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Weak DL From Blocks - What Gives?

Hey everyone,

I’m currently running Westside and am programming deadlifts from blocks on ME lower body days, set so that the bar is about two inches underneath the knee. Today was my first attempt at this variation – I have done rack pulls before (admittedly the last time was ca. 4 years ago), but I understand that pulling from blocks has a better carryover to deadlifting.

From what I understand, one should be able to block pull a bit more weight than when pulling from the floor. However, today I was only able to reach 185 kg without my form completely breaking down (my max deadlift is 207.5 kg, making this about 92% of my deadlift 1RM).

I doubt this was a set-up issue; I rather think that this is indicative of some kind of weakness in my posterior chain, but I’m not sure of what exactly. What perplexes me is the glaring imbalance between pulling from blocks and from the floor. Has anyone else had this problem before? And does anyone have any general tips for block pulls?

Thanks in advance!

Seems logical to me. Think about where your sticking point is or where you usually fail when you pull from the floor. Starting at or rigtht below that point removes the momentum you get off the floor.

^ You’re probably right, I seem to be able to move the bar 3-4 inches off of the ground with almost every pull but then stick at the transition into hip extension. Do you find from your experience that partials carry over to fixing this sticking point?

Yeah makes sense. You are pulling from the weakest point in the lift - the point where you get stuck, and as mkral said without the momentum you get from a fast pull off the floor, it seems to make perfect sense that you would be pulling less.

I feel like getting stronger from that position would probably have a really good carryover. Think about it - if you make it so that you can grind out your old max (207.5) from that point, at a dead stop, then you will PROBABLY be able to move even more through that point with momentum off the floor. It’s like if you managed to work on your pause squat so you could squat your old PR with a 3 second pause. If you could do that, you probably have a new PR in you.

Just don’t neglect regular deadlifts and speed work to stay fast off the floor. It would blow pretty hard to make your sticking point you STRONG point, only to then realize that you are too slow off the floor with anything over 207.5 to even take advantage of that new weak-point strength haha. keep pulling from the floor with speed and work on those pulls from blocks and I bet you will see some really good carryover.

^ Good advice, thanks. I’ll cycle between conventional deadlifts, snatch-grip and block pulls on my ME days and see how that comes along.

Interestingly, I seem to have plateaued with my deadlift while my squat and bench continue to improve. For whatever reason I can’t seem to get tight anymore during the initial pull from the floor. I find that snatch-grip deadlifts are helping me engrain this lower-back and abdominal tightness, but am still stumped that weights that seemed easy for me a couple of months ago are now a real challenge.