Isometrics and Increasing Your Deadlift

- Isometric Training FAQ 13 -

By Paul "Batman" O'Brien 

B.A., N.C.E.H.S., Dip. Acu., Cert Clin. IMed., Dip. Adv. OBB, Dip. CHM, Pn1, PN-SSR, PN-NCA, M.AFPA., M.C.Th.A.

Isometrics and Increasing Your Deadlift - Isometric-Training FAQ 13, part of the Readers Questions Sections, where each issue I'll highlight a new question and provide you with a detailed answer.....Feel free to contact me with your questions here - contact me.

This week I'll be answering several of Solomon's questions on Isometrics and Increasing Your Deadlift, how I personally imporved my deadlift's, more info on some of my clients and what you can do to increase your strength...let's take a look ...

Solomon Asks:

hi, have you written any articles on a training programe that could take some one from deadlifting 2x bodyweight to 3x bodyweight within 2 years,as that is my specific strength goal,thanks

My Answer: I have no published articles on such a specific topic, it would be pointless - however I have trained many powerlifters, both professional and amateur, have consulted with young men who set world records and coached world record holders in deadlifts, squats, and bench presses for their weight class. And I will tell you the exact same advice that made them champions. Your physiology is the same as everyone else's. You will get stronger the SAME way an 85 year old granny gets strong to lift her shopping.

There is only 1 way to get stronger if you want to lift 3 times your bodyweight in a deadlift, or pick up your puppy. That way is intensity. The more intense the stimulus your produce is the greater the adaptation of the body, it must get stronger to cope with the increased intensity of the demands placed upon.

There is no human born today that does not develop according to that physiological principal. I have written many articles on my website on the subject of intensity and the development of strength - apply those principals and you will get stronger.

As for the time frame you suggest - it's not impossible but I would not be able to give you a definite answer on that - it depends on many variables such as your bodies ability to tolerate stress, recovery ability, how well rested you are, diet and nutrition etc. With that said I see no reason that could not be accomplished.

For instance, if one weighed 200lbs and wanted and currently lifted 400lbs, if they simply decreased fat by 50lbs and got very lean, then you a 150lbs lifting 400lbs and only 50lbs off your goal - very easy to achieve. On the other hand assuming your 200lbs and stay 200 lbs for 2 years and thus need to gain the strength to lift an additional 200lbs of weight.

In my own training I progressed from a 311lbs deadlift to a 651lbs deadlift in 3 months. Increasing your strength in the deadlift is equal parts increasing contractile strength of your muscles and the neurological improvement of the movement.

Solomon Asks:

hi, i saw you leg press 484lbs on you tube, but you say you can press 2200lb at 170bw, how ?thats quite impressive whats your best deadlift bodyweight ratio and how do you teach this method thanks,

My Answer: Same answer as above really - consistently increasing intensity with adequate recovery time. I recently injured myself when the leg press I was using broke when pressing 2,854 lbs, breaking my tibia. After only 7 weeks of rehab I was pressing 1,800 plus lbs again. Most ppl can't do that on a good day. (It may interest you to note that the current world record is Paul Anderson's 6,500 plus lbs press).

As for the method I teach, well it's a three part program, all scientifically proven and validated for over 50 years. I currently only publicly teach the first part of this system since Jan of this year in my 250 page 7 week course, 7 Seconds to A Perfect Body. Parts 2 and 3 will be publicly released in the next 2 years. My best Deadlift ratio is 715lbs at 156lbs. roughly 4.5 times my bodyweight - it should be noted I was using lifting hooks for that, and was in a safe ROM.

Solomon Asks:

hey, is that testimonial true,from dave cunningham, how didhe go from deadlifting 300lb to 600lb deadlift, thatsa bit much to beleive, is it true if so how and how long did it take, thanks

My Answer: Yeah, it is LOL, we even videoed his first successful attempt at 580 - and then we said screw it we'll add another 20kg on to the bar at each side, and when Dave was lifting the bar, at 620, not including the bar weight, myself and Rob had to hold the plates on the end of the bar on it as it started bending under the weight. One really cool session. Again same principal as above. Dave went from a 300lbs deadlift to 620, in about 5 minutes of total training time. I never published the time as no one would believe it.

