New Deadlift Personal Record – 485 lb / 220 kg

I’ve been on a new deadlift progression for the past 9 weeks and last night was right for a new personal record.  My previous PR was 455 lb set in early April.  I knew I was progressing well and feeling strong since I did a training session last week with 455 lb being my actual training weight for the session.

I went through my first progression this year starting in February, after having some time off for the holidays and travel to Nepal for trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp (full pictures & trip report here).  That progression went great for the two lifts I was leveraging; the back squat and the deadlift.  And, I was able to establish new PRs — 355 lb for the back squat and 455 lb for the deadlift.

Due to a knee injury, I’ve put back squats aside for the past two months and have just done the deadlift as my sole lift.  This actually makes things harder and not easier, as you might think.  The reason is that lifting heavy requires strong focus to recruit the body to contract maximally and develop the forces and pressure necessary for the lift.  So, eliminating the squats from the first part of my strength training sessions have been a hindrance and not a bonus.

This latest solo progression of the last 9 weeks has gone well, even though the weights are now quite robust.  Last week’s session was to work up to a simple 5 reps of my last PR weight of 455 lbs.  It was heavy and it took focus and effort, but I was able to do it without any drama.  Finishing that session, I had the impression that my short-term of a 500 lb deadlift was just about here.

Last night, June 8th, it was time to test the training and see where I was.  My coach (Joe Sarti, Menlo Integrative Training) and I conferred on the warm-up weights and how that would position me for the PR attempt weight.  The warm up went well, I felt strong, and we went for the higher end of the PR range that we had in mind; 485 lb.  The video below shows you my first attempt at the weight.  I’ll hold my comments until after you watch it to see what your impressions are.

Now that you’ve seen the lift, what did you think?  Joe and I felt that there was no major grind to speak of and 500 lb was the next logical lift for the true PR.

However, given that my left knee is still injured and also since I felt a little tightness in my right shoulder, I opted to be conservative and end real strong instead.  That’s been my style in my return to strength training these past 18 months.  I’m not competing at an event to be in a hurry, I’m not fixated on artificial numbers, and I have nothing to prove.

What I have is a new love affair with strength and, this time, it’s more meaningful.  In younger years, there were distractions and false goals that weren’t helpful.  Now, I look at training sessions as I do a Friday night or a Saturday morning — in that, I truly look forward to them with excitement.

Strength training is an enabler for my fitness and athletic goals.  I see it as a fundamental part of my long-term goal of being of strong mind and body for the duration of my life.  Strength training not only aligns with my goals, but actually unlocks them for me.  Be it, rock climbing, surfing, skiing, parkour, or anything I choose to do, it allows me to do it the way that I want.  At this age and with a more mature disposition, I can better appreciate every nuance of it — art & science.

Committing to and stating my next set of goals; they are a 500 lb deadlift and a 400 lb back squat.  These are my immediate goals that I hope to surpass with confidence, great form, and control.

Where am I headed next?  I’m now easily in the 1,000 pound club (combined weight of the bench press, back squat, and deadlift) and have achieved my initial long-term goal from 18 months ago.  It’s time for me to commit to a new goal and here it is — my mid-term goal is a 540 lb deadlift and a 450 lb back squat.  Both of those numbers are significant in that they represent a 3x bodyweight deadlift and a 2.5x back squat.

Here we go!