We wrapped up our 8-week deadlift cycle last week and I wanted to give you some quick numbers as they relate to results and then talk about some take-aways of the program.
In total, we had 85 people record results on their performance. This is a much higher percentage than I was anticipating, so thank you for pressing the “I believe” button and committing to this program. Of the 85 people who reported results, we had a total increase of 2,442 pounds on their deadlift max. This averages out to just over 28 pounds per person. This is an incredible statistic and you guys should be super proud of the work you put in.
I have two comments for those that:
A. Had a bigger increase than 28 Pounds
B. Had a smaller increase than 28 Pounds.
For those in Group A, here is what I would tell you. I think that your increase was obviously due to the cycle but more importantly, due to an increased level of confidence in the movement. This increased confidence allowed you to be much more aggressive with how you approached the lift at the end of the cycle. Deadlifts are a tricky exercise as they seem very straightforward, you bend over and pick something up off the ground. However, mentally, these are one of the more challenging movements you will encounter. What they can do to your Central Nervous System is nothing short of remarkable. Not being mentally capable or prepared for a max lift can make 300# feel more like 500#. Over the 8-week cycle, you have developed the patterns and habits that built confidence through proper range of motion and execution that helped your brain get out of your way and allowed you to lift the weight. Great work for those that fell in this category!
For those in Group B, some of you were frustrated with your gains as you compared them to other results on the board. I totally understand the frustration and I have been there but let me break down for you what someone broke down for me many years ago as it relates to trying to compare results to someone else. There are so many factors that come into play when it comes to testing 1 rep maxes. The external, and some uncontrollable factors such as sleep, stress, recovery, fueling, etc can have so much to do with performance. Also, the longer you do CrossFit, the smaller these PR’s are going to jump. There is also the bias that I put on strength endurance vs. absolute strength. I have never been a big believer in developing absolute strength but rather developing the ability to have volume and capacity at 80-85% of your maximal loads. This was also the bias that was used in this strength program. We didn’t do one training session with fewer than 10+ reps in 8 weeks. So if you are someone that “ONLY” (that is how you guys sound when you say, “I only went up 10#” in my deadlift”) went up 10# on your max, don’t be discouraged. There are many people that would give their kidney to have an increase in their deadlift by 10#. Ben Smith or Rich Froning might not PR one of their lifts for 18-24 months and when they do, it may be by as little as 5#. My point is that just because you didn’t have an enormous PR, it doesn’t mean that you didn’t get stronger. What I would argue is that you most likely increased your strength endurance for the deadlift. We will be doing some testers where we will have high rep, moderate load deadlifts and then you can see for yourself if you believe that you have increased your capacity or not. My bet is that you will be pleasantly surprised.
No matter what your PR was or even if you didn’t PR at all. The bottom line is that you committed to something for 8-weeks. By doing that, you have increased your proficiency and competency in that movement. Imagine what else you can commit to for as little as 8-weeks and have an increase in your performance because of it. Maybe it’s working on mobility or maybe it’s working on pushups or kipping pull-ups, or maybe it’s not gym related at all. Whatever it is, set the goal, stick to the plan and reap the benefits. Too often we get stuck on this nonsense of immediate gratification and if we don’t see a result in 2-3 days, we quit and we are on to something different. Remember, discipline is always more important than motivation. Find and add discipline to your daily routine and I promise you will become better at everything else in your life. We can all get more disciplined, if you think you can’t, you are living in fantasyland. Somebody, somewhere out there, is doing the same thing you are and is working harder than you are to be better, don’t settle.