What I Learned After 125 Days of Deadlift Everyday


What’s the last thing you did everyday for 125 days?  Prior to this, I would have probably said video games, but even that might have been a stretch- so don’t feel bad if you can’t think of anything.

125 days is a long time to do the same thing over and over.  Trust me on this.

I’ve gone through the full gambit of emotions from being ecstatic to being depressed during these last 125 days.  I’ve wanted to quit this experiment more times than I care to admit, but I stuck with it for a couple of reasons:

  • I have a responsibility to you the reader, to bring new and different ways to improve your body,
  • I want to challenge conventional thinking,
  • I want to push myself to the limits,
  • I like to do things people say I can’t or is hard

I’ve been asked multiple times by multiple people about the purpose of this seemingly stupid experiment.  First and foremost, it was to alleviate the pain in my back.  Then, it became about getting stronger, then I hit a lull and it became just because I am the guy that deadlifts everyday. 

When I hit the lull is when I was just going through the motions.  Instead of plowing through the deadlifts and hitting PRs, I would do my required 4-5 sets and go to a weight that was what I thought was “good enough”.  Learn from my mistakes, when it no longer becomes fun-find motivation or cut your losses.  Sometimes it happens – forgive yourself and move on.

On day 125 I was tired, sore and ready to give up.  It just wasn’t fun for me anymore.  125 days was a good run.

Then after a pathetic deadlifting session,  I read an article by Rob King called 5 things you must do everyday and Frequent Deadlifting: How to pull it off by Dave Dellanave.  These articles were just what I needed.  It helped me think outside of my conventional heavy barbell thinking.  Prior to losing motivation, I was just going heavy with the barbell.  Every frickin’ day.  Yea, I would change up the form each day but there is only so much of that until you’ve done everything or at least feel like you have.  Throw in losing motivation and it’s a recipe for quitting.  Which I almost did.

Rob says he uses kettlebells for his light and moderate daily deadlifting.  Dave mentions finding a 20RM or a 12RM – what a crazy idea!

As simple as this is, it had never crossed my mind.  I now have a whole new arsenal at my disposal.  Motivation restored!

But, you didn’t come all the way over to my kick ass site to listen to my therapy session.  You came to read what I learned.  Hopefully you can take something from this besides that I’m sometimes a depressed whiny bitch.  Admit it, it crossed your mind.

So here it goes….


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WHAT I LEARNED AFTER 125 DAYS OF DEADLIFTING

GO AGAINST THE GRAIN

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. ~ Mark Twain

For longer than I care to admit, I have just gone with the flow and gone with what the “experts” say without questioning it or testing it myself.  This is what the sheep does with the shepherd.  I am actively working on becoming more like a thinking man and less like a sheep.

Questioning the conventional wisdom of overtraining, of deadlifting after back surgery or that the deadlift is a dangerous exercise was all things I squashed in these last 125 days.

Take Home Point: Question everything people tell you as truth, including myself, rely on experimentation.  What works for me, might not work for you.  Question, experiment and discard what doesn’t work.

OVERTRAINING IS HARD TO DO

Talking about conventional wisdom, the whole overtraining thing is a joke.  I got ridiculed on Reddit ( Do a CRTL+F and type in Soroushy for the comment chain) for suggesting someone work their legs everyday.  I whole heartedly agree that you need rest to recover.  But too many of us, me included, rest too much.  It took me 6 straight weeks of deadlifting to need a rest.  I am not Superman, nor am I that genetically different than all of you.  I just questioned conventional think and experimented for myself.  Proper nutrition and quality sleep do wonders.  When your body aches or when your lifts go down, take a break.  Otherwise, start lifting Sally.

Take Home Point: Overtraining is hard to do.  Grow a pair, zip them up and push yourself.  You’ll be impressed with the results.

