How I Put 100kg/220lbs On My Axle Deadlift In 9 Weeks

deadlift

For those of you that follow Strongman you might have heard of a new(ish) contest called Static Monsters. It is a chance for athletes to test their max log press and their max AXLE deadlift from a height of 18″. Regional contests are held all over the world on the same day (October 27 this year) and athletes are not only competing for their regional titles but also seeing how they stack up against the rest of the world. The top 10 overall from each weight class are then invited to the World Championships held in Australia in May. Having suffered a knee injury (torn patella tendon) during a log press competition last year and not fully recovered for the strongman season this year, I had set my sites on training hard for next year and did not think about any competitions. A few friends and clients of mine were competing at the Static Monsters regionals here in town (as well as we were hosting it at my gym) so I decided about 10 weeks out or so that this was a great contest to focus on for me.

Before moving forward I must qualify my catchy, click-bait-style title for you. As you will see below my 1st session I pulled 685lbs and let me tell you it was not easy. At the contest I pulled 902lbs. While the title is 100% true, I need to begin this by explaining a few things: I do not claim should you follow this that you will put 100kg on any lift period although I know what I did definitely worked for me. It is still baffling to me that I achieved (after over 20+ years lifting weights) the type of progress I had in this particular training block but I will dissect some of the reasons why for you starting with 3 asterisks *.

-*Asterisk #1 – This style deadlift is done at 18″ which is just below my knee and turned out to be (surprisingly) a very good height for me once I got used to it.
-*Asterisk #2 – I used a suit and figure 8 straps (maximum cheating) both of which I had never used much before so I knew I would have some serious adaptations to these

-*Asterisk # 3 – I still have not been able to squat heavy due the aforementioned knee injury and am not certain I would have made this type of progress with heavy squats in the mix. Who knows though?

So, with all of that out of the way, let’s get into how I was able to do this. I must say, by far the most important aspect for me this training cycle was getting my mind right. I think this is a GROSSLY underestimated topic in strength sports. We have everyone and their dog selling training programs online and these can be all well and good but I feel many trainees are in need of sharpening their mental edge. I think the most important aspect to progress for this is confidence and I would define confidence as having the courage to know what weight should go on the bar and when both throughout your training cycle and on the day of competition. I say “courage” as far too often lifters are comparing themselves to and attempting weights based on others’ instead of taking care of their own progress. After my week 1 session which you will see with my program laid out below I pulled 685lbs. I went home that night and wrote the following note in my phone: At Static Monsters I strict pressed a 150kg/330lbs log and deadlifted 410kg/902lbs for the win. When I woke up in the morning I wrote it again and every evening and morning up until the show I wrote and re-wrote this statement. Many times throughout the days leading up to the contest I would read this (aloud sometimes) and then erase and re-write it again and again. Now, I had no idea how I was going to do this but I knew I was going to. I didn’t think or hope for this number, I knew it. At times, I thought I was nuts writing this out but as the weeks went by and I was hitting weights in training I had no business hitting I thought I might be onto something. Funny thing is, I hit both the log and deadlift on my 2nd of 3rd attempts…

static monsters
I think I was focused???

The next most important factor that helped me was finally listening to my own advice and REALLY making sleep and nutrition paramount. I started going to bed at 9pm and really paying attention to my nutrition. I ate over 4000calories/day (I don’t need as much food as some of my contemporary super heavy weight friends…) consistently and this made a massive difference for my recovery and progress. Being very well rested and very well fed honestly made training so much fun. Each week I knew I would get closer to my goal and I can honestly say I did not have a “bad” training day the whole 9 weeks I trained for Static Monsters. We brought Stan Efferding to Mettle for a life-changing seminar (you can view it HERE) and following many of the principles he shared has been incredibly helpful for me. As the contest grew closer I upped my calories slightly but alas never gained an ounce of bodyweight and in fact I weighed in quite light the day before the contest.

