The Champagne of Beards
We do a lot of different variations on deadlifts/accessory lifts. At 260, my 1 RM for a deadlift is middle of the road for a woman at my gym.Are deadlifts really so hard to recover from that one could not make progress doing more volume?
We do a mix of :
working to 1/3/5 rep maxes
large numbers of light reps (crossfit workouts)
accessory work- good mornings
lift varients of 1/3/5 rep maxes- deficit pulls, pauses (lift it an inch or two off the ground, count to 3, complete the lift), banded deadlifts- they all tax/work different parts of the lift.
We also do a variation where we elevate the bar a couple of inches (the bar gets set on a stack of plates to raise it). Maybe that would also help you.
It also could be that deadlift is going to take you a while to improve at.
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Please understand that I am not having difficulty doing a deadlift. My entire experience with Starting Strength and lifting in general has been that something was missing about it for me. Recently I started doing Texas method and it has been like a miracle. It feels like I'm finally doing something that gives me real strength and real progress.
I feel with the deadlift, since it does not follow the TM model, that I'm experiencing what I have always had, which I can only describe as a sort of false progress. Yes, I can add more to the bar but as I get closer and closer to some limit it simply gets very hard until I get to a point where it is just too hard and I cannot do it. The volume squats have shown me that it's actually possible to get stronger and it has shown me how different that feels from this false progress.
Looking around the gym it appears that a lot of other people do high volume deadlifts, so why not me? Seaweed and Magnolia do lots of volume and variations, so why not me? You really can't argue with their success. Maybe it works better for women to work more than one pathway toward strength and muscle.
I think I will give it a try and see how it goes.
Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.
I read the T-Nation article on Texas Method and I see that it prescribes only 5 reps of deadlift per week. Ok, I agree that they are taxing, but I think a little more volume would do more harm than good. Go for it!
Also, this reminds me of a Robb Wolf podcast that I heard a long time ago where he talked about how some people respond better to higher reps/lower weight, and some respond better to lower reps/higher weight based on whether they are fast or slow-twitch dominant:
DNA Dictating Training - Episode 144
Last edited by yodiewan; 11-26-2013 at 11:27 AM.
Can't offer much of a solution as I am in the same boat, so I am glad to read this thread. I'm 47 and almost anywhere I go, there are virtually NO women deadlifting. I have been for 2 years now. I also applaud any woman doing a 1RM of 260, if that's middle of the road, I am missing the boat! I too have injured myself in kind of the same way as you describe SB. Six months ago, I had a 1RM of 225 and had a top set that had climbed to 205x4. Then something tweaked, and I had to really scale way back for quite awhile. Cut to the present... I steadily worked my way back carefully to 185x5 for top set last week, and on my last set at 165, rep 5 (I had done 10 the week before) something tweaked and that was it, but luckily I stopped in time, don't think I have to back track too much. I will say though, one of the things that I noticed the last 8 weeks that DID increase my strength and got me back to 185, was not cutting calories. Whenever I have been trying to cut, no real gains. I have been on an "accidental" bulk and I swear, I have made progress, felt like a beast, and recovered faster... despite the small bump last week (and the extra padding around the hips). I also agree with eKatherine completely. This stuff is for life, so if progress takes longer in order to stay injury free, and there are some setbacks or plateaus, just keep going, what's the rush. Stay safe and know that we are likely stronger than a lot of women in our age groups already
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The same is true for muscular size and strength, always seek to make it harder and briefer.......increasing the volume is definitely not the optimal way to go about getting the results you seek.
Last edited by OldSchhool; 11-26-2013 at 01:42 PM.
The folks who've suggested partials are actually on to something great there in the instance of plateaus. While I haven't used rack pulls yet in my own lifting (progressive loading has me still seeing gains, so I've not felt the need to implement it yet), I have had excellent success using floor presses and partials to bust through a niggling bench press plateau, and also had great success with focus on eccentric negative "pull ups" (more like really slow hang downs in effect) for back strength.
Without having the time to watch you, break down your form and see what's happening with the mechanics of the lift or analyse your diet, it's very hard to say why you're at a plateau. You simply might not be taking in enough calories or raw protein to build the muscle to increase your lifts in spite of hard work and perfect form. If your nutrition is bang on and your form is too, developing the right kind of fast twitch muscle fibres through partials might be the solution. Conversely, there may be one little niggle in your form that, once rectified, has you busting through plateaus.
If you've had a back injury from a dead lift, I'd be personally inclined to say you've distance the bar too far from your body (it should be straight over your bootlaces at the start of each lift) and thus rounded your back a little, perhaps not opened your chest up enough. That is pure hack guesswork though - it could be the injury was caused by wear and tear from other activities and just "popped" at bad timing while you were under load.
Disclaimer: I have not read every post on this thread, so I may restate something or misconstrue something.
First, it sounds like you are a novice, no offense, so why are you using Texas Method squats? You would be better served by just using a normal linear progression.
Second, through my skimming it seemed that someone may have suggested block work, could be wrong. I think that would be a mistake. It seems that you have already hurt your back twice, so I think increase the range of motion would also increase the likelihood of you getting hurt. Also that is a more advanced technique. Advanced techniques might look cool, but they should be left to the advanced.
Third, a single 5 rep working set is ideal for beginners. High reps increases the chance of form degradation and may just ingrain bad habits.
Reset at 135, make sure you form is locked in, eat right, sleep, and make steady reasonable jumps.
I only deadlift 160 at the moment. 260 seems incredible to me. I can't even envision what Magnolia can do.
P.S. I'm not a beginner. Although my results are not impressive, they're not bad for 48 year old woman with no prior lifting experience who has been lifting regularly for a year.
According to Exrx.net (bold is where I'm at):
Lift Body Weight Untrained Novice Intermediate Advanced Elite Squat 132 60 110 130 170 210 Deadlift 132 75 135 160 220 275
Last edited by sbhikes; 11-26-2013 at 02:50 PM.
Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.