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Sadiv Sets for Deadlifts - Conundrum

Hello everyone,

For those of you who have been following Martin Rooney’s “Train Like a Man” series at T-Nation, you might remember the concept of the Sadiv Set from the second article in the series. The basic idea is, in the case of deadlift, that one performs the maximum number of singles at 60% of their 1RM for 12 minutes, taking breaks to reset between each rep.

These are essentially speed reps, to be performed as explosively as possible. The ultimate goal of this protocol is to move as much weight as possible within the allocated timeframe and thus not only to foster neural and hormonal recruitment, but also to train lifting explosively for singles and thus to aid the 1RM.

Here’s the YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAku98bpQjM

For the last three or four months I’ve been concentrating more and more on my deadlift after having taken a couple of years off of this exercise. My previous 1RM from about 6 years ago was ca. 186 kg/410 lbs, although I hadn’t taken the deadlift too seriously then. By the end of the year I’m shooting for 200 kg/440 lbs and hoping to deadlift triple my bodyweight of 76 kg (228 kg/502 lbs) by this time next year

I tried this out for the first time at this morning’s workout and must say that I was somewhat disappointed. As my present 1RM is at around 183 kg, I loaded 110 kg onto the bar and tried to work as explosively and fast as possible for each single. After 12 minutes I ended up with 44 reps and felt as though I was holding something back in the middle 6 or 7 minutes. Of course it was a great workout, but didn’t feel as though I needed to “expel a lung” at minute 9, as Rooney mentions in his article.

What’s going on here? Is it OK that I’m able to lift more than double the aimed-for number of reps? Should I go heavier and see what happens? My problem with that would be as follows: I assume that 25-30 reps is the desirable range, but my total volume from today of 110 kg x 44 (4840 kg) is more than, e.g., 120 kg x 40 (4800 kg) and much higher than, e.g., 140 x 25 (3500 kg). Is this exercise about neural/hormonal recruitment? Or about total volume? Or just about lifting explosively for singles?

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this and experiences from anyone who has tried the Sadiv deadlift set before.


I train the DL in a similar way.

However, the difference is I use a much higher % and keep an eye on the time but don’t get obsessed about it. So top set can range from around 10 minutes to 30 minutes depending on how heavy the weight is and how much rest I think I need (maybe up to 2 minutes between reps towards the end).

Personally I think you should use a much heavier weight and go for less reps (say 20). I don’t really see the point in doing such high reps for speed (like 40-50 reps). Just my opinion. My understanding is speed DLs are done for lowish reps in order to keep speed high and form good.

I normally alternate between doing say 8 very heavy singles/ 20 heavy singles/and occasionally up to around 50 singles (rare - hard to recover from) and then maybe a heavy single or 3-5 over the course of a few weeks. Easy to set PBs like this going for various different reps each week.

Not sure if that helps at all but there you go.

Bump up the weight. the 60% guideline is there for when when 60% happens to be 180kg +

^alright, point taken. Thanks for the tips. I’ll bump it up to about 75% next week and see what happens; hopefully I can land somewhere in the range of 25 reps give or take a few. I assume, then, that the point of the Sadiv set isn’t necessarily just to crank out as much volume as possible in a short window of time?

Will report back next Tuesday.

So I tried out Sadiv sets again yesterday @ 140 kg or about 75% of my 1RM and managed to crank out 30 in 12 minutes. There was definitely a great deal more muscle exhaustion this time, but I still didn’t feel as though my cardiovascular system was being any more taxed than last week. I was also not able to work quite as explosively, but that seems to make sense considering the bump up in weight.

What do you think? If I’m looking to work on explosive singles, do Sadiv sets still seem to be a viable option? I’ve heard good things about speed sets and have tried working them into my deadlift training a couple of times already. What would offer me a better option for simultaneously training explosiveness and work capacity - Sadiv sets or standard speed sets?

Quit thinking about this so hard. Just add 10Kg/week until you are only able to get 12 reps or so. Go for a PR the next week and reset the cycle.