Deadlift Disappointment


While I wouldn’t say that I hate deadlifts, there are certainly days where I am just not feeling much deadlift love. Today may not have been quite that bad, but my deadlifts weren’t exactly what I was hoping for 11 days before competition. I walked into the gym anticipating a good training session. I had eaten well the day before and put some good carbs into my body. I had an excellent sleep. My head was ready for deadlifts, and my skipping warm-up was perfect. I was expecting to hit my last heavy single, although I really had no idea what that would look like. When it comes to deadlifts in training, I rarely hit a heavy number. Turns out that trend continues…

1. 95 x 8, 135 x 6, 185 x 3 plus 1 after a brief rest

The first two sets weren’t bad. I did a better job of tightening my lats! The set at 185 felt heavy and slow, and my left shoulder didn’t feel too happy when I locked out each rep. I had switched to a mixed grip for this set, and, since I prefer my dominant hand to be overhand, my left hand was underhand. The single after the initial set was with my hands switched the other way which presented no discomfort in my shoulder at all. That rep also felt easier and faster.

with belt: 215 x 2

235 x 1

In competition, I don’t rotate my hands each time I deadlift. I feel strongest and more secure with the right hand overhand, so I stick to that grip for each competition deadlift. However, when using a mixed grip in training, I do alternate which hand is overhand each set, and I’ve never had an issue before today. The set at 215 was done with the left overhand…no pain. The single at 235 was done with the right overhand…pain. So, as much as I didn’t like keeping the left overhand, that’s what I did for the rest of my deadlifts.

255 x 1

This felt tough. Michael thought I wasn’t tight enough, and I did feel that I wasn’t tight enough. I had to practice taking the slack out of the bar, because I don’t always do that. But Michael also dropped the weight. Guess how I felt about that!

235 x 1 better

235 x 1

Then Michael suggested doing a single every minute on the minute at the same weight, to just practice technique. Okay.

235 x 6 singles in as many minutes

These were good. They felt better every rep, even though I was still kind of frustrated. Michael put it into perspective for me by pointing out that I had still done roughly 80% of my max, which is basically where he would want me to be anyway. Hearing that eased my frustration and disappointment slightly. I mean it is good to know that I’m still on track and right where I need to be. It’s just that sometimes I think deadlifts mess with my head more than the bench press or squats. Because really, I’m not weaker with my left hand overhand in mixed grip, but I feel like I am. When my deadlift struggles a bit in the gym, it is all too easy to think that it is going to struggle on the platform. The good news is that I have already learned the lesson that my competition deadlift is better and easier than what I experience in the gym, so I don’t usually fall into that rabbit hole of negative thinking when my deadlifts struggle.

2a. glute ham raises

3 sets of 12

2b. hanging leg raises

x 4, x 4, x 3

These weren’t my best. Well actually, the first set was pretty good, in my opinion! I kept my legs straighter than usual for all of those reps, so I consider that an improvement. Michael wanted more reps, but my hands were too sweaty and slippery.

The next while is going to look different as far as training. My coach has a family wedding to attend, so I’m training again tomorrow. Then on Sunday I will have my very first weight training experience in a commercial gym…without the watchful eye of my coach! That should be interesting. My son has already told me not to wear my singlet…as if I wear my singlet all the time. My last heavy squats will be next Wednesday.


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