• My Deadlift Journey: 315lbs to 782lbs pt3

      by Jeremy Hartman
      The USAPL Teenage (18-19 year old) 220lbs. national deadlift record was 705. The meet I had picked out in March was literally the day before I turned 20 years old. I had been reading and talking to other powerlifters who were good deadlifters about doing weighted abdominal work. When I talked to Louie Simmons about this, he suggested static ab work, in which a person holds certain areas on an abdominal exercise for 3-5 seconds. Luckily my fitness class, that was required for my Physical Education major, was scheduled every Tuesday and Thursday so I decided to treat those days as a 20 minute all ab workout. I hated doing ab work in my normal routine and would only wait until the end of my workout and maybe do a few sets of an exercise. I also didnít want to do them before I worked out as it would tire me out too much for the rest of my workout. So every Tuesday and Thursday I would go down in the Bowling Green rec. center and jack the decline bench up as high as it would go and do weighted abs. I would do a regular sit-up on the decline until my back would almost touch the pad and then hold it for 3 seconds and come back up into a full sit-up. I started adding weight immediately and formulated a simple progressive routine. I added 5lbs. or a few more reps every week until the meet. During this time I also did standing ab work by facing away from the cable cross-over machine, pulling the tricep rope down behind my neck and perform a standing sit-up. I also messed around with wide-stance weighted sit-ups off the ground, and sit-ups off a glute/hamstring machine with and without a static 3 second hold. I almost always used weight when performing any ab exercise. Tuesday morning was a heavy day with low reps (3-5) and a Thursday was usually with reps around 8. I only needed 2-3 hard ab exercises and I began to incorporate some stretching, which really helped my lower back recover. Nothing crazy, just basic simple static stretching and always hanging from a pull-up bar for 2-3 sets x 30 seconds.
      Tuesday Warm-up:
      2-3 sets x 6-7 reps on a hanging leg raise
      2-3 sets x 6-7 reps on a low level adjustable decline bench, sit-ups with no weight
      Tuesday Workout:
      Decline Sit-ups 4 sets x 8 reps with static holds at the bottom for 3 seconds (stop 1inch from touching your back to the pad)
      -Increase the height every set
      -Increase the weight slightly every set, always put the bar in squat position on your back
      -Also held a bar in and over-head squat position, which really taxes the abs and back
      -Worked up to 115lbs. in the static position, and 95lbs. in the over-head squat position
      Standing Abdominal Work 4 sets x 15-20 reps
      -Stand facing away from a cable cross-over or lat-pulldown machine with a triceps rope
      -Pull the rope down to your neck and simply bend over, squeeze your abs, and bring your elbows to your knees
      -Increase weight every set
      Various static stretches for the low back and hamstrings
      [IMG]file:///C:/Users/MIKETU~1/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image001.gif[/IMG]

      Thursday Warm-up:
      2-3 sets x 6-7 reps on a hanging leg raise
      2-3 sets x 6-7 reps on a low level adjustable decline bench, sit-ups with no weight
      Thursday Workout:
      100 reps of banded triceps push-downs
      3 sets x 15 reps of a rotator cuff variation (my shoulders were a weak point and doing some simple rotator work once per week seemed to keep them healthy when benching heavy)

      Hanging Leg Raise 4 sets x 15 reps with lifting straps attached to the bar
      -Use a dumbbell, ankle weights, or have a friend hold a band attached to your ankles
      -Work up in resistance each set
      -Hit abs at all angles with feet (straight, slight bend, side to side, legs apart, ectÖ)
      Sit-ups off the Glute/Hamstring Machine 3 sets x 15 reps, again with a slight static pause when my body reached parallel with the ground
      -Bodyweight first set, 10-20lbs. behind the head next set, 30-45lbs. behind the head on the last set
      Various static stretches for the low back and hamstrings


