Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Dan John -- Simple Strength, a.k.a. restarting my deadlift

Five or six years ago, this was me, deadlifting 425 pounds three times using a trap bar:

It's nothing spectacular (that third rep... as I say in the video: "Hooooooo!"), but it's pretty damn solid for a then-early-fifties dude who never made powerlifting anything other than just a way to stay strong. I wasn't competing, just lifting at a CrossFit gym. I bet you know someone that can deadlift a lot more. But more on-point is that you probably know a lot more who can't.

Fast forward to the present, and that "pretty damn solid" deadlifting person is not really me. I'm not weak by any means, but I am pretty sure that I've let my deadlift atrophy to the point of not being able to do anything close to what's in that video. The excuses pile up fast: I didn't have time because of work; I was doing a lot of (valuable) HIIT-style training; I got injured. Blah blah blah fucking blah....

I'm semi-retired now. I have time. I'd like to get my deadlift going again.

When I want to do something simple like "get stronger," my go-to person -- my guardo camino -- has always been Dan John. He's not fancy. He's just simple and direct. Currently, I would fail his basic test of being in really good shape: being able to deadlift 60 reps in 30 minutes at 315 pounds. I'd like to get to a point where I can do that again (yes, again; back when that video was filmed I could pass that 30-minute/60-rep/315-pound test).

So I found this Dan John article online.

It's called "Simple Strength." It's... simple. After warm-up, take the biggest weight that you can lift comfortably for five reps and, instead of five reps, do: 1-2-3 (with breaks) three total times (so 18 total reps). The reps should be easy-ish, not a struggle. Bump up the weight as it gets too easy.

I started last night (on a straight bar; I don't own a trap bar), and today I have that glorious just-slightly-sore post-deadlift feeling that I've been missing. I'm planning on deadlifting twice a week for now. I may never get back to three reps at 425. That's fine. I just want to recover what I can and be stronger than now.

And stay stronger than all those old dudes who don't deadlift.

Let's go.

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