Solomon Asks:

hi, i saw you deadlift 500lbs, from the rack, is that equivalent from deadlifting off the floor, thanks

My Answer: Yeah, that was a light lift with no straps. No deadlfiting from teh rack is not the same as deadlifting from the floor. First off, from the rack position I was in a strong and safe position able to contract my muscles fully. From the floor the muscles are at their weakest contractile point and serious injury can occur.

I VERY rarely lift weights with a full ROM - it's dangerous and offers no benefit. Nor has it ever been shown to be a factor in muscular growth strength or development. There are disadvantages though - in a rack pull you have no momentum or stretch reflex to help lift the weight - it's pure solid muscular strength - that's it. no muss no fuss no bs, you're strong enough to lift it, or you're not.

Solomon Asks:

Hi Paul, Thanks for the reply, so firstly it's increasing intesnity and there are articles on your website, your won deadlift progression was very rapid, how did you do that?

Just increasing intensity and the methdos outlined in your book? Surely you must have done something special, so what is the most intense way to stimulate the body, A 7 Second Isometric contraction at asy 95% IRM? Basically is everything just in your course book? Including your specific technqiues you used to increase your deadlift and leg press?

Thanks Solomon

My Answer: I explain the nature of progressive intensity and it's importance on the following pages I do not explain on the site how to do this - that's one of the features of my products (7 Seconds to A Perfect Body etc) and my personal training services.

As regards my own deadlift progression, yes, again that was done through the methods I teach. Obviously I charge for that information and training ;-) as it's my job. I did nothing "special" other than follow the methods I teach and the training I prescibe along with a a healthy diet and plenty of rest. Again the first and most important part of that is explained in length in my 7 week course, 7 Seconds to Build A Perfect Body

What is the most intesne way to train? - well that's the subject of my book and training methods.

The specific technqiues used to increase my deadlift are not covered in this first volume 7 Seconds to Build A Perfect Body, however, the exercises used to increase the strength of the muscles used in the deadlift are - and training in the methods prescribed in the book will result in increased strength in the deadlift, leg press and every other exercise as the body will be substantially stronger.

Solomon Asks:

Hi Paul, How about the popint of view that partial ROM doesn't carry over to full ROM?

Thanks Solomon

My Answer: Hi Solomon,

Your concern about Isometrics simply increasing strength at the point it's trained is a common one. And it doesn't make any sesne what so ever if looked at logically and with an nderstanding of anatomy and physiology ;-) If it was the case, it would be pointless - luckily it has no basis. Let me explain.

There is no single study produced that actually shows Range of Motion has ANY impact on strength or size development, and I doubt there ever will be. You see the way a muscle works is it contracts or it doesn't. That's it. It's on or off. It adjusts the amount of strength used through a phenomenon called the GIC (Gradual Increments of Contraction). This is a misleading name as it implies partial contraction of a muscle, which isn't the case.

The way a muscle work is that is composed of several bundles of muscle fibers which are connected to one nerve each. To lift a pencil 4 nerves are say activated and the WHOLE muscle contacts under the impulse of those 4 bundles contracting and low and behold we can lift a pencil. To lift 100lbs nearly all 150 say nerves would be activated and all the attached muscle bundles would contract thus giving you more power. It has NOTHING to do with the posisiton of the arm - just the tension being applied to it.

Intensity is the SOLE dictator of whether you get stornger or weaker, bigger or smaller. There are more intense positions, certainly, and I prefer strong range contractions. I hope this explains a little bit about this common misconception. Training in a partial range of motion htat produces sufficent stinulation will increase musclar contractile strength and as such you will be stroneger in a full range of motion.

Hope that helps,

Your isometric expert and personal trainer,

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