My sample nutrition plan:
Meal 1 4-6 eggs and either 4pcs of bacon or 4 slices of Jarlsberg Cheese (the best!), 2 slices of sourdough toast with about 1tsp of butter on each
Meals 2 and 3 8oz of steak, 1.5 cups of rice, 3 baby carrots, 1 cup of spinach, 1/2 cup of red pepper, 1/2 cup of chicken or beef stock, 1/2tsp of pink salt and 4oz pure orange/grapefruit juice or an orange
Meal 5 10oz chicken or pork, 1 potato or 1 cup of rice, 3 baby carrots
Meal 6 1L whole milk

***after training I would have 8oz pure orange juice, 16oz water and 75g of dextrose or karbolyn

My deadlift programming for Static Monsters is as follows:

*I used the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) to auto-regulate the weights each week for several reasons. The main reason was I had NO idea what types of weights I was capable of both at this height and in a suit as I have never consistently trained either of these. The RPE scale is easy to use and a great indicator of where your weights should be ON THE TRAINING DAY. Training with percentages of your max is fine and many a lifter has crushed massive weights this way. The RPE scale was taught to me when I worked with Reactive Training Systems and has been a great help to my training and coaching. On days where you are not feeling so great or factors outside of the gym (loss of sleep or low on food etc) are at play you can still put an appropriate amount of weight on the bar based on your effort level. Subsequently, on days where you feel extra awesome, you can go heavier than you might have had you only been going off a percentage of your max.  A really brief overview of how to apply this is as follows: A 10/10 on the RPE scale is maximal effort and you perceive you could do NO more reps, a 9 is a hard effort but you could do 1 more rep, an 8 is also a hard effort but you would have 2 reps left in the tank. On the days I was hitting 8 and 9/10 I had a target in mind but below you will see I was able to go heavier and heavier and this was all thanks to using this loading scheme.

static monsters
Nice Hardware!
Week 1
1) Axle Deadlift work up to x1@9 (I had NO idea what I could do here but ended up at 685lbs. That night I wrote my goals and continued writing them each night before bed and each morning after waking up.
Week 2
1) Axle Deadlift work up to x3@9 (To my surprise I way surpassed my last week’s single and ended up pulling 725 for 3 reps), take 5% off and do 2×3
Week 3
1) Deload as I was on vacation. Hilariously, I strained my back laying on the sandy beach too long. AH, super heavyweight problems. I did some Safety bar squats on one day and pressing on the other but no deadlifts this week.
Week 4
1) Axle Deadlift work up to x2@8 (again to my surprise I had another massive jump and pulled 775lbs x 2 reps), repeat this 1 more time
Week 5
1) Axle Deadlift work up to x1@9-10 I ended up pulling 815lbs and it was a lot harder than I had wanted to but I was determined—-900lbs or nothing). No back off sets
Week 6
1) Axle Deadlift work up to x3@8 and repeat 2 more times this was 330kg/725lbs and was very easy
Week 7
1) Axle Deadlift work up to x1@9 I pulled 400kg/880lbs for a pretty easy single on this day and knew my 900lb fate was sealed
Week 8

1) Axle Deadlift work up to x3@8 and repeat 2 more times this was 340kg/748lbs and again was very easy.

Week 9 was the competition week. Log press was a massive milestone for me.  I smashed 150kg/330lbs which was the weight that took my knee out the previous year. After log I felt very determined to hit the 410kg/902lbs. deadlift. I was so confident that I changed the plan last minute and decided to open light (370kg) but jump to 410kg on my 2nd attempt and in my mind I was going to try for the world record on my 3rd attempt. I smashed 410kg/902lbs easily and screamed so loud I lost most of my voice! I think I over-celebrated so much having hit my goal that I had completely worn myself out and although 442.5kg/974lbs came off the ground fast I just could not finish it. My strap opened up but I also imagine this was due to the massive weight. Nonetheless I was thrilled. The day had come together just like I had written in my goals. I had won regionals and later found out I was 8th overall across the other countries. Check out the log and deadlift here:

 

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Today was the day I was looking for (lifting friends…stop saying it was not…. You’re above ground lifting things that a small percentage of human beings can, its a good day regardless…). Competed at the Regina @static_monsters – pressed 150kg/330lbs and deadlifted (axle) 410kg/902lbs for the overall win. Went for the world record 442.5kg on my 3rd but my hands did not cooperate. I love lifting heavy. Thanks to all the volunteers, promoters (@saskstrongman ) and athletes. What a fun day to be alive. #staticmonsters #strength #strengthsports #strengthmonopoly #strongman #strongwoman #powerlifting #weightlifting #bodybuilding #gym #gains #hardwork #lifestyle #dedication #mettle #fun #strong #gymlife #muscles #train #trainhard #training #squat #bench #deadlift #press

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I sincerely hope this helps some of you out there. If you need help with anything including programming, mental training, nutrition advice or anything strength related please feel free to reach out. We at Mettle live and love to help you all get stronger.

-Tyler Harnett