Deadlift Road to 400

August 3rd, 2014 by Laura

Sunday, August 3rd 2014: I lifted 400lbs for the first time.

I’ve used this page to record my notes on the way to a 400 pound deadlift. Here is the work that I did in the months leading up to it:

January 2014: First time locking out 400 (reverse bands)
In my last competition, my deadlift max was 375lbs.

Today, I had a really grindy 400 out of reverse bands. Lockout is usually a challenge for me since I pull rounded, but I will be working hard on my butt for a better finish.


February: 400 Reverse Bands – 8 seconds down to 4
One month later. This was my retake with the same setup from last month. Down from an 8 second pull to 4.

I’d been working on loosening a tight hip and bringing up speed in the glutes for a smoother finish.

I thought 390 might move sans bands, but 400 might be just out of reach. I think I need to get the bar to move past the knee very quickly, like almost as fast as it does with reverse bands. Floor speed and positioning will be the focus for this month.
March (Competition): 390

I got a stomach bug just before my meet and everything over 300 on that day was shaking like a leaf. I did get my final attempt of 390. The bar moved SLOW at the knee but I didn’t get dragged down as I predicted. I think the slowness was a result of being sick so I am not too worried about it. My 380 2nd attempt actually looked worse than this, and a 315 warmup was just as bad!

I was surprised that my max didn’t have a disproportionately slow lockout as I do normally… the whole thing was slow. I was wiped out.

This confirms that I do want to stick to competing with high bar squats. It carries over well to my deadlift and leaves my hips healthy enough to pull. If low bar is going to rough me up too much to pull or leave me to tired to pull at the end of a meet, it doesn’t make sense to keep trying to bring it in. Deadlift is where I can get the most on my total.

I also think it is time to bring in more heavy conventional work. I’ve noticed at a few meets that I have a ‘wake up call’ lift, usually my 2nd attempt. This is a lift that I will just barely make if my technique is off, and usually it is. I just think it might be time for a little more practice with heavies. I still love speed work and consider it to be one of the most important parts of my deadlift training. But there are things you can get away with at light weights that won’t work near a max.

I saw this in this month’s Power magazine:

This is the current national rank for my weight class. I am at #5 in the deadlift. Maybe #4 because it looks like one lady pulled a deadlift so awesome that it got ranked twice in the same day :). It feels amazing to be so close in numbers with some top ranked lifters.
August 3: My First 400lb Deadlift
I rarely set arbitrary numeric goals, but I had been dreaming of a 400 pull since I took up powerlifting. This was the best day ever. The only thing now is to make it official in a meet.
August 17: Pulled 400 Again, Ironed the Lockout
2 weeks after my first 400 attempt, I convinced myself that 400 was not an actual max, and I had another go with it. I did a full mock meet, spacing out my lifts throughout the day like an actual meet. I wanted to make sure that a jump from 370 (opener) to 400 (2nd attempt) would not be too much. I also wanted to smooth out my lockout and see how 400 would feel at the end of a long day. It felt easier than the first time. I was much happier with the mechanics of this one.


October 23, 2015 (Competition) – 400 in the Books
Finally made it to a competition and was very excited about trying 400 in a meet setting. My SI joint had not cooperating for some time (which is why it had been so long since my last competition) and conventionals were off the table. I went for 400 in my opposite stance and though it was hideous, the lift got 2 greens. 400@132 is now official.

Comments are closed.