Saturday was Deadlift day.
Since we started taking a more calculated approach towards squats and deadlifts, I began filming everyone's max effort set. I feel that watching yourself on video is one of the best ways make your form better. As a trainer, I can only say so much. Sometimes it takes you seeing yourself for things to "click". With that said, I apologize that the most recent set of video's aren't on this post. The blog host that I use isn't working properly. I will be switching to a new blog site in the coming weeks and from what I've heard, posting there is much easier.
For each session, we follow an outline that I learned from Martin Berkhan at Leangains.com. (Sorry for the lack of a hyperlink. I promise more sophisticated blogging in the future.) This calls for a couple of warm-up sets, one "top set", and one "cool down" set. Here is how the sequence goes:
Set 1: 60% of Top Set weight, 6 reps
Set 2: 80% of Top Set weight, 4 reps
Set 3: Top Set weight, as many reps as possible
Set 4: 90% of Top Set weight, Set 3 reps +1 if possible
Therefore an example would look something like this:
155 and 205 were the warm-up sets (reps of 6 and 4 are assumed). The Top Set weight of 225 was pulled 7 times and therefore the Cool Down set could be at the most 8 reps, which this lifter achieved.
For Deadlifts, we add weight at the next session if you can do 5 reps or more on your Top Set. Anything below 5, the weight stays the same. With all that said, here are some numbers that give me confidence that the program is working.
Back on August 1, this was Ann's deadlift line:
Yesterday September 11, this was Ann's deadlift line:
In a little over a month, Ann added 25 pounds to her deadlift while achieving the same amount of reps. Every week more weight is added and every week Ann continues to pull it. I'm curious to see how far we can go before Ann's progress starts to slow down. So far it has only been up.
Kerri also added 25 pounds while keeping her reps the same. The best part about Kerri's deadlift is her will to lift the weight even when she could have easily have stopped a couple of reps ago. She is allowed to do this because of how she roots herself in her heels and pulls with the proper form. Her shins and knees are proof of how the bar never gets out in front of her.
Matt doesn't have a before and after due to a broken finger he suffered in late July. While he had his finger splint on, we worked a lot of accessory lifts to keep the hips and hamstrings strong. With the splint off, Matt had a breakthrough with the deadlift yesterday. Until yesterday, Matt had never been able to execute a deadlift with acceptable form*. Then for whatever reason, Matt felt good about the deadlift and he hit his best deadlifts ever. It was very exciting as Matt has been working on this for awhile now.
*Safety is always the first priority. That is not a cliche during class. Make no mistake about it, you can hurt yourself doing heavy deadlifts and squats. Everyone has to show competence with every lift before intensity and weight is added.
The last month has been a lot of fun for me. Since I started training people, my own training has been inconsistent at best. By working out with the class since the beginning of August, I have been able to train myself while at the same time coaching the rest of the class. That combination is pretty much the best of both worlds and I really appreciate the opportunity to do so. Anyways, I am very happy with my progress so far and I look forward to reaching my goals as I keep up with a workout schedule that I haven't had since training for high school football.
Combining the results of Kerri, Ann, and myself, we have been able to average a gain of 5 lbs per session. Time will only tell how long this pace will go on for, but the journey is certainly going to be fun.
I have a lot more to talk about in upcoming posts so stay tuned for that and to see how we all progress in the weeks to come.