T Nation

Time Between Deadlift Reps

During warmups I just pull 5 in a row, but during my work set each rep takes a lot out of me and I need to take at least 5-10 breaths and reset my body/mind between each rep. I read somewhere that this doesn’t really count as doing a set, it is more like doing 5 singles. Does it matter at all?

I generally only do 1 work set of 5 since I get a lot of back work in my sport (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) and I can’t handle a ton of volume and still be able to train the next day. Am I just overthinking things?

If your strength is steadily improving and you’re noticing improvements in your BJJ performance, questioning what you already know is working would be an example of over thinking IMHO.

It depends on your definition of a set. Pavel Tsatsouline tells people to stand up and straighten up between reps! If it makes you stronger, keep doing it. If, however, you end up increasing the rest between reps to 30s or so I’d say it stops being a real set.

5-10 breaths? That’s quite a bit of time. I reset my grip between sets but that only takes lile 5 seconds max.

But results are the most important thing. If you are getting results, dont change anything.

When the bar hits the ground I make sure it’s still, check my feet aren’t off centre and take a deep breath ready for the next rep. Shouldn’t be 5-10 deep breaths IMO.

I think it’s funny that someone would say it “doesn’t really count as a set”. Who the fuck cares what you call it? If you’re only doing 5 total ‘working’ reps, I don’t think it matters. As long as you’re working to your own capacity. If you’re using the deadlifts as a conditioning tool, shorten the rest between reps. If you’re just trying to increase your 1RM, pause as long as you want. If your goals are somewhere in between, it sounds like what you’re doing is fine. The closer you’re lifting to your max, the longer rest you’ll need between reps.

I think it is as much a mental thing as a conditioning thing, I need a little time to psyche myself back up for another pull. I am not deadlifting for the conditioning benefits - I get plenty of that in training - I am primarily doing it to improve max strength. The routine has improved my 5RM 30% in the last few months, so it is definitely working. I will have my lifting partner time it next week, but I am pretty certain it is below 30 seconds. Thanks for all the input!

[quote]Prodigul wrote:
During warmups I just pull 5 in a row, but during my work set each rep takes a lot out of me[/quote]
I’d suggest doing your warm-ups and your work sets with the same technique and form. What you’re doing would almost be like doing push presses as a warm-up before work sets of military pressing.

You need up to 10 breaths between deadlift reps? Sounds like a conditioning/cardio issue more than anything.

What kind of weight are you using for the set of 5?

[quote]I read somewhere that this doesn’t really count as doing a set, it is more like doing 5 singles. Does it matter at all?

Am I just overthinking things?[/quote]
Define your goals and make sure your methods get you there. If they do, maintain. If they don’t, tweak it. If pausing/standing/resetting between reps helps you maintain a higher quality of rep, do it. If you see weekly strength increases with touch’n’go reps that just tap the floor and you’re not rounding your back mid-set, carry on. Guys have done both successfully, but a full reset between reps is more common.

If I can share a relevant story from just last week:

Dude in a rack next to me: “You shouldn’t pause on the ground between reps like that.”

Me, after a warm-up set of deadlifts: “Resetting each rep helps keep my back straight to avoid injury.”

Dude: “Maybe, but stopping makes it easier. You should barely touch the ground to keep tension on the muscle.”

Me: “Um, okay.” (Dude proceeds to do several standing convulsion-quarter-rep shrugs with 400+ pounds.)

I’m currently deadlifting for sets of 4-6 and when the bar is on the floor between reps I’ll quickly regrip, then straighten my legs while holding the bar (kinda looks like yoga’s downward dog pose with my hands much closer to my feet), before taking a breath, squatting down, setting my back, and starting the next rep’s pull. Doesn’t take more than a few seconds/one or two breaths before the big breath before the pull.

I usually wait at least one week between deadlift reps. In fact right now I think I’m on my fifth rep of 475. It’s been a couple months since my set started though so it’s hard to remember.

On a more serious note…

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
Me: “Um, okay.” (Dude proceeds to do several standing convulsion-quarter-rep shrugs with 400+ pounds.)

