Working with a Deficit

On Fridays, my favourite is deadlifts. Things might get switched around a bit as we prepare for competition, but today was still deadlift day.

First we started out with a little grip test, since my chiropractor wants me to work my grip to see if that helps my single arm overhead pressing. Michael had me see how long I could do a single arm hang with each arm, first without chalk and then with chalk. The left hand without chalk was virtually a no-go. I was very reluctant to lift my feet off of the box, because I could tell that my hand would slip. I think I managed about a 5 second hold with the right hand. With chalk I fared a bit better, about 5 seconds for the left and 11 seconds with the right. Yup, that left grip needs some work!

1a. deficit deadlifts on a plate and a mat

warm up:

double overhand: 95 x 5, 135 x 7, 165 x 5

with straps: 195 x 5

main event with straps and belt:

205 x 5

205 x 2 + 3 I had been doing tough & go reps, but I realized I was having trouble using the belt properly while doing so. After the second rep, I stopped to reset each time.

205 x 5 without belt. The first three reps were good, but the last two were not so good.

I seemed to have some issues with using my belt today. Actually, there seemed to be a few issues with my deadlifts. During warm ups, I had some discomfort in my left shoulder. That was an easy fix though. I just had to stop rolling my shoulders back as I locked out. I was also supposed to focus on getting my hips to the bar quickly; however, I’m not really sure how that went today as I was thinking about the belt. It’s often a bunch of little things that all add up…legs, hips, shoulders, chest, back, breathing, bar path.

1b. close grip bench press

warm up: 43 x 8, 73 x 6, 93 x 6

with slingshot: 110 x 6, 120 x 5 the last rep went a little wild, 120 x 6, 120 x 6, 120 x 6

The last set was the best of the bunch, although I think most of my reps were decent.

2a. block pulls, with straps but no belt

185 x 5, 185 x 5, 205 x 5

If nothing else, at least I did a better job at having the bar skim along my thighs!

2b. top half presses from pins

45 x ?, 65 x 4, 65 x 5, 65 x 5 + 3

I got better at these with every set, but it also took until the last set to figure out why the left side would touch down before the right. My shoulder blades were behaving nicely. Eventually Michael discerned that the left elbow was pulling forward more. The final three reps were done much more evenly as I was aware of the elbow and tried to keep it back.

Maybe it wasn’t the greatest training day, but it wasn’t the worst either. It was okay. I really don’t sweat it anymore when deadlifts are tough. I have learned that my best deadlifts are on the platform, and that is where they matter the most anyway. Around this time a year ago, I was frustrated with how much my deadlifts seemed to struggle in training and went into competition believing that I wouldn’t be able to improve on my personal record. When my coach believed that I was capable of more, I was fearful and cautious. He was right; I was wrong. But I learned a valuable lesson that day. Okay, I learned two lessons. One-trust my coach! Two-my competition deadlifts are always stronger, better than my training would suggest. So, I don’t stress over my deadlifts and just try to improve on my technique. There is always room for improvement. Now if only I could stop feeling stress and frustration when my other training exercises don’t go well…


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