IMMEDIATE RESULTS

After 3 weeks all my lifts had gone up a ridiculous amount.  Since the legs are a large proportion, for most people, of their muscle mass, working them releases large amounts of growth hormone into the system which increases muscle and in turn increases strength.  You can see my Post on Why I deadlift Everyday for the numbers.  It took 21 days for me increase my bench 40lbs.  A feat like this usually takes months to accomplish.

Take Home Point:  Work your legs through squats and deadlifts daily.  All your other lifts will go up as well. 

RESULTS STARTED TO TAPER OFF AFTER 5 WEEKS

It was bound to happen but after about 5 weeks the crazy gains tapered off.  It might have been my body getting used to deadlifting everyday so my endocrine system took it as the new norm or I was just getting close to my overtraining point.  Either way it was the leveling off point.

Take Home Point: If you cycle 4-5 weeks of deadlift everyday then take 2-3 weeks to back off or switch up the reps this should eliminate the hormonal plateau effect and the overtraining. 

PUT ON MUSCLE LIKE A BOSS

I was able to put on 15 lbs of muscle from Dec to mid-March.  After a bulk that went wrong in the fall, I got a little too lose with the diet, I was able to add on what I had wanted in a relatively short amount of time.  I attribute this to the hormonal response to deadlifting and the increase of cholesterol in my diet after the new year.  Cholesterol is a precursor to testosterone so I was muscle building factory from January on.  From now on I bulk by using the anabolic diet and deadlifting like a boss.

Take Home Point: If you don’t have pre-existing heart or cholesterol issues, I suggest using the anabolic diet and lifting heavy to put on muscle quickly.  Skip the 12 days of no carb hell and just start the diet with intermittent fasting for the first couple of days.  The transition is so much smoother and you won’t be a jackass.

DON’T STICK WITH SOMETHING JUST BECAUSE

I lost motivation leading up to day 125 and it was painful going through the motions everyday.  When the motivation is gone, find new motivation quickly or cut your losses.  Going through the motions wastes your time and in some cases is counter productive. It builds complacently and resentment.   Just because you are known as the quiet guy or the dude that deadlifts everyday doesn’t mean you can’t change.

Take Home Point:  Don’t stick with something because someone thinks of you one way, if you don’t like it, change it or move on.

FLEXIBILITY IS PARAMOUNT

Just as much as strength has helped me, so has flexibility.  So many of us are stuck in chairs or couches all day that our hip flexors are like banjo strings.  The top of the deadlift has loosened up my hip flexors in ways I couldn’t have dreamed.  Couple that with foam rolling and stretching the hamstrings and I’m like Gumby.  Plus, injuries, especially in deadlifting, are caused by stiff muscles and over compensation of others.  Like I outlined in the T-Swizzle post, perform an elongation stretch of the muscle for 8-10 sec then contract that muscle for 2 sec.  This helps blood flow and flexibility in the muscle so you can recruit all the muscles you need to crush a PR.

Take Home Point: Incorporate stretching before and after a lift to be more like Gumby.

DON’T DOUBT WHAT YOU ARE CAPABLE OF

Self doubt is a progress killer.  I’ve talked to a lot of people that have had the same back surgery as me and about 99% have either stopped lifting or have at least stopped deadlifting because they doubt themselves and are scared.  I obviously don’t subscribe to that way of thinking.  I am and always will be nervous that my back will herniate again, but that isn’t going to stop me from doing what I want.   I could play it safe and go through life not doing deadlifts or squats (which I’m going to start back up) but if I don’t try then I’ll never know what I am fully capable of.

Take Home Point: Being scared is not an excuse to skip something.

I’m continuing on my epic quest of deadlifting not because I’m “the deadlifting guy”.  I’m pushing the boundaries of my back and conventional wisdom.  I am taking a 3-week kettlebell and no weight deadlifting experiment to try to regain that hormone explosion when I first started and gain more flexibility in my hamstrings and hip flexors.  By the time this goes live I’ll be back to going heavy and trying to accomplish a new goal.  #RoadTo5bills

Dave

 

Photo by Lance Goyke