T Nation

Why is First Deadlift Rep the Hardest?

I just thought about me deadlifting last year. I always found doing submaximal singles to be kinda hard. Does being timid with a deadlift affect performance coming off the floor for the first rep. Is there a mental barrier that causes you to not generate a lot of force because you’re timid?

1 Like

It could. Try conditioning yourself to be aggressive and confident.

Unfortunately, this requires performing the lift, possibly several times.


by chance are you comparing them to say doing touch and and go reps?


I don’t do touch and go

ok… just wanted to make sure for certain.

Two things. First, are you sure the singles are actually submaximal? Second, timid how?

yes. nervous unconfident

Are you asking:

Why is 100×1 harder than 90×3 when 110 is your max?


Why is 100×1 harder than 100×3 when 110 is your max?

I’ve noticed the same thing and have just mentally accepted that “first is the worst”.

I tend to find the worst happens around rep 20

1 Like

Muscles not warm

Rep 20 sucks, but by that time, I’m probably only half concious and thus become numb to the pain

The Cressey Salute increases first rep performance by several hundred.

I got halfway through googling that before my sarcasm detectors kicked into life.


Well it works very well for him!

Last year I was able to deadlift 300 for 9 deadstop. Sometimes when I deadlifted 315 for one it would feel hellish. It doesn’t add up to me thinking about it. It should be easy unless it has something to do with the brain getting used to heavy weight.

Power off of the floor can be problematic for some. There are about a million things it could be though.

You can also fire up your nervous system a little by doing explosive jumps or something right before the lift.

I always used to use Powercleans as a warmnup for deadlifts. Used to help me massively. I was never smart enough to know why though.

Me neither. Something about dendrites, action potential, nodes of ranvier etc.

I opted for a few welding certs and some cool scars in lieu of my PhD in neuroscience.

I mean, like who wouldn’t?


Maybe on subsequent reps you are in a better starting position. I don’t know what to call it but also having felt the weight already you know what positions are most efficient. Also not as much of a shock to your system as you’d already held it and loaded your muscles with it.