Graduated Deadlift Struggle Sets w/ VIDEO (27 July 2015)

Posted on 29 Jul 2015 03:29


Advanced stuff for deadlifting and breaking through plateaus.

I am going to explain to you how this workout is set up. First, I go in and do my warm-ups and acclimation sets, etc and work up to where I need to be. Keep in mind I am doing regular full range of motion deadlifts. Once I get to my working weight (in this case 195 kgs 430 lbs) I add in the safety bars to the cage to stop me from doing a full rep. At this stage the struggle sets begin.

Purpose of Struggle Sets

I am doing these struggle sets and pulling against the cage to develop that resilience I will need to break through my plateau of 230 kgs 507 lbs. Deadlifting till the bar crashes into the safety pins at various heights results in me learning to "grind" out heavier reps. I am doing it for time. I am working at a light(ish) percentage of 85% of my 1RM in this workout but I will be adding weight to the bar over the next few weeks (just as I have been doing in the past) and working my way up. Naturally at the heavier weight ranges my struggle time will reduce but that is the whole purpose of this.

The struggle times I clock in are a good reflection of the difficulty level of each "sticking point".

  • Stopping just before lockout is the easiest and most manageable.
  • Stopping at the knees is a bit more taxing and difficult.
  • Stopping at shin level is just plain killer!

Workout Thoughts

There are a couple of things I want to talk about with regards to this workout specifically. First, I have been complaining in the past about my energy levels waving through the workout and we suspected perhaps it is some kind of sugar crash. But, for the last two heavy workouts I have been consuming a mixture of Isopure Whey and Xtend BCAAs and my energy levels are just fine throughout the workout. I am talking about intra-workout nutrition: sipping on a shake that tastes pretty disgusting but appears to be helping me stay focused. I don't want to take stimulants and other chemicals because I'm afraid of what they will do to my body plus with workouts that take 3-4 hours to complete it makes little sense to load up on caffeine at the beginning. Putting this aside, I am really happy to have found something that is healthy for me and that is so effective. I will no longer be consuming Coke or Pepsi as an intra-workout drink.

The second point I want to mention is that after doing regular deadlifts I did a high repetition set at the end with 125 kgs 275 lbs using a wide grip. I used this wide grip to try to fatigue my back muscles and get as much growth in there as possible. I could have easily gone in for 15 reps but I stopped at 12 just to be safe. If I feel good to go for 15 next week I will indulge myself knowing it is not a flash in the pan type deal.


Deadlift Struggle Sets

Graduated Struggle Sets:

195 kgs = 430 lbs
125 kgs = 275 lbs
Pre-Lockout: PL
Knees: K
Shins: S
seconds: s

195 @ 15s @ PL
195 @ 10s @ K
195 @ 5s @ S
195 @ 15s @ PL
195 @ 12s @ K
195 @ 5s @ S

Regular Deadlifts:

195 x 3
195 x 3
195 x 3
125 x 12 wide grip

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