Working the Deads

Fi, one of my female calisthenics buddies from the UK asked me if I ever did dead lifts.  She was asking because she thought it might help me with additional overall core strength needed to pull off some of my goals like a back and front lever.  She added dead lifts to her routine a little while ago and has really noticed a difference.

When I was doing the 300 work out heavily for 2 years I was doing a lot of dead lifts although admittedly they were light, only 135 pounds.  However I was doing a set of 50 of them which was pretty brutal.

I have never been a big fan of dead lifting although I am well aware it can be a great total body strength movement.  It also can be a dangerous movement if you do not pay close attention to form.  Just a couple weeks ago, a guy in his early 20’s I talk to at the gym wound up in the hospital after tweaking a disc in his back doing deads.

Fi told me her current dead lift numbers which were pretty damn good.  Of course the end result was me setting my target numbers higher, maybe too much higher.

I first did a couple sets of light but full depth squats before bringing the barbell to the floor for dead lifts.

I had not dead lifted in ages, I would bet at LEAST a solid year.  Logic would say I should just keep the weight light and work on making sure my form felt solid.

As in many movements, my lanky build is not a great fit for dead lifts (or squats).  I basically try to keep my head up and back flat as I lift.  The dead lift power is supposed to come from hip thrust but to me it always feels like my back is handling most of the load.

65290_10152181108052841_33894458_n[1]After a light set at 135, where it is easy to keep everything tight I started adding weight, first to 185 pounds and then 50 pounds more up to 235.   Somewhere around rep 3 at 235 I heard a small crunch in my back but no shooting pain so I continued.  It felt HEAVY.  Despite my mental intention to keep my back flat, it felt like it was rounding out mid-pull at the higher weights. I utilized an over hand grip for all of the reps.

The rest of the day my back was feeling the after effects of pulling “heavy”.  Today my back is sore but not in a debilitating way.  I am going to try to keep working dead lifts but at my age there is no doubt it is a risky endeavor.

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