• My Deadlift Journey: 315lbs to 782lbs pt4

      by Jeremy Hartman

      Moving back to my parents’ house during my summer break from college, I decided to change my training at the request of the gym owner I was working with while training for the USAPL Teenage Nationals. I started to eliminate box squatting and focused more on free squatting after realizing my total weight should be increased if I wanted to make a Jr. World Team position. Because of my work schedule, taking summer courses and training, I put my extra workouts aside including my box squatting. This proved detrimental in my training all-around. I totaled right around the same as my meet a few months back, but hitched a hard 704 deadlift that was red-lighted. Two months prior, it looked as if I had another 10-20lbs. in the 710lbs. deadlift.
      Even though I ended up winning the nationals and making the IPF Jr. World Team, I knew things had to change and change immediately if I had ever hoped to medal against the Europeans in three months.
      I went back to the “drawing board” and my previous way of training. Most importantly, I changed my attitude and really started to focus on my training lifestyle. It wasn’t that I wasn’t focused at the nationals, just that I needed to step up my game even more if I wanted a medal at the World Championships.
      I started to train with heavier weights on my speed box squat. I started using between 340 and 360 lbs. for 10-12 sets x 2 reps with less than a minute break. My speed deadlifting followed my box squats with same weights and set/rep /time scheme. The key was speed and picturing every set like it was 720lbs. I kept up my abdominal training and scheduled them before my daily workouts. I eliminated my one full day of rest and added a hard 30 minutes of static work with various ab exercises (described in part 3 of my articles.) I maintained my max effort work of rack pulls, deficit deadlifts, and reverse band work. In addition to continuing my high box squatting, low box squatting to a 6” box, and heavy good morning, all to a 1-3 rep max.

      To give you an idea of some training numbers with my max effort work during this time:

      18” high box with belt only: 720lbs. x 1 rep
      6” low box squat with belt only: 545lbs. x 1 rep
      Arched back cambered bar good mornings with belt only: 405 x 3 reps
      Deficit deadlifts standing on top of 100lbs. plate with belt only: 670lbs. x 1 rep

      An example of a max effort session:
      Abdominal warm-up (2-3 exercises)
      Deficit deadlifts standing on top of 100lbs. plate
      135 x 5 reps
      225 x 5 reps
      275 x 4 reps
      315 x 4 reps
      365 x 3 reps
      405 x 3 reps
      495 x 2 reps – loose belt
      545 x 2 reps – loose belt
      585 x 1 rep – tight belt
      635 x 1 rep – tight belt
      670 x 1 rep - miss
      -part of my mental training, I decided that there was no way I was going to miss this again
      670 x 1 rep – got it
      -took 7-8 seconds to finish the pull, almost passed out

      I saved my money for gas and went down for a few weekends to stay with some friends at Ohio State University so I could work a little bit with Louie Simmons again. This time around Louie really suggested that I bring up my upper back and lats. He prescribed various seated and standing simple dumbbell work (reverse flys, dumbbell cleans), heavy rows (cable and chest-supported) and some band work (upright rows, pull-aparts, and high rep pull-ups with various grips). I was able to work all these variations into each workout. I would usually hit 3-4 sets for 8-10 reps on the rowing movements, followed by 3-4 sets of 15-30 reps with my band workouts. The key was to make some improvements with my back work each and every week and perform some type of back work daily. Day in and day out I focused on what I was told to do, all the while searching and asking other lifters around the country what they did to get more ideas with only a few months until the Jr. World’s.
      Traveling to Koscian, Poland was an adventure in itself. I still couldn’t believe that I was lifting and representing the United States in a foreign country for a sport (the adventures and stories of this event is a whole different article in itself….). I had virtually taken four full days off before the meet due to Caleb Williams and my discussion about training and peaking for this meet. However, I noticed that my foreign competitors did not take time away from training and were training a little bit each and every day leading up to the competition. While they were not working heavy, I still saw them putting in a quick 20 minute workout each day at the venue. I have seen this same principal with foreign Olympic Weightlifters. Since many foreign competitors in both powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting train multiple times a day, it’s not uncommon to see an Olympic weightlifter hitting a small workout during the morning of a major competition before he competes later on that day. Most of my experience with powerlifters in the U.S. is to take a good 3-4 days of rest or even as much a full week off before a meet by some national caliber competitors.
      My training plan had paid off and my results were considerably good, but not enough to place in the top three like I had originally trained for placing. This was the fastest meet I had ever attended. Each lift ran so fast from one to the next that as the coaches were ripping off my squat suit and knee wraps, I literally had to hit my first bench warm-up in my underwear in order to keep pace with the warm-up area and the meet. I had a 9/9 day with a huge 50lbs. PR in the squat and a 30lbs. PR in the bench. I was tied with Andreas Hjelmtveit from Norway going into the deadlift. Even though it is up to the lifter at World’s what attempts he wants to take, the coaches do a lot of the leg work with numbers and deciding how a lifter is doing and what he/she should take next. My opening deadlift of 661 lbs. looked a little shaky as the bar got out in front of me before I even started to pull. The coaches and I decided to play it conservative and take a second deadlift attempt of 678lbs., which I smoked with a careful set-up. When asked what I wanted next, I said something over 700, or a weight that would place me in the top 3 in the all-around. I didn’t care as I knew I would make future World Teams. Watching the foreign competitors lift, my coaches decided a 700 deadlift was the proper weight, as the guy ahead of me looked a little shaky on his second attempt. My coaches believed he wouldn’t make his third attempt and I would have a better chance. I went out and hit a very nice 700 to get into 3rd place, but Andreas hit a max of 744lbs. and edged me out by 2.5 kilos
      (results: http://www.adfpa.com/newsletter/15/r...junioripf.html). In the end, I walked away with a bronze medal in the bench press, and bronze medal in the deadlift and 4th place in the all-around. This would not be the last time that Andreas and I would meet at the World Championships.
      Lessons Learned:
      All the extra upper back and lat training really assisted with my lifts, but most noticeably in my squat and bench press. My squats felt more stable than ever before and my bench press technique really soared. I was able to get a much better arch and felt stable bringing the weight down and pushing into my traps to begin the lift. Greg Page kept telling me to try and “row” the weight down when I benched instead of fighting against the shirt. Pulling my lats together harder and harder as the weight came to my chest kept a good and solid arch in my bench press. In my previous meets, my elbows would flare out on the concentric part of the bench press causing my shoulders to roll forward. All the extra hypertrophy and strength work for my back enhanced the technique purposes. I believe that my deadlift max was around 715-720 with the way the speed of the meet was going. But again, I was able to get stronger while using the same gear and weighing right around the same. 2004 would prove to be a very deciding and difficult year…

      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 Men’s 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. PR’s include a 733lbs. squat, 523lbs. bench, and 782lbs. deadlift all while weighing under 220lbs in the USAPL/IPF. Click here to find more of Jeremy’s coaching tools.