I’m currently deadlifting for sets of 4-6 and when the bar is on the floor between reps I’ll quickly regrip, then straighten my legs while holding the bar (kinda looks like yoga’s downward dog pose with my hands much closer to my feet), before taking a breath, squatting down, setting my back, and starting the next rep’s pull. Doesn’t take more than a few seconds/one or two breaths before the big breath before the pull.[/quote]
First of all, this is EXACTLY how I do my deadlifts, so I’m stoked to see you post this.

Second of all, I am also the kind of person who does convulsion-quarter-rep shrugs lol… I use at least 500 pounds though.

I put it down, make sure stance is correct, get my grip again, getting set, (various things involving back, abs, tightness, ect) then start the next rep. It only takes about three-four seconds for me I think.

[quote]flipcollar wrote:
I think it’s funny that someone would say it “doesn’t really count as a set”. Who the fuck cares what you call it? If you’re only doing 5 total ‘working’ reps, I don’t think it matters. As long as you’re working to your own capacity. If you’re using the deadlifts as a conditioning tool, shorten the rest between reps. If you’re just trying to increase your 1RM, pause as long as you want. If your goals are somewhere in between, it sounds like what you’re doing is fine. The closer you’re lifting to your max, the longer rest you’ll need between reps.[/quote]

lol…wise words

I don’t need that many breaths, it is honestly a combination of psyching myself up and making certain my lower back and abs are tight. As such, I think it does allow me a higher quality of rep, since in that time I can completely set my back and make sure it is not rounded.

I am only pulling 290 and I weigh 175, so nothing too impressive, but I was pulling 215 when I got back into lifting in September, and I am still training BJJ 4+ days a week. Form wise, the warmups are not touch and go, they are still full resets. What is different is the amount of time between pulls increases during work set.

In terms of goals, I want to increase my pulling/squeeze pressure, and my ability to lift and throw people in BJJ. I also want to increase the explosiveness of my hips, especially in bridging motions. These are my overall lifting goals, and I deadlift, squat, press, and power clean every week to achieve them, in addition to assistance exercises.

Sounds like you’re doing just fine to me. I take a few moments between 2x bodyweight deadlifts too friend! When you’re lifting a weight that requires that much full body tension and focus, there’s nothing wrong with taking a few breaths and psyching yourself back up again. BJJ is all about being as relaxed as possible until you actually need to explode and use your strength, so it sounds like the way you’re training is very functional in that sense.

Can’t speak for others, but I think a 290 at 175 for multiple reps is great. Keep up the good work.

[quote]jskrabac wrote:

[quote]flipcollar wrote:
I think it’s funny that someone would say it “doesn’t really count as a set”. Who the fuck cares what you call it? If you’re only doing 5 total ‘working’ reps, I don’t think it matters. As long as you’re working to your own capacity. If you’re using the deadlifts as a conditioning tool, shorten the rest between reps. If you’re just trying to increase your 1RM, pause as long as you want. If your goals are somewhere in between, it sounds like what you’re doing is fine. The closer you’re lifting to your max, the longer rest you’ll need between reps.[/quote]

lol…wise words [/quote]
x3

As long as you’re making progress, do whatever you want.

[quote]Prodigul wrote:
I am only pulling 290 and I weigh 175, so nothing too impressive, but I was pulling 215 when I got back into lifting in September[/quote]
Solid. I’d say keep doing what you’re doing.

Call them cluster reps if you “have to” label it, but as was said, the results of the training are ultimately more important than whether it’s textbook-approved.

[quote]csulli wrote:
First of all, this is EXACTLY how I do my deadlifts, so I’m stoked to see you post this. [/quote]
Great minds, brotherman. Great minds. Ha.

Yeah, but you get a pass because I have to believe your deadlift is at least somewhere in the neighborhood of that same number. This dude, I truly don’t ever remember him doing much more in the gym other than those shrugs or pull-ups by the dozen.

Thanks for all the responses and encouragement! I will keep up my current approach until it stops leading to gains and then I will reassess.

Better to take a few breaths and re-set between reps than to bust your back trying to rush things.
Personally, I release the bar, stand, take a big breath, then re-grip and pull again. Takes around 5 seconds. I only pull 500lb@200 though, so not an expert and my technique is still a work in progress. I’m still trying to work out the most efficient hip height for starting my deadlift.