WSBB Blog: 4 Week Deadlift PR Plan - Week 1
Increasing lower body absolute strength is something the Conjugate Method does very well. Using anterior and posterior focused primary and accessory exercise variations, we attack muscular weakness and technical error head-on to correct the issue immediately. This approach allows us to lift new max-effort PR lifts on a regular basis.
No matter if you are an athlete or a lifter, the importance of absolute strength remains the same. The Conjugate Method utilizes two max effort training days per week, one upper and one lower. Typically, lifters can be expected to lift a new variation PR lift each week. However, there are times when PR lifts slow down, and an alternative approach is called for.
Below, we will go over week one of a four-week strategy to allow an athlete struggling to PR to get back on track and avoid wasting time in the gym or, even worse, regressing.
Max Effort Lower Week 1 - Deficit Deadlifts
The first week of max-effort lower lifts will be a deficit deadlift variation. If you are a beginner to intermediate lifter, we recommend sticking with traditional deficit deadlifts or beltless deficit deadlifts using a 2" deficit. More experienced lifters can use a 4-6” deficit or add accommodating resistance to the lift. When performing deficit deadlifts, it is imperative to sit into the pull as much as possible, allowing your hips and torso to get into an advantageous position behind the bar.
This exercise will be performed for a top set of three reps, leaving one set in the tank. The idea is to lift around 90-95% of your previous deficit PR, focusing on powerful and properly executed reps. When working up to your top set, it is recommended to take three to five reps for each warm-up set. Once you are two sets away from what you know will be your top set, pull single reps only until you pull your top set of three reps.
Throughout the four-week program, we will not focus on one single weak point. Instead, we are opting to write the accessory programming to address all muscle groups associated with the deadlift adequately. During week one, we will focus on the hamstrings and glutes. Here are the accessory exercises:
Romanian Deadlifts - this exercise will be performed for three to five sets of five to eight reps. The primary focus should be proper execution, however, if you are strong and capable, we recommend training these as heavy as is tolerable.
Inverse Curl Machine - this exercise will be performed for three to five sets, completing as many reps as possible for each set. Be sure to load a counterweight that allows the exercise to be taxing; the goal is to train the hamstrings, not set rep records.
Kettlebell Swings - this exercise will be performed for four sets of twenty to twenty-five reps per set. Focus on maintaining proper posture, keeping the trunk engaged, and a slight bend in the knee to increase the demand placed onto the glutes and hamstrings.
Standing Abs - this exercise will be performed for five sets of twenty to twenty-five reps. To properly execute this exercise, be sure to create pressure in your trunk and use your stomach muscles to bring your elbows down and pull the cable. Do not use your arms or lats to engage the weight and perform the movement.
Sleds - fifteen trips, 20 yards down 20 yards back, pulling the heaviest sled you can while completing all trips. The idea here is to train, not destroy, be sensible with your sled weights.