Deadlift Diaries: My Mental Battle

Sometimes a guy just needs a little push to get going…or a little pull in this instance. I am putting my progress out there to keep myself accountable and to hopefully help out others in a similar situation.  This will be an ongoing thread as I attempt to break my intimidation over the deadlift.

The deadlift is in my opinion the king of all strength exercises.  It is mind over matter, you against this bar that you are attempting to pickup off the floor with no real feel of how heavy it is until you begin your lift.  This is very different from a squat or bench press.  With those lifts you can feel the weight on your back or you can feel the pressure of the weight in your hands and wrists.  The deadlift does not give the nervous system that luxury.  You are almost flying blind with it.

It can “get inside your head” like no other lift.  Because it is such a different feel you can psych yourself up or out in an instant.  I have been powerlifting since may of 2015, I do realize I am a noob at this but I have made it a priority to allow myself to get stronger in this lift and not get into my head every single attempt.

I think my recent history with this lift can show how frustrating it can be.

Going into my first training session in May of 2015 I tested out at a 330 lb deadlift.  Within a couple of months I was up to 350.  I then hit a road block and stopped gaining, I even started to backslide and get weaker. In Sept of 2015 I hurt my back and tore an erector muscle on a 350 lb attempt that took me out of commission for a couple of months. I worked my ass off and came back stronger, crushing 385 in Feb of 2016.  I trained for a while and again my strength went down quickly.  I went all the way down back to 315.

What happened?  Was I all of a sudden weaker?  Did I forget how to deadlift?

Enter months of frustration.  I wanted to just quit.  What was I doing this for? I thought to myself I was never going to get stronger.  I was ashamed of my lack of strength.  However, I could not quit.

“Tomorrow I will quit.  This will be my last workout. ”

That thankfully did not happen.  I always came back.

January 2017 My strength is coming back.  Based on reps and weights I am very close to where I was before after being at 315 just a couple of months ago.

So what changed?  I will be honest there was a lot of experimentation with stances, programming, accessory exercises, volume, frequency and pretty much every variable imaginable.  The three things

August 9th 2017

No updates because unfortunately there has been no progress in terms of poundage increase, but I would not say there has been zero progress.

I have modified my footing, realized my head position is all wrong and have been working on keeping the chin tucked.  Today we tried to blast out moderate singles.  275×1 for 7 sets looked pretty good, but I did notice my right side is coming up faster.  I’ll have to look closely to determine what is going on there.


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