      If you are impatient like me, you expect to see some type of results in a short amount of time. I really did not notice anything (except being more tired from the extra workouts) until week 6 of my all my extra abdominal workouts. My deadlifts started to really feel explosive coming off the ground, like a shot out of a cannon. Next, I really noticed that I was able to finally get the concept of pushing my abs against my belt in the start of my deadlifts. I had always read that a lifter should push their abs as hard as they could against their belts for support leverage. This concept of pushing my abs out really took off as finally I had strong enough abs to finally feel what it was like to use them. Even my squats and benches felt better and gave me more confidence when I started to really tighten myself against my belt from all the ab strength I was finally able to use. I really felt like the static abdominal work was really paying off, as I could stay tight the whole way through a lift. You have to really pause and stay as tight as possible when holding different positions in the decline abdominal work that I mentioned on my off-days.
      A month out from the USAPL meet in March, I started to work in my gear and really put the focus on squatting, benching, and deadlifting. I still kept up my assistant exercises up that I noted in my second article, but cut down on some sets and reps, especially since I was still coming in on Tuesday and Thursdays. Along with the extra abdominal work, the simple static stretching was working wonders on my lower back and hamstrings. I was only using the last 5-10 minutes of my extra workouts to add stretching in (and to buy class time) and it made a noticeable difference in my recovery, not to mention the relaxation benefits as well.
      My deadlift training during this time was very simple the last four weeks before the March powerlifting meet. I filtered out the max effort days, but kept up my speed box squats as I always felt they helped my deadlift. Vince Anello told me that he would always do some type of squat before he would deadlift. He always wanted his body taxed a little bit before starting his deadlift routine, as that is how a powerlifting feels when it comes time to deadlift. I would speed box squat 315-335lbs. for 12 sets x 2 reps with 45 second breaks. I used no gear except a belt. I then immediately went into my deadlift training:
      Week 4: Suit bottoms and loose belt
      135x8
      225x6
      315x5
      405x4 loose belt
      500x3 loose belt, suit bottoms
      550x1 loose belt, suit bottoms



      Week 3: Suit Bottoms and tight belt
      135x8
      225x6
      315x5
      405x4 loose belt
      515x3 loose belt, suit bottoms
      585x1 tight belt, suit bottoms

      Week 2: Suit and loose belt
      135x8
      225x6
      315x5
      425x4 loose belt
      515x3 loose belt, suit bottoms
      565x1 tight belt, full suit
      605x1 tight belt, full suit
      Week 1: Suit and tight belt
      135x8
      225x6
      315x5
      425x4 loose belt
      515x3 loose belt, suit bottoms
      565x1 tight belt, full suit
      605x1 tight belt, full suit
      660x1 tight belt, full suit

      MEET WEEK

      The USAPL Battle of the Great Lakes was set up in perfect fashion. I couldnít have asked for better training leading up to the meet. In my mind I had truly done everything I couldíve to prepare myself for the 710 deadlift attempt. I used my Inzer Champion suit to squat 605, benched 425 in my Inzer Blast shirt, and put back on my squat suit to deadlift in. While I was hoping for more in each event, I couldnít wait to pull my new record. I opened with a PR 655 and smoked it, went 685 and it was okay, and then called for my 710. At this point the meet was running well into 9 p.m. and I was worried as I was going to turn 20 years old in 3 hours and the record would be void. Needless to say the meet director joked around with me about it and we got underway as quickly as possible.
      While most powerlifters like to sit and relax during the deadlift, I have never been able to, still to this day. I have to be pacing around like a mad man with controlled aggression. Music always works wonders with me until they call me in the hole and then I get my mind focused and donít need any music anymore. I had used a lot of the mind preparation techniques that I mentioned in my previous articles from Vince Anello. I had already hit 710 over 100 times in my head and was finally ready to do it physically. The weight was called and I approached the bar like a completely different person, even from my first 2 attempts. I pulled the weight much better than 685, and got 3 white lights for a new national record. My eyes went completely blind and I couldnít tell what had happened after I put the bar down. I was worried as it took a good 10 minutes until my vision finally came back. A few blood vessels later, I received my award and finally hit my mark of 710 weighing 214.
      I truly believe after that powerlifting meet and my experiences leading up to it that if you have done every thing that you can think of, really put your training on the line, never miss a day, do extra work no matter how bad you donít want to go in and train, that something good will happen at your meet. This lesson was the biggest one that I learned at such a young age. You can do everything in the world, but you cannot lie to yourself about how hard you worked. In my mind, I did well over 710lbs. of deadlift work and there was no way I was going to miss it. Other lifters and general fitness people approach me all the time about not reaching their goals and what I do to reach mine. Most of the time they just want someone to hear their problems and get some feedback that they will later discard, if not immediately.



      Jeremy Hartman is a high school strength and conditioning coach in Ft. Wayne, IN. He has been a competitor in the USAPL/IPF since he first started powerlifting. His national accomplishments include a USAPL Teenage National Championship and best lifter, 4 Collegiate/Jr. National Championships and best lifter, 2008 Menís Open National Champion, and 2x Deadlift Competitor at the Arnold Sports Festival-finishing 4th place in 2008 and 2009. His international experience includes being a member of 2 Jr. World Teams; traveling to Koscian, Poland in 2003 and finishing 4th all-around, in 2005 he was a bronze medalist. Jeremy finished 4th at the IPF Open World Championsips in 2008 in Canada and included a 523lbs. bronze medal bench and 782lbs. gold medal deadlift. His last meet was at the World Games in July, 2009 in Taiwan where he finished 7th out of the best IPF lifters in 198lbs. and 220lbs. weight classes combined. PRís include a 733lbs. squat, 523lbs. bench, and 782lbs. deadlift all while weighing under 220lbs in the USAPL/IPF.