We’re creatures of habit; a lot of gents and ladies deny this.

“Dude, I don’t need habits. I’m wild like the wind, life is an adventure–live and let live, bro.”

That’s dumb. Habits change the way we think and the way we interact with the world. They, in truth, promote success.

During late 2012 and early 2013 I developed a habit that allowed me to reach a long sought-after goal–a supra 600 pound deadlift.

Over the past half-year I’ve been outspoken about the effectiveness of high-frequency training–not only in terms of sessions per week, but also in terms of programming specific lifts. High frequency deadlifting–in combination with consistent neural charge training–took my deadlift from the mid 500s to over 600 pounds. Believe dat.

When the article that I co-authored with Mike Ranfone about obtaining the goal (he was my coach) hit T-Nation there was a good question raised in the LiveSpill–doesn’t doing the same things over and over promote overuse injuries?

It most certainly can. But if you’re doing it right–lifting with solid form and practicing self-care–you shouldn’t get hurt.

Here are a few self-care strategies to keep you healthy as you deadlift with high-frequency.

Balancing The Hips:

Whether it’s noticeable or not, many of us move about with a weight shift–no one is symmetrical. Like other fair willed and right-side-dominant folks I tend to shift my weight to the right. I also have a structural abnormality–scoliosis. This has an affect when we’re just standing around–do you think it’s exacerbated while pulling 400 or 500 pounds from the earth? Tension, foot dialing and other joint centration techniques limit the effect of the weight shift, but, for me at least, it still has an effect.

If you’re deadlifting once per week the weight shift may not be an issue. But if you’re engraining a pattern day after day, there’s a distinct chance any small deviance in form will cascade into a compensation that adapts you right into an injury.

The affect starts at the hips and climbs up the chain. So, we’ll balance the hips with something simple–you don’t even have to move while you do it. It’s the Iso-hold lunge.

Here’s my man Jeremy Frisch with a demonstration and explanation.

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With the iso-lunge we’re training mobility and stability at the same time. It’s a more intense version of the Brettzel stretch–the right muscles come on to do work and the muscles that need to stretch, stretch.

It’s uncomfortable. Actually, I’m bullshitting you, it’s painful. But it’s worth every second of pain.

Do these for at least a minute per side every day and you’ll do well to keep your hips and back healthy.

Spinal Movement

While lifting, gross spinal movement is a bad thing. This is how we rupture discs and cause a host of other injuries. In life, however, the spine is supposed to move with requisite ranges of motion.

High-tension barbell lifts done every day reduce spinal mobility. We need the barbell lifts to get strong, but we must take care that they don’t limit our mobility.

So if we are constantly limiting spinal movement, we must constantly create spinal movement.

There’s another simple fix for this conundrum–the spinal wave.

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[Quick note: I’m not writing this for any diagnostic purpose. I’m not a doctor. I’m also not writing this to recommend any type of treatment for any condition. I’m not a doctor]

I included the video mainly for Steve’s explanation of how he attempts to move one spinal segment at a time. I’d rather see this drill done standing–think SFMA multi-segmental flexion test to multi-segmental extension test.

I save this drill for the afternoon, or later in the day, so I’m not flexing my spine on full discs. It may not make a difference, but I don’t want to take the chance. I do a few sets of three to five every day–they’ve helped me.

Lat Tension

If you’re deadlifting like you ought to you then you’re creating loads of forceful lat tension during each set. This is great for training the lats specific function during deadlifting, and for training them to function well during other activities, but the tension promotes shoulder issues and a hyper-lordotic lumbar spine.

High-frequency deadlifting requires high-frequency lat rolling. On this type of program the lats must be rolled every day–even off days.

If rolling alone isn’t doing the trick, contract-relax strategies work well to get some length and balance back in the lats. Just choose a strategy and be consistent.

Want to Deadlift Every Day?

High-frequency deadlifting is a habit that makes monsters. With a few self-care habits you can use a lift with high-frequency and gain the benefits of strong, neurological adaptation.

Big words.


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Todd Bumgardner
M.S./ CSCS/ Owner of Beyond Strength Performance/ Ginger
Todd Bumgardner

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Todd Bumgardner
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M.S./ CSCS/ Owner of Beyond Strength Performance/ Ginger
3 Responses
  1. I love the high frequency training that focuses on lighter load, technical lifts that focus more on the skill of the lift than the weight on the bar. Especially with my weaker lifts, this building of neuromuscular pathways and correct mechanics really helps increase strength later on when I do decide to go heavy. It’s not always about the numbers. Right now, coming out of a back injury, I’m doing technical work 5x a week with the Rack Pull until I feel comfortable lifting off the floor…again.

  2. Hey Todd, interesting article. I have taken a break from heavy deadlifts for the summer while I am cycling so much, but still DL light 3x per week. Focusing on the pull-ups for a while. I want to get back to the DL in a few weeks though and this sounds interesting. What kind of “routine” do you maintain while deadlifting every day? Certainly you don’t go heavy every day.

    1. Todd Bumgardner

      Hey Don,
      When I deadlift during every training session the load is very light. As an example during the cycle I started with 185 snatch grip deadlift for sets of 5 and over the course of twelve weeks I worked up to 365 for sets of 1. There were two deadlift specific days that included heavier deadlifting after these sets. That clear it up for you?
      Hope to see you around Starbucks soon!

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