After the ROM Progression Method post I asked Emevas if he could elaborate on how he used this method in his deadlift training.
I am very thankful that he took the time to write this up. Enjoy his guest post.
The basic premise is simple, almost absurdly so.
Take a weight that you can only lift for part of a range of motion (hereafter referred to as “ROM”), and then stick with that weight as you increase the ROM.
This is a boon for deadlifts, especially as you reach higher weights, as it means spending less time breaking heavy weights off the floor. This is far less taxing and easy to recover from.
I use rubber patio pavers for my progression, found at any hardware store.
I stack 7 of them on either side of the plates. I’ve been asked “why 7” before, and the answer is simply that’s how many I had at the time. It puts the bar slightly above mid shin for me.
I will pull for 1 set of max reps, allowing myself 1 rest pause at the end of the set to attempt to get a few more reps and increase the total volume. Given that I pull exclusively touch and go (which I can address in another post if desired), this also gives me extra practice breaking weight off the floor.
Each week, I take away 1 paver and attempt to pull for the same amount of reps as I did in the previous week. It’s a very gradual transition, one you will barely notice as you do it, but it will become significant once you realize you
have gone from a partial dead to a full pull with the same weight.
I tend to lose 1-2 total reps as I go from the 2-3 mat height to the floor, but it’s an acceptable loss.
I also tend not perform a 1 mat pull, going straight from the 2 mat height to the floor. Since I’m trying to minimize stress on the body, I find little value in spending 2 training weeks pulling at a height so similar to the floor.
After a full cycle of ROM progression, I deload for a week, increase the weight, and start over again, aiming for the same amount of reps as last time.
In regards to personal implementation, I will say that the rack pull is a very poor parallel to the mat pull. The form is different, as is the feel of breaking the weight off the pins. The mats are far more natural, and its much easier to transition between pulling from mats and pulling off the floor.
I have seen people pull off of bumper plates before, and I imagine that would be a good substitute, as long as you are able to make a gradual enough change. Big changes in ROM are not going to be as beneficial.
I have also seen people have success with aerobic steppers, so give that a try if you have those. Basically, have the plates be your point of
contact, not the bar.
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For fitting this into a training schedule, I have done this a few different ways.
At present, I’m running a modified version of 5/3/1, and for my deadlift day, instead of following the 5/3/1 protocol, I simply stick with ROM progression with 5/3/1 assistance (BBB style squats).
I have also trained in this manner on a 3 day a week squat program, where I performed my ROM progression deadlifts as my final movement on the middle training day. Since it’s only one set, and mostly a partial movement, you can fit it into most programs with a deadlifting component.
If you want to run your own cycle, I’d suggest starting with a higher rep range, around 10 or so.
Pick something you can lower evenly for 7 weeks and see where it takes you. I HAVE trained this way with lower reps (the 5 rep range), but find that it’s possible to overload yourself too much on the first 3 weeks of pulling and burn out your CNS. It can be very useful for developing
lockout strength, but in terms of adding straight poundages to your deadlift, higher reps seem to work better.
At my present progression, I seem to be losing a rep per cycle.
When I find myself eventually unable to progress past a certain weight, my intention is to reset back to a previously accomplished weight and attempt a rep PR from there, and then just keep progressing back up while trying to hit greater reps at previously accomplished weights.
Here you can view a full series of pulls and witness how gradual of a change the ROM is (enjoy the blooper on the final set).
(6) Mat Pulls: 495lbsx12
(5) Mat Pulls: 495×12
(4) Mat Pull: 495×12
(3) Mat Pulls: 495×12
(2) Mat Pulls: 495×12
(1) Mat Pull: 495x 11.5
I apologize for this being a little scatterbrained, but if there are any questions or clarifying points, feel free to ask a question.