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Switching DL For Rows


I feel like a hit a plateau with deadlifts. I did 162,5kg yesterday for 11 reps, while in June I hit 172,5kg for the same amount.

I’m starting God Is A Beast soon, so I was thinking about my deadlift.

I figured it might be wise to stop deadlifting for the whole GiaB cycle, and switch them for Bent Over Rows. In this way I can get myself together mentally and physicly for deadlifts after the GiaB cycle.


I’m not sure why eliminating them entirely for 20+ weeks and substituting with an assistance lift would be the answer to a plateau, so my thoughts would be to look at all other variables in your training and keep deadlifting.

This does not make sense. Focus instead to these things:

  • Do a lot ab/low back/glute/ham assistance. Back raises, ab wheel etc.

  • Focus on quality supplemental (BBS in GIAB would do that) instead of rep PRs.

  • Kroc rows

-Gain weight

If you want, you can do assistance based programming too. But don’t take away DL completely, specially from a program like God Is A Beast.

Thanks guys.

Will up my pulling assistance volume and will try Kroc Rows

I’m at the end of a long cycle (3 leader / 2 anchor) where I trained deads once every two weeks for most of the time, I’ve been hitting Jokers in the last 2 weeks and I can already tell I’ve lost some poundage. Not much, I’d gauge that my best 1RM will be 6kg less than the one at the previous cycle, and it’s a fair trade to me since pulling back on deads has allowed to push squats much more and I’m fine with it. I’d say that my technique in deads has improved quite a bit (speaking of safety), so I’m even more ok with that.

But point is, dropping them entirely for a full cycle will hurt your poundages for sure. I understand the need to take a mental and physical break from the lift, it’s one of the reasons I tried to train it once/2 weeks, but in hindsight my suggestion would simply to put it on maintenance - use 5’s Pro + 3-5x5 FSL, I think all Forever programs have this option to pull back one or two lifts you don’t want to push. Scale back your TM a bit too, eventually.
Don’t know about you, but I’ve had a few ups and downs with deads and found they have their own way to crush my confidence, to the point I get worse at doing weights that had no issues doing just a few weeks before. When it happened, resetting the TM and starting back with lighter work focusing on making every rep my sexual slave has worked ok for me.

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I endorse Rattus’ low ab/low back/glute ham raises as part of your workout. keep the deads in, maybe rack pulls for awhile?

I just start the Anchor phase of this program and my dead lift seems to have benefited the most of all the main lifts. I wouldn’t take it out.

What about switching them for Paused DL? My weakest point is off the floor (conventional), so that might help.

Pause deadlifts are great but normally as a supplemental movement, as if your goal is to increase your deadlift you may find you lose your groove if you never do regular deadlifts. To be fair though feel free to try pause deadlifts… for my own reasons I only ever pause squat/pause front squat and I have had great success!

Seconded paused deads being better as assistance. They’re tough.

I’m not really sold on the notion of paused deads tho.
Pause squats are great because they negate stretch reflex in the hardest part of the lift (coming out the hole), forcing you to push harder in that portion of the lift, and this transfers into you getting better at pushing harder when you use a normal tempo and have stretch reflex on your side. Same for the bench.
But deads don’t have that kind of stretch reflex going on - if your sticking point is somewhere towards mid shin to below knees, then yes, I can see them being somewhat useful negating the initial acceleration and forcing you to get stronger in that specific portion of the lift.
But if your sticking point is right off the floor, it seems to me that standard paused deads simply train you to decelerate after the hardest part of the lift, simply making the other part of the lift (the one you don’t have issues with) harder - which will make you stronger anyway, just not where you need to be.

I myself am very weak off the floor, the first few inches are always slow and as soon as I get to mid shin the bar accelerates and lockout is usually lighting fast, even at very high %s (90+% of 1RM). I’ve been trying a few things in the last couple weeks and planned to try a few more in the next cycles, weakness off the floor seems to have many possible causes so identifying the source of the weakness seems a reasonable approach:

  • reverse pause deads: Paul Carter has an article about them here on the website. Instead of pausing during the concentric portion (see above), you pause during the eccentric. Since some stretch reflex is built during sets of multiple reps, the effect of the reverse pause is closer to how paused squats work, you kill stretch reflex and pausing before the bar touches the floor helps in lowering to a better starting position for the following rep(s). I’ve done them for a few sets of 3-5 @ SSL after main work and they’re tough;

  • rack pulls from just below knees: done with a stiff bar is ideal imho. Not sure if/how they help with lockout, and not directly tied to pulling from the floor, but they do a great job in teaching you to stay tight, which translates to the pull from the floor since sometimes a weak pull comes from not being tight enough at the start. They also hit the lower back harder, which is a prime mover in deads;

  • deficit deads: have yet to try these, I’m not sold on the theory behind deficit pulls too - they’re usually done at a fairly submaximal % and the increased ROM basically gives you an extra room for acceleration making it easier to go past your usual sticking point (that is, right off the floor). I think that, similarly to how rack pulls translate to deads by improving tightness and back strength, deficit pulls might actually transfer to deads and improve the pull from the floor by strengthening/improving your ability to use hams and glutes, who can be another reason why you’re weak off the floor

I’ve just started really training lower back, glutes and overall back strength since a year or so, while I’ve been training for like six. I think that may be a big part of the deal