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Deadlift Singles Success Story

January 25, 2010 03:47 PM

In early November 2009 I moved my Nashville Kettlebell Bootcamp classes indoors for the winter, renting a back room at a local gym that looks a lot like the basement from Fight Club. At least, if I could talk about fight club that's what I'd say.

The actual gym area is quite well equipped and on a whim I decided to do a few deadlifts. I was just back from spending a few days in Oklahoma with the Redneck Ninja, SRKC Jeff O'Connor and after spending the majority of the past year outdoors flinging kettlebells around, deadlifting was a fun and exciting idea to me.

I hadn't pulled for some time, so spent most of November playing around with Power to the People-style templates and working on the technique improvements Jeff had given me. By the end of the month I pulled 500lbs again, bringing me within 15lbs of my best ever.

The week of Thanksgiving I spoke with Pavel and he said " I have a routine that I think will work well for you, I'll send it to you." The exact routine is listed below, pulled from that e-mail.

The history of this program

Pavel assembled this odd WSB/PTP hybrid a few years ago and posted it on Dragon Door. Recently the routine resurfaced with the post on our forum by former RKC Nick Fraser:

"Been training with weights since about the age of 13 mainly to compliment martial arts and Rugby. Over the years tried many modalities and systems, most to complicated for their own good. My training started to evolve and my strength increase after reading an article [by Pavel] entitled "Commando PT" on Charles Staley's old site. After a little research I ordered PTP, the volume of training decreased and my strength increased exponentially. Looking back through my old training logs, my first deadlifts were well under 200lbs. Subsequent cycles took me to a 1RM of 450. Two weeks ago I pulled 540 @ 150 bodyweight at age 44 [using the plan laid out in this article]. I attended the Sept 2002 RKC cert and have since switched between KB and powerlifting cycles. I have at times attempted to mix training styles but time in the trenches has taught me to concentrate on 1 thing at a time."

On Nov. 30th I began in earnest with the following program, the primary goal being to see how good I could get at deadlifting and to see how much weight I could pull off the floor. My secondary goal was to up my double kettlebell press weight. Pavel's advice was simply "Just push the volume". The details of the presses are a story for another time.

I began with a 500lb 1 RM in shorts, without a belt, wearing Vibram 5 Fingers. On Jan 14th in the same shorts, same shoes and same lack of a belt, I tested my 1RM and pulled 565lbs, a 65lb gain in 7 weeks and a full 50lbs above my all-time best ever.

Here is what I did, plug your own numbers into the formula. When in doubt, round up.

Lifts based on current 1RM, rest 30 - 45 secs between lifts

Week 1

Day 1 65% 15 Singles
Day 2 70% 12 Singles
Day 3 75% 10 Singles
Day 4 80% 8 Singles
Day 5 85% 6 Singles
Day 6 Off
Day 7 Off

Week 2

Add 10 lbs to each day's lift from Week 1

Week 3

Add 10lbs to each day's lift from Week 2

Week 4

Unload with Steve Wilson DL routine from original RKC book
2-3 sets DL 2-3 times/week @ 26-32% 1RM
2-3 sets 20 kb snatches/swings 2-3 times per week.
(I did the Wilson routine twice and did a bunch of swings and snatches with a single 40kg kettlebell 2 other days that week)

Week 5

Add 5lbs to each day's lift from Week 3

Week 6

Add 5lbs to each day's lift from week 5

Week 7

Day 1 Off
Day 2 Off
Day 3 Off
Day 4 Off
Day 5 Off
Day 6 MAX Day (I actually did my MAX test on Thursday, I had a KB workshop to teach on Saturday)
Day 7 Off

Week 8

Unload as Week 4

Other contributing factors-
  • Pressing 5 days per week, 2 days relatively light weight with medium volume 30-40reps total), 2 days medium weight and high volume (50-80 total reps), 1 day heavy with moderate volume (20-30reps total).
  • Movement- I spent 10-20 minutes doing various CKFMS drills and Getups prior to the heavy lifting.
  • Bending Steel- I find this is a great way to ignite my nervous system and prepare for the tension to come. It's also an excellent gauge for recovery. If my bending is strong, everything else is too. If my bending is down a little, I know I need rest.
  • Eating everything with arms reach. I put on around 20lbs. The timing of the cycle with the Christmas and New Year holidays was perfect. "C" is for Cookie, that's good enough for me.
That's the story. I highly recommend this routine to anyone who wants to quickly to a peak deadlift, perhaps even driving it into uncharted territory.

David Whitley, is a SRKC, CK-FMS and performing strongman based in Nashville TN. Visit his site