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I completed my very busy spring competition schedule with a victory this past weekend at the Empire Classic GNC Pro Performance Pro Deadlift Championship in Spokane, WA. This is a great USAPL event with a very supportive crowd! I was happy to defend my title with a conservative 826 pull. Fellow Team HMB member Bryan Dermody also competed in the event and lifted very well placing 2nd with a PR 788. Bryan just keeps getting stronger every time out and is knocking on the door for an 800+ pull in the near future.
With deadlifting in mind I would like to talk some deadlift training. One of the questions that I get asked quite frequently is how do I train the deadlift, and do I need to pull heavy in training all of the time in order to get stronger? There is no easy answer to this question. All athletes are a little different in training needs and body composition. From my experience, I believe that any young lifter, as defined by either physical age or training experience, needs to build a good base by training the deadlift every week. This training should be accomplished by utilizing a workout template that incorporates progression in load intensity. This can be accomplished by either increasing the training load each week throughout an 8-16 week training cycle, or by breaking the training cycle down into 4 week mini cycles. Unlike some types of periodized workouts, I suggest keeping the deadlift working sets to a maximum of two sets and sticking in the 3-5 rep range. Save your maximum attempts for competition and keep your training in the 70%-90% range.
As a lifter becomes more advanced in training age I think it is important to mix things up a little in order to continue to make gains. I have found that for the well trained strength athlete simply training the deadlift from the floor is not enough. A better approach may be to train the standard deadlift less frequently and to rely on other core lifts or assistance to achieve the training volume that is necessary to make progress.
This can be accomplished by deadlifting from the floor every other week and utilizing alternative movements like: pulling partials out of the power rack, deficit deadlifts, band deadlifts, or speed singles on the alternate week. Personally I like to incorporate partial power rack deadlifts every other week from varying heights. I also work in a wide variety of training volume from other movements to strengthen the entire posterior chain: traps, lats, spinal erectors, glutes, hammys, and calves. These exercises include bent rows, RDLS, shrugs, GHR, reverse hypers, or strongman exercises like stones, logs, and farmer’s walks. In addition to deadlifting and assistance exercises I implement a heavy high volume 5x5 squat training workout into my weekly training. I have found the 5x5 squat approach to be beneficial to both increasing the squat, and to be a staple in increasing my deadlift. My training intensity percentages are a little lighter in the 5x5 squats and I fall into the 60%-80% range
Train smart, stay healthy, set your goals high, and don't forget to add GNC Pro Performance HMB to your supplement list! Good luck in meeting your strength and fitness goals!!!