As I write this, a year and a half after back surgery for a herniated disc, I have been deadlifting everyday for 15 days in a row. In that time, my deadlift has gone up 40 lbs. and more importantly my back pain has gone away. By the time this goes live, I hope to be deadlifting 400 lbs. Roughly 2x my weight.
I got the idea from Cory Gregory who is on some ridiculous streak of squatting everyday. Cory, for those of you that have been living under a rock for the past couple of years, is a co-founder of Muscle Pharm, fitness cover model and competitive powerlifter. Not to mention he is absolutely killing it recently with his new business venture. The man is everything I aspire to be business wise. I smell a bromance!
When I was going for physical therapy after the initial herniation injury, they kept telling me that this was caused by a combination of tight hamstrings and hip flexors; weak lower back and weak glutes. So I began stretching my hamstrings and trying to buildup my lower back and glute strength. I would deadlift and leg press once a week and did some other lower back exercises a couple of times a week. That would help…for a while. Around Thanksgiving this year, my back was more sore than normal mainly due to sitting more at my day job and then coming home and sitting while typing up blog posts.
Around that time I saw an interview with Cory when he was about a year into squatting everyday and he had mentioned his lower back has never been stronger and the rest of his lifts have increased due to the extra release of hormones. (Lifting heavy causes the body to release more testosterone and growth hormone.)
This made me ask… Can I take his blueprint and apply it to the deadlift? (I would use the squat, but the bad taste of herniating my disc while squatting is still in my mouth.)
The deadlift is a total body exercise like the squat. Deadlifting emphasizes the hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors and lower back. These are all the muscles of the posterior chain and all the muscles that I apparently lacked.
As you could probably guess, it was experiment time!!
I took Cory’s squatting template and modified it to the deadlift while keeping my diet and the rest of my training the same. Everyday I would do a deadlift variation doing no more than 5 reps per set and no more than 10 sets. Since it is strength training, I’ll take 3 minutes or so as a rest period between sets. I’d do a few warmup sets and then work up to a 1RM depending on my soreness. I don’t want to be layed up again. After the deadlift I’d go into my normal workout. On Saturday and Sunday, my normal rest days, I’ll just foam roll after and go home. I have a gym partner and we can bang out all of our sets in a half hour max.
The first time I started the experiment I had gotten up to a 1RM of 295lbs conventional style without a belt. After performing all the variations and getting back to the conventional style without a belt, 12 days later, my 1RM had jumped to 335 lbs.! Not to mention my incline and flat bench press and my seated shoulder press all went up 20 lbs. in that same time frame. That’s gainz in action my friends. Most importantly my back feels great. I’m able to reach my toes with an unbent knee for the first time ever! Take that tight hamstrings! And not to brag, but you could bounce a quarter off my ass right now. These mobility improvements are why I deadlift everyday. For me the strength gainz are secondary to being able to live pain free.
I’ll admit that there are a few days where I was hesitant to deadlift because of soreness but those days just required a few more warmup sets. If I’m really sore, I’ll tone back the weight and do some single leg variations as a “break”.
I keep the reps low so there isn’t a lot of volume. A higher volume could lead to overuse injuries.
I’m still working out the kinks of the program, but once I do I will let everyone know so you can experience the crazy strength gainz.
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