the bar so that optimum leverages can be maintained throughout the lift. Whenever I have a long layoff from DL I don't have the upper back strength to do this and the bar can get in front of me. But all I have to do is deadlift and the problem takes care of itself. The area I have to work on is mid-shin area mostly through leg drive and lower back/core work. I'm going to try speed work specific to DLing and see how that goes.

And to the OP. Keep up on the reverse hypers and core work. That'll help protect your back from future injuries. If my hips or back ever start acting up, the first thing I do is start doing less barbell work and more reverse hyper type exercises and ab work.


Bill Star once wrote an article called something like 'want to increase your deadlift? Dont deadlift' basically training all the links and letting the cns recover I think, maybe you've done something similar?


You don't have to deadlift 3 times per week to have a good deadlift. That will make you a better deadlifter for sure, but it's not a requirement. Do you squat? If yes, how is your squat progressing? There is a lot of carry over from the squat to the DL.

Bill Starr of course had it nailed. Deadlifting is a CNS nightmare, so heavy DLs can reduce your DL ability over time. Sometimes just taking a month off of deadlifting can put your max up higher.


Agreed. I can only stand heavy deadlifts once a month.


This and upper backs are weak on most people and a large part of the time deadlifts are missed because your upper back gives out. If your lockout is a problem I can almost guarantee that some upper back work will help to make it better by helping you keep more of the proper spinal position from the beginning.


There's a video of Ross from rosstraining doing well over 500lbs in the DL without training the DL. However, he can do standing rollouts with a weighted west, nordic hamstrings etc. So if you train the muscles involved in the deadlift, then they can be used in the DL. Simple as that.


I think of all exercises, deadlift benefits the most from doing other motions with the involved muscle groups (bench press would be second)....after all, isn't this what conjugate training is based on? (I could have my terminology screwed up here)....theres a reason you chose things like GMs for your ME exercises....

Personally I hadn't deadlifted since May due to finger and back injuries, and when I retested my max for 5-3-1 I pulled 5+ more than my best ever PR....had just come off I, BB which has a lot of squats and accessory work for the leg phase, and it looks like it carried over

congrats on the PR


One thing OP needs to understand - VTBalla and STB have some big f*in deadlifts - im not sure about VTB but i think there was a vid of STB pulling 700+ somewhere around.

These guys are strong - of course they can't pull heavy regularly, cause..... heavy for them is HEAVY.

I've deadlifted 415 off the floor at most (about 2 wks ago) and have trained for less than 2 yrs - i DL and Squat in the same week....EVERY week, AND make good progress on both of them. If i don't deadlift regularly, my lift suffers, but as i said, i'm still in the beginning stage of rapid gains

So, OP - if you are not as high up on the strength curve as some of the posters here, i'd say you can take advantage and hammer deadlifts regularly AND make great progress on them


mlekava is right. I was just trying to make a point that the DL doesn't require lots of direct training to get some good strength.

Like mlekava, My max to date is 455, I've been training for only about 18 months. I do 5/3/1 on a 4xweekly schedule, so I do my deadlifts and squats every week.


I appreciate the vote of confidence, but I do not deserve to be mentioned with anyone on this site who is considered a strong deadlifter...im good for 550 if all stars moons and planets are aligned...

My point was just that its not so surprising that his deadlift went up from hammering the related muscle groups...

Gawd has it right...


Of course I squat. Since I've gotten back, my squat sucks. You can see in one of my earlier topics. Lately, I've just been trying to focus on form and reps rather than weight. I'm just starting out with 135 lbs for 5x5 and adding 10 lbs a week until progress stalls. I'm thinking about switching to the original West-Side program so I can box squat every week.