Strength plateaus can be very frustrating. When we feel like we are taking all the right steps to create progress and our 1 rep max just isn’t getting any higher it can be demoralising. In this article I will walk through 5 strategies you can use to help increase the strength of your deadlift.
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This may seem like an obvious point, but if your training your deadlift once a week for 4-5 sets each session and have hit a plateau in your training, then adding in another deadlift session into your week will help break this plateau. Resistance training and strength gains have a dose response relationship , the higher the dose the more adaptation (to a certain cut off point). So if you’re leaving sets on the table every week, my first advice would be to deadlift more while maintaining within your maximal recoverable volume. This means that you are getting enough recovery to maintain training quality.
Let’s be honest, most of us are not getting paid to lift weights and have a lot of other things going on. Life can sometimes cause a few missed sessions a month, or it can turn into a missed session once a week or even more. Being deadly consistent in your training will ensure your body is getting enough of a stimulus consistently to achieve the adaptations your striving towards. Sometimes finding a new, more obvious way to track your consistency can help you be more aware of how consistent you’re actually being. This could be in a specific notebook or spreadsheet, whatever it is, you should be tracking your training consistency in one way or another.
Sometimes the best way to break strength training plateaus is to gain some muscle mass. For some weight class athletes or hybrid athletes this isn’t the solution as weight gain can be detrimental to weight divisions or other event. But for many gaining muscle mass for a few blocks of training (3-6 months) then coming back to strength training can drastically help breaking personal strength records. When it comes to the deadlift, building muscles in both the upper back and hamstrings will be highly beneficial.
Dealods often go under the radar when it comes to good training principles, maybe because they are slightly boring or maybe because a lot of people don’t need to do deloads as they are not doing intense enough training. Either way, deloads should be an important part of your training plan if you’re lifting heavy weights multiple times a week. They give you a chance to recover, refresh and build your energy for another cycle of tough training. If your constantly lifting heavy weights and not seeing much progress, consider pulling back a little and taking a deload before approaching your next training block.
When it comes to maxing out our deadlift, we all have a certain point that will cause us to fail the rep. It may be from the floor, at the hips, at the knee. It depends on the lifters strength and weaknesses. It is important that your programming reflects your weakness and not those of another lifter. If you are very strong at the hips and have no problem with the final extension then you probably shouldn’t be performing heavy rack pulls, but might want to focus on hover deadlifts. Focus on your sticking point, putting your energy recourses into solving the specific problems you have in the deadlift, not the sticking point of other lifters.
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This resource was written by Sean Klein. Sean Richard Klein has thousands of hours of coaching experience and a BSc in Sports Science with Management from Loughborough University. He owns a gym in Bayonne France, CrossFit Essor, which runs group classes and a Personal training studio.