So I've been trying to improve my deadlifts but I don't really know the right way to do progressive overload.
Right now my 'PR' is just 45kg. I've never tried for 1RM though. I do 5 reps per set. I start with the bar + 5kg of bumper plates each side (so 30kg in total) and add 2.5kg plates for every consecutive set (35kg, 40kg, 45kg).
This worked ok when I was working up to my current weight but now that I want to progress again, I feel exhausted by the time I reach 45kg, and my grip is also giving out by around rep 3-4. I feel like it's kinda because, you know, I've been doing 4 sets by that time.
I thought of shortening the build-up but I'm concerned going from 30kg to 40kg might be too much for my level? After all, even though the number isn't impressive, it's still a 33% increase.
Should I just force myself to do it anyway? Should I do less reps? Should I stick with the progression and try to add a fifth set anyway? I know 5x5 is a thing but like I said, I usually already feel like.. "holy shit this is so fcking heavy" even with the 45kgs, and with the grip giving out thing, I always feel like I don't want to risk it with another, heavier set since I know DL can cause some major injury if one's form is off.
I've been stuck at 45kg for about a month and it hasn't felt like it's gotten easier to DL the 45kg which is why I've been cautious about going for more. I rest for 90-120s in between sets.
If you're at a plateau, it's worth playing around with rep range for a while. So let's say your estimated 1RM is 50kg (i'm probably wrong, this is a random number, but there are calculators you can use). Then you could play around with:
20 kg x 12
30 kg x 8
25 kg x as many reps as possible
If your grip is giving up, then lower weight x high rep schemes will help you train for that. Usually when I hit a plateau, I knock off 20% of the weight and restart the progressive overload from there, and put in high rep things.
Are you following a program with progressive overload built in? That might be a good place to start. Typically you wouldn't use different working weights in a session. Are those just warm ups? You shouldn't be exhausted by warm ups so that might be part of it.
I'm doing Frankoman's dumbbell only routine that I got on the wiki/FAQ/sidebar. I originally chose it because I couldn't do barbell deadlift or squats but now that I use the barbell for those. Though I gotta say, there isn't a lot of description about progressive overload in the routine page itself. I see that some people asked about what a good progress rate is but the replies posted were always a variation of "Progress will depend on everyone".
For the deadlift portion, I've basically been doing it myself since the program calls for 4 sets of 12, 10, 10, 8 reps and from what I read, it seems like those are considered quite high reps for deadlift? Seems like most programs only suggest 5 reps.
Yeah, I suppose I am doing them as warm-up because I read that you need to work up to your working set, so this is kinda how I've been doing that. Should I try to shorten it? Is it better to skip a step and for example go from 30kg to 40kg and try to do 50kg, or is it better to still go 30 - 35 - 40 - 45 and then 50kg but maybe like just do 1-2 rep for the "warm-ups"?
Oh, that's way different than I thought! That rep scheme makes sense for dumbbells because they're going to be lighter than whatever you're doing on the barbell.
Since you've switched to a barbell, maybe check out a new program? Even stronglifts (usually 5x5 for all lifts) only has you doing 1x5 for deadlifts.
You could try doing fewer reps for your warm ups. I usually play it by ear and just warm up enough to see how I'm feeling rather than counting reps for those sets. I usually make 10kg jumps but that's just because I find it easier to math and load plates.
Yeah, I gotta say, as I was typing that it came across to me that maybe I should look into another program!
Ah ok, I'll maybe try both the fewer rep and then the bigger jump (since another user suggested that) to see which one suits me more. Thanks for your suggestions!
Getting on a program is so you don't have to second guess when and how to add weight. Because you can't go into the gym and expect to feel the same about the same weight. But you still need to manage load and reps to overcome and it's not easy to guess how to do that.
Program aside if you're trying to add weight to get to a top weight it is better to take fewer jumps in weight to preserve energy/grip/etc. Because the jumps will be fewer that will mean the weight increases will be larger.
Example for me would be: 135, 225, 315, 365, 385, 405 vs 135, 225, 315, 405. 6 sets that might tire me out and prevent 405 from happening versus 4 sets that leave me fresher for 405 and able to come back down and do more volume.
If your form is good then you just need to get psychologically used to handling heavier weights sooner. If it's not good, work on it and continue with the number of weight jumps you need to preserve form even if that means being limited by tiredness. You should start to adapt if you're exercising enough to get stronger.
And you are allowed to rest longer than 2 minutes. If nothing else rest longer between sets and see if that helps with getting worn out quickly.
Thanks a lot for your reply! I actually am following a program (Frankoman's dumbbell only split from the sidebar) but it doesn't really have a lot of info on how to do progressive overload. However the program calls for dumbbell deadlift which I find quite awkward to do and since you need to start and finish at a much lower height, it kinda feels like squats to me? The program also says to do 4 sets of 12, 10, 10, 8 reps, increasing weight as the rep decreases, and when I compared it to other programs and just looked for info on deadlifting in general, it seemed like those were considered quite unusually high reps? So I decided to just do 5 reps each set.
I think I'll try to get used to the bigger jump. Do you then do one set of 405, or do you consider the 3 previous sets as warm-up and then do however many set of 405 as advised in your program?
What happens with the top weight and what's inside warm up depends on the program. Some count the warm up sets as work sets along with the top weight. Some leave warm up unwritten and count work sets only after a particular percentage of your max is reached. Some programs have multiple sets of the top weight. Some programs have the lift over after you do just the one set with the top weight. Etc.
Does your deadlift setup and form feel right? I remember when I first started deadlifting, my knees would cave in as I pulled. This definitely limited the amount I could lift. Once I fixed that, deadlifting became much easier. I think it'd be helpful having someone check your form out just in case!
I try my best to get it right but honestly there's no real way to tell by myself! I'll try to get someone to check it though. I still have one more free PT session from joining the gym months ago that I've been sorta saving up for this kind of purpose lol.