A Peaking Cycle for a Raw Stalling Deadlift

This is the exact deadlift cycle I’ve used for the past three meets. Each meet, I’ve hit a PR, so I know it at least works for me. Who knows, it may even work for you too. I started this cycle due to years of being stuck at a low 700 deadlift. My PR was still the same from September 2006, – a mere 715 pounds.  And yes, this was with a deadlift suit. I didn’t hit a PR until December of 2008. That’s over two years without an increase. I decided it was time for a completely different approach to my deadlift training. After I ran this cycle (see graph at bottom of page) the first time, I broke my former PR by 25 pounds. However, this time it was without a suit on. At my next two meets, I hit 5 pound PR’s. I’m at a 750 pound raw deadlift now and I’m hoping to raise that in four weeks at my next raw meet.

This program has four phases: a pull from the top section, a deadlift from the floor section, a block pull section and a deload section. All four parts are equally important. This program is based off of basic peiodization. Weights start light and increase as you go. This keeps you fresh and limits the chance of stagnation.

In between each phase is a speed, or deload day. Speed work is done for six singles at 50 percent. On every fourth week, there’s a deload, but it’s technically a speed day that is supposed to be kept light – around 40 percent for six singles. I like to squat and deadlift on the same day because I feel it gives me a realistic idea of how I’m progressing. If you do full meets, you’ll always pull after you squat, so I like to practice it that way.

Here’s the breakdown of exericises:

The pull from the top is an exercise that I stole from Ano. He’s a monster puller and that was a good enough reason to steal an exercise from him. Below is the video of a pull from the top.

As you can see, it’s a simple movement, but it’s very hard. It really builds the glutes and hamstrings.

The second phase is the deadlift phase. I do these early in the cycle to keep myself from peaking too early before the meet. Nothing fancy about this, just pull.

Below is a video of the deadlift. Please note my form isn’t exactly ideal. The only reason I’m showing this is to make others aware that most so-called “technique rules” are only guidelines. Find what works best for you and get after it!

The next phase is the block pull phase. This is when you really hammer your lockout and build strength. It also allows you to prepare for the meet and get used to pulling heavy weights. But, since it’s off the blocks, you don’t get all of the negative CNS abuse that would come from a standard deadlift.

Below is a video of a block pull. I find block pulls to be more natural and closer to an actual deadlift than a pin pull.

The final phase is the deload phase. It gets you healed up and fresh for meet day. Four weeks out, you’ll work up to 90 percent. This essentially will be your opener. Three weeks out, you’ll do speed work and two weeks out, you’ll do a light block pull. This is just to keep your CNS awake. Week one is a deload week and then it’s meet time!

This is a 24-week cycle. Give it a whirl, it may help you get out of a funk and get some weight moving again.

Base percentages off of your best competition deadlift.

Week Exercise Weight % Reps
1 Top Pull 85 Triple
2 Speed Pulls 50 6 singles
3 Top Pull 90 Triple
4 Deload 40 6 singles
5 Top Pull 95 Triple
6 Speed 50 6 singles
7 Deadlift 85 Double
8 Deload 40 6 singles
9 Deadlift 90 Double
10 Speed 50 6 singles
11 Deadlift 95 Double
12 Deload 40 6 singles
13 Block Pull 97 Singles
14 Speed 50 6 singles
15 Block Pull 100 Singles
16 Deload 40 6 singles
17 Block Pull 103 Singles
18 Speed 50 6 singles
19 Deadlift 90 single
20 Deload 40 6 singles
21 Block Pull 70 single
22 Deload 50
23 Meet Day
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About the Author

Scott Yard is a 2004 graduate of Western Maryland College. As an equipped lifter Scott has broken the all-time world record total for the 275-lb class. This was done at the age of 23. His 2605-lb total consists of a 1050 squat, 840 bench, and a 715 deadlift. Scott’s 840 bench at one time was the heaviest recorded bench to date in a full meet across all weight classes. Scott currently competes raw. To date he has posted Personal meet bests of 750 in the squat, 505 in the bench, and 755 in the deadlift. Scott trains out of Club Natural Gym in Hanover, Pennsylvania, and hopes to compete for many years to come. By day he is a forensic Social worker in the corrections field. View Scott’s Training Log HERE